Willow Tree Symbolism - botanical butterfly
Our silent heros.....

This is the first tree of my "Tree Series". I chose the Willow because it is one of my favorites. Each note will have a bit of interesting knowledge, photos, links, and maybe a bit of magic. I hope you will find each one interesting and maybe one that resonates with you. Please share your thoughts! ~Peace, Love and Harmony

Willow tree meanings includes magic, healing, inner vision and dreams. The leaves and bark of the willow tree have been mentioned in ancient texts from Assyria, Sumer and Egypt as a remedy for aches and fever. Native Americans across the continent relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments. This is because they contain acetylsalicylic acid, also known as aspirin. The willow grows in hardiness zones 2-9. The willow is a famous subject in many East Asian nations' cultures, and the image has been employed in a variety of Korean poetry. The willow was also part of mourning pieces created in the 19th century (and earlier) by women to commemorate the death of a loved one. These pieces always included one or more mourners in dark dresses bent over a burial vault, tombstone or urn with a willow tree--a symbol of death, tears, mourning, and reflection. Perhaps this is the origin of the term "weeping willow".

The Power of the Willow Tree
By Glennie Kindred

(Originally Published at Imbolc 1997)

The Willow is the tree most associated with the moon, water, the Goddess and all that is feminine. It is the tree of dreaming, intuition and deep emotions. Symbolically it belongs to the beginning of spring, when all of life is stirring in the depths and begins to shoot outwards once again. In the ogham alphabet, the willow is Saille which became anglicised to "sally" which means a sudden outburst of emotions, action or expression (to "sally forth"). The Old French "saille" also means to rush out suddenly and the Latin "salire" means to leap. This is the underlying energy of the willow, and the key to understanding the powerful spirit of this beautiful tree.

The early spring festival of Imbolc, Oimelc or Imolg is one of the two great female fire festivals among the yearly cycle of four. Imbolc is celebrated at the beginning of February and, like the willow, is sacred to Brigit, Brigantia, Bride, being the maiden aspect of the triple Goddess. It celebrates her re-emergence as a young virgin from the mountain fastness of her mother Cailleach - she who is of winter, the burial mounds and dark places. Cailleach, the crone aspect of the triple Goddess, drinks from the well of youth and is transformed into Bride/Brigit who is her other self. This is the Celtic version of the Demeter/Kore story, representing the mysteries of life, death and rebirth. Imbolc is sacred to women and the power of the feminine principles of inspiration, illumination and seership. In Ireland, Bride is the Goddess of healing and smithcraft. The church transformed this festival into Candlemass and kept much of the pagan symbolism. It is a time of initiation and of beginnings and celebrates the renewal of the potency of the Earth Mother and the union with the male principle of the returning light.

The willow has much to teach us in its associations with our feminine aspects. By spending time with willows, or using the wood to make a talisman or wand, by taking it herbally or as a Bach flower remedy, we can deepen this connection. Spending time with willow trees at the full moon can only increase the potency of the insights and understanding to be gained. Working with the willow in the early spring, when the willow energy and the Earth's energy are aligned, is also a particularly potent time to explore its aspects.

* Willows are very easy to start from just a cutting. They will root quickly in a glass of water. {especially if you have permission....from the tree of course}

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    Hearing the wind....
    From the time a gypsy child is very young, they learn to listen to the trees.
    In fact, Wind Whispering is probably the first magic a young gypsy learns.
    To do it, simply lie beneath a tree with a question in your head.
    Let yourself drift into a quiet wondering, the question always in your mind, and then focus on the wind moving through the tree’s leaves.
    After a time, it is said that the stirrings will resolve themselves into softly spoken words, and the answer to your question will be made clear.

    Another simple tree gift is to sit with your back against a strong tree when you’re tired out or are feeling ill. You sit until the bark pressing into your back no longer feels like pain, and you feel yourself sinking back into the tree’s flesh. Then feel the power of the earth being drawn up through the tree’s roots, nourishing not only the tree, but filling your body as well.
    Soon you’ll feel a powerful vitality flooding through you, and when you rise to your feet again, you’ll find that you’re ready to conquer anything!

    gypsy tree magic


    May 2010


    Cottonwood Tree
    Gypsy Lore
    Willow Tree

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