I was first introduced to this beautiful tree when I was about 6 years old. My father had built us a home in California and that was the one tree my mother wanted, and she got it. It inspires many feelings for me, none of which are sad. This tree is gorgeous, and I have had one in every one of my yards including this one in Spokane, WA USA.
Willow (Salix alba, Salix Fragilis)
Salix is a huge grouping of 300 or more species of fast-growing alpines in high altitudes to large and noble lowland trees throughout the more temperate zones, but mainly in the northern hemisphere.
Willows are very much at home near water! They are drawn to it. The leaves are shaped like the head of a lance having a narrow oval shape that comes to a point. The flowers begin in catkins, a slim spike kind of furry/downy feel to them and are mostly pollinated by the wind, but there can also be pollination by insects. The tree limbs are very slender, covered with flowers and leaves and they seem to droop, hence the name “Weeping Willow” to some.
Willows are grown as ornamental's, for screens and shelter, and for actually stabilizing river banks. The limbs grow very long and are quite flexible, so the uses are many. I have made willow wreaths that I then decorate for the seasons as well as a broom/besom made from willow that I keep at my hearth to sweep negative energies from my home. You can make many kinds of baskets as well as some furniture and even fences. In our modern technology today, willows are planted as “reed beds”, which help to purify and recycle water naturally, while also providing habitat for wildlife.
Salicylic acid – the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving ingredient in aspirin tablets – was first discovered in the salicin in willow bark. Although this bark does not share all the properties of aspirin (It has no blood thinning effect) tincture of willow bark is still used today for treating arthritis, musculo-skeletal pain and fevers. The tress essence of the White Willow can enhance the awareness of our deeper selves and has a spiritually cleansing effect. I will be making some willow bark tincture this summer, I will let you know how it goes!
Since ancient times the willows have been associated with the moon and the feminine. Belili, the Sumerian goddess of love, the moon and the underworld, was thought to live in the willow trees, springs and wells. Goddess Persephone had a grove of aged willows, and the priestess Circe guarded a willow grove dedicated to Hecate, goddess of death and transition. An image of the moon goddess Artemis was found in a willow thicket at Sparta, and Hera, the Queen of Heaven, was said to have been born under a willow tree at Samoa, where appropriate rituals were held annually.
Archaeological finds confirm that willow wood was used to make harps. The most famous historical Celtic harp, the so-called “Brian Boru”, is now exhibited at Trinity College, Dublin. Named after the high king of Ireland (died 1014), it probably dates from the 15th century and has a pillar and head-piece of oak, a sound body of willow and is strung with brass.
Remember the willow is the resonating feminine vessel that receives the vibration of the string and gives birth to music. For the Chinese as well, the willow represents the feminine, yin, grace and the moon.
Write your wish on a piece of willow bark then burn or bury it to manifest your desire. Carry willow with you or burn it in incense blends to bring about inspiration and to enhance your intuition. To bring love to you, sleep with a piece of willow under your bed.
I have had success with birthing my own willow trees. Cut fresh stems about 10-12 inches long and place in a bucket with just water. Over several weeks I had roots growing which I then planted in my back yard and gave a few away to neighbours and friends. When planting make sure the soil stays fairly moist or plant near water.
This tree is not only beautiful, but it can bring such inspiration. I keep an area under my large one where I have a tree stump for an altar and a seat where I can enjoy many blissful hours reading and meditating. StormloverWolf
Fred Hagender, “The Meaning of Trees”