“Wash away your woes
in my healing embrace.
I will teach you how to bend,
through any storm with grace.
Dream bone-deep and true,
as my moonsweet tears
command pain to subside,
drown your fevers,
balance your tides,
and bring to fruition the best within you.”
Willows, sallows and osiers form the Genus Salix; around 400 different species of deciduous trees and shrubs found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. About 170 0f these are Willow trees which are often associated with deep emotion, flexibility, dreams, fertility, the Moon, intuition, and healing due to their strong connection with Water. Other associations include: sorrow, tragic romance, cycles, witches, beauty, fidelity, initiation, wishes, beginnings, femininity, and adding vital energy to the elderly and the sick.
Willow bark contains Salicin which is used in the treatment of rheumatic fever, various damp diseases like rheumatism, and a decoction can be used for gum and tonsil inflammations. Willow is often referred to as “witches aspirin” as it was used for all the same purposes as modern synthetic aspirin for over 2,000 years. White willow or sallow bark tea is recommended for indigestion, whooping cough and catarrh. It can also be used as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
This tree is notorious for pushing roots over amazing distances in order to find enough water, often bursting water pipes in the process. Just the normal growth of a willow can be six to eight feet or more a year! They are also known for their ability to spread or clone themselves through their stoloniferous roots, or even fallen and broken branches! Willow is loaded with auxin, a hormone that encourages the growth of roots, and this allows any woody part of this Teacher to put down roots and become it’s own tree in the right conditions.
In fact even today, gardeners around the world still make Willow Water to encourage root growth in other plant cuttings! This potent aspect of this Teacher implies great strength as a healer as well as lessons on how to properly sustain oneself, how to remain strongly grounded through life’s adversities, how to adapt to meet adversity, how and when to recreate one’s self, how to establish healthy new roots and rapidly ground one’s self in emergency situations, and how to quickly reconnect one’s self with All Our Relations.
In the ogham alphabet, the willow is known as “Saille” which became Anglicized 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. To me, there always seems to be some sense of great emotion just trembling in anticipation of being unlocked, of tremendous and eternal potential, encased within the Willow’s silently dreaming bark.
Willow was a favored wood for the making of dreamcatchers and lapharps, and is an excellent friend for anyone needing to relieve grief, heighten intuitions and dreams, strip away illusions, and those seeking healing! Willow forms the Sacred Hoop of Life. Although simply sitting within a Willow’s energy field is beneficial to us, I have found that Willows often require more time spent in our company before taking notice of us, and deciding whether or not to engage with us on more than a superficial level.
Spider, ant, earthworm, oriole, owl, squirrel, sparrow, swallow, goldfinch, river otter, muskrat, beaver, moose, swan and other waterfowl, cattails and other reeds, deer, elk, caribou, the Moon, aphid, webworm, gypsy moth, dog/wolf/coyote/fox, bear, bison/buffalo, cattle, and willow shoot sawfly are just a few potential balancing energies.
“Trees serve as homes for visiting devas who do not manifest in earthly bodies, but live in the fibers of the trunks and larger branches of the trees, feed from the leaves and communicate through the tree itself. Some are permanently stationed as guardians of sacred places.” ~Deva Shastra
Key concepts: Water, Emotion, Dreams, Grief, Flexibility, Moon/Lunar energy, Feminine energy/power/intuition/bond, Prophetic Dreams, Music, Intuition, Rebirth, Magic, Divination, Inspiration
Associated Gods, Goddesses or Mythic figures: Venus, Hecate, Brigid, Demeter, Rusalkas and Faeries, Osiris, Crone aspects of triple goddesses as well as muses, seers, and oracles of all sorts, especially feminine ones. The Willow forms the Hoop of Life in some Native Traditions, and is often used to make Dreamcatchers as well as beautiful baskets.
Each Who Sings Now? poem I have written is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a tree, star, animal, stone, etc. from which we can learn so many priceless lessons… if we only take the time to listen. Many people enjoy trying to guess which Teacher inspired the poem before going on to read about them in detail. Can you guess who is singing?