Celtic Tree Lore
The Willow Tree - Saille - April
Willow Tree - Celtic Moon month - 15th April – 12th May
Latin name - Salix
The Willow tree likes damp and watery places where it can be prolific in its growth. Even a cut branch placed in the ground will soon take root and flourish. The Willow can grow to 90 feet tall in places.
It has pliable branches which are not brittle at the base. The leaves are lance shaped, mostly without stiples; ash grey in colour and silky or hairy above or beneath (using a lens). Covered in rough grey bark, in some parts of the world it grows also like a shrub. Male and female flowers occur in different trees, appearing as catkins on leafy stalks at the same time as the leaves.
The healing properties of the willow are many and has been seen for thousands of years as a great healing tree.
Alterative (gradually restores health), anodyne (relieves pain), febrifuge (reduces fever),
Astringent (stops capillary bleeding), antiperiodic (prevents periodic return of fever),
Anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, tonic, and vermifuge (kills worms).
Willow was one of the first herbs to be scientifically investigated. In the 19th century, the French chemist, Leroux, extracted the active ingredient "salicine." By 1852 it was being synthetically produced, and by 1899 a less irritating acetyl salicylic acid was manufactured and marketed as aspirin. This was the first plant-derived drug of the modern generation.
The white willow bark was used to reduce fevers and relieve headaches. Unlike the synthetic drug, acetyl salicylic acid, called aspirin which can cause stomach irritation, white willow bark contains tannins, which are actually good for the digestion.
Native Americans used several varieties of the willow; they wove baskets with willow, used willow for pain and reducing fever. The framework of the vapour bath lodge of the Native Americans was made of willow poles, bent and tied with their bark.
The willow was mystically connected with the departure of the spirit from the body at death. Willow twigs had certain uses in funeral rites. Willow was also used in the annual purification of “beating the bounds” (defining the parish boundary) and the birch twigs of a witches broom were bound by willow in the form of willow thongs.
Willow is sacred in its connection to the Moon, the Femine and Inspiration. The Willow is sacred to poets and bards as the Tree of inspiration. It is the Tree of dreaming, inspiration and deep emotions. Willow wands placed under your pillow will bring deep dreams. Placing the Willow wand under your pillow during the full moon helps promote night visions. Willow wands are favoured for Lunar magic and ritual..
Symbolicaly the Willow belongs to the time of Spring and The Bride aspect of the Triple Goddess. Celebrating her return from The Mother (Callieach) in her winter (crone) aspect.
Willow is used by dowsers to find water, among other things.
In Ireland The Pussy Willow is know as one of “the seven noble trees of the land” and was honoured for its multi uses from basket weaving to thatching spars and wattles including many others.
The Willow is a Queen of Trees and brings many Spiritual and Magical properties to those that use it.
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Written by SpiritDancer © Mystic Familiar 2009
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