The next tree in the woodlands alphabet is my favourite – The Willow. Letter S (Celtic Saille) and there is no Australian counterpart because Willows are ubiquitous.Its Latin name is Salix and there are about 5 or 6 varieties of it. My favourites are the Weeping Willow (salix babalonica ) and the Pussy Willow, Salix caprea. My mother used to call me Pussy Willow when I was a little girl.
The meaning of this totally feminine plant is all those watery things to do with emotions, feeling, sensitivity, vision, intuition and divination. The unconscious, Lunar tides and the ebbs and flow of magic.
The bark and the leaves contain salicylic acid. It can be used for when… “Oh dear! you have a headache”. Its a good all round pain killer and great for period pains as it contains 918kiss lama the source of aspirin.
It grows on the banks of rivers, near streams and wetlands, and helps hold the banks together. They used to thatch the roofs of their houses with it so it not only held things together when the erosive forces of the constant flow of water does its thing.
Even its uses in days of old were girly. They made harps out of it and weaved baskets, Wicca, (interesting name for a weaving material.) and other kinds of artwork.True to its name the weeping willow has associations as a funerary herb and wearing it helps with the grieving process.
It is sacred to the moon goddesses Hecate, Hera, and Persephanie. – all death aspects of the triple goddess. Orpheus is said to have received gifts of eloquence and communication when he carried willow branches through the underworld.
Make an incense of the bark and leaves and burn in when you’re meditating on deeply hidden or buried emotions. It gives you the power to go into the unknown with confidence and sharpens your senses. It helps link and harmonise aspects of your psyche which is very shamanic. Use it for the gift of cunning – skilful and subtle uses of mental powers to meet aims. (just like a woman!) Willows power is greatest at night – unless the moon is up during the day time.
Put a little under your pillow and ask for a dream to clarify some deep and mysterious block or unknown thing to be revealed. She’s powerful medicine so, as they say in the classics “be careful what you ask for coz you just might get it.”