Willow – Moon – Intuition
Genus: Salix – Family: Salicaceae
Willow trees have long been associated with the moon as a symbol of intuition, dreams and the subconscious mind. Willows flourish on the edge of water as mystical gatekeepers between the moon, water and life itself. The moon provides light as a reflection of the Sun, just as water reflects the light of the moon, the willow drinks in both.
Willows were seen as a gateway between life and death and the mysteries of the moon based on its relationship with water. The genus name Salixcomes from the Celtic word Saille for white willow, Salix alba. Saille (near water) wasseen as a lunar tree in the Ogham tree alphabet and calendar. Ancient Druids used willow branches as wands. Willow has been connected with the Greek triple goddess Hecate in her form as the dark (new) moon. In Chinese, Japanese and Taoist traditions willow branches are used for communicating with the dead and warding off unwanted spirits.
There are nearly 400 species of willow, also called sallows that live in temperate climates throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The iconic weeping willow (Salix x sepulcralis) is actually a hybrid of Peking willow (Salix babylonica) which is native to China and white willow (Salix alba) native to Europe. When it rains, the willow’s drooping branches release “teardrops” causing it to look as if it were crying, which is how weeping willow received its name.
A mature willow can drink up to 100 gallons of water a day, because of their high-water content willow branches are extremely pliable and strong. Willow reminds us that there is strength in weakness, which helps us connect with the depths of our intuition and inner resilience. Willows can bend without breaking signifying that it is a strong yet gentle spirit that inspires us to sweep away the illusion of separation on our journey toward higher consciousness.
The leaves and bark of the willow tree have been identified as a source of medicine for over 3000 years as the source of salicin. Salicin, named for the genus name Salix works as an anti-inflammatory and is the main ingredient in aspirin. Ancient cultures from around the world used willow as a remedy for aches and pains.
Message: The spirit of willow encourages us to weep and bend as we release deep-seated memories that haunt us. Willow reminds us of our strength and ability to come back without losing who we are as we surrender to our innermost selves and reconnect with our intuitive wisdom. Wisdom is often born of pain as we move through various phases of our life. Sadness, grief, anger, fear and loss can be our greatest teachers. Willow signals a time of strengthening our resolve to search for deeper meaning and purpose.
Blocked: Feeling lost in the enchantment of our daydreams, or becoming rigid with fear. Feeling unable to trust in our selves or our dreams. Work with willow to release the tears, fears and sadness holding us from believing in our self.