Willow – Illusion
Genus: Salix – Family: Salicaceae
Willow indicates a time when our subconscious fears and dreams may be resurfacing, creating anxiety about our future. Willow reminds us that our weakness is also our strength as it connects us with the depths of our fears and vulnerabilities as well as our truths and resilience. Willow encourages us to see our self-deceptive and destructive patterns as illusions that have held us from realizing our full potential. This is a time of reclaiming our intuitive wisdom.
Willow’s association with the moon guides us into the realms of intuition, dreams and the subconscious world. Willows flourish on the edge of water as mystical gatekeepers between the moon, sun, and life itself. The moon provides light, which is a reflection of the sun; in turn water reflects the light of the moon. In some ancient cultures the moon was seen as the masculine seed or lunar bull, that impregnated earth at night in order to birth the sun in the morning. Every culture honored the moon as a sacred timekeeper or deity.
A moon cycle, which is approximately 29.5 days, inspired the concept of months in lunar and lunisolar calendars. The moon was also closely associated with the monthly cycles of menstruation. In Greek mythology Selene, the moon goddess, was also called Mene. She gave birth to the words; men, mense, menstruation and month. Deities such as Luna, Thoth, Sin, Soma, Nanna, Mama Killa etc. represent the ongoing dynamic of diving into darkness after the setting sun to bring forth the light each day. Druids are thought to have created wands from willow branches because of their ability to transcend light and dark. In China and Japan willow is used to help people communicate with ghosts and the spirits of their ancestors.
The genus name Salix comes from the Celtic word Saille, meaning to be near water. In the ancient Ogham tree alphabet willow represented the letter “s” known as sail. The deciduous weeping willow (Salix x sepulcralis) is named for its drooping branches that release “teardrops” in the rain. Willows drink up to 100 gallons of water a day, making them strong and flexible.
Willow has been a source of medicine for over 3000 years. Its leaves and bark provide the ingredient salicin, named for the genus Salix (willow). Salicin is an anti-inflammatory agent and is the active ingredient found in aspirin.
Message: Willow encourages us to weep as we release deep-seated memories that hold us. Willow reminds us of our strength and tenacity as we surrender to our innermost fears in order to reconnect with our inner wisdom. Wisdom is often born of pain as we move through various phases of life. Sadness, grief, anger, fear and loss bring valuable insights even though they are difficult emotions to feel. It is through this pain that we remember and reclaim who we are. The idea that we are forever separated is an illusion to release.
Challenge: 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.
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