Willow Tree Lore

This article originally published on Our Pantheons Way on May 26th, 2014.

 Willow Tree
Willow Tree

I’m a Warrior! 
Earth Warrior! 
True-born Pagan Yeah! 
I’m a Warrior , 
Nature soldier fighting for the Earth – Omnia

Willow is most often found near waterways throughout temperate regions of the world. It enjoys quite a history and a long-standing relationship with humankind of usefulness – medicinal, magickal and otherwise.

In Japan there is a story from 1132 C.E. which begins…

ABOUT one thousand years ago the temple of ‘San-jû-san-gen Do’ was founded. ‘San-jû-san-gen Do’ means hall of thirty-three spaces; and there are said to be over 33,333 figures of the Goddess Kwannon, the Goddess of Mercy, in the temple today. Before the temple was built, in a village near by stood a willow tree of great size. It marked the playing-ground of all the village children, who swung on its branches, and climbed on its limbs. It afforded shade to the aged in the heat of summer, and in the evenings, when work was done, many were the village lads and lasses who vowed eternal love under its branches. The tree seemed an influence for good to all. Even the weary traveller could sleep peacefully and almost dry under its branches. Alas, even in those times men were often ruthless with regard to trees. One day the villagers announced an intention to cut it down and use it to build a bridge across the river.

The full story can be found at The Sacred Texts Archive: http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/atfj/atfj04.htm

But this is just one example of many, the world over, signifying the importance of the Willow Tree. Legend says that the Moon Goddess gave rain to the willow as a gift because of her love for it. The Willow is the tree of enchantment and is ruled by the moon. Willow wood is also one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane.

The Willow is sacred to Mercury and Minerva of the Roman pantheon and also to Artemis, Ceres, Circe, Persephone (Greek), Brigid (Celtic) and Belili, the Sumerian goddess who rules over trees, and Willows in particular. The Willow is associated with Orpheus, who is regarded by the Greeks as the greatest of poets. Stories say that Orpheus received his gifts of eloquence and communication by carrying Willow branches on his journey through the Underworld. A bas-relief in a temple at Delphi portrays Orpheus leaning against a Willow tree, touching its branches.

Willow has often been the tree most sought after by the village medicine man or woman, since it has an abundance of medicinal properties. Over time, the Willow’s healing and religious qualities merged into one and the tree came to be known as the ‘witch’s tree’ by some. The Willow is also associated with the faeries. The wind in the Willows is the whisperings of a fairy in the ear of a poet. It is also said that Willow trees can uproot themselves and stalk travelers at night, muttering at them.

For Magickal Purposes: The Willow can be used for enchantments, wishes, love, healing, protection, fertility, friendship, joy, and peace. Used in the home, Willow branches can protect against evil, hexes and curses. Carried on your person, Willow wood bestows bravery and dexterity. If you knock on a Willow tree it is said to avert evil, hence the expression knock on wood. A Willow tree growing near a home will protect it from danger. Willows are also a good tree to plant around cemeteries and for lining burial plots for its symbolism of death and protection. Willows can be used in rituals for intuition, knowledge, gentle nurturing, and will elucidate the feminine qualities of both men and women. If a person needs to get something off their chest or to share a secret, if they confess it to a Willow, their secret will be trapped. Also, it is said that wishes are granted by a Willow tree if they are asked for in the correct manner. Willow leaves, bark and wood add energy to healing magick, and burning a mix of Willow bark and sandalwood during the waning moon can help to conjure spirits. Uses of Willow in love talismans include using the leaves to attract love. Willow leaves or twigs can also be used in spells to create loyalty, make friendship pacts, treaties, or alliances. It is said that a rejected lover can wear Willow as a charm to win back the love.

Research for this article came from these fine sources:

http://www.druidry.org/library/trees/tree-lore-willow

http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/atfj/atfj04.htm

http://mothermoonsmessage.blogspot.com/2011/02/celtic-tree-lore-emotional-willow.html

http://dutchie.org/willow-lore/

Leave a Reply