The Celtic Tree Month of Willow/ Saille (Sail) runs from April 15 – May 12.
The willow tree is associated with the element of water and they grow best in or near damp or wet areas. They love growing on or near riverbanks and actually help to stop soil erosion. They are impressive trees that can grow up to 80 feet in height. There are many varieties of willows throughout Europe and North America, including globe, white and weeping varieties. They make excellent shade trees. All willows produce long fuzzy catkins in the spring before the leaves appear, they have thick, ridged bark and long thin leaves. As anyone with willow trees can attest to they are messy trees and are what is called “self-pruning” as they tend to drop copious amounts of branches when it’s windy. Willow is also a shrub and can be found growing along creeks and in marshy areas.
In healing, willow is used as an all-around pain reliever and is the main ingredient in aspirin. It is also used to treat fever, chills, bursitis, menstrual cramps, chronic dysentery, worms, and edema just to name a few. It is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic. It has also recently been shown to delay the formation of cataracts and lower the risk of male heart disease. It can also be used as a wash to treat poison ivy, corns, and cuts.
In Myth & Magic
Willows are symbols of new journeys, and contact with the otherworld. The Celts have a creation myth that involves this tree. It is said that in the beginning there were two scarlet-colored sea serpent eggs that held the sun and the earth. These eggs were hidden among the branches of a great willow tree to keep them safe. When the eggs hatched, they brought forth all life.
Willow is the embodiment of female and lunar energy. She is the ebb and flow of the waters of the Earth Mother and governs the cycles of woman and of earth. The month of willow brings the wonder and enchantment of spring, moon-related magic, strengthening of intuition, and new wisdom. Her connection to the moon can bring visions and the understanding of dreams. To dream of a willow tree is said to mean that a rival will take your lover.
In Northern European folklore willow was associated with death and the words “wicked and witch” are said to be derived from its name, however, if you place the branches in your home those within will be protected from evil. Other associated folklore includes knocking on this tree to avert evil and yes this is where the saying “Knock on wood” originated. If you carry a piece of willow on your person it will instill bravery and remove the fear of death. If there is a willow growing near your home it will protect you, and if you need to get something off your chest, tell it to a willow tree and your secret will be held fast. Talismans of willow twigs and leaves can be made for love, friendship, and loyalty.
As a magical name, Willow is one of emotion. It is also a flowing and loving name for a serious moon worshiper!
People born in the month of willow tend to be empathic with good intuition. They can also access ancient memories easier than most other people. They have a deep love for beautiful things and can be honest to a fault. Willows also accept change easily and are quick to grab opportunities that come their way.
On the down side willow people are subject to mood swings and can have trouble reasoning things out. They can be hard to get to know and demanding which makes them hard to live with at times.
Folk Names: Pussy Willow, Saille, Saugh Tree, Tree of Enchantment, Withe, Withy
Magic: love, fertility, protection, intuition, healing, contact with fairies and elementals, moon magic.
Deities: Artemis, Hecate, Aradia, Sarasvati, Ishtar, Dana, Diana, Ceridwen, the Morrigan, Belil, Poseidon, Arawen, Brigid, Mercury
Sacred Stones: Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, Mother of Pearl
written by Cat from the following sources:
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
The New Book of Magical Names by Phoenix McFarland
Whispers from the Woods by Sandra Kynes
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