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Tree Symbolism

The Symbolic Significance of Willow Trees: Magick Properties

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Written by: Tina Caro

Its branches are flexible while its narrow and long leaves appear in silver-green, especially in what is commonly called weeping willow. Let’s learn more about its symbolism, spiritual meaning, and uses.

A peculiarity of this tree is that it produces fruits that, once rapidly ripe, fall to the ground giving the feeling that the tree has born fruit prematurely.

The first information on this elegant plant was found in ancient Egyptian texts dating back to the II millennium BC. Hippocrates, however, in the fifth century BC described its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties for the first time.

Indeed, modern biochemistry has confirmed that this tree contains salicin. This substance is used for the production of not only anti-inflammatories but also antipyretics and antirheumatics.

Although we do not possess much documentation, it seems that the leaves and bark of the willow trees were used by many populations (perhaps even primitive) for the production of tools as well as medicinal purposes. News of its healing powers has also been found in documents of medieval origin.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Willow trees hold deep symbolic significance in various cultures worldwide, from ancient Chinese reverence for their longevity to Celtic beliefs associating them with the moon and the feminine.

The weeping willow, known for its graceful drooping branches, represents emotions and grief, often planted in cemeteries as a symbol of mourning and remembrance.

Beyond symbolism, willow trees possess magickal properties, including divination and healing abilities, making them a key component in many folk traditions and witchcraft practices.

Willow is frequently used in rituals and magick for purposes such as protection, love spells, and enhancing one’s intuition, harnessing the tree’s mystical energy.

Willow Tree Symbolism in Different Cultures

The term Willow has Celtic origins and means “near the water”. Both from a purely symbolic and natural point of view, it is strongly linked to the element of water and the magic ingrained in it.

For people and Celts specifically, it was considered a female divinity, and its cult, linked to lunar cycles and fertility, always held great importance over the centuries.

In Celtic tradition and culture, it was the 5th tree of the year in the arboreal zodiac. This period fell between the 12th of April and the 15th of May.

On the other hand, its wood was used to construct musical instruments among druid people.

They made baskets from the branches used during the sacred rites to deposit offerings.

In ancient Greece, the tree was identified in connection with the afterlife. This is due to the ease with which branches, once broken, regenerate and grow again.

For the Jewish people, they were instead thought they had the power to propitiate rain and were worshiped as everything related to water.

Mesopotamian people used them to soothe fever and rheumatism.

In Rome, its branches were used to manufacture baskets.

It was linked to the world of witches in Britain.

 

Weeping Willow Tree Symbolism and Meaning

According to one tradition, one could predict his death by intertwining two branches to form a cross.

If the cross placed on a sacred source floated, death was near. But if the cross sank, then it was still far away.

CultureSymbolic Associations
CelticIn Celtic mythology, the willow is associated with lunar energy, intuition, the realm of dreams, and feminine energy.
Native AmericanNative American tribes view the willow as a symbol of flexibility, adaptability, and resilience in the face of adversity.
ChineseIn Chinese culture, the willow is associated with femininity, grace, and the transformative power of the moon.
JapaneseIn Japanese folklore, the willow represents strength, courage, and the ability to endure hardships with grace and beauty.
NorseIn Norse mythology, the willow is associated with the goddesses of love, fertility, and destiny.
Table 1: Symbolism of Willow in Different Cultures

According to Christianity, however, the weeping willows took on the meaning of chastity and purity.

Moreover, given the posture, they symbolized the right attitude before God. Kneeling and reverent.

According to a Christian legend, when Jesus for the umpteenth time fell on the way to Golgotha, he clung to its branches to rise up again.

jesus on his way to golgotha
Jesus on his way to Golgotha

Since then this tree took on the meaning of pain and tears. In the medieval period, willow was linked to female divinities and witches, and it was believed that it had the power to emanate evil spells.

In the East, however, they have always had positive symbolism. They represented immortality, eternity, and spirituality.

For this reason, its wood is used for the manufacture of statues, columns, and elements of sacred architecture.

Also read:
Oak Tree Symbolism and Meaning [A Celtic Tree of Life]
Elm Tree Symbolism and Meaning [With Birth Date Symbolism]

Magickal Properties of Willow

Magickal PropertyDescription
HealingWillow is associated with healing and is believed to possess properties that promote physical and emotional well-being.
DivinationWillow is often used in divination practices, such as scrying, as it is believed to enhance psychic and intuitive abilities.
ProtectionWillow is considered a protective tree and is believed to guard against negative energies and evil spirits.
Love and RelationshipsWillow is associated with love and is believed to attract love and strengthen romantic relationships.
IntuitionWillow is connected to the realm of intuition and is believed to enhance one’s psychic abilities and spiritual awareness.

Ritual and Magickal Uses of Willow

Ritual/Magickal UseDescription
Healing SpellsWillow can be used in healing spells and rituals to promote physical and emotional healing and restore balance.
Divination PracticesWillow branches or twigs can be used as tools in divination practices, such as dowsing or pendulum work.
Protection RitualsWillow can be incorporated into protection rituals or charms to ward off negative energies and protect against harm.
Love SpellsWillow can be used in love spells or rituals to attract love, enhance romantic relationships, or promote self-love.
Intuitive WorkWillow can be used in rituals or meditations to enhance intuition, psychic abilities, and spiritual connection.

A Few Amazing Legends about a Weeping Willow

It has always teased the imagination of the man who was able to create an aura of magic and mystery around it, inventing dozens of legends and fables that made it into a tree linked to the fairytale world, mythology and even Christian mysticism.

Various fables have arisen around their origins, belonging to all ages and religions. For this reason, it is impossible to outline this tree’s legendary origin unambiguously.

Now let’s see some of the most common legends.

  1. The willow tree is a tree linked to the symbolism of the most orthodox Christianity.In fact, there is a legend that tells how this plant changed its appearance at the time of Jesus Christ: while Jesus carried the cross, at the exact moment of the passion, exhausted and unable to walk, he collapsed for a moment at the feet of a willow that stood in his path. Taken pity by so much suffering, the willow bent all its branches down to help him get up and support him with its fronds. When Jesus resumed his journey, still haunted by the floggings of the soldiers, it remained with all its branches and continued to cry forever.
  2. There is another legend that explains the current physiognomy of this tree in a reading key that refers directly to the Catholic symbology. This tells of how it, originally with the branches reaching upwards, was in a beautiful enclosure (10 commandments) and was the object of the meticulous care of a farmer (God) who watered it every day. Once a snake (sin) came to visit him and began to instigate him to leave that fence in search of the freedom that he had never known.

    The inexperienced and naive willow was convinced and abandoned the fence, going to settle where the snake had advised. The snake covered the roots the whole day, claiming he wanted what was best for him.

    But in reality, a snake had brought the willow to a place where the sun never beamed and no water flowed. And this is how its branches subsided forever and it never stopped crying.

  3. Another legend tells instead how it, always a tree with beautiful branches directed upwards, became friends with a stream that began to tell him about the world and life and all the things his current could know traveling incessantly for many kilometers.One day they both heard woodcutters who wanted to cut it because of its great beauty and together they plotted to escape the danger.It bent downwards, leaning forward until it touched the water of the river and began to lower all the branches to look as sad as possible.

    As soon as woodcutters saw this sudden change, they decided not to cut the tree because “weeping” in that position had to be necessarily sick or cursed.

The myths around this tree are very numerous and many of them are born in far east Asia and Japan, where the tree comes from.

It is not possible to find out which what is real and what isn’t, but what is certain is that this tree has always stimulated the fervent imagination of many different people and cultures.

About
Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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