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willow leaves with spikey catkins
Willow in late spring with spiky catkins…
 Tendrils swaying in the flow
 spirit dancing, grief let go,
 the wish of weaving, healer's hope,
 time's sweet mistress, help me cope. 

~ by Haloquin

Underneath the willow boughs I sit, salt-streaks on my cheeks. The moonlight glints on the ripples below, each flash reflecting the slight pounding in my skull. I knew this time was coming, this moment when I would have to rise and shed the cloak of the familiar, but precognition is no protection from heartache. Still. I held on for as long as I could. 

The pale green surrounds me, the catkins flowering in the darkness, and that which was is no longer. My shelter from the open water downstream; gone. I push aside the gentle curtain and emerge, her song soft in my soul washing away the tensions and easing the pain, though I’ll feel that loss for years to come. When something has been part of the weaving of your life for so long it shapes the banks of your spirit, but the water still flows down to the sea.

As the sky turns dusky pink I step from the banks and let the river wash the tearstains away. One chapter is over, but another is just beginning.


Latin Name: Salix alba

Herbal Properties: Willow bark tea; tonic, astringent, antiperiodic, analgesic. Reduces fever, may ease rheumatism.

Contraindications: Aspirin allergies or conditions where aspirin is contraindicated, such as bleeding disorders, pregnancy, or if you are taking other medications as they may interact.*

Magical Keywords: Deep dreaming, balancing emotions, initiation/bursting forth, healing grief, flexibility, letting go, moon, underworld travel, learning to change. Visions/seership. Water divining. Keeping secrets.

Historical Notes: If you knock on a willow tree it was said to send away bad luck, if you tell the willow your secrets it will always keep them. 

Practical Properties: Willow weaving – baskets etc. The branches weave well and can be shaped into baskets, sculptures, and fences. Cuttings will root in water, and release a rooting chemical to encourage other plants to root too. Will grow really easily and fast… so if you shape a fence from fresh branches and plant it, it will very likely grow! 

Clues for Identification: There are many varieties of willow, the most iconic being weeping willow with its long leaves and drooping branches. The leaves are often long and narrow, the branches are pliable, and it loves damp places.

* Please check with a qualified herbalist before self medicating with plants, they can be very powerful. This information is just to give inspiration for magical workings. I am not a qualified herbalist!

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Over to you in the comments. What stories of Willow would you like to share?

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