Willow Tree – Which means and Symbolism

Willow was related to the world of the lifeless, funeral cults, sorrow but additionally the resurrection.

As a sacred plant, it’s revered in numerous religions and cultures and is current within the folklore and myths of many alternative cultures.

It’s typically depicted in artwork, and is a very necessary theme in pencil and ink work in Japan and China.

In Impressionism, enchanted by the play of sunshine, the mysterious and dreamy mourning willow is immortalized within the work of Claude Monet.

The Latin title of the unhappy willow Salix Babylonia comes from an historical legend.

In keeping with that legend, the Jews, having fallen into Babylonian captivity, due to nice ache and sorrow for his or her misplaced homeland, hung their harps on a willow.

Willow Tree – Which means

It’s believed that the primary mourning willow grew in historical Babylon. It’s negatively linked with the demise of Alexander the Nice, as a result of its branches took his crown off his head as he handed by it.

Due to their sadly laid branches, the traditional Greeks related the mourning willow with the world of the lifeless and the gods of the Underworld. The spouse of the underworld god Hades Persephone is typically depicted with a bunch of willow branches in her hand.

Probably the most well-known historical Greek poet Orpheus carried twigs of mourning willow on his method by the Underworld. The Greek sorceress Kirk arrange a cemetery with mourning willows by the river, devoted to the mom of the goddess Hecate and her moon magic.

The traditional Greeks believed that the spirit of the lifeless would rise by the tree of mourning willows, in order that they planted them on graves and put willow wreaths on their heads throughout the funeral as an indication of deep sorrow.

In keeping with Christianity, the mourning willow has the that means of chastity and purity, and contemplating its posture, it symbolized the proper angle earlier than God, kneeling and with awe.

In historical instances, it was believed that the mourning willow dropped its branches to guard and conceal the Mom of God when she fled from the persecutors with Jesus Christ.

The image of the mourning willow is widespread in Asian tradition. Within the nation of origin of China, it symbolizes vitality and rebirth. For the Japanese, she was an emblem of meekness and on the identical time persistence and perseverance, as a result of even arduous climate can’t break the versatile branches of her tree.

The mourning willow is usually related to demise. Her carvings turned very widespread on tombstones within the early nineteenth century. In lots of cultures, the mourning willow is an indication of immortality, and is related to the moon, water and femininity.

As a result of it often grows close to water surfaces and moist locations, it’s typically related to matters equivalent to magic and the moon as a result of water strikes below the affect of the moon.

Be just like the willow. In adversity, be just like the willow that helps the fury of the hurricane by bending right here and there, in accordance with the blowing of the wind; then after the storm it reassembles its branches.

For Methodius of Philippi the harps had been nonetheless terrestrial our bodies, the rivers of Babylon “the waters of life surrounded by the deafening waves of dysfunction and combined with the flesh”; the willows in flip symbolized the chastity on which males had hung their harps, or our bodies.

The person, round whom the temptation of the deafening waves of dysfunction bellowed, invoked the Lord: “Don’t let our harps fall, let the waves of lust tear them from the tree of chastity”.

The flexibility to germinate in a short time and stand up to obstacles makes the willow tree a robust and stuffed with vitality, though within the standard creativeness, the branches dropping to the bottom and the hanging leaves – evoking tears – have made this tree the symbol of nostalgic reminiscence and melancholy.

Whether it is lower down or pruned it’s reborn with numerous new branches and this makes it an emblem of demise and rebirth, but additionally the truth that it thrives close to waterways provides it the looks of a being between the worlds and makes it a witness of the Celtic legends of necessary duels between heroes or gods that happen in liminal locations, such because the fords and the banks of rivers.

It’s a plant linked on the identical time to the world of sunshine and that of shadows, to Life and Demise, to readability, by foresight, but additionally to confusion, because of the mists that, in accordance with legends, had been evoked by it. , furthermore it’s sacred to goddesses linked to the afterlife, equivalent to Hecate and Persephone. However additionally it is a therapeutic plant, salicylic acid is extracted from it.

Sacred to the bards and to the Goddess Brigid, who was their protector, in addition to protector of healers and blacksmiths? It was mentioned that it was the “wind within the willows” that introduced them inspiration.

Brigid, along with being the goddess of fireside, was the goddess of water and sacred wells, and the willow could be very connected to water. Water and hearth, subsequently, just like the fog that evokes the willow, like the 2 components that characterize the symbolism of the swan, which can be sacred to Brigid.

It was maybe additionally because of this that it was typically utilized by the Celts for the development of harps. The oldest and finest preserved Celtic harp appears to be that of Brian Boru, relationship again to the twelfth century: the physique of the instrument was carved from a single piece of willow wooden, whereas the knee and the column had been produced from oak.

This fusion sees the female precept of the willow and the masculine one of many oak harmonize completely. Moreover, it’s within the hole physique that it receives the vibration of the string, altering it, and thus bringing to life a sound able to enchanting.

It subsequently possesses the facility to remodel, in addition to to generate, and this truth inevitably leads again to the conception of Delivery / Demise / Rebirth that the ancients attributed to the Mom Goddess and to the Sacred Female generally.

It’s attention-grabbing to notice how in historical instances the wooden of this tree was utilized in a particular approach to create vases and containers of assorted varieties, objects able to containing or receiving … typical symbolism of the feminine womb.

There may be an attention-grabbing Gaelic legend that sees the willow and its relationship with music because the protagonist: in accordance with the narration there was as soon as a king named Labra, the Sailor, who used to have his hair lower yearly by a person who was later inevitably put to demise.

The king’s worry was, it appears, that somebody would possibly study of his secret, which is that he had ears of a very disproportionate size.

Nevertheless, it occurred as soon as that the royal haircutter was additionally the one son of a widow, who moved the king with countless and determined tears, in order that the younger man’s life was spared.

Offered, nonetheless, that he by no means, ever reveal that bodily peculiarity of him to anybody. However over time the load of that secret turned insufferable, and the boy fell in poor health.

Willow Tree – Symbolism

The time period willow has Celtic origins, it means “close to the water”. For a lot of historical peoples, the rivers by which the willows grew had been nothing greater than the tears emitted by these lengthy, silver-leaved timber.

The willow is a tree each symbolically and naturally in shut correlation with the aquatic aspect, particularly with the magic of the waters. The willow has all the time been thought of a feminine divinity, linked to fertility and to the lunar and feminine cycles, in accordance with legends it evokes rain and fog.

The druids celebrated the sacred rites by inserting choices in willow baskets, the musical devices they used to enchant the individuals with persuasive melodies had been constructed with the supple willow wooden, able to making the voice of the wind and nature resound amongst its branches . In Lithuania, the cult of the willow as an emblem of fertility endured as much as 100 years in the past.

In keeping with legend, the goddess Blinda (Hecate then Athena for the Greeks) was so fertile that she might give start from any a part of her physique. Mom Earth, envious of her capacity, whereas Blinda was strolling in a swampy meadow imprisoned her ft and reworked her right into a willow.

For that reason, the Lithuanian peasants used to make floral choices to the Mom Goddess to request the present of motherhood by encircling the big willows with crowns, a pagan custom that continued till the early nineteenth century.

Within the Greek world, the willow was linked to Zeus by his nurses Elice and Amalthea who raised it on Mount Ida the place its mom Rhea had hidden it in order that her father Cronos wouldn’t devour it.

Zeus’s cradle was hanging from a willow, Amalthea nursed the newborn within the type of a goat (therefore Salix caprea). For the traditional Greeks the willow was a tree linked to the world of the lifeless and to the afterlife as a consequence of its capacity to simply regenerate from damaged branches.

Actually Ulysses to search out the door of the underworld is distributed by Circe to the grove of poplars and willows of Persephone, apart from being Hecate tied to the willow, she indissolubly hyperlinks the plant to the dominion of the lifeless.

Lastly Orpheus tries to guide Eurydice from the realm of the lifeless to her life by holding a willow department in his hand.

For the Jews, nonetheless, the willow was a propitiatory tree for rain, revered by the individuals of the desert as all the things associated to water. To commemorate the crossing of the desert of their fathers, the Jews selected the weeping willow as an emblem (therefore the title Salix babylonica, though the plant truly has Chinese language origin) and remembered on the feast of Tabernacles or Cubicles.

Already 1000 years earlier than Christ, the traditional peoples of Mesopotamia used to deal with rheumatic illnesses and fever with willow, because the plant lived with its ft within the water with out harming it.

For the individuals of Rome, the willow is the “vimen”, that’s the wicker. In his writings Pliny really useful the willow to calm “scorching spirits” particularly feminine, a precept confirmed by the sedative energy of the plant.

This speculation derives from the statement of the fruits that fell earlier than full ripening, subsequently it was thought that the plant “killed” its youngsters, a double nature was attributed to the willow: fecundity and chastity.

For the Britons the willow is historically linked to witches, the English root of the time period willow (willow) and witch (witch) is similar.

Some witches claimed to fly on cereal sieves intertwined with willow and to succeed in the ocean to follow their evil rites by crusing on wicker baskets.

The well-known English witches broom was tied with willow. In keeping with the Britons, with two willow branches intertwined within the form of a cross one might predict one’s demise: if the cross positioned on a sacred supply floated demise was close to, if it sank, time was nonetheless far-off.

For Christianity the weeping willow is an emblem of purity and chastity, the proper angle to carry, prostrate and reverent.

In keeping with the legend, when Jesus fell to the bottom throughout the By way of Crucis, hit by the lashes of a Roman soldier, he was not capable of stand up below the load of the Cross. It was because of the pity of a willow that by decreasing the branches, Jesus was capable of stand up and cling to the branches.

Salix Babylonia, or the weeping Willow, represented from that second an emblem of ache and tears for the Christian world. In the course of the Center Ages, for some the willow had an evil nature as a result of it was linked to feminine divinities and to procreation, revered by witches as all the things associated to the mysterious world of girls.

The place 4 paths crossed; right here he ought to have taken the one on the proper and confided his secret to him to the primary tree he would have met. The younger man adopted the recommendation and the primary tree he met was a willow, to which he confided his burden and by which he was capable of heal.

It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the harpist Crafting determined to make a brand new harp for himself, utilizing the very wooden of that willow.

That very same night time he was invited as common to play on the king’s banquet, however as he touched the strings of the instrument, a voice got here out of them which revealed to everybody the embarrassing secret of King Labra.

Curious in addition to attention-grabbing story, which might cover between the strains the facility of this tree to disclose hidden secrets and techniques and mysteries.


The willow buds, which seem in early spring, are an amazing attraction for bees who start their pollination cycle at the moment. In historical instances it was mentioned that wild bees possess the knowledge of the Goddess exactly as a result of they sucked the nectar of the willow, in addition to that of the heather.

As animals sacred to the female side of the divine, bees are additionally believed to be her messengers, and their feeding on willow pollen provides this tree a good deeper that means.

This place of the willow between life and demise is depicted within the fresco Landscapes of the Odyssey, discovered on the Esquiline and now preserved within the Vatican Museums.

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