I have always loved the willows (scientific name "Salix"). It's been my favorite tree since childhood, when moving to a new house, I first saw a small grove of weeping willows in our neighbor's front yard. I thought they were the most beautiful trees I had ever seen.
When I was a bit older, I was a tomboy who loved to wander through the small bit of woods behind another house we lived in. There was a little stream with willows growing next to it. I took a twig home with me one day, and stuck it in the ground. From that twig grew a huge willow tree, here's a pic of me in my 20's with my willow friend.
My family gave me a little Salix Caprea one Mother's day in recent years, I love the little fuzzy catkins that open in the spring.
In legend, it is said that the sound of wind blowing through the branches of the willow influences the mind and results in inspiration. This was sometimes referred to as the Willow-Muse, (or willow-tree faerie).
In healing, willow bark has been used as a painkiller. The bark contains salicylic acid, which is the source of aspirin. It has also been used as an incense to uplift ones spirit.
Willows are known as trees of enchantment and mysteries. It is one of the Celtic sacred trees of magic. Willow groves are said to be so magical, that poets, musicians, artists and other great thinkers would sit amongst them to gain inspiration and prophesy.
Willows have always been associated with water. They are regarded as feminine trees, thus also associated with the moon. There are many mystical myths of goddesses, gypsies and witches connected with willows, water and the moon.
The weeping willow, I think is a most beautiful tree. The swaying branches are calming to the soul, and a joy to watch.
I will be hosting the Festival of the Trees for the month of November. I'm going to try a theme of spooky trees, and hopefully have the festival post up a day early, 31 Oct, Halloween! So start thinking about the spookiest trees you have seen. I'll put up more info on this next month.
September's festival host is Raven's Nest
October's host will be Trees if you please.
For more info, see Festival of the Trees.