Wind, Water and Willows ..
This is the first day of the month of Willow or Saille according to our Celtic Tree Calendar.. also sometimes known as Sallow or Osier – which are actually the broader and narrower leaved varieties respectively.
The element associated with Saille is Water which of course makes sense with its tendency for growing in watery places but I also think of it as an ‘airy’ type of a tree – birch and aspen certainly ‘shimmy’ in a breeze but Willow really knows how to dance!
Incidentally – by interspersing Willow with Rosa Rugosa you can have a really fast growing, salt tolerant, wind-breaking, hedge in the most exposed gardens.
The first couple of paragraphs of Algernon Blackwood’s ‘The Willows’ describes perfectly … in fact just wonderfully, what I am trying to get across here – it’s one brilliantly crafted story – a favourite of H P Lovecraft and really well worth the read!
Water of course connects with the Moon and thus Women’s mysteries such as psychic power, divination, dreams and witchcraft – Saille is therefore a Goddess tree corresponding especially to Cerridwen, the Celtic Goddess of inspiration, wisdom, fertility and magic.
Just as the Moon has beguiled with its mysterious ‘dark’ side so too have the Wise Women (and Men) down the ages by showing us glimpses of long hidden (but not entirely lost) universal truths and ancient wisdom – the ‘occult’ ..which simply means ‘hidden’ but still in this day and age unfortunately mostly translates as ‘evil’ (as in the ‘black arts’) rather than the ‘unknown’..
“People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.”
In English folklore Willow trees were believed to be capable of uprooting themselves and following travellers
~ in ‘The Willows’ the author tells us .. “Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which “moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible.“
Again we have ‘fear of the unknown’ but here due to the isolation that travellers can feel as they journey through strange territory where Nature ‘takes over’ and provides little in the way of familiar ‘sign posts’.
From Wikipedia ..
“The precise nature of the mysterious entities in “The Willows” is unclear, and they appear at times malevolent and treacherous, and at times simply mystical, almost divine: “a new order of experience, and in the true sense of the word unearthly,” and a world “where great things go on unceasingly…vast purposes…that deal directly with the soul, and not indirectly with more expressions of the soul.” These forces are also often contrasted with the fantastic natural beauty of the locale, itself a vigorous dynamic. In sum the story suggests that the landscape is an intersection, a point of contact with a “fourth dimension” — “on the frontier of another world, an alien world, a world tenanted by willows only and the souls of willows.”
In my Ogham divination studies I learned that Saille wants us to listen to our emotions so as to know how we really feel about the situation or issue at hand before we make any decisions. Also that it is natural and healthy to use our intuition and dreams to help us in our lives – for the ancient Celts psychic powers were to be honed, consulted and respected – certainly nothing to be scared of!
Wishing you all a wonderful month ahead! 🌳💕