The Willow Moon: April 15 - May 12

The Willow moon was known to the Celts as Saille, pronounced Sahl-yeh.


Willow trees, Crack Willow & White Willow, are trees associated with healing and growth.


Willows planted near your home will help ward away danger, particularly the type that stems from natural disaster such as flooding and/or storms.


Willow Tree growth is best when there's lots of rain and, in the UK there's no shortage of rain at this time of year.


As Willow Trees offer protection, they’re often found planted near cemeteries.


Crack Willow – Salix fragilis

It isn’t easy to tell the difference between the…

  • White Willow and the

  • CracK Willow

It’s believed that the Crack Willow is so called because of the sound its branches & twigs make as they snap and fall to the ground.


The Crack Willows


  • Leaves are narrower & shorter than the White Willow

  • are dioecious with male and female flowers seen on separate trees in May

o Male catkins are yellow

o Female catkins are green

Willows are deciduous, and the new leaves appear just after the catkin flowers on strong, new, pale twig growth.


The leaf shape and colour varies depending on species, but the common ones are narrow and long with a drooping habit.


New leaves on the branches of Weeping Willow, drooping right down to the ground and often dipping into water appear as an amazing bright acid yellow-green, bringing early colour before the leaves on other trees break


Folklaw…

Ruled by the Moon, its element water and under the care of the Goddess Hecate, ‘The Tree of Enchantment’, the Willow (Salix alba) is a strong power in the thirteen trees of Ogham.


The shape of willow trees is a symbol of grief.


Folk names for the different willows include…

  • Osier,

  • Sallow,

  • Saille,

  • Sally,

  • Saugh Tree,

  • Sough Tree,

  • Witches Aspirin,

  • Wicker,

  • Withe and

  • Withy.

I’ve mentioned two different UK Willows but, in reality, there are about 20 that are British Natives.


They range from…

  • the huge White Willow which can grow to a height of 24 metres with its soft silvery leaves -

  • the massive Weeping Willow, originally from China and only introduced into Britain in 1692, planted for ornamental purposes and needing a space the size of a small house to grow to its full beauty – and

  • the familiar Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) to the

  • Pussy or Goat Willow (Salix caprea), more shrub like, thriving on river banks and on boggy land.


Druids were also supposed to craft willow sculptures – and gave rise to the legend of the Wicker Man, where it is told that the priests burned their sacrifices to the gods alive inside the structures.


There is a new Willow Man by the M5 near Bridgewater – a 40 foot running creature sculpted by Serena de la Hay.


The second sculpture which now lives on an island to keep him safe from Wicker Man influenced youths.


As we are already aware, Willow wood can withstand water and was used in clog making.

In medieval times, witches were said to worship the willow above all other trees because of its link with healing and to the Witch Goddess Hecate, who taught sorcery and enchantment in the Underworld of old and her magician daughter Circe.


The themes of moonlight and water, witchcraft, grief and weeping mixed with the hope of immortality, run as a never ceasing current through the legends of the Willow.


The cricket bat is still made of white willow, specifically Salix alba var. caerulea, as this material has an elastic quality and is difficult to splinter.


The Cricket Stumps and bales are also made from willow – not surprising they’re called ‘wickets’ (the name so like ‘wicker’).


You should listen to Steeleye Span singing the old folk song…

'All Around my hat I will wear the Green Willow'

It links with our Western traditions, which evolved much later, showing the willow as a sign or omen of unlucky love and the sadness of parting – probably because of weeping willow which appears to be bowing down with grief.


This custom of wearing sprigs of willow in the hat, or pinned to clothing symbolised both these aspects, particularly when the loved one went way to war.




I hope you enjoyed this post and the images that I have drawn to support the “Willow Moon”

The Hawthorn Moon is next on my list of posts which I will be posting at the start of May 2020.

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