Willow, 5th Moon of the Celtic Year (April 15th – May 12th)
The Willow Trees unique beauty has infused it with symbolism around the world. In Celtic society the tree was associated with water and the power of the moon. One could ask the Willow for a blessing or a wish, by asking permission, explaining your desire and then tying a piece of fabric around a pliable shoot. If you see wishes hanging on a Willow tree do not touch them, for it is bad luck. The asker is to return to the Willow and remove the fabric once their wish is fulfilled and leave a gift in thanks. A branch from the Willow, planted in moist soil or left to a bog, can grow into an entire tree. Thus believed to be a symbol of life and endurance. To keep growing higher and higher despite anything. In Celtic lore the heavens and earth were created out of two Willow eggs. One hatched to create the Earth and the other created the Sun. On the festival of Bealtaine (May 1st) this beginning is celebrated by painting eggs. A tradition that was adopted for Easter.
The Willow was remarkably functional and used wildly in Irish society. The wood was able to bend outrageously without breaking and was used to create wicker baskets, fences and for wattle and daub homes. The early springing catkins of the Willow attract bees and start the annual cycle of pollination. The bark, when brewed, was used to treat fever. The salicin within the tree oxidises in the body to create salicylic acid, which is on the World Health Organisation’s list of essential medicines and used to make aspirin.