The Willow Moon offers us the opportunity to heal spiritual and physical ills. Like the willow, we can bend much more than we realize, without breaking, and then bounce back again, renewed and ready to go forward.
The willow tree has been used for many magical spells and rituals, and the ancients knew the tree as a healer of great power. Its bark is a source of salycic acid, which is the main ingredient in aspirin. A cup of willow-bark tea helps heal pain and fever.
Meditating on willow is thought to bring a sense of deep connection with the Goddess. It is associated with clairvoyance, intuition and emotions.
The Willow symbolizes the female and rhythms of the circle. This tree was sacred to the Moon and, in Celtic lore, the Universe was hatched from two crimson serpent eggs (which contained the Sun and the Earth) hidden among the boughs of the Willow. Hens’ eggs were later substituted for those of the serpent and symbolically eaten as part of the Beltane feasting. This ritual was eventually transferred to the celebration of Easter in the Christian calendar with the eggs becoming Easter eggs. Staves cut from this tree were often used for fencing, roofing house and lunar wands. Along with Sandalwood, Willow bark aided in the conjuring of spirits forth from the Otherword.
The Willow deity is Cerridwen the Moon Goddess, also known as the Great Mother, Grain Goddess and Goddess of Nature. Cerridwen was the wife of Tegid the Giant and the mother of three children: a beautiful girl named Creirwy and two ugly boys, Avagdu and Movran. The ancient Welsh Bards called themselves Cerddorion or “Sons of Cerridwen.” The Bard Taliesin was said to have been born of Cerridwen and to have tasted a potent brew from her magic cauldron of inspiration. This potion, known as “greal,” is believed to be the origin of the word “Grail.” Cerridwen was associated with death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells and knowledge. Her symbol was a white sow. She was said to also be the Goddess of dark prophetic powers and was believed to be the Keeper of the Cauldron of Underworld in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. Cerridwen is often equated with Hecate.
Also associated with the Willow is Morgan le Fay, a formidable lunar sorceress and half-sister to King Arthur. It was the power of Morgan le Fay, working against Arthur behind the scenes, which eventually destroyed the unity of the Order of the Knights of the Round Table. The motivation behind her actions was revenge for the death of her father who had been treacherously killed by Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur. In Celtic lore, Morgan le Fay symbolizes the darker forces of the psyche, which require great understanding and recognition. The animals associated with Willow are the Adder, the Hare and the Serpent.
The Adder – The Adder is symbolic of wisdom and spiritual energy. Snakes have long been associated with wisdom, reincarnation and cunning. Druids often carried an amulet called gloine nathair or serpent glass, which they stated was formed from the egg of an Adder, but is thought today to have actually been made of blown glass.
The Hare – The Hare was an animal particularly sacred to the Goddess Andraste. The movements of the Hare were sometimes used for divination. It is said that Boadiccea used the Hare in such a fashion just before her last battle with the Romans. Associated with transformation, the Hare is symbolic of adaptation, hidden teachings and intuitive messages.
The Serpent or Sea-Serpent – In all ancient myths of creation, Serpents have been closely aligned with the growth of humankind in spiritual terms. Legends of Serpents are usually associated with the aspect of transformation found within the fire festivals of the Celts. The sacred Serpent is associated with the Goddess aspect of the Moon…a passive but form-creating spirit.