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The Magical Celtic Month of Willow

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, April 15th begins the time of the willow tree and its ogham character Saille. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life. 

The energy of this period (from April 15 to May 12) is slow and steady making room for growth and the ability to go with the flow. The key in finding this is learning how to listen to the subtle voice of intuition. With branches that sway in the wind, willow helps us learn when to stand fast or go with the flow.

Usually found near water, willows are linked with sacred and mysterious powers as well as enchantment and death. They are associated with in-between times, which is why they are used at both Beltane and Samhain. Associated with the moon, make a circle with pussy willows or willow leaves on your esbat altar to aid in raising lunar energy. Willow is allied with all moon goddesses as well as Danu and the Morrigan.

To empower love spells and divination sessions, take a thin weeping willow branch, strip off the leaves, and wind it into a circle. Tie short pieces of yarn in several places to keep the circle intact, and then set it on your altar. Draw the willow ogham on a pink or red candle for love spells or on a white candle for divination.

Once you befriend this tree, it is very generous and will provide you with many wands and other gifts. Willow dryads tend to be curious, sometimes shy but always welcoming. They can aid you in contacting fairies and other nature spirits.

The weeping willow (Salix babylonica) and American willow (S. discolor) have narrow, lance-shaped leaves. The American willow has the nickname pussy willow due to its fuzzy, gray catkins that resemble the soft pads of cat’s feet. It is a shrubby, multi-stemmed tree that grows from six to fifteen feet tall. The weeping willow is widely loved for its long, graceful branches that sweep down to the ground. It can grow thirty to fifty feet tall with a crown that can be just as wide. Its catkins are silvery green.

 

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  The author of over a dozen books, Sandra describes herself as an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now coastal New England where she lives in a Victorian-era house with her family, cats, and a couple of ghosts.  

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