Willow invites us to acknowledge our grief and suffering and be aware of the destruction we unleash onto the green world. Owning up to the part we play in harming nature need not be a depressing or guilty process but an empowering, compassionate and ultimately freeing process.
It is only by entering the darkness, feeling grief and truly acknowledging the darker aspects of ourselves that we can discover the strength of bees which is the entrance to the ‘Delightful land of honey and wine.’
The Kennings of the Willow tree take us into the realms of death linking willow to bees, grief and loss:
Willow, the colour of the lifeless one
owing to the resemblance of its colour to a dead person.
Hue of the lifeless.
Beginning of loss, willow.
Strength of bees.
Book of Ballymote 1391
In Celtic lore the old women of wisdom, may be gnarled and twisted just like a Willow but command respect and bestow wisdom. In fact it is the old crones like the Cailleach and the Morrigawn who are the guardians of wisdom and the mysteries of death.
Meditation- Gifting the land
Visualise the land, a place you have a deep connection with as in previous meditations, somewhere you know on the physical realm. Imagine going into the land through a doorway or well and as you go into the land you arrive within it experiencing your patch of land as it looks in subtle reality.
It may look the same or maybe you notice differences, allow it to express itself however it wishes to be seen. It may be a different time of day or have a different flora or aspect.
Focus on pouring your love into the land, feel that gentle connection to all of life. As you breathe you become more and more relaxed and feel more connected.
Now get a sense of a Willow tree and as you walk the paths of your inner landscape allow her to reveal herself.
Sit under the old mother willow protected and nurtured.
After a while make an offering to the tree, you may wish to offer what you value the most and as you offer it watch the Willow transform your gift and without expectation see if she offers something back. Gently pray and offer blessings to the Willow and all of nature, be filled with peace.
We can all feel the support of nature with the knowledge that we must also give something back.
I will leave you with these simple words from the Penan tribe from Borneo in South East Asia whose words are now reflected in our most recent scientific research:
‘We as Forest people have to be equal to one another. There’s absolutely no one above the other. We are exactly the same.
Trees are like humans. If the really big trees die, so do all humans.
If the forest dies, humanity dies. The Forest may die. The forest says: We are all part of the same family’
If you would like to join us Live online to explore the Willow and a gentle connection with the Earth Mother please click on link below:
Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.