Willow Tree – Meaning and Symbolism

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Willows are trees from the genus Salix, and there are around 400 species of them. They are usually found in moist soils, usually in cold and temperate regions.

Some of the species are low-growing shrubs, like the dwarf willow which can spread across the ground, but rarely exceeds a height of over 6 cm.

These trees have very tough roots. They have a great size and are very enduring. The roots spread from the aerial parts of the plant. They take root very fast, even from cuttings or from broken branches lying on the ground.

Because of this ability, they are often planted on the edge of streams so they can protect the bank from erosion due to the impact of water. Their roots are usually much larger than the above stem.

Willows are spread throughout the world. They live in tropic as well as artic zones. They are also cultivated all over the world. They are cross-compatible and many willow hybrids exist.

Willows have been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes. This use has been mentioned in ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, and Sumerian texts as fever and aches remedy. The ancient Greeks also used it since the times before Christ.

Willows healing properties were known also to the Native Americans and they used it often as a pain relief. Willow is used to produce acetylsalicylic acid, better known as Aspirin.

This tree has been used by humans since ancient times and we have much archeological evidence to prove that claim. Some of the earliest items produced by men were possibly made of willow trees.

Everyday items, such as baskets, fences, fish traps, etc. were made of willow. A discovered ancient fishing net made of willow tree is believed to be from the 8,300 BC.

Willow was also used to make rods and wickers. Willow branches are elastic and are easy to bend to make baskets. Willow tree is also used for making brooms, boxes, cradles, furniture, poles, dolls, whistles, toys, tool handles, etc. Willow is also used to produce fibers, paper, ropes, etc.

Willow trees are an important early source of pollen for bees. Willows are used for producing charcoal for drawing. They are also used to produce sculptures from willow rods planted into ground and braided into desired shapes for decorative purposes in gardens.

Willow trees are often depicted in art, and are an especially important subject in pen and ink paintings originating from Japan and China. In Japanese folklore, the willow tree is believed to attract ghosts. Willows are present in the folklore and myths of many different cultures.

For example, in English folklore, but also in the folklore of many other people, willow trees have an ominous nature and are considered sinister. Some superstitious beliefs state that willows are able to uproot themselves and scare travelers.

Willows are depicted in literature of many countries. Because they usually grow near water surfaces and damp places, they are often related to subjects such as magic and the moon because the water moves influenced by the moon.

Hecate, the Greek goddess of the moon was also the goddess of willow. She was also the goddess of witchcraft and sorcery, and was an important figure in the underworld. The Greek poet Orpheus was carrying willow branches on his way to the Underworld.

In England, the willow is sometimes used to symbolize grief. The willow is considered as a symbol of grief in many other countries. During the 16th and the 17th century abandoned lovers had the custom of wearing a cap made of willow twigs and leaves.

Also, during the 19th century, illustrations of weeping willows were depicted on gravestones.

The willow’s ability to regrow a branch put into the soil, and its ability to grow fast, was the reason why this tree was attributed the symbolism of vitality, growth, renewal, and even immortality, especially in ancient China.

The willow was also known for its healing properties since ancient times. It was used as a remedy for fever and cold, as well as a treatment for rheumatism. Willow twigs were chewed as pain reliefs.

Willow Tree – Meaning and Symbolism

The willow tree has an important symbolism and importance in cultures throughout the world. This tree relates to the feminine energy and is its symbolism is more important for women.

The willow inspires the expression of emotions and feelings that are buried deep inside us. It encourages us to find relief from sadness and grief through tears and expressions of how we feel instead of keeping the pain inside.

The willow tree teaches us to surrender to our emotions and allow ourselves to feel pain. It inspires us to go within and look for the buried feelings and release them, despite of the fear we might be feeling.

The willow is asking us to surrender to our emotions which we sometimes are not aware that exist. It encourages us to search our subconscious and get to know its content so we can truly say we understand ourselves and know who we are.

By doing that, we can realize our secret fears and motives that inspire our actions without being consciously aware of that.

Willow symbolism is asking us to stop suppressing our emotions because we might cause harm to our wellbeing. Repressed feelings cause stress and destroy our health.

The willow encourages us to openly express what we feel regardless of the barriers we might be having and regardless of the potential loss we might experience.

The willow is asking us to clear our emotional status so we can be free to welcome something new into our lives once we get rid of the past which wasn’t serving our good.

The willow is a symbol of flexibility and adaptability. It is obvious why these symbols are attached to this tree. Willows are very flexible trees and their branches can be bent easily without breaking. That is why they make excellent material for making baskets and similar items.

These trees have branches that don’t break even during heaviest storms and hurricane winds. They can survive even the harshest climates. These trees are very enduring as well and that why survival and endurance are symbols attached to them.

The willow is teaching us to be flexible and adaptable to different circumstances. It is teaching us of the benefits of compromise and not creating conflicts because we want things to be our way.

It also teaches us of the importance to adapt to changes and embrace them.

The sooner we embrace changes and find our way to adapt, the sooner we will feel better and establish balance and stability in life after the change.

The willow is asking us to surrender to life’s circumstances rather than to fight against them. Usually when we give up the fight we realize that we should have done that much earlier.

The willow tree is very enduring and is a symbol of survival. It teaches us to have faith in our ability to survive and overcome the obstacles we encounter. It gives us faith that we have the strength we need and that we won’t be broken by any hardship we encounter.

Willow trees grow quickly and they don’t need special conditions to do that. They can even grow from a branch which fell on the ground by chance.

Because of these abilities, the willow is also teaching us to embody the traits of endurance and have faith that we will survive and thrive no matter what happens.

Because of its ability to reproduce quickly, the willow is a symbol of fertility as well. Its power could be used to help you if you are experiencing difficulties to conceive. Because of this ability, this tree is also considered a symbol of immortality.

Willow is also the symbol of creativity, inspiration, protection, strength, healing, love, and emotions.

This tree inspires our creativity and encourages us to make the most of our talents. It helps you overcome your doubts and fears regarding your abilities and helps you take actions to fulfill your dreams.

It also gives you the necessary endurance and persistence to reach your goals.

The willow tree is the tree which encourages you to have the strength to protect your interests as well as the wellbeing of your loved ones.

If you doubt your strength and courage, the willow tree will help you overcome your doubts and prove yourself and others the material you are made of.

The willow gives you all the necessary abilities to do whatever you desire.

Willow is known for its healing attributes. This tree might inspire you to look for your hidden healing powers and abilities you could use to heal yourself as well as others. It also reminds you to take care of your wellbeing if you have been neglecting yourself.

Willows are also a symbol of love and emotions. This tree encourages you to express your true feelings and love regardless of the possible doubts and fears you might have.

Only through honesty and directness of your actions you might expect to get your desired results. 

Willow Tree Meaning and Symbolism in Dreams

Dreaming about a weeping willow – If you dreamed of a weeping willow, that dream could be a sign of something needing to end in your life to make space for something new to start.

Although the ending might cause you to experience some personal loss and provoke sadness and grief, that loss will create the space for something better to start in your life.

It might be hard for you to believe, but in the end you will realize that what happened was making space for something better to come into your life.

Try to consider the loss as the transition to the new opportunities that are waiting for you. It is advisable to express your emotions related to the loss and not suppress them inside. Fell consolation in the fact that new beginnings await you and that you will be facing some beneficial changes soon.

Seeing a willow in a dream is often a sign of success and good fortune that awaits you soon.

Dreaming of a willow tree bended over some water surface – If you dreamed of a willow tree over some water, that dream is usually not a good sign. It could indicate encountering some challenges soon that you’ll need to overcome.

Dreaming of holding a willow branch in your hand – If you dreamed of holding a willow branch in your hand, that is a good sign usually. It could mean being awarded for some good work you did as well as the hard work and efforts you have put into finishing things the proper way.

Dreaming of a weeping willow with branches down – If you dreamed of a weeping willow with its branches dropped down towards the ground, that dream is usually not a good sign. It is usually a sign of grief in your family.

Dreaming about a broken willow tree – If you dreamed about a broken willow tree, that dream in most cases isn’t a good sign, and it could indicate the end of your current romantic relationship.

Dreaming of someone breaking or cutting a willow tree – If you dreamed of someone breaking or cutting a willow, that dream is usually not a good one. It could reveal your feeling of guilt towards a family member or a friend.

You might have repressed these feelings, but your subconscious is reminding you of them, and asking you to amend the situation if possible.

Dreaming of giving willow branches to someone – If you dreamed of giving willow branches to someone (especially a member of your family), that dream usually indicates that they will ask your help or that they are thinking of asking you for help but are hesitant about it.

If you think, that someone in your life might need your help, feel free to offer it to that person who might have a problem asking you.

Dreaming of putting willow branches in the water – If you dreamed of putting willow branches in water, that dream might not be a good sign. It could indicate lacking time and good organization.

Maybe you feel that there’s not enough time to do what you want. This dream reminds you to organize yourself better.

Dreaming of a willow tree in your street – If you dreamed of a willow tree in your street, that dream could indicate seeing someone’s hardships, but not being able to help that person, despite your strong desire to do so.