The willow tree is a spiritual symbol in many parts of the world. It’s drooping branches tend to make one think of sadness or mourning and it is often used as a symbol of mourning. That is probably where the term “weeping willow” came from. It is also a symbol of magic, dreams and inner vision. It can symbolize healing. A type of willow is the natural source of acetylsalicylic acid, which, in synthetic form, is the active ingredient in aspirin.
The Celtic people consider the willow to be a metaphysical tool and it is used in ceremonies intended to improve or awaken psychic abilities. The very flexible branches of the willow tree was considered a symbol of someone on a spiritual quest for enlightenment as such people must be flexible and open to new ideas if they wish to get anywhere.
The willow is associated with the moon, water, the goddess, and everything feminine. As such, it is also symbolic of childbirth and pregnancy. It is also symbolic of spring and new life. The willow puts us in touch with our emotions and helps us to express them. It especially aids in releasing surpressed emotions that may be festering inside. When grieving, the willow helps keep the emotions in balance so you are not overwhelmed by sadness. A willow wand under the pillow is said to aid in having and remembering vivid and prophetic dreams.
A willow branch that falls on the ground often will root itself and grow a new tree leading to willow’s association with growth, healing and rebirth.
In Buddhism, a willow branch is an attribute of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion. In Wicca, it is used in some rituals and guides the dead to the afterlife.
In China, willow branches are sometimes places on gates or doors to ward off evil spirits. Taoist witches use a carvings of willow wood to help communicate with the dead.
The Japanese associate willow with ghosts and believe that, if someone’s ghost is to appear, it will likely be in a place where willow trees grow.
To Native Americans, the willow is often a symbol of wisdom. In one Osage legend, a boy is taught by an old willow tree to respect and listen to the wisdom of his elders.
To see a willow tree in a dream generally symbolizes mourning, sadness, or a loss of some kind. Alternately, it can represent survival or rebirth.