Thursday, 27 May 2010

Collecting Spring Water

This is me collecting spring water from the hills at Clinton, Tennessee. Every year I collect spring water to put in a special flask. I keep the flask all year and use it in the full moon rituals at the west quarter of the magic circle.

Tonight is a full moon, so I will be offering up the water to be cleansed by the moon in order to make it even more potent for spelling in the coming year.

The water I am collecting has come straight down from the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee and just as I was wondering how to collect it from the water wheel directly, the lady at the mill decided to take her lunch break. She didn't want to leave the water wheel running while she was away so she diverted the water temporarily down the shoot you can see here, straight into the creek at the bottom. I believe I was very lucky to collect the water this way. It was a safe way of doing it and very timely.

The sound of water is very calming and relaxing, restoring our spirits and healing our troubled minds.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Willow Tree - Healing

Tomorrow we start the Celtic tree month of Hawthorn, but before I leave off thinking about the Willow Tree, I want to visit one more time. This time I am thinking about the healing qualities of willow. Did you know that aspirin is derived from the bark of the willow tree? and where would we be without that, I wonder?

Willow has always been used to protect against diseases caused by damp conditions. The bark and leaves contain salicylic acid. Gypsies have long known of the qualities of the willow tree bark, giving it as a bitter drink for the relief of ailments like rheumatism, influenza and headaches.

Culpeper advises us to 'slit the bark from the willow in flower and collect the water from the tree.' which is good for problems of sight, dimness and soreness of the eyes. It is also good for clearing spots from the skin.

The Bach Flower Remedies, see one of my previous posts, advise using it to clear severe discontent, both with yourself and with others. Irritability, fault-finding, self pity, unhappiness and resentment as well as jealousy and other such negative emotions are dealt with by willow.

I like the idea of going back to my roots, trying to put myself into the position where I have to think about what I would do if, sort of scenario...

So, thinking about the willow and its affiliation with water, it is just one more step to see why the moon is so important to the willow. The moon is responsible for controlling the tides and willow is a water tree. Now, suppose I was an ancient being and I depended on rain to water my crops, it would follow that I needed to ask the moon and the willow tree for help. I wouldn't be able to tune in to the weather channel and see what sort of weather was coming my way. I would have to devise a different method. If I looked in the sky and saw no clouds, I would be worried. So by honouring the tree and through it, the moon, I would use the energy in me to make contact with the element of water and ask for rain.

A good way to do this would be to cut a willow knot. Use the knot as a visual aid to your wish, or spell; honour the tree and the moon (Goddess) and if the intent is for good, not evil, then your wish will be fulfilled.

There is so much we can do with what we already have instead of rushing off to the shop each time we need something.

There is so much more to the willow, but tomorrow I will be turning my thoughts to the hawthorn. Will you travel with me as I go down the country lane and discover what this next tree has to offer?

Source: 'Tree Wisdom' by Jacqueline Memory Paterson

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Celtic month of Willow

This morning I went down to the creek to take some pictures of the willow trees down there as they swayed in the wind.

Their silvery leaves rippled in the breeze, looking every bit like babbling water .

Witches have long been associated with the willow tree, probably because in the dark, their gnarled trunks look like old crones walking about.

Life is sacred, but what makes it sacred? It is the coming together of all the essential elements and the properties that they create. We cannot do without any of them. We need water, fire, air, earth and spirit to survive.

This month I am thinking about the willow tree and its connection with water. Water symbolizes our dreams, emotions and visions. A willow tree branch is an excellent tool for divining water. Since the willow tree is affiliated with the moon who controls the tides and since the willow loves to grow near water, it follows that it is a perfect choice. Interesting that we are receiving such a lot of water in Tennessee right now. Too much water is flowing our way and we won't need a willow branch to divine it for the moment. Since I got here we have had a lot of rain and a lot of sun.

You could also say that there is much emotion in the world today, much sadness as well as much joy.

Just as we can use the willow tree to find water, so we can also ask for its help with our emotions. The branches of the weeping willow bend downwards. It has the power to empathise with our tears. Likewise the wiccan tool for water is the chalice. This tool is also associated with the willow tree and is used to catch our tears.

During a 'Celtic sacred grove handfasting' (wedding), the officiant calls upon Arianrhod, the Lady of the Moon.

The willow is the sixth tree of the grove, the tree of enchantment and intuition.

The weeping willow is a native of China, having been introduced to Britain in the eighteenth century. The Chinese see the willow as a herb of immortality for it has the ability to grow from the smallest branch stuck into the earth.

Some beings are drawn to the willow tree. The Wryneck birds like to nest in it.

Dryad fairies like to live in it.

As I get older I have turned away from the Christian religion that I was brought up to believe in. I no longer want to go through a priest to reach God. I no longer want only to believe in a masculine deity. I want to spend more time and energy on Mother Earth. I question why I should believe in a religion which is steeped in the culture of the middle east when there is such an abundance of spirituality right here on my doorstep. I no longer want to worship a man hanging on a cross, I would rather hug a tree.

All these issues have been going round in my mind for some years now.

I am happy in my nature spirituality. There is so much to explore and so much to re-learn in life. My heart sings with the joy of all of it.


References from 'Tree Wisdom' by Jennifer Memory Patterson