This month could be your chance to win a stunning hamper from the Celtic company 'Moon Mná' in partnership with the Irish Heritage Tree.
Moon Mná Women's Celtic Circles is an international community of women, whose heart beats with Celtic soul and is for those who love the Moon, Celtic and nature-inspired books, diaries, journals, and gifts.
During the month of April, Moon Mná is giving one lucky IrishCentral reader a chance to win a hamper which includes the fully illustrated book "Goddesses of Ireland - Ancient Wisdom for Modern Women", leaf jewelry pendant and earrings set, a moonlight candle pot and their iconic 'Phases of the Moon' luxury velvet art cushion.
The Willow Tree: one of Ireland's oldest native sacred trees
An extract from the Moon Mná Diary-Journal 2022 by Dr. Karen Ward.
Known as ‘The Tree of Enchantment’ the Willow tree in Irish Gaelic is Saille/Sail/Saileach similar to the Latin term Salix. There are three varieties native to Ireland - the Rusty, the Grey, and the intriguingly titled Goat.
This beautiful deciduous tree grows in damp soil reaching 35-50 feet in height with green elongated leaves and extremely strong stems, branches, and roots. The male and female ‘catkins’ flower on different trees and are pollinated both by insects and the wind. One of the fastest growing trees, Willow has a short lifespan of about 30 years with its branches often called ‘sallies’ referring to its Irish and Latin names.
Willow’s amazing ability to take root from the tiniest twig pushed into the earth symbolizes the hope of rebirth while raindrops from the drooping branches of the willow resemble tears hence the ‘weeping’ Willow. Thus associated with water and moonlight, so beloved by witches means this distinctive tree is a symbol of grief and immortality.
Did you know that... Willow’s pliable wood is impermeable to water and so was used to make clogs, cricket bats, house building, baskets, lobster pots, bee-hives and coracle boats? Also, Willow’s natural compound salicin is used in the production of the painkiller ‘aspirin’. For thousands of years, herbalists knew that the chewed bark, twigs, and leaves would heal fevers, rheumatism, indigestion, headaches, and childbirth pains.
As the Ogham tree ‘S’ for the 5th lunar month 15th April - 12th May, Willow is one of the seven sacred trees of the Irish grove according to Robert Graves.
The Druids added its wood to their Bealtaine (also Beltane) fires and folk names include Osier, Sallow, Witches Aspirin, Wicker and Withy. As a symbol of grief, the Celts planted Willow by graves so the soul could rise to immortality continued nowadays with the use of eco-coffins.
Great Mother Willow – a Willow Tree story extract from the Moon Mná Diary-Journal 2022 by Katherine Piccott, Word-weaver, Goddess Lover, Moon-watcher, Star-gazer and Canadian Family Business Co-Owner:
"I remember the day when I first saw the Great Willow tree in our local park. I was in wonderment of her shape and size, as if from a fairy tale or another mystical realm. When I was a child walking through her branches that grew downward, felt as if opening curtains to a magical place full of secrets yet to be discovered. Awakening my inner child's curiosity, my eyes looked upward at her mighty trunk carved with initials, names, and hearts, of people and lovers that came to visit her beauty.
As I blossomed into my teenage years the Great Willow was a constant in my life, as the local park was the place to gather and hang out with friends. It was the place where I would meet my future husband, where we would court and the place we would bring our own children to visit over the years. She has watched me grow from a child into a young woman. In my late thirties, I began to deepen into my spiritual journey of self. Discovering what touched and spoke to my soul, my truths, and personal beliefs, I was drawn many times to the Great Willow for her guidance and medicine. She offered me a place of comfort, peace and solitude, a sacred place where my soul could just be. She always welcomed me, holding me in her mighty branches, that wrapped around me in her great arms of love.
Now we sit together, my growth mirroring hers, both of us rooted deeply in the foundations of who we are. Harsh weather and mighty winds have battered us, tossing us about in life, swaying and bending us in all directions. It is in this deep, rooted foundation we hold strength and hope, riding out these storms in life, becoming a beautiful and graceful dance of releasing.
Like the Great Willow, I reach upward from this solid foundation of self, towards father sun, mother moon, and star brothers and sister, their lighted rays bringing in new vision, perspective, and growth. And like the carvings upon her trunk - all those who have touched her soul, so have the people I have met upon my life’s voyage.
Their blessings and lessons are a part of me, as much as I am a part of them. For me, the Great Willow’s branches are her most beautiful aspect. How they reach outward to return downward as if to kiss Mother Earth, a giving back of respect. There are many pathways I have branched out on, high, low, twisted, and straight and all return me back to Mother Earth, to honour her, to release into her, and to heal from her, giving heartfelt thanks for all she has blessed upon me.
The Great Mother Willow represents my birthing to my returning. She is the wisdom keeper of all above, below, and in between. She is my continuous place of comfort and peace. She is my cocoon of love, as she wraps me in her mothering arms.
Moon Mná Women's Celtic Circles is an international community of women, whose heart beats with Celtic soul, mná being the word for women in the Irish Gaelic language and pronounced ‘meh-naw’. We commune daily through the pages of the Moon Mná Diary-Journal while gathering online for Lunar Gatherings and ceremonial Rites of Passage Courses. Find out more here.