Saille Symbol: Saille

Sound value: S

Literal meaning: willow

Pronounced as

“SAHL-yuh”

Northwest Europe

WILLOW

(Salix fragilis, alba, viminalis, or caprea)

FEATURES: Deciduous tree, grows in wet areas (Willow Family)

USES: Flexible wood, weaving & wickerwork. Bark used for dye, tanning, and fodder.

North Central Florida

WILLOW

(Salix caroliniana M, eriocephala, or floridana)

FEATURES: Small deciduous tree, grows in wet areas (Willow Family)

USES: Medicinal uses. /

/ Univ Michigan, Deerborn Ethnobotany Database

Salix caroliniana, Gainesville, Florida

Salix caroliniana, Gainesville, Florida

Modern divinatory meaning: Feeling, intuition, fluidity

Animal symbolism (based on traditional lore): fox

Bird symbolism (based on traditional lore): hawk

Associated deities: Persephone, Helice, Belili, Cierce, Hecate, Hera, Artemis, Selene, Athena, Ceriidwen, Apollo, Bel, Belin

Color: primrose yellow

Element: Water

Calendar: Saille is associated with the fourth lunar month of the Celtic year, February. (Using the Celtic tree calendar system that has 13 ‘months’ starting in November, as popularized by Liz and Colin Murray. Other calendars are also used, most notably the calendar devised by the poet Robert Graves in his 1948 book White Goddess.)

Folklore

  • People would knock upon a willow tree to avert evil and bring luck- possibly the origins of the phrase ‘knock on wood’.
  • Heliconian the willow tree faerie (named after Helike, the Greek goddess and/or willow nymph), is revered by poets as the sound of wind in willows leads to inspiration.
  • The Romani Gypsy version of the Greenman is Green George, where for his yearly festival in April a man wears a frame of greenery and uses willow and water to bless the farm animals of the community.
  • The Greek poet and musician Orpheus received his gifts by carrying willow branches on his adventures through the Underworld. He was given a lyre by the god Apollo; interestingly, the sound boxes of harps used to be carved from solid willow wood.
  • The Dutch traditionally make their clogs from willow wood.

To learn more:

Trees for Life- Restoring the Caledonian Forest- Willow