Trees are a huge part of nature and an important part of the ecosystem around us. They provide life and shelter, as well as oxygen for the world. And, of course, they are full of meanings and deep symbolism.
They are, after all, one of the most prominent parts of nature that we, as humans, interact with!
Different trees have different meanings, due not only to their unique appearance, but also to the way they interact with the rest of the environment, and what they provide.
The Willow Tree, also known more popularly as the Weeping Willow, is by far one of the most significantly important trees in human cultures across the world and is therefore also one of the most common trees that appear within tattoos.
But why is the Weeping Willow so special? What exactly does the Willow Tree symbolize, and what does it mean if you get one tattooed on yourself?
We can tell you all about it. So let’s get started!
What Does The Willow Tree Represent?
Belonging to the Salicaceae family of trees, the Willow Tree is thought to have originated in China but is found all over the northern hemisphere of the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America.
The Willow Tree is by far one of the most aesthetic trees of all, with long thin branches that drift in the breeze, and fall down to the ground, creating a sort of cave beneath the tree itself.
Quite often, Willow Trees are also by a body of water, as they need a lot of moisture in order to thrive, so one of the most predominant images of a Willow Tree is it is by a river or lake, branches drifting down into the water, dancing with the currents.
The reason why it is called the Weeping Willow is also due to the shape of its drooping branches, as they convey a great sense of melancholy.
And when these branches become wet, the drops of water slide down, as if the tree is weeping.
As for what the tree itself symbolizes, most cultures see it as a sacred tree, full of meaning and significance, almost revered in certain parts of the world.
In China, for example, the Willow Tree symbolizes rebirth and immortality, which links to the long life of the tree, and the strength that it has in withstanding all sorts of weather and events.
To the Jewish community, the Willow Tree was thought to have the power to bring forth rain, due to its relation with water.
In the Mesopotamian region, people would use Willow bark to soothe fever and rheumatism, which is perhaps one of the origins of the Weeping Willow as a tree of healing power.
And in Rome, for example, the Willow was seen as a tree of great strength, and baskets were made out of it.
But one of the more prominent symbols of the Willow Tree, comes from its place within Celtic mythology and belief, in European places such as the British Isles.
In fact, the term Willow is of Celtic origin, and it translates into “near the water”, which is quite apt.
The Willow Tree, to the celts, was heavily associated with the water element and its healing powers, as well as having magical properties.
The Willow Tree was sacred and divine, linked to femininity, fertility, and the lunar cycles. Druids, which were Celtic religious leaders, would create their instruments out of Willow Trees, and offerings would be made at the roots of this tree, as it was thought to connect them to Mother Earth, and the divine within nature.
As a fun fact, Willow trees were also heavily associated with witchcraft, not only due to the magical properties of this tree but because it was believed that witches made their brooms out of Willow bark!
Meanings Of The Willow Tree In Tattoos
In tattoos, the symbols that become part of our body also adapt to hold a meaning that is more personal, so what they generally symbolize shifts to be a mix between their usual meaning, and that is given by their significance to you in particular.
Here are some of the main things that Willow Trees usually symbolize, when tattooed:
Willow trees are a huge symbol for life, and for nature that thrives even in the toughest of circumstances. This also links back to the feminine divine that resides within the Willow Tree in mythology, and its association with fertility and the cycle of life.
Survival And Endurance
Often, people will get a willow tree tattooed as a way to represent survival, and getting through tough times. Willow trees are strong and offer stability and refuge in the midst of a storm.
And no matter how bad things get, they manage to thrive.
Heavily linked to the element of water, Willow trees are a symbol of healing powers and energy, and people can match that to whatever type of healing they have had or need to have in their own life.
Magic And Witchcraft
Willow trees are the trees of witches, the trees of Druidic people, and Celtic mythology. They are imbued with magical powers and energy, and their bark is sacred.
Druidic And Celtic Faith
As mentioned, the Willow tree is one of the pillars of Celtic faith and mythology and was sacred to Druids. They are a sign of life and magic and are greatly revered.
That is why this tree is a great tattoo for those wanting to reconnect with their Celtic ancestry.
Sadness And Melancholy
The Willow tree is called the Weeping Willow for a reason, the branches droop down, in a melancholic way, and when wet, it looks as though they are weeping. This tree therefore can signify sadness, loss, and pain.
What Does A Willow Tree Symbolize?
The Willow Tree symbolizes many things, amongst them life, hope, and a sense of belonging. They are sadness, loss, and death, but also rebirth, healing, and strength.
They are also heavily associated with the divine in nature, and with magic, especially linked with Celtic Druids and their sacred practices.
Are Weeping Willows Unlucky?
Weeping Willows, due to their appearance, seem as though they are crying, and are dipped in sadness and loss. They can often, therefore, signify death, and could be interpreted as a sign of unluck.
In the 1800s, Weeping Willows was actually a very popular symbol for death used in gravestones, and similar, which is why some people are wary of them.
However, Weeping Willows are also a sign of rebirth, life, and healing. They carry meanings of hope, survival, and strength, as well as a sense of belonging and magic.
Their link to the divine makes them sacred, and it is more common to see them as a good sign, rather than something unlucky.
What Do Trees Symbolize In Tattoos?
Getting a tree tattooed can symbolize many things. Most often, it will represent family, loyalty, or strength. It can also symbolize wisdom, endurance, and longevity, as well as magic or healing.
Usually, it will depend on the type of tree that you are getting tattooed on, the placement of the tattoo, and the exact design of the tattoo.
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