Quando in un bosco ne percepisci la bellezza e diventi tutt'uno con il bosco, allora, intuitivamente, sei in armonia e in pace con le Dee e con gli Dei. Essi sono parte della nostra vera natura, la nostra Natura Profonda, e quando siamo separati dalla nostra vera natura, viviamo nella paura. Percepire questa normalità vuol dire dare un senso reale al vivere che è insito in tutte le cose.

Intraprendere la Via Romana al Divino significa iniziare un percorso di risveglio: praticando l'attenzione e la consapevolezza continua ci incamminiamo lungo una strada sapendo che ciò che conta è il cammino per sè più che la destinazione.

When you, entering a forest, perceive the beauty of the forest and you feel to be in a complete harmony with it, then, intuitively, you are in peace with the Deities. They are an essential part of our real nature, our Deep Nature, and when we are separated by our real nature we live in the fear. Perceiving such normality means giving a real sense to our lives.

Undertaking the Roman Via to the Deities implies a path to awakening: with the practice of continuing consciousness and awareness we undertake our walking knowing that taking the path is more important than the destination itself

mercoledì 13 gennaio 2016

The willow

Role and value of the plants and trees in the Traditional Roman Spirituality are surely well known: the fig tree, the vine, oak, fir, cypress, etc ...

There are some trees having an equally important role, but perhaps less highlighted, as in the case of the willow.

It is important to say and remark that, when discussing about value and role of trees and plants (especially in an Arval sense), I want to highlight their symbolic role and value as natural expressions of specific divine forces and energies. This does not involve a reduction of this symbology into a "naturalistic" dimension, but rather the possibility to understand the Nature, the World, the Universe, as manifestations of reality much more complex than those deriving from the mere "phenomenal" perspective. 
We can therefore look at the Nature as a "Book" whose reading requires the knowledge of an alphabet and a syntax. Trees and plants, as sacred expressions, are therefore an integral part of this alphabet and syntax: their symbolic knowledge allows us to read and understand this "book" of the Nature according to a vision and a point of view very different from the sole perspective of science.

This is a way also to give the proper dignity and respect to the trees as foundamental expressions of the Nature: they are not objects or "accessories" of the landscape, but the critical elements with their own individuality and their specificity.

That said, I come back to make brief remarks about the willow. This plant (vimen in Latin) was so important that a hill in Rome (Viminalis) was entirely covered with willows and this tree remains symbolically linked to this Hill in the sacred geography of Rome.

The willow is a tree strictly connected to the Moon (feminine polarity): it is important to remind that to say all the trees are expressions of the Sacred Feminine Force. In the Hortus Arvalis the willow is in fact in the flowerbed dedicated to the Moon.

Moreover, the willow also has connections with the underworld in particular Proserpina: for this aspect is considered an  infelix tree.

Being an infelix and "Lunar" tree,  the willow is a very complex tree in symbolic terms: this symbolism, with the advent of monotheism, was completely upset and misunderstood. Due to this complexity, I'll make just few brief considerations. 

The willow tree is considered symbolically situated "between life and death": touching the leaves of the willow tree symbolically represents a form of contact with the underworld forces in particular with Proserpina. A willow wood is therefore a sanctuary dedicated to this Goddess and the Moon.

The willow is also connected to the water as expression of the feminine generating force.

The image of the wicker basket floating on the water (the feminine principle of life) is common to many traditions to highlight the role of this plant to act as a "vehicle" between life and death.

This position between these two worlds could explain the invocation of Jupiter Elicius (Helike = willow in greek) made by the gladiators before fighting in the arena.

In the symbolism of the hand, the willow is located on the tip of the ring finger (called wand of willow): it has power of divination. This magical and divination power Willow explains why Jupiter Elicius was invoked also during the rites of the Evocatio to discover the secret names of the Gods and Goddesses of the enemies.

Being the Dryad the spirit (nymph) of the oak, being melia the nymph of the ash, Heliconia is the nymph of the willow.

The brooms the Vestals used for their purification rites presented ropes wicker because related to the Moon.

From the willow cortex, in the past doctors produced healing extracts to lower fewers and fight pain and headaches. Today salicylic acid is extracted from the willow to produce aspirin.

Symbolically the mandrake grew at the foot of the willow.

The links connecting the willow with the Moon, the Underworld, the Feminine Force, transformed this tree during the Christian Middle Age this tree in an Evil tree (like in the case of the walnut tree sacred to Juno) used by the witches for their spells or magic wands. According to some writers the English words witch and wicked derive from wicker (willow). In addition, the brooms of the Vestals, with the wicker strings, became the evil witches brooms, with the same wicker strings. The symbolic link between the mandrake and willow contributed to amplify the connections between this tree, the witches and the devil.
The plant was then charged with negative, funeral, witchcraft and satanic values also because the healers (they were mostly women with a great knowledge of the antique medicine and the secrets of the herbs and plants) used extracts from the willow frequently to prepare their remedies. 
This was enough to push the willow and the women healers in the dimension of the Evil.

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