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Teachings from a Century Old Willow Tree

Almost two years ago now, I felt the call to learn reiki. After some positive, healing experiences with a local practitioner, I saw the value in learning it for myself, primarily to be able to give myself reiki on a regular basis. I did some research online and although there were classes closer to home, I felt drawn to a teacher in the Bitterroot Mountains, south of Missoula, about three hours from home who, as it turns out has a wise, old willow tree.

I told my husband I wanted to sign up for her next weekend-long course and he surprised me by saying that he wanted to learn it too! Unfortunately, our calendars conflicted with her next couple of courses, and then…winter in Montana…so it wasn't until last year that all of the pieces fell into place for us to attend.

When we arrived to her home and retreat center on Friday night, it was nearly dusk, but I quite literally gasped when I got out of the car and saw two of the most beautiful willow trees I've ever seen.

I'm not sure I even properly said hello to our teacher – I think I just said….THAT WILLOW TREE…WOW!!!

She seemed a little confused at my attention on the trees but did say that she and her husband love them and that they believe they are at least 100 years old.

As the reiki training began the next day, we did a series of meditations and journaling and each shared what we were seeing or receiving during these sessions. The rest of the class (including my husband) were reporting blasts of color, visions of past lives, and unusual physical sensations.

Me? I was being pestered by those willow trees.

At first I was a bit annoyed…go away willowI'm busy right now.

I wrote in my journal: The willow tree is the grandfather, the keeper of this land. Water flows. Its branches stretch out over the land. You are safe, you are cared for. He is a teacher. I am a teacher.

As the morning sessions concluded and it was my turn to report out, I kind of sheepishly said….I'm not getting much in the meditations. Those willow trees keep interrupting me.

This was the first time I had ever said anything like this to anyone. Much less a group of people. I had been talking to trees for some time, but no tree had ever pestered me to give a message to someone else. I wasn't really sure what kind of response to expect.

Luckily, our teacher was intrigued and said that the trees had been dropping quite a few limbs lately and she was worried about them and she would love to know what the trees had to say.

I went outside on our lunch break and connected with these old willows. They were incredibly thankful for all that the property owners had done to care for them over the years. There were a collection of trees and it was difficult to know who was giving me the messages but they finally said…we are connected and all one.


Willow's medicine is associated with water and the moon and helps to awaken feminine energy. It also stimulates the energy of healing – how appropriate that they keep watch over so many people on the property, learning and practicing reiki!

I delivered the messages to my teacher, along with some specific notes about how the willows would like to be cared for and then realized that I just gave a reading from a tree to its caretaker. Who knew?!

Since that weekend, I have stayed in touch with my teacher and always ask about those special willows that sent me down this path of delivering messages from the earth spirits to their caretakers.

Last week, she sent me a note asking if I could check in on the willows. They had flourished this summer and were looking especially beautiful, but in the last two weeks, several large branches had come crashing down and they are concerned about their ability to continue to care for them and the rest of the property properly and are wondering if it might be time to move on and pass the property to its next steward.

I was happy to check in on those lovely trees and see what they had to say. They connected their aging to that of humans.

They say that they are old and fragile, but their medicine is still important.

Willow said that as we age, we may not seem outwardly as vibrant as we were when we were younger, but what remains is full of wisdom. The dropping of the branches is an example to us of releasing things that no longer serve us. Sometimes there are parts of ourselves we need to shed.

I asked if there was anything their caretakers could do functionally to help the trees and they asked for a bit more water in this very dry summer we're having. They also showed holes being drilled around the outer root area (drip line) to fertilize them.

I should know better by now, but I always get a little nervous when spirits give me advice like this and I think….is that REALLY how you fertilize a willow tree?! I don't want to give anyone bad information if I somehow misunderstand the messages I'm receiving.

So I googled “fertilize willow trees by drilling holes” and SURE ENOUGH…that's exactly how you fertilize a willow tree. Nice job tree spirits.

Sorry I doubted you!

In the end, they offered some very comforting messages to my teacher and her husband about their next steps and shared their love and thanks for all of the work they have done to improve the energy of the land in the area. They even showed themselves reaching their long branches around them to give them a big hug.

This is what I love about doing property readings. The spirits on the land we live on are so conscious of us and what we do for them and are happy to tell us how we can take even better care of them than we already do! We don't have to guess what they need, we can just ask.

Plus, they LOVE to share their wisdom with us.

So, thanks to the willow trees for their help with my journey. If you'd like to hear from the spirits on your land, book a reading with me here. Talking to the grandmother or grandfather tree is just one piece of the energetic story of your property – there are many spirits present and at work all around your home. Why not get to know them better?

Willow Tree | Totem | Reiki