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Latin Name: Salix vitellina
Group: Second nineteen
Emotional Group: Despondency or despair
Emotional response: Resentment and self-pity
For those who have suffered adversity or misfortune and find these difficult to accept, without complaint or resentment, as they judge life much by the success it brings. They feel that they have not deserved so great a trial, that it was unjust, and they become embittered. They often take less interest and less activity in those things of life which they had previously enjoyed.
We are not all asked to be saints or martyrs or men of renown; to most of us less conspicuous offices are allotted. But we are all expected to understand the joy and adventure of life and to fulfil with cheerfulness the particular piece of work which has been ordained for us by our Divinity.
For those who suffer any small adversity with bitterness and resentment, they blame others and feel hard done by, they are self-centred, self-pitying, self-justifying, feel wronged, sulk and bear grudges, will feel slighted and constantly dissatisfied, lack humour. Symptoms may include constant frowning, grumbling, spread a gloom and negative feeling, a difficult patient since nothing pleases, reluctant to admit improvement.
Willows like damp, low-lying land, often lining the banks of rivers and streams. It is a common tree, which is often pollarded.
White Willow trees grow throughout Britain, and the sub-species S. vitellina is widespread.
There are other, more tangible pointers that illustrate the gesture of the Willow state in the tree. Bach inferred that Willow people are concerned by their success in the material world. The way that the tree roots deeply into the earth shows this. It has a massive fibrous root system that searches everywhere for water; it is well known that willow roots can block a house’s drains. But this affinity for water shows how Willow people feed upon the emotional drama of complaint and blame. There is an intensity of feeling in all the water plants. Willows grow by the water, by rivers and in marshy land. It was this characteristic that gave rise to the idea that it contained help for rheumatics and the aches and pains associated with damp places. In 1763 the Rev. Edmund Stone experimented with willow bark (S. alba) thinking that the bitterness was reminiscent of Peruvian bark (cinchona), used in the preparation of quinine, a treatment for malaria. He claimed that some 50 people with rheumatic disorders were helped by willow bark. His report to the Royal Society was ignored, perhaps because ‘pious folk belief held that God planted cures where diseases originated’ – a case of an infant science dismissing the traditional Doctrine of Signatures. But later research showed that the salicin found in Willow was related to our present-day manufactured aspirin, so he was probably right.