The Story of Desperation - Told by the Willows

Willow – Salix vitellina
This is one of the Bach flower range that may die out, in some parts of the world it is endangered. In this case it is not we humans who are causing it, however we are currently facing a natural occurring cross-breeding with the White Willow – Salix alba. Perhaps one day we will no longer be able to make use of an essence made from the original Willow tree, but tests have shown that Salix alba may be able to replace the „old“ Willow essence. Anyway as long as we have got it we shall use the Willow Edward Bach once chose for people suffering from bitterness and grief.


Bach‘s category is „despair and despondency“. There are a couple of remedies in this group. The special thing about a Willow state is, that it needs some time to develop. You will hardly see any children suffering from a Willow related emotional state (although it is not impossible). When something really bad happens, the loss of a beloved person, a terrible accident, a life threatening diagnosis – this indicates any emergency combination and/or Sweet Chestnut. The kind of despair that indicates Willow however comes slowly and needs repetition of the bad luck, the disease or whatever. The first failure usually does not mean too much, everybody fails every now and then, after the second one we decide to put more effort in whatever we want to achieve – but what are we going to do after the 20th failure? And after we applied for a new job a hundred times without any success, will we really prepare ourselves as carefully when we apply for the 101st?


Step by step a self-image of being a total loser is built up. Repeated failures support emotions like hopelessness, faint-heartedness, self-doubt and so on and they end in bitterness. At last we see people who are disappointed and angry at the same time, they feel powerless, at a bad fate‘s mercy and become more and more cynical. They reduced their spectrum of emotional response to just annoyance and anger.

This however is not the kind of anger that indicates Holly. The Holly anger is loud and aggressive, Holly shouts and slams doors and when the inner pressure has been released he calms down and everything is fine again. Willow is angry about his fate, the others, himself and he cannot find relief. He cannot shout and free himself like a boiling pressure cooker. His anger is constant and creates smaller attacks, cynical remarks and aggression against himself. That is what makes Willow the remedy for all who suffer from autoimmune diseases.


Willow is never content, never feels comfortable. A Willow type is constantly complaining about everything, he finds no inner peace at all. His complaining pushes other people away and makes the whole situation even worse. In the end he is not only suffering, he is also lonely. Willow follows a constantly descending spiral.

This kind of emotional and mental suffering finds its parallel on the physical level. People working in hospitals, nurses and doctors know this type of patient very well. Or should I say type of „im-patient“? Patients suffering from constant pain experience no more joy in their lives, chronic pain poisons their lives. Nobody really likes them, these all time complaining people who never smile...

Let us close the circle and return to good intentions. They really do feed Willow states. They increase hopelessness and anger.



Willow essence can free us from that spiral, she gives us a tool for any kind of chronic pain. Did you know that Aspirin is made of Willow trees? The most important task in the treatment of Willow people and states is: stop the pain! The characteristic of pain is that it seeks and finds attention. Once there is pain anywhere in your body and/or mind it pushes everything else aside. This is no basis for anything new.

Rheumatic persons are somehow typical for Willow states. Look into their faces, watch the tension and the mood they are in. You may call Willow-despair „emotional rheumatism“. Then take the pain away and watch how their faces change, see how they could look like if only this beast making their lives a hell would disappear. Their lives could change dramatically and so would their bodies and faces.

We cannot make anything undone, but we certainly should reduce the effects of former failure. If the basis is pain the building will not be stable. People with a broken leg try to avoid using it. Healthy people use both their legs. With mind and emotions it is very much the same. So we must first heal the emotions before we can build up something new.

Failure cannot be the basis for anything. It simply means „try something else“. But before we can try something else we must get rid of the impact of earlier failure that has created our belief of our unablity to change. First we have to destroy something before we can build up something new.

Do not think this is an easy task. Certainties and beliefs are hard to get rid off.

But Willow offers us a helping hand!

...and it is not the only one!

 Crack Willow - Salix fragilis

Certainly she is not as well known as her sister Willow. While searching for more Crack Willow essences besides my own one I only found Sue and Simon Lilly‘s English Green Man Essences one. They write: „‚Spiritual sun‘. Letting go, allowing things to happen. Sense of oneness with the world. Communication with the Higher Self, the planet and the energies of the sun.“

Crack Willow 

Crack Willow is an essence that helps to let go off doggedness, grimness, subbornness. It is good for people who bang their heads against the wall in order to break a gap into it. The pain however does not stop them from doing so, they run against the wall again and again and with every failure they try a little harder.

Perhaps they could dig themselves a tunnel under that wall, they may jump over it, they could search for a door and they could try a different direction – all this does not come to their minds. They want to go through that damned wall, no matter what the cost.

If someone in such situation would only make a break, calm down and be still he could find new opportunities, new directions, new perspectives – and would not need Crack Willow at all.

Crack Willow releases tension from neck and shoulders just like Willow releases tension from the joints. Both are perfect for external applications. Try warm compresses with Crack Willow around the neck, when you suffer from headache and other tension induced kinds of pain around shoulders, neck and head. Crack Willow enhances the flexibility on the physical as well as on the emotional and mental level.

...and finally:


Goat Willow - Salix caprea
I could not find more than just one other Goat Willow essence besides my own. It is made by Anne Rensing from Irisflora, she writes: „ Lets you find a second chance; renewing when you find yourself exhausted or the situation you are in no longer supportive and somehow worn out.“

Goat Willow

Like both other Willow essencs this one works on tension and rigidity and finding a way out of it. This too is about renewal. While Willow works on joints and Crack Willow on the neck, Goat Willow works with the Solar Plexus, the nervecenter, that regulates the balance of activity and passivity.

Perhaps this is the most effective of the three Willows when it comes to letting go, because it works on the basic regulation. Goat Willow helps to let go off all the old stuff, the pain, the failure, all situations when we made a fool of ourselves, when we did not reach the goal and so on. She teaches how to throw off the burden, the experiences, beliefs and convinctions that do not help us any longer (if they ever did) but stop us from doing and being what and who we really want to be and do.

This is the gift that Goat Willow has to offer.

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