The Celtic tree of Life is often drawn showing the branches reaching skyward and the roots spreading out into the earth below symbolising the Druid belief in the link between heaven and earth.
Trees were an important aspect of Celtic Culture. They provided shelter and food, and warmth through fire wood. They also acted as a home for other animals, birds and insects.
The Druids would hold their classes and meetings under the trees and, when clearing a settlement, the ancient Celts would always leave a tree standing in the centre.
Connection to the other world
Tree of Life from the Kabbalah
Spiritually, the Celts believed that trees were the ancestors of man and had a connection to the other world.
The most sacred of trees was the oak, or ‘daur’ in Celtic, which is where we get the modern word ‘door’. So the oak tree, literally would have been the door to the other world.
The Tree of Life exists in many cultures, religions and mythologies, including those of Ancient Egypt, China, the Kabbalah and the Mayans.
Carvings date back to 2000 BC
Neolithic carvings of trees have been found in the countryside of northern England dating back to 2000 BC.
The general meaning of the tree for all cultures is the same; the cycle of life and the interconnectedness of all creation.
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Religions such as Christianity and Judaism see the Tree of Life as a symbol of purity and wisdom.
The Celts, along the same lines, based their Ogham alphabet on the Trees, naming each character after a special tree, so that, in a way, the trees would impart wisdom to those who read it.
The Celts attributed the qualities of wisdom, longevity and strength to the tree of life.
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More on Celtic trees folklore
Trees in Celtic Mythology
Apple – healing, youthfulness and rebirth
Ash – one Ireland’s sacred trees
Aspen – sacred Celtic whispering tree
Birch – the tree of birth
Blackthorn – sinister tree of the dark side
Elder – a tree sacred to the Celts
Gorse – symbol of love and fertility
Hawthorn – the fairy tree
Hazel – the tree at the world’s end
Heather – building block for Celts
Holly – guards against spirits and witchcraft
Ivy – symbol of strength and determination
Mistletoe – sacred plant of the sun god
Oak – king of the forest
Reed – introduction to Ogham
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Vine – the tree of joy
Willow – beauty and spiritual presence
Yew – longevity and resurrection
The Celtic Tree Calendar – following the lunar cycle
Ancient Irish language of ogham
Ogham – ancient Irish written language
New age beliefs about Ogham
Ogham alphabet named after Irish words for trees
Origins of Ogham – modern theories
Poems written in Ogham