Celtic Ogham Meanings and Tree Symbolism
Do some research on Celtic meaning of symbolic trees and odds are your journey will never end. So rich and intense is this path of knowledge that lifetimes could be devoted to the subject. Indeed, the ancient Druids committed decades of their lives in soulful contemplation of the cosmic expressions manifested in trees.
The ancient Celtic people were much like the first people of North America in that they were spiritually progressive. This advancement is born from an intense union with nature and subsequently, aided these people in aligning with energy on a cosmic level.
We see evidence of this alignment in the Ogham and this system will serve as the basis for much of the information on the Celtic meaning of symbolic trees.
At its simplest, the Ogham is an ancient Celtic alphabet consisting of twenty characters. These characters were simple and easily drawn using downward and upward strokes. It’s theorized that these characters might have been conveyed as hand signals (much like sign language on a simplified level) too.
When we get past this face-value definition of the Ogham, we discover that the Celts intertwined their communion with nature into this writing system. They did this by assigning a tree to each of the twenty symbols of the Ogham (or more accurately, vice versa). Stepping into another level of intricacy, we find each tree represents a particular characteristic within the Ogham.
For example, the first letter of the Ogham is "B" the symbol identified as Beithe which means Birch. Ergo, the birch tree is associated with this letter of the Ogham. The Celtic meaning here speaks of renewal, rebirth, and youth for reasons I will outline in pages to come.
Below is a list of the twenty alphabetical Ogham symbols, the tree associated with each symbol meaning, and the symbolic meaning of each tree. You may also want to view my Celtic Tree Astrology - Zodiac of the Druids page for more insight on this subject.
Note: I've written a page on general Tree Symbolism here which provides more broad symbolic perspectives on trees.
Click the images for more information on each tree/plant.
|B||Beithe||Birch||Beginning, Renewal, Youth|
|L||Luis||Rowan||Protection, Expression, Connection|
|F||Fern||Alder||Endurance, Strength, Passion|
|S||Sail||Willow||Imagination, Intuition, Vision|
|N||Nion||Ash||Connection, Wisdom, Surrender|
|H||Huath||Hawthorn||Contradiction, Consequence, Relationships|
|D||Duir||Oak||Strength, Stability, Nobility|
|T||Tinne||Holly||Action, Assertion, Objectivity|
|C||Coll||Hazel||Creativity, Purity, Honesty|
|Q||Quert||Apple||Beauty, Love, Generosity|
|M||Muin||Vine||Introspection, Relaxation, Depth|
|G||Gort||Ivy||Determination, Change, Patience|
|NG||Ngetal||Reed||Harmony, Health, Growth|
|STR||Straif||Blackthorn||Discipline, Control, Perspective|
|R||Ruis||Elder||Transition, Evolution, Continuation|
|A||Ailm||Fir||Clarity, Achievement, Energy|
|O||Onn||Gorse||Transmutation, Resourcefulness, Exposure|
|U||Ur||Heather||Dreams, Romance, Feelings|
|E||Edad||Poplar/Aspen||Victory, Transformation, Vision|
|I||Idad||Yew||Transference, Passage, Illusion|
While you are learning more about the Celtic meaning of symbolic trees, it’s a good idea to keep an Ogham journal. Here you can play with writing the symbols, record your thoughts and experiences. This journal can also serve as a historical document of your personal progress as you apply the tree attributes to your daily life.