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. Itâ€™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, itâ€™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.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!