Celtic Meaning of Symbolic Trees
and Celtic Ogham Meanings

Celtic Symbolism of Sacred Trees and Ogham Meanings. Photo by Avia Venefica

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.

Summary of the Celtic Ogham System of Wisdom

  • The Ogham consists of twenty alphabetical symbols.
  • Each of these symbols represents a sacred tree.
  • Each tree represents a feeling, attribute or essence.

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.

Celtic Ogham Symbols and Tree Meanings

Click the images for more information on each tree/plant.

Letter Ogham
Celtic symbol meaning for beithe B Beithe meaning of symbolic birch tree Birch Beginning, Renewal, Youth
Celtic symbol meaning for luis L Luis meaning of symbolic rowan tree Rowan Protection, Expression, Connection
Celtic symbol meaning for fern F Fern meaning of symbolic alder tree Alder Endurance, Strength, Passion
Celtic symbol meaning for sail S Sail meaning of symbolic willow tree Willow Imagination, Intuition, Vision
Celtic symbol meaning for noin N Nion meaning of symbolic ash tree Ash Connection, Wisdom, Surrender
Celtic symbol meaning for huath H Huath meaning of symbolic hawthorn tree Hawthorn Contradiction, Consequence, Relationships
Celtic symbol meaning for duir D Duir meaning of symbolic Oak tree Oak Strength, Stability, Nobility
Celtic symbol meaning for tinne T Tinne meaning of symbolic holly tree Holly Action, Assertion, Objectivity
Celtic symbol meaning for coll C Coll meaning of symbolic hazel tree Hazel Creativity, Purity, Honesty
Celtic symbol meaning for quert Q Quert meaning of symbolic apple tree Apple Beauty, Love, Generosity
Celtic symbol meaning for muin M Muin meaning of symbolic vine Vine Introspection, Relaxation, Depth
Celtic symbol meaning for gort G Gort meaning of symbolic ivy Ivy Determination, Change, Patience
Celtic symbol meaning for Ngetal NG Ngetal meaning of symbolic reed Reed Harmony, Health, Growth
Celtic symbol meaning for straif STR Straif meaning of symbolic blackthorn Blackthorn Discipline, Control, Perspective
Celtic symbol meaning for ruis R Ruis meaning of symbolic elder tree Elder Transition, Evolution, Continuation
Celtic symbol meaning for ailm A Ailm meaning of symbolic fir tree Fir Clarity, Achievement, Energy
Celtic symbol meaning for Onn O Onn meaning of symbolic gorse tree Gorse Transmutation, Resourcefulness, Exposure
Celtic symbol meaning for Ur U Ur meaning of symbolic heather Heather Dreams, Romance, Feelings
Celtic symbol meaning for Edad E Edad meaning of symbolic poplar tree Poplar/Aspen Victory, Transformation, Vision
Celtic symbol meaning for Idad I Idad meaning of symbolic yew tree 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.

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