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Celtic Meaning of Symbolic Trees and Ogham Meanings

celtic meaning of symbolic trees

The Ogham: Celtic Meaning of Symbolic Trees

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. Scholars 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.

celtic meaning of symbolic trees

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.

celtic meaning of symbolic trees ogham symbols and meaning

Shown above 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.


meaning of symbolic birch tree

Birch
Ogham Letter: B
Ogham Name: Beithe
Ogham Tree Meaning: Beginning, Renewal, Youth
The birch is a great tree to connect with during new times in your life. When welcoming a newborn into this world, starting a new job, etc. The birch encourages refreshment and blesses new ventures. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of birch trees here.


meaning of symbolic rowan tree

Rowan
Ogham Letter: L
Ogham Name: Luis
Ogham Tree Meaning: Protection, Expression, Connection
The rowan is the tree to call upon when you want to enhance psychic ability. Because of its protective power, the rowan guards the mind/spirit while meditating and journeying as in astral travel. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of rowan trees here.


meaning of symbolic alder tree

Alder
Ogham Letter: F
Ogham Name: Fern
Ogham Tree Meaning: Endurance, Strength, Passion
The alder, like the rowan, possesses the power of protection. It is good to connect with when you feel like you must remove negative energy in your life. It is also a strong tree for healing and meditation. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of alder trees here.


meaning of symbolic willow tree

Willow
Ogham Letter: S
Ogham Name: Sail
Ogham Tree Meaning: Imagination, Intuition, Vision
The willow is a love tree. Connect with this tree when you want to enhance your level of love, comfort and intimacy. This tree is also helpful with augmenting intuition and having pleasant dreams at night. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of willow trees here.


meaning of symbolic ash tree

Ash
Ogham Letter: N
Ogham Name: Nion
Ogham Tree Meaning: Connection, Wisdom, Surrender
The ash is a great tree when employing the law of attraction in your life. If you have a life-dream or goal, focus upon it and see it flourishing under the ash - this will increase the speed of the desire coming to you. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of ash trees here.


meaning of symbolic hawthorn tree

Hawthorn
Ogham Letter: H
Ogham Name: Huath
Ogham Tree Meaning: Contradiction, Consequence, Relationships
The hawthorn is good for cleansing, especially houses, or wherever you spend a lot of time that needs a good clean slate. This tree is also good for clearing the air in communication when you connect with its energy. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of hawthorn here.


meaning of symbolic oak tree

Oak
Ogham Letter: D
Ogham Name: Duir
Ogham Tree Meaning: Strength, Stability, Nobility
The oak is a great tree for enhancing inner strength, especially when you have experienced a great loss in life. This tree helps heal the heart, and lends power so you might rebuild your life and move forward. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of oak trees here.


meaning of symbolic holly

Holly
Ogham Letter: T
Ogham Name: Tinne
Ogham Tree Meaning: Action, Assertion, Objectivity
The holly resonates with energy of joy, happiness and good luck. Call upon the holly when you feel blue and need emotional uplifting. Holly is also good for protection and strengthing your inner will. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of holly here.


meaning of symbolic hazel

Hazel
Ogham Letter: C
Ogham Name: Coll
Ogham Tree Meaning: Creativity, Purity, Honesty
The hazel is a great tree to activate when you set upon a new creative journey. It enhances dreamwork, artistic impulses and intuition. Hazel is also good when you are seeking answers and knowledge about a choice you must make. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of hazel tree here.


meaning of symbolic apple tree

Apple
Ogham Letter: Q
Ogham Name: Quert
Ogham Tree Meaning: Beauty, Love, Generosity
The apple tree is like a fresh start. It is good for renewing old friendships or connections with people you may have lost touch with. This tree also enhances love and physical attraction with your mate. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of apple tree here.


meaning of symbolic vine

Vine
Ogham Letter: M
Ogham Name: Muin
Ogham Tree Meaning: Introspection, Relaxation, Depth
The vine is an excellent energy for when you need to get in touch with your inner sight. It has a grounding effect that is both protective and enhancing of the psychic eye. It is also a happy energy and can be used during joyful celebrations. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of vine here.


meaning of symbolic vine

Vine
Ogham Letter: M
Ogham Name: Muin
Ogham Tree Meaning: Introspection, Relaxation, Depth
The vine is an excellent energy for when you need to get in touch with your inner sight. It has a grounding effect that is both protective and enhancing of the psychic eye. It is also a happy energy and can be used during joyful celebrations. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of vine here.


meaning of symbolic ivy

Ivy
Ogham Letter: G
Ogham Name: Gort
Ogham Tree Meaning: Determination, Change, Patience
The ivy is your go-to source for attaching dreams with reality. Ivy wraps around our visions and helps us bring them into the real world. Ivy is also good for creating healthy bonds with friends, family and coworkers. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of ivy here.


meaning of symbolic reed

Reed
Ogham Letter: NG
Ogham Name: Ngetal
Ogham Tree Meaning: Harmony, Health, Growth
The reed is great for bringing balance into your life. Connect with reed energy when you have a desire to take the next step in life - whether it be relocating or even deciding to form new relationships. It will stabilize and protect. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of ivy here.


meaning of symbolic blackthorn

Blackthorn
Ogham Letter: STR
Ogham Name: Straif
Ogham Tree Meaning: Discipline, Control, Perspective
Blackthorn is a good energy for grounding and settling disturbed emotions. It allows you to gain insight into challenging situations, helping you to understand why certain things are happening to you at a particular trying time. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of blackthorn here.


meaning of symbolic elder tree

Elder
Ogham Letter: R
Ogham Name: Ruis
Ogham Tree Meaning: Transition, Evolution, Continuation
Elder is a great tree to use as a tool to communicate with the other side of life. If you wish to get in touch with loved ones who have passed on, the elder energy can help establish that connection. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of elder tree here.



meaning of symbolic fir tree

Fir
Ogham Letter: A
Ogham Name: Ailm
Ogham Tree Meaning: Clarity, Achievement, Energy
The fir is an excellent tree to connect with when you need to honor something or someone in your past. It is also a good energy for attaining productivity - especially towards a goal you are striving to achieve. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of fir tree here.


meaning of symbolic gorse

Gorse
Ogham Letter: O
Ogham Name: Onn
Ogham Tree Meaning: Transmutation, Resourcefulness, Exposure
Gorse is all about networking. Call upon this vegetation when you need to make new connections to impress. Perhaps to make an impression on a job interview. Gorse is also a great energy to call upon when going through new changes. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of gorse here.


meaning of symbolic heather

Heather
Ogham Letter: U
Ogham Name: Ur
Ogham Tree Meaning: Dreams, Romance, Feelings
With its intoxicating vibrancy and fragrance, heather is an excellent resource for re-energizing. Heather also enhances visions and psychic ability. Heather is great when in strengthening the bonds of soul mates, partners and friendships. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of poplar/aspen trees here.


meaning of symbolic poplar

Poplar/Aspen
Ogham Letter: E
Ogham Name: Edad
Ogham Tree Meaning: Victory, Transformation, Vision
This tree is a sensational energy if you are wanting to re-create yourself. Perhaps you want a new look, or live in a different environment. Calling upon the poplar-aspen tree assists in making a fresh start a successful one. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of poplar-aspen tree here.


meaning of symbolic yew

Yew
Ogham Letter: I
Ogham Name: Idad
Ogham Tree Meaning: Transference, Passage, Illusion
This is a tree that marks passage of time, it is good to call on the yew when you might be going through a rite of passage in life. Perhaps this might be becoming a parent, or maybe it's celebrating a milestone birthday. Yew blesses these events. Find out more about the symbolic meaning of yew tree here.


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.

I hope you enjoyed these thoughts on the power and symbolism behind the trees of the Celtic Ogham. As always, thanks so much for reading.

May all your tree encounters be rooted in wisdom

Brightly,

Avia

Avia Venefica

About the Author: Avia Venefica has an undergraduate degree with a focus in anthropology and art. She has also been an understudy in several tribal and spiritual organizations around the nation. Avia is the author of several publications concerning esoteric wisdom, and makes herself available for public speaking/presentations on symbolic topics.