Celtic Meaning of the Reed

Celtic Meaning of Reed


Symbolic Celtic Reed Meanings

The Celtic meaning of the reed within the Ogham deals with themes of connectivity, networking and provision.

Although the reed isn't a tree, the druids viewed any large plant with a woody stalk to be a tree, and the reed was considered very important. Therefore, the reed was included in the Celts sacred Ogham because it met their criteria asa sacred organism, it was an extraordinarily useful plant, and it possesses a slew of noble qualities.

In the time of the ancient Celts their landscape held prolific reeds in swamp areas; some growing up to 20 feet tall. With such a presence, it stands to reason the reed held a place among the hierarchy of nature for the Celts.

Symbolic Celtic Meaning of the Reed

  • Purpose
  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Clarification
  • Communication

All things of the natural world were honored by the Celts, and all things represented the connection with life. In this way, the reed was highly revered for its usefulness in the day-to-day practices of the Celts.

The reed was used for many purposes by the Celts. Specifically, they would weave reeds together to make thatched roofs on their homes - some of which (when properly constructed) last up to a decade or more. This is where the reed obtains its symbolism of protection. It is also a natural insulator, and the Celts honored it highly during cold, wet months.

Reed gives off a faint sweet smell when macerated, and so the Celts were known to lay out pressed reeds as flooring in their homes to deodorize. This was also a practice for cleansing and purifying homes.

Reeds also made good candles, and were viewed as beacons of light during the dark nights. This is another facet of the reed's purposefulness in the life of the Celts.

The reed gets its symbolism of communication from several sources. In the hands of a good craftsman (and there were many among the ancient Celts), a reed would make a fine whistle, flute or recorder. These were highly prized amongst the people, particularly bards. Through these flutes and music the spiritually-minded Celts would communicate fantastic worlds of vision, heroism, and beauty.

Secondly, if you are still enough, you can hear them sing a song when the wind blows through a field of reeds. If you've ever had the pleasure of hearing it, you know it is an eerie experience. The Celts viewed this as an otherworld voice, and considered it a message of powerful importance.

Take the time to incorporate these symbolic meanings of the reed in your life. Gather some up and bring them into the house to open up the energy and clear the air. Or, try fashioning a flute from a reed and take it to your next drum circle to play! Your Celtic ancestors will get such a kick out of that!

Click here to learn about the Reed Sign of the Celtic Zodiac (on this site).

I hope you have enjoyed this article on the meaning of reeds according to the Celtic Ogham. Be sure to check out the links below for more information on Celtic meanings, tree symbolism and more! Thanks for reading!

More Celtic meaning of the Ogham can be found by clicking on the branches below:

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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 happing to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive it! 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!



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