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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Or, back to main
Celtic Meaning of Trees Page




click links below for symbolic meanings.
Go to All Celtic Symbols All Celtic Symbols
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Go to Celtic Symbolic Archetypes Celtic Archetypes
Go to Celtic Astrology Celtic Astrology
Go to Celtic Knots Celtic Knots
Go to Celtic Symbolic Trees Celtic Trees
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