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The Symbolism of the Celtic Tree of Life

Friday, February 12th, 2016
The Symbolism of the Celtic Tree of Life

Tree of life symbolism

The Celtic Tree of Life is a common image used in different types of decorations, as well as in tattoos. It is interpreted in many visual ways, according to each artist, but its core symbolism attributed by the Celts remains the same: it represents harmony and balance in life. Let’s find out a little bit more about this beautiful tree.

The philosophy:

For the ancient Celts, trees were a very important part of their culture and beliefs, this primordial Tree of Life representing the center of their theories, guiding them in their lives. It was described as a representation of the forces of nature that blend together to form harmony and balance in humans’ lives and all around.

The forest is one example of how nature’s forces work together to create harmony and balance: individual trees join forces and form a forest together, a forest that is in itself an individual that provides home for animals, insects and birds and maybe also shelter for humans. These beings are destined to die and others are destined to be born, so the harmony of life consists in these life cycles, this being another idea conveyed by the tree of life.

The importance:

In the language of the ancient Celts, the Tree of Life was called “crann bethadh” and was blessed with special powers. They would proclaim such a tree whenever they cleared some piece of land, leaving only one tree in the middle and calling it “crann bethadh”. Under this tree they would perform a ceremony of appointing their leader and also they would hold gatherings.

As this tree was able to provide food, shelter and medicine for so different creatures of this world, it was interpreted as taking care of all life and cutting it down was the biggest crime. Actually, it was a goal for enemy groups to cut down the others’ crann bethadh.

The symbol:

Except for this basic symbol of harmony and balance in nature and life, the Tree of Life symbolizes wisdom, strength and a long life. It also leads to the idea of rebirth, because of its leaves that die during winter and are reborn during spring.

Its roots in the ground and branches in the air represent the connection between the two worlds, the trunk of the tree being the connector between the world above and the one below. This is how it was believed that the Gods were communicating with the ones on Earth, through the tree of Life.

Also, one belief of the Celtic people was that they were coming from trees, so they considered trees as being alive and magical, as guarding them and being a gate for the spiritual world.

The Celtic Knot of the Tree of Life:

Celtic knots are one very representative symbol for this ancient people, having no beginning and no end, thus showing the eternal quality of nature. A representation of the Tree of Life connected with the symbol of the Celtic knot is one where the branches and roots are woven together, showing the endless circle of life and birth on this planet.

The Celtic Tree of Life is a popular choice for tattoo lovers, being a symbol that brings positive thoughts and that shows a deep understanding of life. The tattoo designs can be very different, depending on who is doing them and on the location of the tattoo.

If you decide to get a tattoo of the Tree of Life it will surely be a good guardian and a constant reminder of the beauty and power of nature.

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