From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Celtic symbols: Trees and threes

Trees and threes are the very best company as far as Celts were concerned.  That is why they created numerous symbols for each.

The tree symbols eventually became Ogham, the Celtic Tree Alphabet.  Although there is some difference of opinion as to how many of the original Ogham letters were directly correlated with trees, most seem to agree that at least eight out of twenty were.
According to Wikipedia, these eight include Beith (birch), Fearn (alder), Sail (willow), Dair (oak), Coll (hazel), and Onn (ash). 

Avia Venefica explains that there is another layer of symbolism to this tree alphabet.  Not only do letters symbolize trees, but trees in turn represent feelings, attributes, or essences.  For example, the first tree-letter Beith (birch) represents “beginning, renewal, youth.”  The Sail (willow) represents “imagination, intuition, vision.”  Celtic astrologers even take tree symbolism a step further by equating tree energies with astrological signs.  Birch, for example, goes from December 24 – January 20 and is associated with natural-born leadership.

Besides these alphabet letters, the Celts have other visual symbols.  Many of these are depicted with three distinct components.  These include the triskelion (three-legged), triquetra (three-cornered), triple spiral, triple rays, and threefold (triple spiral with hub).  According to Venefica, the triskelion symbolizes human progress, the triquetra - spirit, the triple spiral - female power, the triple rays – balance of male/female energies, and the threefold – unity of the three female powers (maiden, mother, and crone).


Copyright March 17, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment