We are past the solstice now. A pink glow appears on the horizon earlier each morning. The daylight lingers a bit longer each afternoon. At a glance, the trees look as they have all winter. Bare. But beneath their bark, they are preparing for spring. A few have buds or soon will, a visual promise of the cascading green leaves they will wear in a couple more months. Deciduous trees follow a seasonal life cycle, and since ancient times humans have seen how it can represent our own lives and our connection to all living things and the earth itself.
The druids of ancient Ireland celebrated trees as sacred. It is hard to imagine now with Ireland famous for its rolling fields, but once this island was heavily forested. Trees made and marked special places where the community would gather. When the ancient Celts cut down trees to make a clearing, they traditionally left one in the center. They named the symbols of the ogham alphabet after trees and other plants. The trees had wisdom, and they played a role in sharing wisdom. Our ancestors believed trees had spirits, and they respected trees.
The tree of life is a poignant, profound symbol. Ancient cultures around the world have versions of it, which shows how primal it is. The Celtic tree of life has leafy branches spreading wide and curving gently toward the earth. Its roots mirror the branches, growing away from the trunk and arching upward toward the surface. The trunk of the tree is wide and strong. The Celtic tree of life’s rounded outline is an almost complete circle.
Celtic Tree of Life Meaning
The tree of life stretches from the depths of the earth to the heavens, symbolizing a connection. Its circular form reminds us that life goes in seasons and cycles – winter, spring, summer, autumn – over and over throughout time. Each season has its own gifts and challenges, as well as its own rituals. And trees were central to the rituals of the ancient Celts. The druid priests made trees part of their ceremonies, and trees were also important to the Ireland’s ancient kings.
We are moving into spring, a time of newness. Many animals birth their young in the spring, and many individuals feel a sense of renewal and optimism. It is a season of rebirth and fresh starts. Wearing Celtic tree of life jewelry is a beautiful way to remind yourself that you are always being renewed and that life is always moving through its seasons. If you are launching a new project, embarking on a new relationship or setting new goals, the tree of life is a gorgeous visual reminder to keep progressing and remember that winter always yields to spring.
Late winter or early spring, as soon as the ground is soft enough to dig, is a good time to plant trees because they are still dormant. They’ll need a lot of water during their first summer, but all new things need a lot of care and attention to thrive. But tending to their roots can be a good reminder to honor your own roots.