Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Seven


The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Spindle, Willow and Yew, are the seventh in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Spindles for spinning flax were made from the Spindle tree. The craft of spinning had deep associations for Celtic women and ancient goddesses. The Spindle trees crimson fruit combined with the image of the spindle also appears in the fairy tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, where the princess falls into a deep enchanted sleep after she pricks her finger on the needle of a spindle.

The Willow tree symbolises regeneration as cut Willows always re-sprouts. It is so highly flexible that the wood has traditionally been used for basket weaving. As a water-loving tree, the Willow signified emotional balance. In Celtic tradition, deserted lovers would ‘wear the green Willow’ to share their grief with others. The wood of the Willow tree was also good as a water-diving tool and for making wands.

The Yew tree symbolises death and rebirth in Celtic tradition. The branches of this unusual tree grow into the ground, and when the central trunk dies, the tree lives on as the branches grow into new trees. Celtic leaders were buried under Yew trees. It is believed this was to symbolise their eventual rebirth in the next life.

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