Signification de l'arbre de vie crann bethadh

Arbre Celtique : Crann Bethadh -

Celtic Tree of Life Meaning: Crann Bethadh

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The Celtic Tree of Life Symbol : What is its Meaning ? To answer this, we will start at the beginning. It was more than 3 millennia ago that their history began and spread across the world. During the era called Hallstatt, from 1200 BC, the Celtic people were born!

What is the origin of the Celtic people?

Who are the Celts?

Initially originating from central Europe, this civilization will develop little by little and migrate towards Western Europe. During the First Iron Age, Celtic civilization encountered several difficulties. And their story ends with the conquest of Gaul by the Romans. It was around -50 BC that the Celtic people gradually disappeared, except in Ireland. Where their traditions and folklore could last for a few more centuries.

However, despite the disappearance of its followers, Celtic culture never died out. Thanks to simple precepts linked to nature, it has been able to inscribe itself in the histories of all European civilizations so that today, it remains one of the best-known ancient cultures in Europe. One of the greatest symbols of this culture and which we still find everywhere in our society is the tree. The tree of Life. Indeed, it is worn as a pendant , necklace , ring , bracelet , earrings, tattoos . For example, the clover motif still has enormous symbolism for many people today. But then what are the origins of this much adored tree and what does it represent?

Celtic tree of life necklace collection

What is the origin of the Celtic tree of life?

the Celts, their history

If the origins of the Celtic people can be established over a period of time, it is difficult to authenticate the origin of their traditions, their rituals and even less of their myths. The Celts did not form a country or an empire, they were a civilization spread over several territories. These people of nature were organized into small communities, which does not facilitate the construction of a common history. Furthermore, although the Celts had an alphabet and mastered writing, the transmission of their knowledge and practices was only done orally. We cannot therefore say with certainty when and how the tree of life became one of the greatest symbols of Celtic culture.

However, it would not be illogical to think that it has always held an important place for these people. Indeed, we will talk about it again later in the article, but the entire Celtic way of life revolves around trees and what they represent.

The Tree of Life is a concept found in many older civilizations such as the Nordic culture of the Vikings or in Egyptian and Buddhist mythology. If the Celts share common origins with several of these civilizations, it is not impossible that the symbol of the Tree of Life comes from these different folklores combined into one.

Celtic tree of life ring collection

Symbols linked to the Tree of Life

Celtic culture

The Tree of Life is central to the culture and beliefs of the Celtic people. Also called Crann Bethadh, this tree is a symbol of eternity, immortality, balance, harmony, spirituality and divinity.

This is first seen in the way it is represented. When we talk about the Celtic tree, we all think of this tree in the form of spirals. But also the branches and roots intertwine to form a complete circle. A single line connects its interlacings, which are also called Celtic knots. These nodes are the very symbol of infinity. They form an infinite cycle, an eternal loop which respectively represent immortality and the cycle of life.

In fact, every year the tree dies in winter and is reborn in spring and this perpetually. It is this particularity of vegetation that makes the tree so perfectly symbolize this idea of ​​renewal and life after death. The Celts did not fear death because they believed that they would never truly die and be reborn. Moreover, in certain texts, it is said that the Celts believed that trees were their reincarnated ancestors.

Regarding divinity and harmony, the Tree of Life was originally the central axis of the world for the Celts, before later becoming the central axis of their way of life. With its different levels, the tree carried the world and connected everything there. The roots for the basements of Mother Earth. The trunk which represents the surface – where men can live – and the branches for the sky and therefore the divine. The Tree therefore allows the link between Heaven and Earth, between Gods and Men. Some Celtic Druids went even further by affirming that every human being carried a tree within him. This tree was described as an entity allowing it to be in connection with nature and protected by the gods and fantastic creatures present in their folklore.

The Tree of Life was for the Celts the source of power and an entity in its own right that must be venerated. Symbol of longevity and source of life through its ability to be reborn throughout the seasons. Emblem of wisdom and strength for its great resilience and resistance to external forces. Symbol of harmony and balance because it is connected to everything and links everything together.

Celtic tree of life necklace collection

The importance of the tree in Celtic society

Celtic tree meaning​​

As said a little above, the entire Celtic community is organized around trees. The Celts are very focused on nature and communion with it. He worshiped her. The tree which symbolizes strength, wisdom and knowledge is therefore at the heart of this veneration.

​It must be said that at the time, the tree provided numerous resources that people could not do without. The wood of the tree was used to build houses, make fires and make tools for hunting and fishing, its fruits provided food, the leaves and plants growing around the roots were used to concoct remedies and the trunk of the tree often sheltered small animals.

​​Besides its many benefits for survival, the entire daily life of the Celts works with and around trees. Before building a village, for example, the members of the community look for a large tree and settle around it so that it brings them prosperity, well-being and connects them to their gods. Sacred rituals such as weddings, coronations or even sacrifices were also carried out at the foot of the trees. The transmission of knowledge took place in the shade of the trees. Pacts and alliances between tribes as well. Even more impressive, each letter of the Celtic Ogham alphabet represents a particular sacred tree, a sign that trees were truly omnipresent among the Celts.

​And finally, let's remember the importance of the Druids in this civilization. You should know that three branches defined Celtic society. On one side the peasants/farmers, on the other, the warriors and finally the druids. The Druids were the guardians of knowledge and science among the Celts. They exercised numerous functions related to various fields; justice, education, medicine, war advisors and even historians. But above all, the druids were the bearers of culture and divination in the tribes. They communed with nature and organized rituals and ceremonies. The word “druid” itself derives from the Celtic word “daur” – which later gave “door” in English – and which means chain. The druid is therefore the one who sees through the oak and communicates with it. He was the guardian of the door between the world of Men and the world of Gods.

sacred tree

A symbol still anchored today

Today, the symbol of the Celtic Tree is a symbol that we see everywhere and which is far from having become obsolete. Like the Triskele, a three-branched Celtic symbol, CrannBethadh is still at the center of many beliefs that are considered more personal rather than linked to a religious principle. If many are still interested in the Celtic Tree of Life, it is for a question of spirituality which is specific to oneself.

Symbol of connection to nature, of connection to the world, source of life and strength, protection and eternity, as a lucky charm or even for its positive values ​​of harmony, there are many reasons which explain that this tree is still so important to some people. Available in tattoos, pendants, jewelry, stickers or even decorative objects, this tree is found almost everywhere in our daily lives. Whether we believe it or not, we have all seen this symbol before.

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