The ancient Celts arrived to Ireland from central Europe around 500BC and over time Celtic tribes spread across the entire country becoming Ireland’s most dominant ethnic group. Studies have found that the ancient Celts lived in Ireland until 400AD and the arrival of Christianity. Although there have been over 1500 years since the Celtic reign ended Ireland, a lot of Celtic history remains with many artefacts and Celtic landmarks still prevalent across the country.
Trees played a very important part in Celtic life and culture. One of the strongest features in Celtic beliefs was the Tree of Life. The Celtic Tree of Life represented harmony and nature and how they are brought together by the forces of nature. They believed that the deep roots and high branches of the tree connected both the under and uppers worlds to the earths plane. Through this connection the Gods of both worlds could connect and communicate with the people. Each Celtic tribe dedicated a lot of devotion towards these trees and it was common practice to plant a single large tree upon clearing a settlement. Cutting down one of these trees was seen as a great crime and was often an act committed by tribal enemies.
The Tree of Life was not simply a form of communication between the gods but also held many other uses. The tree provided a home for animals, shelter from harsh weathers, fire wood for cold nights and cooking and a meeting place for druids to teach and learn. The Celts believed that the tree symbolized wisdom, strength and a long life and was also known as Crann Bethadh (Tree of Life).
The Crann Bethadh was thought to represent rebirth and they associated the tree shedding its leaves in fall and hibernating in winter to its “rebirth” in spring. They believed that all mankind came from trees and regarded them as magical beings. To the Celts the trees guarded the lands and were the provided a doorway to the other worlds.
The Celtic Tree of Life is often used in Celtic Jewelry and represented by the Tree of Life knot. This knot is known as the endless knot as it shows neither beginning nor end and represents how nature is eternal and how the underworld, upper world and earth’s plane are all interconnected. There are many different meanings attached to the Tree of Life and its roots are the perfect metaphor to represent Irish heritage and Irish roots. There is no surprise that the Tree of Life is regularly used in Celtic Jewelry considering there are so many meanings attached to it and it plays a large part in Celtic culture and belief.
Hold some Celtic history close to your chest with some of our beautiful pendants or chose from our hand picked range of Tree of Life jewelry range. We have a wide selection of Celtic and Irish jewelry including the always popular claddagh ring all on theirishstore.com. Make your gift extra special now that you know the history behind the Celtic Tree of Life.