What is the Meaning of the Tree of Life?

Tree of Life

What is the Tree of Life?

There is much meaning and symbolism around the origins of the beautiful Tree of Life symbol which is often used in Irish jewelry and crafts.
In order to understand more it is important to go back to the time of the ancient Celts where the tree had huge importance and references to it date back to at least 2,000 BC. The Crann Bethadh represented how there is balance, a sense of eternity and harmony within nature. The symbol actually pre-dates the Celts as it was also used as a powerful symbol in ancient Egyptian mythology. The Celts were very much aware of the flora and fauna and the importance of nature.   

The Celts took the symbol of the Tree of Life from the Norse who believed that the Yggdrasil ash tree was the source of all life on earth. The design is folded with branches and forms a circle with the trees roots. The Tree of Life was thought to possess special magical powers. When settlers cleared an area to live in they would firstly leave a single tree right at the center which was known as the Tree of Life. It was an important meeting place for the highest ranking tribe members and additionally it provided food, shelter and warmth to the population. This tree also provided nourishment to birds and other animals so it was a symbol of how trees are believed to take care of all life on Earth.

According to tradition, the Celts would only go and live in a location where such a tree was planted and they believed that each tree was an ancestor of a human being. There was further symbolism surrounding the Tree of Life in that during wars between tribes cutting down an opposing tribes tree was deemed to be one of the biggest successes when it came to battles.

The interconnectedness of life is at the center of all meaning when it comes to the Tree of Life. Leaves fall from a tree in autumn and winter and then new buds appear in spring. This is a constant and there is always rebirth when the tree comes to full life again in the summer. Wisdom, strength and longevity are also the central tenets of this particular symbol and as Celts believed that humans came from trees, they viewed them as the guardians of the land and a way in to the spirit world. It was thought that the roots of the tree reached in to the underworld and the branches grew to the upper world and the trunk connected these worlds with the earth.

It was not just the Celts that adopted the Tree of Life as a symbol. It is also seen in many important cultures throughout the world such as the Mayans, in Christianity where it is featured in the Book of Genesis, in Islam as the Tree of Immortality and in Chinese mythology.

The beautiful and evocative Tree of Life symbol is a stylish way of representing these meaningful and profound ideas in the world of art such as in this beautiful Silver Tree of Life pendant.

Silver Tree of Life Pendant
Silver Tree of Life Pendant

View more of our Tree of Life jewelry.
Posted on May 21, 2021

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