Celtic Tree of Life Meaning and Celtic Tree of Life Symbols

Today, you often find the Celtic Tree of Life used in tapestries, tattoos, and other forms of decoration. However, for the Ancients Celts, the Tree of Life symbolized harmony and balance.

Meaning of Celtic Tree of Life

Trees were an important part of Celtic beliefs and culture, so it’s no surprise that the Celtic Tree of Life would hold great importance to the Celts. For them, the Tree of Life represented how the forces of nature came together to create harmony and balance. (Learn more about how important trees were to the Celts with this article on Celtic Tree Astrology.)


This can be understood by thinking of how individual trees come together to form a forest. Trees are tall with far-reaching branches, much like the forces of nature are strong and widespread. Trees link together, combining their life forces, their very existence if you will, to provide a home for thousands of species, from small plants and insects to bears and boars. All cycles of life exist in balance – birth through death.

The Celtic Tree of Life symbolizes these diverse ideas in a simple form.

About the Celtic Tree of Life

Ancients Celts called the Tree of Life crann bethadh. They believed it had special powers.

To honor the Tree of Life, Celtic people left a single, large tree in the center of fields whenever they cleared land. They called this tree crann bethadh. Under its branches, they appointed their chieftain and held gatherings. Because the tree provided food, medicine and shelter to people and animals, the Celts believed it had the power to take care of all life. Cutting it down was a great crime, and thus, the greatest triumph one could achieve over one’s enemies was to cut down their crann bethadh.

What the Celtic Tree of Life Symbolizes

The Celtic Tree of Life symbol can be interpreted in many ways. Here are some interesting facts about what the Tree of Life Celtic symbol means:

  • The Tree of Life represents the balance and harmony in nature.
  • To the Celts, the Tree of Life symbol meant wisdom, strength and a long life.
  • The Tree of Life represents rebirth, just as a tree will shed its leaves in the fall, hybernate in the winter, and be “reborn” with new leaves in the spring.
  • The Tree of Life unites the upper and lower worlds. Its roots reach deep into the lower world, while its branches grow up to reach the upper world. The trunk of the Tree of Life connects the two worlds to the earth’s plane. It is through this connection that gods in the heavens can communicate with people through the Tree of Life.
  • The Celts believed they came from the trees, and thus regarded trees as living, magical beings. Trees guarded the land and were a doorway into the spirit world.

Celtic Tree of Life Knot

Celtic Tree of Life Knot

Celtic Tree of Life Knot – an original design by Welsh artist Jen Delyth ©1990 www.celticartstudio.com

Celtic knots are known as endless knots because they don’t have a beginning or end. They represent how nature is eternal. Celtic Tree of Life knots represent the roots and branches of a tree woven together without end, showing the continuous cycle of life on earth.

The Celtic Tree of Life knot is a popular design for tapestries and tattoos because of its association with positive energy.

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