Celtic pagan symbols, folklore, beliefs, and purported magic of the ancient Celts may pique your curiosity at some point throughout your exploration of Paganism. Find out what to explore in Celtic Paganism, and rediscover the Celtic pantheon’s gods and goddesses, and the Celtic calendar and alphabet.
Xinar has a beautiful collection of Celtic charms and pagan symbols for use in crafting, jewelry-making, or simply for making existing accessories more beautiful and meaningful. We also amulets and talismans for a variety of purposes. Complete your collection of spiritual charms with our zodiac and celestial charms.
There are a lot of books worth adding to your library if you’re interested in Celtic pagan symbols. Unfortunately, there are no surviving historical documents from the ancient Celtic people, although experts in the field produce several excellent works.
These titles cover various topics, from historical accounts to mythological fables and Celtic pagan symbols.
This is not the biggest guide to Celtic pagan symbols. Still, it is an excellent place to begin, and you should be able to pick up the rudiments of how to pay homage to the deities of the Celtic peoples using this information.
Celtic Pagan Symbols in the Ogham Alphabet
Despite the lack of historical records about the original purposes of the symbols in the Celtic Ogham alphabet, many Pagans today utilize them as divination tools. Your Ogham divination kit can be made by simply sketching the symbols on cards or notching them into straight sticks. Below are just some of the meanings of the letters as Celtic pagan symbols.
B – Beith
Beith, often spelled Beth, is the alphabetical equivalent to the letter B and is linked to the birch tree. When this sign is utilized, it stands for renewal, transformation, freedom, and rebirth. In addition, there is a relationship to ritual cleansing in various religions.
L – Luis
The tree’s symbolic meaning is the Rowan tree, which shares its initial letter with Luis. We count the letters in the Ogham alphabet as meaningful Celtic pagan symbols. This emblem stands for wisdom, safety, and good fortune.
The Rowan tree has a long history of folkloric use as a talisman against spells and other forms of magical influence. Carved protection charms on rowan sticks were posted over doors to keep away evil spirits. When the berry is cut in half, a tiny pentagram is revealed. Rowan symbolizes safety and wisdom gained by observing and understanding your environment.
F – Fearn
The letter F represents the alder tree’s identifying fern, fear. The Alder tree symbolizes a mind and character constantly growing and changing. In Celtic mythology, the alder tree represents Bran, a god associated with March and the spring equinox.
Much like how Bran used his body to span a river in The Mabinogion so that others could pass, the Alder acts as a conduit between our world and the enchanted realm beyond. The legendary oracle that stood atop Bran’s head adds to the item’s allure.
Most occurrences of alders occur in wet, boggy environments, which is convenient because alder wood doesn’t rot when exposed to moisture. It gets more complicated after being submerged in water for a while. This came in handy in the prehistoric era when the early Britons were constructing forts in bogs. The historic center of Venice, Italy, was constructed on Alder wood. Although substantial when wet, Alder quickly loses its resilience once it dries out.
S – Saille
Saille, pronounced Sahl-yeh, is the French name for the willow tree. The Willow is a fast-growing tree that likes to be in or near water. Knowledge and spiritual development are represented by this sign, which is also associated with April. The willow tree symbolizes healing and safety; its life cycle mirrors the moons. The secrets and the cycles of women are also associated with this symbol. This is another worthy addition to your knowledge of Celtic pagan symbols.
Willow has a long history of use as a curative agent in traditional folk medicine. Willow bark tea was traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of inflammation such as fever, rheumatism, cough, and asthma. Salicylic acid, the critical pain-relieving ingredient in Aspirin, was identified in the Willow by scientists in the nineteenth century. Willow was not only gathered for its medicinal properties but also for use in wickerwork. This malleable wood was used to make everything from baskets and miniature curricles to bee hives.
N – No
No, often spelled Nuin, has ties to the ash tree. Hence the N. Ash, along with Oak and Thorn, was considered sacred by the Druids because of the tree’s ability to forge a link between the inner and outside worlds. This represents the bridges and creative processes that occur as one world gives way to another.
Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology, is an Ash. Its limbs spread high into the skies, while its roots spread deep into the underworld. Odin offered himself to the gods by hanging from the tree for nine days. The ash tree also plays a significant role in the Irish myth cycles, typically depicted as a symbol of wisdom and well-being. Make sure to master the letters to make your knowledge of Celtic pagan symbols comprehensive.
H – Huath
The hawthorn tree, represented by the H, is named Huath (or Uatha). This thorny tree’s purifying, shielding, and defending properties are well known. If you want to keep negative energy out of your home, wear a thorn wrapped in red ribbon as a protective amulet or place a bundle of thorns under your baby’s cot. The Hawthorn is also strongly associated with fertility, masculine energy, and fire because it often blooms around Beltane.
The Hawthorn is a symbol of Faerie because of its close ties to the land of the fairies in tradition. For example, Thomas the Rhymer spent seven years in the Faerie world after meeting the Faerie Queen under a Hawthorn tree.
Bringing Hawthorn into your home is considered unlucky, despite the plant’s association with pre-Christian belief systems based on women and goddesses. There is speculation that this is since, after being cut, certain Hawthorn species emit a stench so foul it has been compared to that of a dead body. A stale, rotten odor has no place in anyone’s house.
The Thirteen Lunar Months According to the Celtic Tree Calendar
A total of thirteen lunar months make up the Celtic Tree Calendar. Instead of following the lunar cycle, most modern Pagans use set dates for each “month.” Don’t be confused – these months are still part of the Celtic pagan symbols!
Since some years on the calendar have 12 full moons and others have 13, doing so would cause the calendar to go gradually out of sync with the Gregorian year. The idea that each letter of the old Celtic Ogham alphabet represented a tree inspired the modern tree calendar.
There are 13 lunar months in the Celtic Tree Calendar. Instead of basing their “months” on the lunar cycle, most modern Pagans adopt arbitrary calendar dates. Because some years on the calendar have 12 full moons, and others have 13, this would cause the calendar to become gradually out of sync with the Gregorian year. Modern tree calendar theory originates from the old Celtic Ogham alphabet, where each letter was thought to represent a tree.
You don’t exactly have to be a believer in the Celtic religion to observe the Celtic tree calendar months, but you will find that each topic has deep roots in Celtic tradition and mythology.
It’s also worth noting that the Celtic tree calendar has never been definitively linked to the ancient Celts.
Scholars of Celtic history and culture have debated the validity of the Celts’ lunar tree calendar for decades. However, many argue that it was never a part of the ancient Celtic world and was instead a fabrication of scholar and author Robert Graves. Researchers agree that the Druids were responsible for developing this methodology.
Despite the lack of scholarly evidence, many Celtic Pagans believe the system existed before the Druidic period of dominance in Celtic religious concerns. A middle ground between these three possibilities is probably where reality resides.
In all likelihood, the tree system existed with slight regional variations long before the time of the Druids, who experimented with it, discovered the magical powers of each tree, and codified all of this information into the system we have today.