Throughout history, many cultures have turned to the stars, nature, and spirits for guidance, and Celtic astrology combines both natural and supernatural energies while honoring the sacred trees and looking to the forces of nature for wisdom and divination.
About Celtic Astrology
Celtic traditions were oral legends and history passed down through the generations, and because there is no written record of the intimate beliefs of the Celts, there is no way to positively determine whether or not they practiced astrology fervently.
What is known, however, is that the Celtic priests - druids - divided the calendar into thirteen months based on the lunar cycle. That lunar cycle was frequently associated with different species of trees sacred to the Celts because their concept of the universe was an image of a gigantic tree with its roots bound in the earth and its branches stretching to the heavens.
Tree spirits, called dryads, were said to have distinct personalities and to inhabit each species of tree, and each lunar month became associated with a specific type of tree and therefore with different personality traits. Today, that connection to trees is believed to be the basis of Celtic astrology.
Celtic Tree Signs
Like all zodiac signs, an individual's sign is determined by their birth date. The Celtic tree signs and their associated traits are also arranged according to dates as follows:
- December 24 - January 20, Birch: The birch tree represents cleanliness, loyalty, purity, and rebirth. It is the first tree to produce leaves in the spring, and is characterized as patient and persistent.
- January 21 - February 17, Rowan: The rowan tree protects against wickedness, and individuals associated with this tree are said to be idealistic, progressive, and humanitarian. The tree is also a recognized fertility symbol.
- February 18 - March 17, Ash: Ash trees highlight the connection between all things in the natural world, and lend compassion, sensitivity, and inquisitiveness to individuals born under their guidance.
- March 18 - April 14, Alder: Alder trees harness creativity and determination, as well as an adventurous spirit and intuitive nature.
- April 15 - May 12, Willow: The willow is a practical, reliable, and steadfast tree, and so are the individuals associated with it. Other traits include a reverence of knowledge and the ability to weather ongoing changes.
- May 13 - June 9, Hawthorn: The vigorous hawthorn tree embodies its associated individuals with natural charm and strength, including physical fitness and agility.
- June 10 - July 7, Oak: Oak trees are frequently associated with ancient wisdom, and it is no surprise that one of the primary characteristics of an individual with an oak sign is their ability to learn and accumulate wisdom through practical applications.
- July 8 - August 4, Holly: The bright holly tree is a loving protector that craves both justice and unity. At the same time, holly individuals can be quick to react to unusual situations, and that can lead to problems if not carefully tempered.
- August 5 - September 1, Hazel: The hazel tree offers individuals born under its care artistic inspiration and intuition. Creativity, particularly for drama and the arts, is often encouraged by the hazel tree.
- September 2 - September 29, Vine: The vine encourages individuals to trust their senses and focus on a strong inner self, leading to solid confidence and self assuredness.
- September 30 - October 27, Ivy: Ivy is a sociable tree and so are individuals under its guidance. Other characteristics include a willingness to cooperate with others and focus on team efforts.
- October 28 - November 24, Reed: Reed trees help individuals create order with their meticulous personalities, and complexity is often found in their lives and preferences.
- November 25 - December 23, Elder: Elder trees represent the continuity of life and other philosophical considerations. Creativity is often found associated with the elder tree as well.
Additional Astrology Associations
In addition to the thirteen basic tree signs of Celtic astrology, each lunar month can be broken down into smaller segments, each of which is associated with lesser trees for more distinct characteristics. The main tree sign, however, is believed to dominate over the smaller trees, particularly for broad personality characteristics and traits that last a lifetime.
The Celts did not use only trees as part of their astrological and metaphysical beliefs, however. While trees were the most sacred and most significant spiritual guides, each tree sign is also associated with specific planets, animals, and gemstones for a thorough connection to nature. As with the more minor tree associations, however, these additional connections were considered secondary to the primary tree signs.
To Learn More
Since there are so few written records of the Celts and their connection to astrology, there are many interpretations of how tree signs may have been used and what importance they may have played in Celtic culture. The following websites offer additional information and interpretations to consider:
Many books have also been published on the subject of Celtic culture, history, and astrology, including:
- Celtic Astrology: How the Mystical Power of the Druid Tree Signs Can Transform Your Life by Phyllis Vega
- Handbook of Celtic Astrology: The 13-Sign Lunar Zodiac of the Ancient Druids (Llewellyn's Celtic Wisdom) by Helena Paterson
- Celtic Astrology: The Twelve Mysteries of the Ancient Druids by Richard Gawr
- Caer Sidhe: Celtic Astrology and Astronomy by Michael Bayley
- Omens, Oghams & Oracles: Divination in the Druidic Tradition by Richard Webster
- The Celtic Tree Calendar: Your Tree Sign and You by Michael Vescoli and Jean-Claude Senee
Celtic culture's association with trees is naturally elegant and demonstrates the interconnection of all life. Understanding one's tree sign can help bring peace and guidance to daily living even millennia after the Celts first understood the importance of honoring nature in all her glory.