The Druids were possessed of “… much knowledge of the stars and their motion, of the size of the world and of the earth, of natural philosophy…”
The Druids were Celtic priests who inhabited much of Western Europe, Britain and Ireland until they were supplanted by the Roman government and later, by the arrival of Christianity.
Classical writers such as Cicero, Caesar, Pliny described the Celts as “masters of astronomy”. Even the Romans paid tribute to their astronomy. One of the first to note that the ancient Celts believed the world to be round (not flat) was Martial (c. AD 40-103/4) who himself claimed Celtic ancestry.
The Irish (and the Celts generally) have a long tradition of astrological learning stretching back to a time before Christianity and the incoming of Greek and Latin learning. For too long now this long and rich tradition of Celtic Astrology has been sadly neglected.
Celtic Tree Astrology
Celtic Tree Astrology is the astrological system practised by the ancient Irish. It is based on an ancient Celtic symbol system. The Celtic Zodiac is drawn from the beliefs of the Druids and is based on the cyclesof the moon. The year is divided into 13 lunar months, with a tree (sacred to the druids) assigned to each month. Each tree has particular magical qualities whose secret mysteries come from the ancient Celtic alphabet, the Ogram.The Celts envisioned the entire Universe in the form of a tree, whose roots grew deep below (in the ground) and whose branches reached up high (into the Heavens). In time, the Celtic people eventually designated a tree to each of the 13 Moon Phase’s in their calendar, in accordance with its magical properties. As such the Celtic Zodiac is based upon the cycles of the Moon, with the year divided into the 13 lunar months established by the Druid religion.
The Druid religion was based mainly upon an awareness of natural and supernatural energies. These energies were identified with spirits and the Celtic Druids believed that trees were given these spirits, who dwelt within, and were perceived as attributes of the Supreme Being. Thus, trees were considered living entities, possessed with Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom…symbolically representative of the Cycle of Life, Death and Renewal, and symbolically connected with the three planes of existence: mind, body, and spirit. To Christians, it illustrated the essential core of Christian belief where God was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For both beliefs, the Trinity Knot symbolized the way in which the three separate essences were vitally interconnected.
On the whole, Celtic societies were based upon the equality and balance between the male and the female…the female Druidesses being symbolized by the Spirits who lived in the sacred trees. Each Celtic Zodiac Sign corresponds to a given tree, a letter of the Ogham alphabet, a Guardian Animal, a Celtic God, and other items such as Gemstones.
The Celts have a long tradition of astrological learning stretching back to a time long before Christianity and the incoming of Greek and Latin learning. For too long now this extensive and rich tradition of Celtic Astrology has been sadly neglected. The Druid religion was based mainly upon an awareness of natural and supernatural energies. These energies were identified with spirits and the Celtic Druids believed that trees were given these spirits, who dwelt within, and were perceived as attributes of the Supreme Being. Thus, trees were considered living entities, possessed with Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom…symbolically representative of the Cycle of Life, Death and Renewal, and symbolically connected with the three planes of existence: mind, body, and spirit. To Christians, it illustrated the essential core of Christian belief where God was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For both beliefs, the Trinity Knot symbolized the way in which the three separate essences were vitally interconnected.
The Celtic Zodiac
Celtic Astrology was created by the Druids sometime around 1000 BC. The Druid religion was based on 3 basic strands of belief: the first was to remember their ancestors and the past; the second was to have an understanding of nature so that they could work with it, not against it; and the third was to explore the connection of everyday reality with that of the spiritual realm.In Celtic astrology, the zodiac is based on the trees that the Druids held sacred. It was believed that the trees themselves expressed personal characteristics that could then be associated with particular months of the year. This was done by connecting the tree to a lunar month through the use of the consonants in the Celtic alphabet. 13 of the consonants form the calendar of seasonal magic, and the 5 vowels represent complementary seasonal stations.Unlike the Greco-Roman zodiac, the Celtic calendar has 13 astrological signs based on lunar months. Each month contains 28 days, except the last one (Ruis/Elder) which only has 24. However, the Celtic zodiac isn’t confined solely to the lunar cycle. The Druids split their years into 2 halves: the dark half and the light half to represent the recurring cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. As a result the Druids developed a zodiac rooted in both the lunar and solar cycles of life.
Please click a Zodiac picture for more information about that sign from Celtic Radio.net!
12/24 – 1/21
The Fabrication of ‘Celtic’ Astrology by Peter Berresford Ellis
The Celtic ‘tree zodiac’ fabrications, the direct result of Robert Graves’ invention of a tree calendar’, have become an almost insurmountable barrier to any serious study of the forms of astrology that were practiced by pre-Christian Celtic society. For fifty years, from the time Graves’ published his book The White Goddess (1946), a veritable industry has been built up among his acolytes, which preach artificial astrological ideas based on Graves’ spurious arguments. Some have even published books on what they fondly term ‘Celtic Astrology’, manufacturing a completely artificial ‘astrological system’.
It has hitherto not been my practice to directly criticize Graves nor his acolytes. As a novelist and poet, Graves’ work is much to be admired and his two-volume study of The Greek Myths (1955) is highly regarded. There is even much in The White Goddess that is praiseworthy. It can be said that Graves’ work is a fascinating attempt at an anthropological and mythological study which, had he had some scholastic advice, might have resulted in an interesting contribution in the mold of Joseph Campbell’s work.
However, when he asked for advice from a reputable scholar in the field of Celtic Studies and specifically Ogham research, he rejected it because it did not support his prefixed notions. Continue Reading…
Article by Peter B. Ellis: Early Irish Astrology, An Historical ArgumentAnother viewpoint:
In the ancient worlds, the study of astrology was as important as the study of astronomy. Magic and science were not separate disciplines, but part of the same coin. We know the Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks of the western world all studied the movement of the heavens, along with Eastern and even ancient American scholars. It is upon the foundation of these western traditions that modern astrology is built. One culture that was renown for their knowledge of wisdom, including astrology, were the Celtic Tribes. The Celtic people eventually settled on the British Isles, but originally migrated westerly across Europe. The Druids, the priest caste of these people, held their lore in oral tradition, believing writing to profane sacred text. One must memorize all, including astrology. So unfortunately a complete system of Celtic astrology never survived in anything but a fragmentary form. The first piece of the puzzle was retrieved by Robert Graves, the famous author of the White Goddess. He correlated the thirteen letter Celtic tree alphabet, the Ogham, with a Celtic lunar calendar of thirteen months. Ogham is a system of symbols, sounds and sign language used by druids. Each one represents a whole host of complex associations, based on the imagery of the sacred trees. Trees played an important function in Celtic myth and society. The word Druid comes from the word Duir, or oak, and is believed to mean “one who has knowledge of the oak.” If you had knowledge of the trees, you had wisdom and magic. Some modern critics have disagreed with Graves’s interpretation, while others have built upon it.
One such author, Helena Paterson from England, gives us an excellent resource, with The Handbook of Celtic Astrology and the Celtic Lunar Zodiac.
Her system uses the Celtic information in conjunction with traditional western astrology, giving us an even broader view. Much like your traditional Sun sign can give you a lot of information, your tree sign can as well.
Similar to the Following, check to see what tree sign the Sun was in when you were born:~*~Birch ~ Dec 24 Jan 20Associated with the Sun, the Eagle, Stag and the bard Taliesin. Birch Tree people tend to shine like the Sun. They are very ambitious people. Work is taken very seriously and they are usually successful in business if they can find an area to excel in. Although stars with career, they tend to keep their private life private. As the family tree, Birch people also take family responsibilities very seriously and are often default heads of the household.Rowan ~ Jan 21 Feb 17Associated with Uranus, the dragon and the goddess Brigid. Rowan Tree people are futurists. Not necessarily in a technological way, but as visionaries for the future. They are humanitarians and take up worldly causes, but often in an unusual way. As the Rowan is said to magically break curses, Rowan people break control, authority and conformity. Although very kind and thoughtful, they can tactlessly express their controversial opinions.Ash ~ Feb 18 March 17Associated with Neptune, the trident and Lir, the sea god. Ash Tree people have two currents running through them. One side is very artistic and sensitive, while the other is quite down to earth. Compassion is the key word here, as they see the best and worst the world has to offer. Because of this dual nature, their motives are often misunderstood by those round them.Alder ~ March 18 April 14Associated with Mars, the pentacle and King Arthur. Alder Tree people are the warriors and adventurers, the heroes from myth. They are very physical and like a challenge. They take the lead with their competitive drive, but sometimes their actions are foolishly dangerous. Alder people may get impatient when action is low. They make great and loyal friends, but ego and need for praise can hide a deep sensitivity.Willow ~ April 15 May 12Associated with the Moon, serpent and Morgan Le Fay. Like the Moon, Willow Tree people have a hidden, mysterious nature. On the outside they appear as very sensible, practical people, but on the inside they are very psychic and mystical. Unusual experiences follow them. Although they are wise counselors, their emotions and moods can change suddenly and negatively influence their usual reasoning ability.Hawthorn ~ May 13 JuneAssociated with Vulcan, the chalice and the smith god Govannan. Those born under the Hawthorn Tree probably have a variety of talents aimed at communication. They are charismatic and well versed in many things, similar to the Celtic druids. They are great leaders and strategists, but at times their expressive nature is armed with the sword of anger. Verbal spars pepper their otherwise colorful life, as they experiment with life.Oak ~ June 10 July 07Associated with Jupiter, the wheel and the father god Dagda. Oak Tree people have a wide range of talents. They combine some of the best qualities, including vision, personal charm, optimism and a drive for success. Such individuals often find themselves in leadership positions. They enjoy their achievements and fulfilling their plans, but can be self sacrificing, risk taking, vain and naïve when executing their schemes. Later in life, they are drawn to spiritual and philosophical pursuits.Holly ~ July 8 Aug 4Associated with Earth, the flaming spear and the mother goddess Danu. This is the tree sign of honor and regalness. People under the Holly Tree hold to their values, backed by a strong will. They are trustworthy and loyal. In short they have a great sense of character. Unfortunately this regalness can manifests as through pretentious or patronizing behavior. History past holds sway over this sign, and their homes are often filled with historical collections.Hazel ~ Aug 5 Sept 1Associated with Mercury, the rainbow fish and the god Ogma. Hazel Tree people are not only wonderful communicators, but gatherers of knowledge and wisdom. They have incredible memories and ways of relating information. Many express themselves in writing, scholarly pursuits or as administrators. Such people have an excess of nervous energy and can hold to their tension or manifest it as an argument. Overall, they are highly interesting and challenging people.Vine ~ Sept 2 Sept 29Associated with Venus, the swan and Queen Guinevere. High emotions are a key aspect in the lives of Vine people. There is a restless quality in life. At times their gentleness and enthusiasm are on top. Other times they are excessively angry or sad. Even so, in the face of any opponent they are calm and collected, ever ready with a back up plan. They enjoy the finer things in life and like sharing with family in almost a motherly way.Ivy ~ Sept 30 Oct 27Associated with Transpluto, the butterfly and the goddess Arianrhod. Even though technically not a tree, like Vine, Ivy is part of the Celtic calendar. Ivy is the sign of the strong will and power to persevere. They have a strong sense of justice and responsibility, are shrewd investors and generous providers for family. Unfortunately they can attract unstable elements to their life and can be manipulative. They are unusual people, learning skills for life and less from books.Reed ~ Oct 28 Nov 24Associated with Pluto, the stone and the underworld god Pwyll. Reed people are imbued with a strong sense of personal power, an almost magnetic quality that attracts others to them and aids in the overcoming of problems. They are imaginative yet enigmatic. Sometimes their powerful emotions turn into jealousy or obsessions.Elder ~ Nov 25 Dec 23Associated with Saturn, the raven and the god Pryderi. The last of the signs, Elder people go through a transformation over life. At a young age, they are extravagant and energetic, but as they grow older, their grow into their power and earn respect. They can very self disciplined and overcome hardship that would break others, but can appear to be emotionless. The personal lives of the Elder tree people are very open and public. They like to travel the world for adventure, fame and fortune.
The Above Excerpt was via Christopher Penczak; in Kaleidoscope Magazine
Related Websites and Links:
- Following From: Mystic Scripts
Free Celtic Astrology Reading And Druid Horoscope Calculator. The Celtic Astrology Tree is also known as the Druid Astrology. This zodiac is based on a lunar calendar that comprises of 13 months and each month is characterized by a mystical tree. The Celts assigned each month to a tree and individuals born in that month were characterized by that particular tree. Each tree is also associated with the Ogham, the ancient Celtic alphabet.An ancient mystical runic alphabet ‘Ogham’ led to the development of the Celtic astrology. Unlike the Western or the Egyptian astrology the Celtic astrology, also known as the Druid Sign, comprises of 13 zodiac signs. The Druids were known to have been the inhabitants of the British Isles around 1000 B.C. who followed a lunar calendar consisting of 13 months.The Celts visualized the universe in the form of a tree and for that reason they designated a particular tree, based on its magical properties, to each of the Moon phases in their lunar calendar. Each Celtic Zodiac corresponds to a particular tree and it is believed that an individual’s personality is marked by the different influences of the tree of the sign.The thirteen astrology signs of Celtic Astrology are as follows: The Birch, The Rowan, The Ash, The Alder, The Willow, The Hawthorn, The Oak, The Holly, The Hazel, The Vine, The Ivy, The Reed and The Elder.A Celtic Astrology reading gives you a detailed interpretation of the sign you belong to in the Celtic zodiac, your lucky colors, lucky month, lucky letter, lucky flower, lucky gemstone, ruling animal, ruling deity, ruling planet, your polarity and your class and also some eminent personality born under the sign.
Zen Druid’s Inner Circle ~ by Jon Moore
This Website also covers the area of Celtic Tree Astrology. There are pages on related material including a free monthly Horoscope. The nature of the Celtic Zodiac, the Trees involved and their meanings.
Celtic Tree Astrology: From the White Goddess
Click on your Birthday month to see more about you at the link…
[January] [February] [March] [April] [May] [June]
- The mystery of Celtic and Irish symbols (Irish Central)
- Fabrication of the “Celtic Tree Calendar” as mentioned above
- The Celtic Calendar: Coligny Calendar
- The Coligny Calendar: 1800 year old Lunisolar Calendar.
- A Little Hallo-History (bluemountain.com)
- Druids (larrycondra.wordpress.com)
- The Role of the Modern Druid (naturalpantheist.wordpress.com)
- Vedic Astrology (dranilj1.wordpress.com)
8 thoughts on “Irish Astrology”
Fascinating! Many Moons ago I gave a talk at the Irish Astrological Society, My interest in all things Celtic springs from my Irish ancestry and I was privileged to meet Olivia ( Fellowship of Isis) – Robert Graves Irish cousin. I also met this great modern day bard in London in the sixties! He will be remembered long after his critics return to dust – his resting place with laurels lies in the ancient building of Westminister Abbey – enough said!
Helena Paterson – author of The Celtic Lunar Zodiac & Handbook.
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Thank you so much for your comment Helena! Time ‘got away from me’, hence the late reply..
Sounds amazing that you’ve met the people you mention, and would have loved to have attended the meeting to hear your lecture at the Astrological Society!
I’ve since had the time to search for your book further, and I must say, will have to purchase that! So intriguing, along with your other books, so I thought I would also add the description and link to it on Goodreads..
“Discover your lunar self Solar-oriented astrology has dominated Western astrological thought for centuries, but lunar-based Celtic astrology provides the missing “Yin” principle. Explore the Celtic lunar zodiac, where each month is associated with a tree sacred to the Druids. Each tree-sign is broken down into its Celtic mythology and meaning”.
All the best Helena and Thanks again! 🙂
The Celtic Lunar Zodiac & Handbook
See this link for more of Helena Paterson’s books at Goodreads:
You worked hard on this. I teach Caesar.
Thank you for visiting my Meet & Greet last week
Thanks Janice, you’re welcome of course.. I enjoy your blog also, lots of informative information 🙂
So encouraging to get such lovely reviews comments on my books on Celtic Astrology. Now very busy writing a new book on Celtic Dragon & Tree magic based on the Celtic Lunar Zodiac – as a complementary study of the Qabalah Tree of Life and the Norse Tree of life – Yggdrasil.
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You’re welcome Helena, and wonderful news about your upcoming book! I look forward to hearing more and quite happy to post links for you also 🙂
Sounds like I’ll have to design another page around the Celtic Lunar Zodiac and your book!
All the best, Sasha
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I would be delighted if you can post links for this book. I will make sure you get a signed copy.
All the best, Helena
You’re more than welcome and Thanks also Helena, That sounds absolutely wonderful! I hope you like the way I’ve linked you so far (to Goodreads..)
Wishing you well and am certainly looking forward to this new book! 🙂