(Appearing Originally in Kaleidoscope Magazine)
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 interpretation, while others have built upon it. One such author, Helena Paterson from England, gives us an excellent resource, 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. Look to see what tree sign the Sun was in when you were born. I know a few people who relate much better to their Celtic Sign than the traditional zodiac.
Dec 24 Jan 20
Associated 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.
Jan 21 Feb 17
Associated 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.
Feb 18 March 17
Associated 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.
March 18 April 14
Associated 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.
April 15 May 12
Associated 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.
May 13 June 9
Associated 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.
June 10 July 07
Associated 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.
July 8 Aug 4
Associated 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.
Aug 5 Sept 1
Associated 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.
Sept 2 Sept 29
Associated 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.
Sept 30 Oct 27
Associated 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.
Oct 28 Nov 24
Associated 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.
Nov 25 Dec 23
Associated 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.