The Tree of Life, also known as the Crann Bethadh (pronounced: Crown Ba-ha), was a hugely significant symbol in Celtic tradition. Not just a beautiful icon, an Crann Bethadh was also a sacred symbol central to Celtic folklore that possessed many layers of meaning.
Trees were a symbol of the link between the human world and the world of the spirits. Trees were considered sacred by the Celts as they believed that their deep roots and high branches connected both the underworld and heavens to the earth as represented by the trunk. This connection enabled the Gods of both worlds to connect and communicate with people. As such, trees were often a key part of ceremonies and rituals.
The Tree of Life was a classic symbol for renewal. An Crann Bethadh symbolised rebirth through the loss of its leaves in the autumn and hibernating in winter to its “rebirth” in spring. The fact that the Celts believed trees to be the ancestors of humans adds another layer of meaning to this symbol, with the eternal cycle of the seasons representing the eternal cycle of life.