By Isabella @TheWandCarver
There really is nothing “new” about birth trees and their meanings for us. It is a far cry different from the astrological signs most of us are used to. The Celtic Birth Tree Calendar (seen referred to as CBTC in future paragraphs) has been around for a century roughly. Many have struggled to understand it so I shall explain. First, the Celtic Birth Tree calendar dates run differently than do our Gregorian Calendar. The astrological correspondence of your star sign to your birth date may be different or could be like, when you find your birth tree meaning.
The Gregorian Calendar was settled in about c.1582. The Celtic calendar is a compilation of pre-Christian Celtic systems of timekeeping, including the Gaulish Coligny calendar, discovered in Coligny, France, and was used by Celtic countries to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals. (from Wikipedia) The Celtic calendar predated the Gregorian calendar and was an attempt to harness the solar and lunar months into a twelve-month record of time-keeping. It is known, as of this writing, as the oldest calendar of all.
Then things get tricky, as the Celtic Calendar also divided the year into half-light, half dark. The light half of the year began with Beltaine/Beltane/Bealtaine on 1st of May, Gregorian calendar, and the dark half beginning with Samhain on 1st November, Gregorian calendar. It had days of the week and months but was also very much a calendar of celebrations.
Enter the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar. The Druids, whom are very much tree people, as it were, can be called partially responsible for the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar… one Druid researcher/wannabe wrote the book on it, so to speak. Yes, the one and only Robert Graves, whom just happened to call himself a Druid. Whilst another Druid revivalist, Edward Davies, was the one whom originally said there “might be” an ancient calendar of 13 months, based upon his studies on 16th century Ireland, Mr Graves took the matter a step further and instituted the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar we know and love today.
Having not read Mr Grave’s writings upon the Celtic Birth Tree matter myself (only being familiar mostly with the casting and reading of ogham staves, which you will find, are also the “alphabet” or consonant of each tree), in my internet travels I find quite often that one chart is different from another as to when the dates run for each Celtic “month”. This is the one copied from Druidry.org:
- Apple Tree (Dec 22-Jan 1 / Jun 25-Jul 4) – Tree of love, intelligence, and harmonization.
Someone with this tree sign is quite sensitive and even sentimental. Love and knowledge rule their very being and when they are able to embrace both, they feel sheer bliss and truly live life.
- Fir (Jan 2-11 / Jul 5-14) – Tree of independence, privacy, and contemplation.
When given this tree sign, one is eager, practical, and dedicated to achieving their dreams, yet reasonable and logical when necessary. They give of themselves completely, after much thought.
- Elm (Jan 12-24 / Jul 15-25) – Tree of beauty, god speed, and organization.
A tree sign such as this one, loves all that is bold, beautiful, and harmonious. They also tend to be open, direct, and quite outspoken with their emotions and opinions. They live with passion.
- Cypress (Jan 25-Feb 3 / Jul 26-Aug 4) – Tree of serenity, new life, and adaptation.
Someone with this tree sign prefers to avoid drama, opting for a peaceful, dreamlike state of being as opposed to any form of disagreement or opposition. Life for them is peaceful and magical.
- Poplar (Feb 4-8 / Aug 5-13) – Tree of growth, strength, and visualization.
When given this tree sign, one starts off blissful and carefree, only to encounter a few difficult challenges that often become hot dilemmas. But with a good outlook, they naturally persevere.
- Hackberry (Feb 9-18 / Aug 14-23) – Tree of nobility, pride, and dedication.
A tree sign such as this one will not settle for less than what they obtain to achieve in their lifetime. Their strict dedication and vision is what inevitably makes them feel proud and great.
- Pine (Feb 19-29 / Aug 24-Sep 2) – Tree of health, perseverance, and moderation.
Someone with this tree sign is steady and poised, while moving forward towards progress and success. They often develop a good sense of what is needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Willow (Mar 1-10 / Sep 3-12) – Tree of fairness, non-judgment, and toleration.
When given this tree sign, one is not so quick to judge a book by its cover. Instead, they tend to allow the story to unfold naturally so they may clearly learn the meaning of what is written.
- Lime (Mar 11-20 / Sep 13-22) – Tree of charm, ease, and infatuation.
A tree sign such as this one might have a tendency to charm or be charmed. They go along with situations peacefully and try to make the most of what can often be somewhat difficult for others.
- Hazel (Mar 22-31 / Sep 24-Oct 3) – Tree of originality, intellect, and adaptation.
Someone with this tree sign firmly believes in individual growth, knowledge, and permeation. They strive to develop their own sense of style and wit, making them solid pioneers in their field.
- Rowan (Apr 1-10 / Oct 4-13) – Tree of ambition, honesty, and communication.
When given this tree sign, one always believes in being true of character and opinion. They never sacrifice their integrity for hidden motives and always obtain goals by way of pure ingenuity.
- Maple (Apr 11-20 / Oct 14-23) – Tree of personality, energy, and imagination.
A tree sign such as this one beholds sheer charisma to go further than most, especially when such journeys encompass creative thought. They never cease to amaze and go beyond. They never stop.
- Walnut (Apr 21-30 / Oct 24-Nov 2) – Tree of fortune, vigor, and determination.
Someone with this tree sign is destined for success and ultimate riches, whether they are in the form of material or supernatural. Their energy is based upon their will and their will is done.
- Jasmine (May 1-14 / Nov 3-11) – Tree of poise, diplomacy, and socialization.
When given this tree sign, one can almost always show an interest in politics or some form of public relations and communications or social interests. They enjoy getting their thoughts across.
- Chestnut (May 15-24 / Nov 12-21) – Tree of justice, ethics, and observation.
A tree sign such as this one goes, but grows no further until they have left a trace of their thought pattern with them. They observe to a certain degree before making sound and fair judgment.
- Ash (May 25-Jun 3 / Nov 22-Dec 1) – Tree of insight, intuition, and aspiration.
Someone with this tree sign is bright enough and willing to take a step further into deeper, darker, less travelled territory, to see a bigger picture, often resulting in a greater masterpiece.’
- Ironwood (Jun 4-13 / Dec 2-11) – Tree of discipline, order, and admiration.
When given this tree sign, one can be referred to as having a steady and sturdy enough foundation for further growth and development, both in themselves as well as enabling the same in others.
- Fig (Jun 14-23 / Dec 12-20) – Tree of balance, expression, and diversification.
A tree sign such as this one loves to explore yet always has a sense of their solid roots. They can discover much more than what their world offers while still maintaining their native spirit.
- Oak (Mar 21 Spring Equinox) – Tree of boldness, stability, and individualization.
Someone with this tree sign will more than likely become bolder, brighter, and better than their peers. This can be successfully done as they never lose sight of their own sense of self-worth.
- Birch (Jun 24 – 3 days after the Summer Solstice which is Jun 21) – Tree of creativity, action, and illumination.
When given this tree sign, one always creates the love, life, and laughter that they desire in their universe. They are not afraid to embrace their own power and they do so with pure progress.
- Olive (Sep 23 Autumn Equinox) – Tree of logic, reason, and rationalization.
A tree sign such as this one prefers to know the truth as well as the mystery. In doing so, they make good sense out of what often makes absolutely none whatsoever, to discover greater wisdom.
- Beech (Dec 21 Winter Solstice) – Tree of skill, resourcefulness, and preservation.
Someone with this tree sign is highly gifted in matters of discovering and carefully preserving. They make use of what others often deem useless, to show a greater knowledge and understanding.
And then, you have this one which I found on maryjones.us I believe she took directly from Robert Grave’s Birth Tree calendar as it is the one we go by ourselves:
Beth (Birch) December 24 to January 20
Luis (Rowan) January 21 to February 17
Nion (Ash) February 18 to March 17
Fearn (Alder) March 18 to April 14
Saille (Willow) April 15 to May 12
Uath (Hawthorn) May 13 to June 9
Duir (Oak) June 10 to July 7
Tinne (Holly) July 8 to August 4
Coll (Hazel) August 5 to September 1
Muin (Vine) September 2 to September 29
Gort (Ivy) September 30 to October 27
Ngetal (Reed) October 28 to November 24
Ruis (Elder) November 25 to December 22
December 23 is not ruled by any tree for it is the traditional day of the proverbial “Year and a Day” in the earliest courts of law.
As I said, there is a quite noticeable difference in the trees and dates from only these two examples. The reason for this is simple. The Ogham consists of 25 trees. Each tree has a mark which has a name. Only 13 Ogham and trees are used in the Birth Tree calendar. And the other thing is, the Ogham came before the CBTC, not created for it. Some seem to think that the series of marks were written by the Druids on stone or pieces of wood, most likely corresponding to their Ogham, however, it is also pretty well known that the Druid never wrote a dicky bird, their knowledge was always passed down by word-of-mouth. Mr Graves created a rigid 28-day cycle for each month of his calendar which gave it a thirteen-month spread, although all calendars that I’m aware of had 12 months of varying amounts of days, going by the lunar cycle. The year did not begin with Happy New Year celebrations as we know it today. The New Year begins with Winter Solstice…well, the “month” does stretch into January.
Some eclectic Neopagans are influenced by Robert Graves’ “Celtic Tree Calendar”, which has no foundation in historical calendars or actual ancient Celtic Astrology. Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans reject it utterly as a complete fabrication with no historic basis. Whilst this may strike many as quite “new-age” and oh dear, there go those pesky Wiccans trying to make Paganism theirs, what of it? Most people whom have read their CBTC meaning for their birth month see themselves in the reading, 100%. The readings do resonate with the people born in those months. As a Hawthorn, I certainly see myself in the meaning: passionate, creative, curious, great listeners, insightful, funny, and great at seeing “the big picture,” but you may not truly know who they are.
Enjoy it. Everything was new once, as we know. And if you pop by our shop, you just may find an ogham pendant for your birth month, if you are so inclined.
With thanks to
Druid Tree Lore – http://www.druidry.org/
Mary Jones – http://maryjones.us
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org