Trees, Sacred Beings
“Druids are named after trees because they inhabit remote forests“.
This is the definition that Pliny the Elder gives of the Druids, providing a further explanation of the indissoluble bond that also etymologically binds the Sages of the Celts to the Trees.
We could cite countless examples: the ancient Irish alphabet was remembered by assigning the name of a tree to each letter, and it seems, moreover, that in all Celtic languages the word tree meant “letter”.
But where does so much love for these beings come from?
Geology has shown that the Tree can rightly be considered an evolutionary achievement.
It took over 4 billion years to create the Trees. In the chain of species, the Tree is a perfect living sculpture, a challenge to the force of gravity. It is the only natural element in constant motion towards Heaven. It grows without haste, attracted by the Sun, which feeds its leaves. Firmly anchored to the soil, which it helped to create with its organic residues. The Tree is, therefore, too, a Co-Creator Creature.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the Celts was associated with the Divinity. Certainly the Celts believed that the Divine Spirit permeated everything, but the sacredness of the Woods was due to the fact that they were aware that the trees captured within them the energy of the Earth and that of the Universe, elaborating them and creating a perfect alive alchemy, and through their whole being: the trunk, the bark, the leaves, the roots, the resin, the branches, their magnetic field itself, propagated to the world that beneficial energy, which we scientifically call oxygen, but which is something more complex and ancestral.
The Trees were the Center of the Universe, they were the Axis Mundi: let’s think of the Irminsul (The Cosmic Tree according to the Germans), and the Yggdrasil (The Cosmic Tree of the Vikings), which supported the 9 worlds of Nordic Cosmology.
The Yggdrasil, in particular, was represented in a very particular way: its roots expand underground and approach the ground, thus joining mystically with the branches, which in their rise to Heaven, expand until they descend towards the soil. Roots and branches thus create a magical and perfect Circle that unites all the 4 elements: the Air, which is the element in which the Branches are immersed, and which is breathed by the leaves, the Earth, which is the habitat and the nourishment of the roots, the Water, which is absorbed by the Tree with all its Being, the Fire, which is the sap that runs through it and above all the Sun whose energy it transforms. And there is also the fifth element: The Ether. That is, that Energy of the Cosmos to which the Tree is invisibly connected and is its Bridge.
There are also the Runes. Hosted by branches and roots, in permanent movement, and therefore, in continuous transformation and evolution. A Rune that transforms into another Rune, which in turn evolves to always give life to new Atemporal Cycles.
Not surprisingly, the Norns (or the Nordic Fates) engraved the Runes on the trunk of the Cosmic Tree so that Destiny flowed through the entire Tree and reached the person to whom it was, in fact, Destined. And Odin discovered the Runes precisely out of the desire to possess the same power as the Norns, and sacrificed himself to himself by hanging upside down on the Yggdrasil.
The Trees, in fact, are messengers, and the Celts had the Key to interpret them. This explains why the Druids had altars in the middle of the Forests, and why they did not officiate any ritual if they were not under an oak, considered to them the most sacred of the elements in nature, precisely because its magnetic field protected, purified, favoured the connection with the Universe, and inspired the values of strength, wisdom and solidity to the whole clan.
Do you know how the Druids recognized a sacred place? They walked in the woods, among the trees, until they encountered a spontaneous glade. They knew that this was the sign that indicated the presence of a very particular Telluric and Cosmic Energy. There they felt the place, and after making the measurements, they identified the exact point where to place the Menhir that would be their altar.
This is the Nemeton, or the Temple, the Sanctuary, for the Celts, and naturally all the sacral symbols lived in it:
– The Tree: the Axis of the World;
– The Glade: the world of the living, the Earthly Circle, in which the OIW, or the immanent Divine Spirit, manifests itself;
– Earth: the Forces of Nature;
– The Sun: the Celestial Circle, the element that hosts the OIW in its Celestial manifestation, and which mystically joins the Glade, the Earthly Circle, giving life to the Dragon Dance;
– Fire, or the Dragon: Knowledge, the Forces of the Universe;
– Air: symbol of the Aether, vehicle through which the Divine Words are transmitted. The Space in which Life happens;
– The Source: the Universe is born from the Void and gives Life to the Creation that manifests itself in fluid and cyclical dimension of Time;
– Water: the plasma energy of the Universe, transmits Life and unites all living beings in a single essence. For this reason, the magical and therapeutic rituals that the Druids performed with the element of water affected all living beings;
– The Starry Sky: the entire Universe, the Mystery of God.
Also, the Druids were Healers thanks to the Wood, because they knew that Trees and plants heal.
And if we think about it, our entire pharmacy exists because it has chemically synthesized the components that plants give us free and in abundance.
The Mystique of the Tree was, in the Celts, very deep, and only very recently has science been able to give a new reading.
Plant bio-neurology has in fact shown that plants see even though they don’t have eyes, breathe even though they don’t have lungs, hear even though they don’t have hearing, speak even though they don’t have a mouth, transmit and receive even though they don’t have touch, they are gifted with intelligence, despite not having the brain. They walk, despite having no legs, and they do so over the generations.
In short, plants have all our “abilities”, even though they do not have specific organs like us human beings. And they have feelings, even if they do not have the “heart”, because they react to the emotional stimuli they receive, and they can also fall ill with sadness and die of depression, or on the contrary live luxuriantly with little food if they feel loved.
Science has also shown that the forest is not the sum of the trees and plants that inhabit it, but is a multiple organism in its own right, made up of those trees and plants, but with a collective consciousness of its own which is larger than the sum of the same.
A Living Entity, therefore, as the Druids believed, capable of Communicating, Healing, Growing, Co-Living, Elevating the human beings who, with respect, inhabit it.