Irish Astrology and Modern Celtic Astrology
The existence of an ancient Celtic astrological system evokes a heated debate among scholars. Some claim there was none, while others turn to references made in ancient Irish texts. Others cite ancient Greek text acknowledging the Celts’ accomplishments in astronomy as proof that an ancient astrological system once existed. It’s documented that the astrology practiced by the Irish between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries was a form of Arabic astrology.
Celtic astrology, as known today, was created by the poet Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess (published in 1946). According to Graves, the Celtic lunar calendar comprised of thirteen months was the basis of Irish astrology. Graves’s book gave birth to a new astrology commonly accepted by the general population as the ancient Celtic astrology. Scholars claim that his tree zodiac is a misrepresentation of the ancient Celts’ belief systems. You must decide for yourself if Graves’ astrology has value.
In Celtic (Druid) symbolism, the moon represents the subconscious mind and hidden matters while the sun represents the conscious mind. The moon is the repository of the subconscious mind where true knowledge of past lives resides. Using the lunar calendar, Celtic astrology unlocks your past life memories and other hidden mysteries.
Lunar Months Signs
Each lunar calendar month, thirteen in all, is assigned a tree symbol. The trees’ energies are said to be revealed through the Tree Alphabet.
The Ogham (commonly pronounced Oh-m) glyphs are the only written form left by the Druids. Graves created an alphabet by assigning a different tree for each of the twenty letters (a series of markings).
Druidism respects nature and your place within the world. Like other tribal cultures, the Celts lived in harmony with nature. They believed in energy and that all living matter had energy. This belief stretched beyond the physical world into the supernatural world. Druidism espoused the ideology of creating balance between opposites. This oneness is symbolized by the joining of male and female energies.
The Celtic Astrological Signs
According to scholar, Peter B. Ellis, the Celtic calendar was similar to the Vedic one. Another aspect of Celtic astrology is the animal symbols used to depict the conscious mind. When the animal symbols are used in conjunction with the tree signs, a bridge is formed between the conscious and subsconscious mind. In Western Astrology, the animal zodiac would be called the rising sign.
Below are two charts. The first depicts the Celtic tree, alphabet, dates and meanings. The second gives the Celtic animals for each sign:
|Tree Sign||Tree Alphabet||Dates||Meaning|
|Birch Tree||Beth||Dec. 24 – Jan. 20||Achiever|
|Rowan Tree||Luis||Jan. 21 – Feb. 17||Thinker|
|Ash Tree||Nion||Feb. 18 – Mar. 17||Enchanter|
|Alder Tree||Fearn||Mar. 18 – Apr. 14||Trailblazer|
|Willow Tree||Saille||Apr. 15 – May 12||Observer|
|Hawthorn Tree||Uath||May 13 – June 9||Illusionist|
|Oak Tree||Duir||June 10 – July 7||Stabilizer|
|Holly Tree||Tinne||July 8 – Aug. 4||Ruler|
|Hazel Tree||Coll||Aug. 5 – Sept. 1||Knower|
|Vine||Muin||Sept. 2 – Sept. 29||Equalizer|
|Ivy||Gort||Sept. 30 – Oct. 27||Survivor|
|Reed||Ngetal||Oct. 28 – Nov. 24||Inquisitor|
|Elder Tree||Ruis||Nov. 5 – Dec. 23||Seeker|
|Stag (Deer)||Dec. 24-Jan. 20|
|Cat||Jan. 21 – Feb. 17|
|Snake||Feb. 18 – Mar. 17|
|Fox||Mar. 18 – Apr. 14|
|Cow||Apr. 15 – May 12|
|Seahorse||May 13 – June 9|
|Wren||June 10 – July 7|
|Horse||July 8 – Aug. 4|
|Salmon||Aug. 5 – Sept. 1|
|Swan||Sept. 2 – Sept. 29|
|Butterfly||Sept. 30 – Oct. 27|
|Wolf||Oct. 28 – Nov. 24|
|Falcon||Nov. 5 – Dec. 23|
Celtic Signs and Meanings
The meaning of each sign is specific according to the energies it attracts and bestows to you.
- Birch: Achiever – Motivates you to achieve and become a leader
- Rowan: Thinker – Sharp-thinker, visionary, original, creative
- Ash: Enchanter – Free thinker, imaginative, psychic, artistic, loner
- Alder: Trailblazer – Born pathfinder, explorer, risk-taker, doesn’t suffer fools
- Willow: Observer – Patient, intelligent, information collector, modest
- Hawthorn: Illusionist – Passionate, well-spring of creativity, sense of humor
- Oak: Stabilizer – Protective, nurturing, needs to feel in control, family-oriented
- Holly: Ruler – Noble, high ideals, academic, confident, leader
- Hazel: Knower – Organized, attention to detail, scientific
- Vine: Equalizer – Unpredictable, empathizer, charmer, artistic
- Ivy: Survivor – Giver by nature, spiritual, charismatic
- Reed: Inquisitor – Investigative, victim of gossip and mystery, seeks truth
- Elder: Seeker – Freedom-lover, thinker, bluntly honest
The following information is from ‘Mythical Ireland’.. in my search for relevance, I’ve found it to be an absorbing website: ie: all links will take you to their website, to denounce any ‘ownership’ of their informative site, have just offered a mere ‘snapshot’ of what is available there. Enjoy!
Ecliptic star groups in the Irish language
This old Irish zodiac was obviously heavily influenced by Greco-Latin ideals, and translated straight into Irish, although it is interesting that Leo is called ‘Cú’, The Hound, and not Leon, the Lion. There is some evidence to suggest constellation groupings like the bull constellation were perceived in ancient Ireland. Other constellations which were recognized as groupings include Orion (which was known in various forms, most notably Nuadu of the Silver Hand) and Cassiopeia and the Northern Crown. Cygnus, The Swan, was probably recognized as a constellation too. The Milky Way was known as ‘The Way of the White Cow, and has led Mythical Ireland to believe the ancient ‘river goddess’ Boann (illuminated cow) was in fact meant to be the Moon, and that Newgrange, which is known in Irish as Brú na Bóinne, is not just a construct designed to capture Winter Solstice sunrise, but also Full Moon rise at certain times of the lunar cycle. Brú na Bóinne could mean ‘womb of the moon’.
Early Irish Astrology – An Historical Argument: Interesting article by Peter Berresford Ellis. Note references to Milky Way, Bealach na Bo Finne.
|Dark Skies – Unraveling the cosmic vision of Ireland’s Ancient Astronomers. An article by Anthony Murphy published as the cover story in the July 2008 issue of Astronomy & Space magazine. With some wonderful images by Declan McCormack. The article looks at some of the issues affecting our appraisal of the capabilities of the astronomer builders of 5,000 years ago and examines some of the evidence pointing towards a more complicated knowledge than is currently acknowledged. From Newgrange to Ireland’s Stonehenge to the mountains of Sligo, we follow the cosmic trail left by our ancient ancestors. Click here to see the article.|
The ancient astronomical calendar – important dates
Sunrises for important calendar events
Sun events plus Lunar standstills chart
Sunswing – how the sun acts like a pendulum
SWEEPING THE HORIZON
The Sun acts like a kind of giant pendulum as it moves from its winter rising position through the equinox towards its summer rising position. At the solstices, the Sun is rising in virtually the same place for a few days as it stands still – hence the word ‘solstice’, which comes from latin ‘solstitium’ which means ‘Sun standing still’. As the weeks go by its rising position on the horizon changes more rapidly, and at the equinoxes, the Sunrise position is moving along the horizon at a rate of about half a degree per day – which is the equivalent of about one width of the Sun each day. The effect is that of a giant pendulum, swinging from one solstice to the other, slowing and stopping at each solstice, and moving quickest at the equinoxes. The above diagram is not accurate to scale, but gives a visual impression of the phenomenon. See this nice site for information about the solstice.