New Beginnings 4: In An Irish Way

Celtic Symbolism

Many people have bought jewellery depicting a symbolic pattern supposed to be a Celtic design meaning, “New Beginnings”. Also, many people have been tattooed with this design, but unfortunately this symbol is apparently fake.


It is believed that it isn’t a Celtic symbol at all, but a ‘zibu’ symbol created a few years ago by an artist who claims to have received a series of symbols from the angels. This is discussed here and here

The Celtic Tree of Life (Crann Bethadh) would be a far better symbol to use as it represents the oak tree as an lasting sign of strength, wisdom and endurance. “New Beginnings” are reflected in the way the Irish Celts when forming a new community, planted an oak tree right at its centre , and it was called the ‘Crann Bethadh’, meaning ‘the Tree of Life’

‘As the oak trees were some of the largest and tallest trees in the forest, they frequently attracted lightning strikes. This was seen by the Celts as a sign from the gods that the tree was special.

As the tree grows old and rots, its acorn seeds ensure new beginnings so the tree was seen as immortal. The Celts believed that trees were their ancestors in a reincarnated state.’


Celtic Understanding Of The Circle Of Life

‘The Celtic and pre-Celtic cultures understood time as seasons of energy that flow into and out of each other in a circular and spiral way. Using this understanding of time, they created a calendar that reflected these seasons and the cosmological events that gave rise to them. The people who created and lived by this calendar understood life as an alternation of opposing forces – night and day, winter and summer, darkness and light – that constantly interact with each other.’


Irish Poets Look At New Beginnings

This is a beautiful poem by one of my favourite poets. He puts our thoughts, feelings and experiences into this poem and he doesn’t even know us. This shows what a great observer of people and life he was. Find ot more about him here

 John O'Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Here is another poem about “New Beginnings” by one of my favourite poet’s. Unfortunately, he like John O’ Donohue has passed on but his legacy remains.

“As a poet, Brendan Kennelly had forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people. He brought so much resonance, insight, and the revelation of the joy of intimacy to the performance of his poems and to gatherings in so many parts of Ireland. He did so with a special charm, wit, energy and passion.” 

President Michael D Higgins

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.

— From The Essential Brendan Kennelly

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