6x6 relief carved Celtic ceramic tree tile
The worship of one of man kinds most potent symbols, the tree was widespread in nearly all parts of the world where they grew. They are the embodiment of life where the heavens, earth and water unite and an axis around which the universe is organized. Believed to be infused with an abundance of divine creative energy, forests came to symbolize mystery and transformation.
In the Druid calendar January 25th to February 3rd is represented by the cypress tree. A very long lived evergreen cultivated since pre historic times for it's fragrant wood, the cypress has long been associated with the protective aspect of death and garlands and wreathes of it's branches represent eternal life. Know by the ancient Greeks and Romans as the 'mournful tree', sacred to rulers of the underworld and their associates, It was customary at funerals for mourners to carry sprigs of cypress as a sign of respect to those gods and goddesses. There was a story that the tree was named after a favorite of Apollo, Kyparissos, who after accidentally slaying Apollos beloved stag, remorsefully asked the gods to punish him with everlasting gloom. They granted his wish and turned him into a cypress tree. Linked to the elemental earth, the cypress tree is strongly connected to Cybele, the Phrygion goddess of earth, caves and wild animals. But despite the many sorrowful aspects of the cypress it also represents life after death and it's fragrance is said to ease emotional transitions that are a part of life, helping to lift the spirit out of the introspection of grieving and back into the light, reminding us, in the words of Chief Seattle 'There is no death, only a change of worlds'