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From ancient times, people appreciated the spiritual value of trees, singling out individual trees for special veneration. In Ireland the roots of tree worship reach deep into pagan Celtic religion and spirituality.
This book explores the stories and legends of Ireland s sacred trees, of Fairy Thorns and Rag Trees, of Mass Bushes and Monument Trees, and reveals their spiritual, social, and historical functions from pagan times to the present. Revered landmark trees were meeting places to install chieftains, hear lawsuits, celebrate seasonal festivals, or to hold military, political and secret religious conventions. Sacred trees were channels of communication with the divine, through which seers and saints, poets and scholars gained insight and sacred knowledge. With their miraculous qualities and association with saints, trees became prominent features at pilgrimage sites.
The ancient notion of trees providing a link with the otherworld realms of death and spirits survived in the tradition of graveyard trees and the reverence for fairy trees. In words and images, this is a rich compendium about our relationship with trees, collating so many tree-related remnants of our pagan spiritual past and tree-related oral history into one place.