Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Silver Bough

The Symbolism of the Silver Bough:

So why the 'Silver Bough'?

A good question!

The Silver Branch is an important symbol in Celtic literature and culture, and a central theme of Celtic ‘shamanism’.
It is a musical branch, occurring in early surviving Celtic literature and folklore, laden with bells/magical birds/blossoms/apples/nuts/acorns,
often out of season, which combine to create the most beautiful and ethereal faery music,
lulling you into a healing sleep or enticing you to journey deep within or even beyond yourself…

It is also the hallmark or emblem of the Celtic poet: bronze, silver and gold branches all adorned with bells marked the different classes of poet.
It was shaken prior to storytelling, both to announce the beginning and also, perhaps, to alter the atmosphere…

The Silver Branch can also be seen as a passport into the Otherworld; a talisman almost always, in the stories, given to a mortal
by the Queen of the Otherworld or one of her Ladies to carry for safe travel and protection.

So the silver branch is very much a symbol of the Celtic Otherworld, calling us to explore this realm, which is a rich source of inspiration.
It is the initiatory call to adventure, to journey, to seek your truth.
It can be viewed as being a branch of the world tree, which is, of course, a way of bridging the worlds and travelling into other dimensions.
It has also been suggested that the silver branch may have been used in the Celtic lands as a rattle often is in other ‘shamanic’ cultures worldwide...

So, the silver bough branch is a great and inspirational symbol for the mythic arts!

© Susan Garlick of ‘DRAGONFLY MOON’ 2008


raspberry_ganymede said...

yay silver boughs!


Moon Frog said...

Don't you just wish you had a time machine, to be able to go back a couple of thousand years and watch the Bards of old in action?

Pity we probably wouldn't understand a word they said. =(

Shawn said...


It's Charles from Sacred Mists!!! I was googling(is that a word now a days?) information on the Silve Bough and I was SHOCKED to be greeted with your picture, and obviously your blog! LOL I'm going through the Oracle Studies Class of the Hidden Path and DG has us researching the Silver Bough! So... Thanks for posting info about it Sir... :)

See you around the Mists!