Tree Planting Ritual

by Jennifer Cram (19/11/2019)  |  Categories:  | Naming Ceremonies | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Rituals |

Tree being planted by
                      two people
The ancient Celts believed that we all derive from trees and that our date of birth is interconnected with qualities found in nature. They thought that the season we were born in is privotal to the formation of our individual traits and tendencies. And that's why they linked each of the thirteen lunar months, representing the cycles of the moon to one of the sacred Celtic trees.

Even today, trees are regarded to be powerful symbols of growth and strength. They are planted to commemorate significant events - Royal visits, opening of new public buildings, anniversaries of important historical events, births, and as memorials.

The planting of a tree during a wedding, naming ceremony, or memorial ceremony is a powerful ritual that reflects the cultural practice in many parts of the world of planting a tree to commemorate significant event. A tree planting ritual is easy and simple to incorporate if you are holding the ceremony in your own backyard. If holding it elsewhere, including in an indoor space, the planting can be symbolic, in a pot, with the tree to be transplanted into its permanent location later.

A ritual you can make your own


Although tree-planting in conjunction with significant life-events is a practice with a long history, there is no "authorised" version, or gany symbolism that is specifically related to a particular culture or religion. You can therefore make it your own, adapting it to fit the tone, style, and traditions of your ceremony while acknowledging the universal symbolism of trees - taking root, growing, providing shelter. During the planting you can play music or have someone deliver a reading in addition to your celebrant talking about the significance to you of the tree species you have chosen,

Wedding Ceremony Unity Tree Planting


One way to include a tree planting in your wedding ceremony is as a unity ceremony, that is, an expression of joining two lives. The act of planting a single tree and then watering it together makes your intention to work and grow together visible to your guests. Choose a suitable tree for your location, and have your celebrant draw the comparison between your intentions for your marriage and the qualities of the particular tree species.  Adding soil from each of your childhood homes emphasises the unity aspect, two people joining their lives, but you need to take precautions so that you don't transport fire-ants or other nasties with the soil. If in doubt, don't transport or add soil from another area, other than commercially sourced potting mix.

The symbolic relevance of the tree can be highlighted by having a photograph taken next to the tree every anniversary to acknowledge and celebrate how your relationship has grown and flourished in lockstep with the tree.

Logistics of a Unity Tree Planting

Typically there are three parts to the ritual
  • the tree is acknowledged
  • the tree is planted
  • the tree is watered

You will need (minimum requirements)

  • the tree
  • a pre-dug hole (if planting in the ground) or a pot with some potting soil
  • two shovels (if planting in the ground) or two trowels (if planting in a pot)
  • a watering can and water. A jug can be substituted - the amount of water is symbolic

Naming Ceremony Tree Planting


Including a tree planting in your child's naming ceremony can provide a meaningful symbol if you choose a tree based on your hopes for your child - such as an olive tree for peace or an oak tree for strength. Or, if you wish, you could plant the symbolic Celtic tree that represents the month your child was born. If choosing a flowering tree, choose one that flowers around the time of your child's birth, or if a fruit tree, one that you harvest around that time. And definitely take a photograph of your child next to their tree on their birthday every year.

Logistics of a Naming Ceremony Tree Planting

Typically there are three parts to the ritual

  • the tree is acknowledged
  • the tree is planted
  • the tree is watered

However, once the tree is planted, parents, godparents, and/or guests can be invited to hang wishes for the child on the tree.

You will need (minimum requirements)

  • the tree
  • a pre-dug hole, (if planting in the ground) or a pot with some potting soil
  • a shovel (if planting in the ground), or trowel (if planting in a pot). Typically those involved in the planting take turns
  • a watering can and water, or jug of water.

Trees as Memorials


Planting a tree as a memorial, or giving a bereaved friend a sapling to plant in memory of their loved one, is both a celebration of the person and an acknowledgement of the wheel of life.

Celtic Tree Signs


    Birch - The Achiever (Dec. 24 – Jan. 20)
    Rowan - the Thinker (Jan. 21 – Feb. 17)
    Ash - the Enchanter (Feb. 18 – March 17)
    Alder - the Trailblazer (March 18 – Apr. 14)
    Willow, the Observer (Apr. 15 – May 12)
    Hawthorn, the Illusionist (May 13 – June 9)
    Oak, the Stabilizer (June 10 – July 7)
    Holly, the Ruler (July 8 – Aug. 4)
    Hazel, the Knower (Aug. 5 – Sept. 1)
    Vine, the Equalizer (Sept. 2 – Sept. 29)
    Ivy, the Survivor (Sept. 30 – Oct. 27)
    Reed, the Inquisitor (Oct. 28 – Nov. 24)
    Elder, the Seeker (Nov. 25 – Dec. 23)

Thanks for reading.

Jenny xxx Let's talk
                          soon about how you can have the best ceremony
< previous | contents | next  | get in touch >