Druidcraft: The meaning of ivy


This is my first post on this site and I would like to say thank you to all of the postings on this study group. I'm not sure if ivy has been discussed before but here goes.

My thoughts around ivy are summarised as follows:

Grows spirally therefore relates to the goddess energy, the cyclic rhythms of the universe, life/death/rebirth. The spiral of the self and the search for the self. Its power lies in its ability to cling and bind: determination and strength. Being evergreen it symbolises the perennial nature of life. Symbolic of the journey of the soul and the spiral towards the self but encourages us to offer assitance to others on this journey so that they in turn can assist us.

Ivy is related to the goddess Arianrhod a lunar goddess who opens the portal to the otherworld, the darkside of the moon.

Known as the poets crown and the wreath of Baccus where it was believed to protect against the delusions of alcoholic intoxication. Therefore has a protective function. Also associated with Dionysus (god of fertility, vegitation and ecstacy, perhaps a version of Cernnunos?)

Medicinal uses, although poisonous it was believed to aid in the bringing on of menstuation and a treatment for headaches.

Lessons of Ivy: Reminds us of the movement of the heavens and how this is reflected on Earth. Can bind all things together but where there is life there is also death. Shows the wandering of the soul in its search for growth. But be warned, be sure of the direction of your desires to avoid being ensnared by them.

Before the ascent into spirit can commence the descent into matter must be complete.

(above inspired from the following works: Wisdom of the trees by Jane Gifford, The celtic tree oracle by Liz & Colin Murray, http://www.novareinna.com/constellation/ivy.html)

Looking through this deck I can find Ivy on the following 5 cards:

Princess of Pentacles: I see a symbolic connection with the meaning of this card. To me she stands on a threshold and contemplates her current life and the choices she has to make, but she has direct access to the wisdom of the ancients and from her own past life/lives (I see a skull in the tree, the Tomb, spirals) ? menstrual blood on floor (transition) Ivy used to aid onset of menstruation.

From this I see the ivy as symbolic of the cyclic nature of life as shown in this card. The ivy gives determination and perseverence to her choices. How do thers see the relevence of ivy to this card?

Death: Ivy above cauldron reinforces image of the cyclic nature of the universe. Life/death/rebirth.

Rebirth: Ivy in foreground symbolic of rebirth and awakening to the light of the Sun. Spirals reinforce this cyclic nature.

The Lovers: Ivy symbolic of binding them in union? although the crown of ivy could be alluding to the protective nature of ivy. Warning of the need to be wary of the intoxication of life, love and union? The choice to surrender has been made but has the potential to become destructive.

Cernnunos: As in the lovers the male aspect wears the crown of ivy, Warning of the risks of obsession with the intoxication of life.

The Lovers and Cernnunos seem to be invoking the protective or warning aspects of ivy wearas the other cards seen to use ivy in its cyclical life/death/rebirth aspect.

Any thoughts?

Haunted Wood

Thanks for posting about this, I've been wondering lately about the plant symbolism that's in this deck. At first I didn't look much into it, but now I think that the plants, and trees have symbolic meanings that I can and should incorporate into my reading interpretations. Today I looked up the symbolism of the flowers on the princess of swords, and suddenly it made so much more sense. I keep noticing that snowdrops (a symbol of hope) are on quite a few of the cards, and mistletoe is on a few as well, as well as holly. I love that this deck has this whole rich landscape running through all of the cards. I really get a sense of seasons and the different times of year with this deck.

Early today I was looking up the meanings of plants and trees, and came across a good site, I think...not entirely sure how accurate the information is of course, as with a lot of internet sites, it might be better to hunt down some books about celtic symbolism and druidry instead. Which I intend to do one of these days...it's a pity that more about druidry, and particularly about the plant and tree symbolism, isn't included in the druidcraft book that comes with the deck. Here is what this site has written about the celtic symbolism of ivy - http://www.whats-your-sign.com/celtic-meaning-ivy.html It seems much in alignment with your ideas about the meaning of ivy.

I'd never noticed the ivy on the death card or the princess of pentacles before, thanks for pointing it out! About the crowns of ivy in the lovers and cernunnos, this site says that "Often, sprigs of ivy would be woven into chain necklaces or head adornments to represent clarity of thought as well as celebrate the vitality of nature surrounding them". This site also says that ivy is a symbol of survival and determination, because of the way in which ivy continues to grow even if you cut it right back, or if it is growing in harsh conditions, it isn't easily killed. Perhaps this idea relates to the death card? Perhaps the resilience to deal with the hard things in life, such as the death of a loved one perhaps, or a dramatic change and ending of some period in your life. The resilence of the human spirit to keep on keeping on. Ivy also symbolises immortality and eternal life so that might have something to do with the death card as well.


Hi Chris, welcome to the forum and thanks for your long and interesting post :)

Some of my own thoughts around ivy:

it is very sturdy and strong, it can grow on rocks or between stones where few other plants could grow.
A downside of this strength can be that it can overrule and not give other plants a chance to grow. Ivy does not need to feed off the tree it grows on, but it can smother it or take air, light and water that the tree needs too.

Ivy is a poisonous plant but its berries are not poisonous and are food for birds. Also, ivy provides an extra layer on a tree or a wall that forms a shelter for many crawly creatures. There is a whole mini-cosmos under the ivy plants.

Ivy helps nature re-conquer places. Old walls and buildings get overgrown with ivy that attaches itself with many tiny roots. if you try to remove the ivy, it always takes the mortar with it or it makes it crumble. It wedges its way in between stones and may cause them to split when it is strong enough.

I don't know if this is old news for you guys or not - but the team that made the Druidcraft also made the Druid Plant Oracle which, as the name says, concentrates on plants. The cards are beautiful and there is a lot of interesting plant lore in the book. If you love the DC you may love this one too :)

guy bannik

To me, Ivy is an ever green plant. The fact that it is one of those plants that has vibrant green leaves during white winter indeed, as statet in prior posts, suggest a conection to life, hope, immortality.

But I don't go further than that.

It's very exciting to see, how others see so much more than I do. It's very inviting.