This is going to be a tricky write, I have a feeling! For most of us who go by Robert Grave’s Ogham trees from the Celtic Birth Trees list, we all know that the tenth lunar “month” is Vine and its Ogham “Muin”, the 10th letter. However, as I noted in my travels to research this “tree” or lack thereof, I find that the Vine is not necessarily meant to be a vine of the grapevine type after all! The Druids classified anything with a woody stalk as a tree, and so therefore it is listed vines amongst the sacred Ogham ranks. Furthermore, grapevines typically come to mind when discussing vines, but it was more likely the Blackberry vines that captured the hearts of the ancient Celts. In my findings, Muin does not mean “vine” but according to Robert Graves means any thicket of thorny, winding bramble of plant and which further supports the idea that Blackberry, which is a prolific plant in most of Europe and the British Isles, is the likeliest for Muin. And, as the Ogham alphabet originated in Ireland, it is also less likely that it means vine – such as in grapevine – because grapes had never, at that time at least, been successfully grown in Ireland. However, as we can use Vine or Blackberry interchangeably for Muin, we shall stick to Vine for the writing of this blog. Also, before I move on and forget to mention, Vine is the Celtic Birth Tree for those born between 2nd September and 29th September.
It is widely thought by some that Vine is the correct source of wood for Muin because of the grape and wine. Wine has been used for centuries for both Pagan and Christian ritual. Writer Erynn Rowan Laurie, Authoress of Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, reckons Muin pertains to communication whilst Liz and Colin Murray, The Celtic Tree Oracle, say Muin is about prophecy. John Michael Greer, a neo-pagan American author, writer of The Celtic Golden Dawn: An Original & Complete Curriculum of Druidical Study, agrees all round but also believes Muin is a stave [or few as some call it] of not only insight but intoxication, as well. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you drink enough wine, you will have some great insights from your intoxication…and most of us are very communicative at the time! Mind you, I don’t think this is what they have in mind…Although, Robert Graves does say that the grape is indicative of “joy, exhilaration, and wrath”. He also says that wine is the “poet’s drink” of “poetic inspiration” and may send one “spiralling towards immortality”.
I think you may now understand why I thought this may be a difficult write. There is little, if any agreement upon the meaning of Muin, not even the wood can be agreed upon!
The Celtic meaning of the Vine in Druid lore is rife with symbolism. The Vine is a theme repeated over and over in Celtic art. Interconnections and winding vines are commonly seen on tapestries, writings, knot work and carvings. This indicates the symbolism of connection, eternity, and diversity. – Rebirth and Reincarnation
In the Druid perspective, the Vine earned its symbolism from its growth patterns. They recognised the Vine grows opportunistically and would dig in wherever feasible to gain a strong foothold to assure its own growth – Protection
This is a powerful metaphor of “going with the flow” or “start as you mean to go on”. In other words, it is a message that when we observe the best of our environment/situation and stay in a relaxed, flowing state of mind, we can most likely gain our highest advantage. – Spirituality
The ever-watchful Celts also recognised the Vine’s predominant growth formation is in the shape of a spiral which is symbolic of consciousness, development, renewal, and growth. – Regeneration
You can use Vine in protection poppets, incenses, and witch bottles like any other wood as well as to make amulets from.
And, of course, Vine makes a great wand 😊 Just ask Hermoine Granger!
Energies: rebirth, reincarnation, regeneration, spirituality, and protection
Gender: Masculine and Feminine
Deity: Considered sacred by the Tuatha De Danaan Gods of Irish Mythology
Animal: White Swan
Many thanks for reading and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about Vine. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, by Erynn Rowan Laurie
The Celtic Tree Oracle, by Liz and Colin Murray