The symbolism of the natural world
DOI link for The symbolism of the natural world
The symbolism of the natural world book
The religious beliefs of the Celtic world had their roots firmly within the concepts of animism and the sanctity of the natural world in all its manifestations. We have already seen-notably in discussions of male and female divine images-that deities were often represented accompanied by animals. Indeed the gods themselves could on occasions be semi-zoomorphic and some, like Epona, depended on beasts for their very identity. Divinities were associated not only with animals but with natural phenomena such as the sun, thunder, water, and trees. We know from inscriptions that divine entities could be identified with places-every mountain and stream was numinous and this is demonstrated by the topographical names of some spirits. This chapter is concerned with the iconography of these natural phenomena for themselves rather than their appearance in direct association with anthropomorphic images. There are two main groups of evidence: the first is animal symbolism; the second is concerned with inanimate phenomena-water, trees, and celestial emanations of which the most dominant is the sun.