There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

faith, hope, love and luck

WHEN I mentioned photographing the four leaf clovers Jon and I found last year, my Irish friend Patrick Brady was quick to say, "not to nitpick, but shamrocks only have three leaves. Saint Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Pagans about the Holy Trinity." I guess I've never really made that distinction, so I won't dispute my good friend, or push my luck. After all, he challenged me to create the St. Patrick's Day tree you see here. He's been very supportive of my blogging efforts. And this is my way of returning the favor while celebrating his Irish heritage along with him. Whether Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, or all the Pagans, it matters not—I prefer not to make comparisons. Snakes can be as beneficial as a good Pagan in Mother Nature's mix.

IT IS SAID that the four leaves of a lucky clover stand for faith, hope, love and luck. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit represented by a three leaf clover (or shamrock) could also use a little luck in my book—just as any concept of faith—it's always inherent in the very nature of believing in the supernatural. It is a leap of faith (and a little luck) that helps one resolve any set of beliefs. Most Pagan traditions have been disguised in subsequent Christian traditions. Four leaf clovers were Celtic charms predating Christianity and believed to be potent against malevolent spirits. This is how the power to bring good luck comes into play. It is obvious that the rarest form of clovers has four leaves. So, I'll leave my luck at that.

THE  IRISH  FLAG colors of green, white and orange together are quite cheerful. I've seen a few pop up in the neighborhood in the last few days and think how fresh they look against the pale blue/gray of the spring sky. With this Saint Patrick's Day tree, I wanted to use this vibrant color combination in full. And I usually prefer to leave the conical shape of an evergreen tree for the winter holidays. 

THE SEVEN sacred trees of the Irish culture are oak, hazel, apple, yew, ash, holly and pine. Each clan of Ireland centered around such a Chieftain tree totem. The forests were revered because they gave so much sustenance, while supporting the Old Irish in mind, body and spirit. It's no wonder they are so rooted in the Irish psyche. Because of this, I wanted a tree that that formed an iconic shape most commonly thought of with such trees, and I was lucky enough to find one that I could modify. 

THE HISTORY of ancient Ireland is steeped in the lore of supernatural beings and home to ancient artifacts and structures dating back to 3100 B.C., Ireland's prehistoric passage-tombs are in the historical realm of England's Stonehenge or even the Egyptian pyramids. So it seems there's a lot more Irish culture to explore than the Saint Patrick's Day holiday. This only scratches the surface of the rich history of Ireland. I'll need lots of hope, faith, love and luck to find out more and continue my quest to bring historical relevance to the art of the decorated tree.

COLORS OF THE CLAN | (Above, right) This tree is composed using a wire tree made "ancient" from Pier One Imports. I reshaped this tree sold as an Easter tree, by brushing off most of the glitter and straightening out the curled stems. The cylindrical ornaments representing the Irish flag are from Department 56 and the small green ornaments tied with thin orange ribbon were found at Marshalls and on Ebay. The glass shamrock ornament hanging from the table drawer pull is a KD Vintage design from Bayberry Cove. At the base of the tree lies a stem of Bells of Ireland tied with a kelly green ribbon.

IRISH SYMBOLS | (Above, left) The glass shamrock ornaments are by KD Vintage and from Bayberry Cove. The two small four leaf clover ornaments and indent ornament (a four leaf clover within the indent and shamrock design glittered on the exterior) were found on Ebay. The small reproductions of Saint Patrick's postcards were bought from Bayberry Cove and are from the Annie Schickel collection.

GOOD LUCK CHARMS | (Right) These four leaf clovers found by Jon and I last year during a streak of good luck (in close succession), were pressed in a hiker's flower press from Martha Stewart's defunct Martha by Mail catalog.

 photography and styling by Darryl Moland


  1. I never saw Saint Patty's Day look so attractive!!

  2. So inspiring and thoughtfully edited... love it.
    Matthew Mead