Celtic Pou - Croabh Beatha Óg


Fine Artist - Douglas Chowns

The Young Tree of Life

Craobh beatha Óg translates from Gaelic as 'The Young Tree of Life.' The Pou is dedicated to Celts past and present who settled in Northland, New Zealand.

The Celtic Pou is the art of Douglas Chowns, realised with master carver Malcolm Adams, in collaboration with 16 teenagers representing their Celtic ancestors and families.

It was carved as a Feis nochdaidh (a revealing) between 15 and 22 January 2006, during Lughnasadh (a festival marking the beginning of the harvest season, celebrated in late January or early February in the Southern Hemisphere). The week long live-in was an introduction for the teenagers to their Celtic history, traditions, food, language, music and dance.

Each naive mark in the Totara reflects the age, skill and character of the untrained youngster handling a chisel for the first time. Collectively, these marks dedicate their personalities into the textures that surface this Pou.

With Celtic tradition the chisels, like swords, were named and marked - then broken on 2 February, the day of the aged eight-fold year - Lugnasadh.

The pou was raised in the sacred Celtic 3 position and dedicated during the Celtic winter festival of Samhain (a festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or 'darker-half' of the year.)



Craobh beatha Óg is a marker that stands on a world meridian - a global rose line due north and south that encircles the earth at this longitude. This is so the Janus heads at the top of the Pou look into each other's eyes on the other side of the world.

This meridian passes through the Gaidhealtachd, the Celtic homelands and seas of the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Breton, Cornish and Spanish Galicia - the modern fringe nations. Also close to Celtic England, French Gaul and the tribes of Helvetica and the Danube from where Celts came in BC.

Celts are encouraged to gather at ‘Craobh beatha Óg’, the Young Tree of Life, throughout the year to reflect on their origins with poetry, music and dance.

Craobh beatha Óg is not a carving - it represents the living force within the wood, acknowledged and traditionally touched by Celts for good luck.

Walk or dance around her clockwise to heal yourself. This is your focus to read a poem, sing or dance as and when you will. Never pass without a whispered or mental acknowledgement.


Please use her well . . .

With your back against the Pou in line with a head north or south on top - face the Gaidhealtachd (homeland) - beannachd (blessings).