The ivy is considered a tree of reincarnation and eternal life due to the spiralling pattern of its grown. Like many other evergreens, it symbolizes the concept of eternity; a belief in everlasting life and resurrection after death. Because it is often found growing on dead and decayed trees, it came to represent the immortal soul –which lives on even after the body has returned to the earth. Yet at the same time, because it was often found in sites of death (including cemeteries and old tombstones) it was also viewed as an emblem of mortality. In some old beliefs, if ivy fails to grow on a grave, it symbolizes a restless soul; ivy growing abundantly on a young woman’s grave indicates death from a broken heart.
Like the vine, ivy was associated with Bachus/Dionysos.
Ivy was used in love divination at Samhain. An Irish rhyme involving nine Ivy leaves:
Nine Ivy leaves I place under my head
To dream of the living and not of the dead
To dream of the man I am going to wed
To see him tonight at the foot of my bed.
In Ancient Egypt the ivy was sacred to Osiris, and a safeguard against evil.
In folklore from the British Isles, Ivy is believed to be a bringer of good fortune, particularly to women.
Ivy represents protection, connections and friendships.
A winding path, which cannot be avoided, which leads to growth.
Hedera, commonly called ivy (plural ivies). On level ground they remain creeping, not exceeding 5–20 cm height, but on suitable surfaces for climbing, including trees, natural rock outcrops or man-made structures such as quarry rock faces or built masonry and wooden structures, they can climb to at least 30 m above the ground.
The name ivy derives from Old English ifig, cognate with German Efeu, of unknown original meaning. Old regional common names in Britain, no longer used, include “Bindwood” and “Lovestone”, for the way it clings and grows over stones and bricks.