What Is The Celtic Triquetra?
The Celtic triquetra is attached to a multitude of symbolic meanings. For that reason, we can find it throughout Celtic artistry. This symbol, also known as the “trinity knot” is meant to represent a trifold of things that are not independent of each other, a relationship of sorts. It may be to love, honor, and protect, as is commonly meant by wedding and engagement rings.
Alternatively, Celtic Triquetra can also symbolize the the phases of infinite life, or life, death, and rebirth. The number three is highly revered and represented throughout Celtic culture and tradition. Because of this, they found a plethora of triangle meanings to associate with their trinity. Some are Christian, some are Pagan, but most are of a completely non-religious nature.
Celtic Trinity Symbolism
The Christian versus non-Christian meanings differ only slightly and still hold some of the same core values. Once Christianity made its way to Celtic lands and St. Patrick saved the souls of Ireland – the trinity began to reference the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This can also be attributed to the fact that St. Patrick used a shamrock symbol to explain the same trilogy of entities.
Long before him, though, the Pagans and Druids took a slightly more Earthly, physical approach to the symbolism. Rather than describing deities and spirits, these people used the triquetra symbol to portray the natural elements of earth, air, and water. When the Druids and Pagans did opt for a more spiritual explanation, they viewed the trinity as a symbolizer of the trifold, three phase nature of existence: life, death, and rebirth. They also broke down the three-pronged trinity into symbols of the three character associations of Bridgit, who was a powerful goddess : art, metalworking, and healing.
Possessing these gifts was considered an honor, as you would receive them and live in this holy goddess‘s image. Spiritual as they were, there is also evidence of another analysis of the triquetra, one that divides the natural, spiritual, and energetic worlds. The Otherworld was where gods, goddesses, and spirits roamed, while the Mortal World was inhabited by humans, plants, and animals. The Celestial World contained all of the unseen energies of our universe.
Celtic Triquetra Symbolic Meanings
The trinity is also depicted outside the realm of organized religion in Celtic tradition. We often find this motif in Celtic knots as well as in symbolic form in emblems and artwork. This suggests that the symbol was present in the most ancient of Celtic minds. During that time (and since), the triquetra may have signified the lunar and solar phases, which were highly symbolic themselves. It has been found drawn on objects that have been found during archaeological digs, so we have quite a bit of proof to support this theory. Additionally, we know that the Celts worshiped a Great Mother Danu, who was a lunar goddess that assumed her form in the three lunar phases.
From a general standpoint, whether religious or not, the Celts applied several other meanings to the trinity that essentially boil down to a single theme: three separate entities that are interconnected. The traditional triquetra is also sometimes accompanied by a surrounding circle, which is a well-known symbol for eternity. This eternity can signify a deity’s infinite love or even just the true nature of life itself. Whatever it is, the circle adds even more significance to the trinity symbol.
As you can see, no single interpretation can claim to be right or wrong. Virtually anything that comes in teams of three can be represented and reflected upon while engaging with the Celtic triad. Apart from the religious and spiritual, the Celts used this versatile symbol to describe everyday events and emotions: power, intellect, and love; past, present, and future; thought, feeling, and emotion. None is more important than the other. Each represents a perfectly triangular balance that is necessary in our multi-faceted lives. The Celts truly were wise beyond their years.