Celtic Symbol Meanings
The profoundly spiritual Celts found symbolism in all things, whether living, non-living, or completely unseen. Their culture has been famed for many centuries for the insightful outlooks that they have on typically overlooked things and events.
In addition to mimicking similar beliefs to other cultures and associating symbolism with plants, animals, and physical elements, the Celts designed their own unique symbols to be featured on jewelry, mandalas, crafts, clothing, and more.
However, the true meanings of their symbols are sometimes hard to track because the Celts did not rely on written records. Much of the understanding that we have today comes from stories that have been orally passed down through time.
Also, historians and archaeologists are capable of deducing a lot of the meanings based on cave drawings, other artifacts, and pure intuition. Here, we will explore some the most poplar Celtic symbols and why they were created.
Importance Of Number 3 In Celtic Symbolism
First, it is important to note that the Celts held the number three as sacred. Thus, many of there symbols were designed around the concept of this number.
The triskelion, meaning “three-legged” is iconic for Celtic culture. With three legs jetting out to imitate running legs, this symbol was a masculine symbol typically standing for competition and physical progress.
The Arwen, or “three rays” symbol is another that follows this theme. The first and third rays are symbolic of male and female energy while the central ray serves to balance them- think yin and yang, Celtic style.
Finally, the triquetra is certainly the most identifiable of the Celtic symbols of three. It is commonly referred to as the trinity, for it always represents themes that come in trifold, such as mind, body, and spirit.
From a celestial standpoint, the triquetra signifies the three worlds: Other (for spirits, gods and goddesses), Mortal (for humans, plants, and animals), and Celestial (for other unseen energies). As you can see, with the Celts, three wins.
Other Important Celtic Symbols
Celtic Spiral Symbolism
Another common theme in Celtic symbolism is the spiral symbol, in various forms. When looked at quite literally, the spiral’s symbolic value focuses on its extending curvature. The outward growing is interpreted as the outward radiation of energy.
Depending on the perspective and intuition of the viewer, it could also be moving inward, toward the center point. Spirals come in different overall shapes. A single spiral is symbolic of growth, birth, and an expanding consciousness and awareness.
A double spiral meaning, with curvature on both ends of the line, is symbolic of the balance all of us require to live happily, healthily, and mindfully; it also refers to the natural equinoxes that occur during the year.
To go even further, a triple spiral appears (you guessed it) as three lines, each with their own spiral at the ending. Here, the powers and energy of the three phases of female life are represented: maiden, mother and crone. Throughout the three phases, the feminine energies grow more powerful through growth and transition.
Celtic Meaning Of Circle
Circle are yet another commonality among Celtic symbols. They relied heavily on geometric combinations in their design of symbols. The never-ending circle is symbolic of eternity and the infinite. It also reminds us that everything in life grows through transitional cycles.
The circle meaning can stand alone or be incorporated into other symbols, like the Five-fold. As a pattern that signifies balance, the Five-fold is a combination of five circles. The four outer circles represent each of the four physical elements while the middle circle unites them all. By pulling them all together, the central circle balances each of the elements out.
Celtic Christianity Symbols
Lastly, as a religious people, the Celts had symbols that were connected to religion. After the arrival of Christianity, crosses could be found as an emblem on almost anything. They typically contain versions of the Celtic knot (another symbol of continuity and a representation of their rich history) in the middle and on the outward-reaching branches.
Celtic cross symbolize a bridge between this life and what comes next, Earth and Heaven. At the crossroads on the cross, a ring circles around to signify infinite love.
As said before, no one can be entirely certain of the Celtic symbols’ meaning. While there is some concrete evidence for each and every emblem, your own intuition and vision is what will be most beneficial to you. Use it and listen to yourself while invoking the message of Celtic symbols. If something speaks to you, you can trust its message, for it is for you and you alone.