A comprehensive guide to Celtic Symbols. All you need to know about the symbols, emblems and icons associated with the wonderful Emerald Isle. Information and facts on different symbols including Shamrocks, Crosses and Designs, find out about the meanings and origins of these ancient symbols. There are a huge number of symbols that are associated with the people of Ireland, learn about the history and origins of some of the most popular items which symbolize Ireland.
The meaning of each individual symbol is unique, perhaps this is why they are such a popular choice? Regardless of a person's heritage, Celtic or not, the symbols represent love, loyalty, friendship and religious belief to name just a few! They make perfect tattoo designs, pendants, rings, ornaments and so much more, after all a picture speaks a thousand words!
Meaning of Symbols
A symbol is something that represents something else through association or resemblance. There are hundreds of symbols and each has its own unique meaning. In Medieval times almost everything seen by man had a meaning attached to it.
Even numbers had meanings attached to them, the Creator's Star or Star of David has six points to represent the six days of the creation of the world.
Some symbols seen on ancient manuscripts were for decorative purposes only such as the swirls and interlacing ribbon patterns used to decorate initial letters and section breaks in illuminated manuscripts. The Trinity Knot symbolised the trinity, each of the three sides representing one the three distinct persons, God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Knot - Meaning of Symbols
The Trinity Knot is also known by the name 'Triquetra' which means triangle and means a three-cornered shape. It is a popular feature in Celtic art, more specifically in Insular art. Insular art is believed to have originated from the Irish monasticism of Christianity in the early middle ages.
A famous example of Insular art can be found in the beautiful illustrated manuscript, the 'Book Of Kells'. Insular art is popular in illuminated manuscripts (such as the Book of Kells) as well as metalwork and stone carvings, indeed many Celtic crosses feature this type of illustrative art work. Today, the Celtic Trinity knot is often found in Celtic jewelry where the beautiful knot pattern is used in necklaces, wedding and engagement rings.
Celtic Knots - Types of Symbols
Most of the decorative knots used in Celtic design are either endless knots or basket weave knots. Insular art can be found in many ancient illuminated manuscripts as well as stonework such as crosses and monuments where the knots were used for design purposes. Endless Knots are symbolic knots representing eternal love and friendship, the knot has no beginning or end so is also often interpreted to mean eternal life. Basket Weave Knots are a series of different knots which all follow a pattern of one over, one under and lie in a rectangle shape.
Celtic Patterns - Symbols
Celtic Patterns are made up from a variety of different components including mythical animals, interlacing ribbons, knots, and swirls. Zoomorphic patterns incorporate animals in the design and were frequently found in ancient manuscripts Celtic Patterns are extremely popular choices for tattoo designs, different knot work and patterns can be incorporated in a single design, ideal for a unique tattoo.
The Cross is ultimately the most well known Christian symbol ever! Crosses are the Christian symbols or seals that people all over the world recognise no matter what their religion is and remind Christians everywhere that Jesus died on a cross.
Celtic Crosses are beautifully decorated crosses and are found all over Ireland, they are commonly found in church grounds, holy ground and in graveyards all over the country. Celtic crosses feature many different patterns, such as spirals, interlaced ribbons and knots. Unlike Celtic manuscripts they are unlikely to feature mythical animals or plants and instead may have some Christian symbols such as the chi-rho which was originally a pagan symbol adopted by Christians.