Celtic Symbols and Meanings
What is it about Celtic culture and the symbolic meanings of their icons that have us so enthralled even centuries later?
Of course, just wanting to know what’s beneath that kilt is tantalizing enough…
However, the sheer volume of Highland Games, SCA events, movies, music, and other forms of Celtic mystique that today’s culture craves attests to the Celtic mystique’s spellbinding power.
Furthermore, Celtic symbols are at the top of the “most requested tattoo art,” which says a lot.
While we don’t have any scientific evidence to explain why this happens, we know that the world still cries at the end of Braveheart and that children in the 2,000s understand what the “Quickening” is.
Brigid’s/Brigid’s Cross Meaning
Brigit (also known as Brigid) is the daughter of the Dagda, according to Celtic mythology. She is revered as a triple goddess and protectress who lavishes her blessings on all living things. Brigit, according to legend, wove across after her father died. In the Christian version, she told the dying man, who had been baptized just moments before his death, the story of the cross. Earlier in Pagan history, the cross symbolized the four principal festivals of the year and the center of time. Brigit’s cross, in particular, is associated with the beginning of the breeding season for animals.
Brigit’s cross can be found on sacred wells, trees, and various works of art throughout Celtic regions, protecting the land, nature, and people. It is customary to make Brigit crosses out of rushes on her feast day, February 1, which should never be cut. Instead, they’re gently pulled, woven, and hung from a home’s doors to ward off evil.
Celtic Cross Meaning
Depending on the region, superstitions, and artistic representations, there are many different perspectives on what the Celtic Cross represents. It is commonly associated with God’s eternal nature and the halo of saints and angels in Ireland. People may tell you in other places that the Druids created these as phallic emblems added to the cross to neatly conceal their true meaning from those who are hostile to pagans.
According to the modern interpretations influenced by the New Age movement, it is a solar symbol that Christians later adopted with a different story more appropriate to their faith. They might deduce that it represents the four cardinal directions or the four main elements. Historians struggle to pinpoint the exact origins of the symbol because it is an ancient symbol that appears in multiple cultures and belief systems.
According to legend, St. Patrick spoke while standing in the circle of a Lunar Goddess. The Celtic Cross was born when he drew a Latin cross in the process. Co-opting was expected because it aided conversation.
Chevron Meaning & Symbolism
Chevron is an ancient symbol that looks like a v-shape. It can be found in various places, such as heraldry, flag designs, pottery, and architecture.
The Celts used the shape to identify a warrior or hunter and someone in the community who was a builder. In general, the Chevron symbol represents selfless service.
As its peak and “sloped arms” resemble a roof, this Celtic symbol can also represent the peaks and valleys in our lives. It also serves as a symbol of protection.
Claddagh Ring Meaning
In a nutshell, the Claddagh ring features two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. According to legend, the first ring of this type was created for two people separated by an ocean as a symbol of unity, love, companionship, and faithfulness.
Ever the Scorpio, I discovered a rich history, so deep when I started looking into this ring’s symbolic meaning that I dedicated an entire page to the Claddagh Ring meaning, history, and how to wear it.
Celtic Eternity Knot Meaning & Symbolism
Knotwork is a standard design found in Celtic art. The unbroken lines that make up any piece are the most crucial element.
The Path of the eternity knot is closed. Because it has no beginning or end, it symbolizes changeless, eternal cycles such as time, enlightenment, and, of course, love and friendship. The symbolism becomes a unity of kindness and wisdom where the knot crosses.
This Celtic symbol also represents the duality of male and female, yin and yang, and faith vs. worldly things.
Celtic Maze & Labyrinth Meaning & Symbolism
The Celtic Maze is a prehistoric maze with many pathways. On the other hand, a traditional labyrinth has only one Path that winds around to a central point before returning outward.
It is said that when using the pattern as a meditative or prayer tool, one should release burdens on the way to the center of the pattern (symbolizing the Monad), then accept what you most need on the way out. Some of these patterns were created specifically for that purpose and appeared in ancient churches.
Both emblems are linked to the patterns of our lives and the challenges we face no matter which Path we take.
Celtic Quaternary Knot Meaning & Symbolism
The Quaternary Knot is a four-sided knot that is less well-known than the Celtic Knot.
The four sides, according to most experts, have distinct meanings. According to some, Imbolc, Lughnasadh, Beltane, and Samhain are the four major Celtic festivals. Others believe the sides correspond to the four main Gospels, elements, or even directions.
There’s also the possibility that the Quaternary knot represents the Tuatha treasures – the Sword, Cauldron, Stone, and Spear.
Celtic Shield Knot Meaning & Symbolism
Any Celtic knot with distinct corner areas can be identified as a Celtic shield knot. They are usually square-shaped emblems within a circle, but they can also be square-shaped emblems within a circle.
As the name suggests, a Celtic Shield Knot was used to ward off evil (keeping away). While the majority of people associate this design with the Celts, it is much older.
The horizontal and vertical arms combine to represent the link between the temporal and eternal, all of which is encircled by a circle that keeps everything in balance.