Little is known about the ancient and mysterious Celts, and one of the only things we have surviving of theirs are the symbols they used. Nearly everyone the world over can recognize a Celtic cross or knot, but few know what they mean.
Thankfully the mysteries that surround the Celts don’t surround their ancient symbols, and you can easily learn what they all mean. Whether you’re interested to learn about a cross, knot, or spiral, knowing what each Celtic symbol means will give you a more meaningful understanding of these people and what they believed.
- The Triquetra: Originally referred to as simply a ‘triangle,’ the triquetra is now more aptly called a three-cornered shape. While the symbol was found in insular art and even showed up in the Book of Kells, it was almost never seen by itself alone in the medieval Celtic language. This has made experts doubt that it was ever heavily used by the Celts, but that hasn’t stopped many people today from looking on it fondly.
- Celtic Cross: Associated with Celtic Christianity, the Celtic cross is in fact much older and was around long before Jesus. These symbols could be seen standing large on hills or in shaded forests, or even hanging about the neck of a Celtic priest. If the cross was standing, they were called a high cross or an Irish Cross. In fact, in Ireland there is a special story behind the Celtic cross which involves St. Patrick actually introducing the symbol to the country.
- Single Spiral: One of the most common symbols of Celtic culture, the single spiral stood for the radiance of ethereal or cosmic energy. Still, not everyone today is concerned with that, and most who wear this symbol do so because of its other aspects of birth, growth, perseverance, and knowledge. It truly is a great symbol for those wanting to move forward.
- Triple Spiral: Also called a triskele, the Celtic triple spiral is still found at several Megalithic and Neolithic sites. The symbol is thought to be so old that it may predate the Celts entirely. Whatever its origins, many people around the world consider it a symbol of great beauty and mystery.
- Celtic Knot: These seemingly endless knots are widely recognized today, but many people don’t know that they have their earliest beginning in Celtic culture. One of the most adapted symbols that translated over into Celtic Christianity, the knots were used heavily on monuments as well as manuscripts, such as the 8th century Lindisfarne Gospels and Book of Kells. Still, no religious or spiritual significance has ever been attached to the knots.
- The Triskelion: This symbol represented progress and completion, and was very prominent in Celtic culture. Looking like a wheel with three spokes sticking out, the triskelion is supposed to represent actions, cycles, and revolutions or competition.
- Circular Knots: While the Celtic knot looked endless, the circular knots actually are. They are meant to represent infinity or even eternity. The idea of lasting forever was very appealing, and still is to millions, and that’s why this design is still seen in the world today.
On this Page:
Symbolism of Celtic Design
The visual vocabulary of Celtic design expresses many messages. Those who are attracted to these symbols and designs in modern times and who choose to use the motifs of ancient times in today's world are often frustrated by an apparent lack of reliable information about their meanings.
In today's modern and fast moving world the idea of a link back to older times and with it perhaps the chance to feel just a small amount of pride and history for the past has led to the raise today in the interest in all things Celtic.
Ancient Celtic Symbols Information
Information on the Celts and Celtic symbols with jewelry and resources.
Dark Isle: Grave slabs and Pictish Symbols of Scotland
Pictures and information on several Pict Stones, Celtic crosses, and Cap stones in the Scottish region.
Celtic Symbology and Motifs
Geometric motifs have always prominent in Celtic artwork. Some of the motifs or symbols date back to 3000 BC and can still be seen today on stone carvings. Newgrange in Ireland, is one of the oldest burial mounds in Europe and is highly decorated with stone carvings depicting spirals, lozenges, chevrons and key patterns.
Celtic Art - wikipedia.org
Celtic art is ornamental, avoiding straight lines and only occasionally using symmetry, without the imitation of nature or ideal of beauty central to the classical tradition, but as far as we can understand it often involves complex symbolism.
Fantasy-Ireland's Irish Celtic Symbols Guide
What is the symbol of Ireland to you? There are plenty of Irish Celtic symbols that represent the forty shades of the Emerald Isle, and then some! From historical to mythical, they're all right here!
There are many modern 'politically correct' problems surrounding exactly what is Celtic and what is not.
Irish Celtic Symbols and Celtic Tree Astrology Signs
Topical information with pictures, meanings and descriptions of Irish Celtic Symbols, Celtic Tree Astrology Signs, Animal Symbols Mythology, etc used in the Celts ancient beliefs and customs. It also has lots of articles, a Celtic shopping Store, and some lovely (and free!) Screensavers of Celtic Art Designs, Happy Animals, Beautiful Flowers, Amazing Galaxies, etc.
Celtic Symbols Shine at Harvest Time
The symbolism of the celtic festival Lughnasadh heralds summer's end and reminds us of the rich symbolism to which we are heir.
Celtic Symbols of Ireland
Many would argue that Celtic Art is a living tradition. It experienced a revival over 150 years ago and the creative use of Celtic design has evolved ever since. This has led to the myth that there is a timeless consistency to Celtic Art and it's meaning.
Meanings of Celtic religious symbols, ancient and modern. Click on a thumbnail to view a larger picture, and the uses and meaning of the symbol. Symbols pictured include ancient (Druidic), Christian, and modern Pagan/ Druid symbols.
Celtic Art and Cultures - Image Search
View Images by period, material, number, object, country.
Celtic Symbols & Signs
Celtic symbols and Celtic signs hold tremendous meaning and power. Discover the history behind Celtic symbols in these pages.
Animal Symbolism in Celtic Mythology
Animals in Celtic and Welsh mythology are tied in with fertility and vitality, because they are living, moving, and growing.
Symbols Used in Northern Ireland - CAIN Web Service
Symbols used by both main traditions in Northern Ireland, Unionist and Loyalist symbols, Nationalist and Republican symbols, Flags used in Northern Ireland, Examples of symbols used in Loyalist murals, Examples of symbols used in Republican murals.
Four Leaf Clover - karenswhimsy.com
Copyright-free images of Four Leaf Clover for you to use in your art work.
Symbols in The News
Interpret this Symbol
Da Vinci Code
Meaning of Names
Symbols in the News
Tree of Life
Nine Pointed Star