celtic symbols

Celtic Symbols and their Meaning

Tiempo de lectura: 7 minutos

Celtic symbols and their meaning still run through in Europe. People of medieval Europe who took part of this age determined what the world is like today. However, little information is still known. Of all the ancient civilisations that existed, only a few are known in depth.

Celtic symbols and their ancient meaning

Celtic symbols and their meaning show a deep expression of everything related to human nature. These symbols have spread to all cultures throughout ages. Their symbols have also been discovered long before, in the caves of the Paleolithic. However, since the emergence of the Celtic civilization, more than 9000 years later, they have always accompanied us, guiding our spirit, our emotions and our intellect.

The Celts formed tribal societies that settled on the European continent and have left us mysterious symbols that have come down to us today. Today, you can see Celtic symbols on tattoos and much more. Celtic symbols and their ancient meaning have left us with many interpretations of the universe:

Trisquel

Celtic symbol of trisquel shows us an absolute balance of everything. Therefore, it was considered that it could offer us healing properties and it used to be related to divinity. The only bearers of this symbol were the Druids, and with it they transmitted continuous learning and eternal evolution.

Also, it was related to the three social classes of the Celtic culture: the druids, the warriors and the workers. In turn, the different stages of man’s life are represented: childhood, adulthood and old age. Or the past, present and future time. Finally, the three elements are also represented: earth, water and fire.

celtic symbol triskel

The triskel is symbolized by three spiral arms that join together in the center. It was a protective amulet and is still used for this purpose today. It was also used in healing rituals. We can find in Celtic history that the Celtic symbol of triskel had the ability to guide the souls of the deceased in the afterlife to be reunited with their loved ones.

Finally, we can also tell you that the druids used it to be able to enter a trance while they were drawing it. In this way, they connected with the gods, with their ancestors and with the spirits of nature. Another of their properties was to bring bad luck to their enemies, as well as storms and tempests.

Celtic cross

No one knows what the Celtic cross used to symbolize with certainty. Some scientists suggest that it has its origins in the pagan religions of Druids and Celts, who used to worship the sun god. Although the crosses were later used in the Christian religion, experts claim that their origin does not come from there, as the first one dates back to about 10 000 years ago. C.

There are interpretations that indicate that the straight lines symbolize masculinity and the circle femininity. These interpretations are due to a similar one in Hinduism, which refers to the union between the two sexes. For the Celtic civilization, the four directions are also represented through the cross: north, south, east and west.

celtic symbol celtic cross

In turn, the cross refers to the four gods who lived on it. Other interpretations tell us about the four seasons of the year, the crossing of the paths between the living and the dead, and the tree of life and the four elements.

Triquetra

Triquetra symbol is over 5500 years old. The triquette represents the female part of the universe, as well as the three natural forces: earth, water and air. In turn, the triquette represents the divinity of women, that is, the three facets of women: maiden, mother and old woman.

Also, it represents life, death and rebirth, as Druidism believes in the reincarnation of our essence. This idea was closely related to femininity, as for the Celts, women had the role of giving life and, in turn, carrying death. Therefore, this symbol was used in funeral and fertility rites.

In addition, triquetra represented eternity, equality and the indivisibility of all that is represented in the universe. It is a primitive conception that refers to chance and chaos theory. Furthermore, this symbol represents the three planes of consciousness: sky, sea and earth. Traditional Celtic philosophy also has a place in this symbol. In this way, the mental, the spiritual and the physical are reflected.

Triquetra celtic symbol

Years later, the Church took this symbol to make a representation of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this way, the symbol gradually lost its allusion to femininity in Europe. However, this conception also disappeared because the Inquisition attributed a satanic meaning to it.

Since the Crusades, those who used this symbol in pagan rituals, or who called themselves Druids, began to be persecuted and burned. Nowadays, you can see it as one of the most important Galician Celtic symbols. Also, it is seen in Ireland and Great Britain.

In these three places it is a tradition that men give a jewel to their wife or girlfriend with a triquette, as it represents the three promises of a relationship: to love, to honor and to protect. Triquetra is a Celtic symbol of love today.

Tree of Life

In the old days, Celtic tribes would select a settlement where they would found a village. This was always done around a large tree, as for them it was a sacred element in nature that would give their village good luck, protection and wisdom. That is where the name Tree of Life came from, which was one of the most relevant names for Celtic culture.

For Celts, tree of life represented the wisdom, strength and life of the forests and nature. Also, it was the symbol of the gods and had a very deep link with the forests, as they provided food through hunting and gathering. Also, it gave wood to be able to obtain heat feeding the fires and they contributed refuge.

tree of life

In Celtic culture, tree of life was a connection between the earth and the sky, as well as between the living and the dead. With this symbol, a relationship was established between the magical and the mystical with the earthly, and a representation of the incarnation was made.

Awen

Awen is one of the Celtic symbols of Neo-Druidism created by the romantic movements that exalted Celtic culture in the 18th century and one of the elements most valued by the Druid culture.

Awen is divided into two meanings: “Aw” which is translated as “fluid” and “In” which means “essence, spirit”, so its translation could be said to be spirit or fluid essence. This symbol is one of the most used for tattoos and is represented by three rays as a symbolic form of the energy that flows from the Gods to humans to give them inspiration. Remember that the number 3 is the magic number within the Celtic culture.

celtic symbol awen

Awen means inspiration and represents spiritual and divine enlightenment, the blessing of the gods to men. On a musical and artistic level, Awen is the inspirational muse of artists: the musician and/or artist increases his inspiration with this symbol. Awen symbolizes the life force, the energy of the gods that is sent to men to acquire wisdom, energy and inspiration. It represents the balance between opposites and between life and nature. It also has the meaning of friendship and love, highly valued within neodruidism..

Perennial Celtic knot

Perennial knot is the Celtic symbol of love. It represents through it the eternal union, so it was also a Celtic symbol of the family, as this symbol was passed on from father to son for generations. The knot represents the gift of infinite life and eternity through reincarnation. It could be seen very much present in the ornaments of the daily life of every Celtic family. In turn, it is the symbol of Celtic friendship.

Perennial Celtic knot

Lauburu

It is a very common drawing in Celtic culture and another of the Galician Celtic symbols related to Celtic Galicia in the northwest of Spain. Today, we can still see lauburu on stones of Galician houses and lost mills in their forests, as well as in the whole north of the country. Lauburu is formed by four spirals and was a protection against the devils or strangers that invaded the places where the crops were harvested or where the cattle were kept.

celtic symbol lauburu

Pentagram

The pentagram is one of the most powerful symbols. Since the early days, it has been dedicated to the occult and magic. However, it is very likely that this star dates back to ancient Babylon. The Sumerians already used the pentagram in their rituals. The symbol was used as a sacred object.

The star on the pentagram represented life after death. It was therefore a step beyond the material. Pythagoras used it as a symbol of health. Therefore, besides being a Celtic symbol, Pythagoras’ followers used it to recognize each other.

celtic symbol pentagram

In the Middle Ages, there were knights of Christendom who used the pentagram as a symbol. Also, it used to have the meaning of the five points that corresponded first to the spirit and then to the elements: water, earth, fire and water. For the Druids it was a sacred Celtic symbol that was used in rituals very often.

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Celtic music and culture go hand in hand in this digital magazine in which you will find information related to folk music, events, musical reports, history, mythology, news and the Celtic community, such as Irish Bands, UK bands and Festivals.

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