From The Bench

What Do Celtic Symbols Mean? [Updated 2022]

On many occasions, the many meanings of Celtic symbols are shrouded in a great deal of mysticism. These symbols also tend to be intricate and mysterious, which is why people ask what Celtic symbols mean?

The symbols carried immense significance in the lives of people between 500 B.C. and 400 A.D…

When seeking to comprehend their genuine meaning, we have very little historical evidence to depend on. Common themes in interpreting Celtic symbols are love, loyalty, vitality, sagacity, and battle. But unfortunately, very few written accounts of Celtic mythology exist.

The scant information we have about the Celts and their religious beliefs and practices must be cobbled together from their mythology and the profusion of icons and symbols they so generously left for us to interpret. Spirit symbols, emblems of gods and goddesses, and motifs from mythical tales abound throughout Celtic iconography.

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A Guide to What Do Celtic Symbols Mean

Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross, a magnificent depiction of religion, initially appeared on the island of Ireland in the early Middle Ages. Following the advent of the Celts after 500 B.C., these exquisite symbols spread over the Irish countryside, and many of them still exist today.

The Celtic Cross is composed of a classic cross with a circle surrounding the junction of the arms and stem.

According to several interpretations, the Celtic Cross symbolizes the wisdom, strength, and compassion required to navigate the ups and downs of life. It is said that the four arms of the Celtic cross reflect the four directions of compassion, the four elements of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, and our mind, soul, body, and heart.

It is stated that the central ring of the Celtic Cross evokes the Celtic emblem for infinite love. With no beginning and no end, specifically, it is a sign of God’s eternal love, and many believe it also represents Christ’s halo.

The Celtic cross is replete with potent symbols and an ideal depiction of the Celts’ goals and aspirations. Therefore, Celtic Jewelry artisans of all generations are committed to ensuring that each item of Celtic cross jewelry is flawlessly crafted. At Blarney Woollen Mills, we strive to offer this lovely Celtic tradition with a contemporary touch. The Celtic Cross is replete with Celtic pendants and distinctive Irish souvenirs.

Triquetra

Its initial meaning of the triquetra was “triangle,” and it has applied to various forms with three corners.

Currently, it refers only to a particular, more intricate design constructed of three Vesica Pisces, occasionally with an additional circle within or surrounding it. Its initial meaning was “triangle,” which has come to apply to various forms with three corners.

It refers only to a particular, more intricate design composed of three Vesica Pisces, occasionally with an additional circle within or surrounding it. Nevertheless, the triquetra appears frequently in Insular art, particularly in metalwork and illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells.

The fact that the triquetra seldom stood alone in medieval Celtic has put reasonable doubt on its usage as a sign in the context in which it was primarily utilized as a space filler or decoration in considerably more complicated compositions. However, Celtic art survives as a vibrant folk-art heritage and via revivals.

Triskelion

The Triskelion is composed of three interlocking spirals with rotational symmetry. Nature and the flow of life are the symbol’s well-known interpretation, describing the past, present, and future. In Celtic tradition, the sign also represents strength, forging forward despite adversity.

Traditionally, Triskelion symbols consist of three identical spiral designs interlock or link. In general, they were easy and uncomplicated, frequently employing the ingenious geometric pattern known as the Archimedean spiral.

Typically, the center of a Triskelion consists of three independent spirals linked directly or through a triangle. On some of the more ornate patterns, however, a deity or legendary creature of some type would appear, albeit these designs were very uncommon.

A variant on the standard Triskelion consists of three bent legs instead of spirals.

Sheela Na Gig

Sheela na gigs are sculptural representations of nude ladies with enlarged genitalia. They are architectural grotesques seen on most of Europe’s cathedrals, castles, and other structures. The highest concentrations are seen in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain, often with male figures. Ireland has the most significant number of sheela na gig carvings that have survived.

The earliest known reference to Sheela Na Gig regarding these statistics was in 1840 in Thomas O’Conor’s Tipperary Ordnance Survey report on the Kiltinan church.

There have been several variations of the name over the ages, and there is no consensus on its meaning. Although several explanations have been proposed, its history and purpose remain obscure.

These engravings may be found on medieval churches, castles, and even gateposts across Ireland, the United Kingdom, and most of continental Europe. The oldest discovery in the British Isles dates back to the 12th century and the most recently to the 16th century. However, their origins are a mystery.

Initially, art historians believed they were ugly hag figures that served as a warning against the sin of desire – a means of preserving the purity of the churchgoers’ and monks’ minds. Others argue that they are a talisman against evil: the ancient Greeks thought that women flashing their genitalia would ward off demons.

A recent study suggests that Sheela is a pre-Christian folk goddess and that her enlarged vulva indicates life-giving abilities and fertility. Even her name is a mystery, but “sheela” may refer to an old lady or crone, and “gig” was slang for genitalia.

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