what is the meaning of the celtic knot

what is the meaning of the celtic knot

Celtic Symbols and meanings
Photograph by the sensible Gareth Wray

It’s no shock that Celtic symbols and their meanings are an integral a part of Irish historical past and tradition.

Now, simply to clear one thing up from the start: there are Celtic symbols and there are Irish symbols, and the 2 differ tremendously.

Celtic symbols, just like the Celtic Knot and the Celtic Cross, had been delivered to Eire by the Celts hundreds of years in the past (extra on the origins of the symbols under).

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Irish symbols, just like the Irish Harp and the shamrock, are symbols related to our little island that happened a lot later.

Under, you’ll discover the most well-liked Celtic symbols and meanings. You’ll additionally discover a number of Irish symbols together with how they’re used at present.

Desk of Contents

12 Celtic symbols and meanings defined

  1. The Celtic Tree of Life
  2. The Celtic Cross image
  3. The Dara Knot
  4. The Ailm
  5. The Triquetra / Trinity Knot
  6. The Triskelion
  7. The harp
  8. The shamrock
  9. The Claddagh Ring
  10. Serch Bythol
  11. The Celtic Motherhood Knot
  12. The image for brand spanking new beginnings

1. The Celtic Tree of Life

Celtic Tree of Life Symbol
Photograph by Voyagerix (Shutterstock)

The intricately interwoven branches and roots of the Celtic Tree of Life type a robust and earthy Celtic image that’s usually related to the Druids.

Whereas the branches attain for the sky, the roots permeate the earth. For the traditional Celts, the Tree of Life symbolizes stability and concord. Spin this symmetric Celtic image 180 levels and its look stays the identical.

Recognized in Irish as ‘Crann Bethadh’, this Celtic image represents the assumption of the shut affiliation between heaven and earth.

The Celts believed that the bushes had been the spirits of their ancestors, offering a hyperlink between their earthly life and the following.

A logo of energy, longevity and knowledge

The Celtic Tree of Life image represents energy, longevity and knowledge, all of which had been attributes that the Celts revered.

Additionally they believed that the tree symbolized rebirth (they’d have witnessed it shed its leaves in fall and develop new ones in spring).

The Celtic tree of life image additionally clearly reveals the hyperlink between each root under the bottom and each department above.

Uncover extra: Learn extra about this image in our information to the Celtic Tree of Life.

2. The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross has been current in Eire from the early Center Ages and it’s arguably essentially the most recognisable of the various Celtic symbols.

Apparently sufficient, a number of the earliest Celtic Cross symbols in Eire date again to the eighth or ninth century and could be present in Kilkenny and Laois.

Initially, these crosses would have been constituted of wooden or steel and so they had been doubtless a lot smaller than the surviving stone carved pillars that may be discovered throughout Eire.

Within the Center Ages, many Celtic Cross symbols had been carved into rock, however over time they had been developed and constructed as impartial standing stones or monoliths.

Considered one of many Celtic symbols with a number of meanings

There are lots of theories in regards to the that means of the Celtic Cross. One interpretation is that the 4 ‘arms’ symbolize the 4 cardinal instructions of the earth (north, south, east, and west).

One other interpretation of the Celtic Cross image is that it represents the 4 components: Earth, fireplace, water and air.

The 4 quadrants can also symbolize the 4 seasons of the 12 months or the 4 phases of the day: morning, noon, night and midnight.

Uncover extra: Learn extra about this image in our information to the Celtic Cross.

3. The Dara Knot

the dara knot

One other of the better-known Celtic symbols is the Dara Celtic Knot. This image boasts an interwoven design and a reputation that comes from the Irish phrase ‘Doire’ which suggests “oak tree”.

The Dara Knot is derived from this phrase and the image represents the basis system of an historical oak. Like different Celtic knot symbols, the Dara Knot is made up of intertwined traces with no starting or finish.

There isn’t a single design for the Dara Celtic Knot however all variations are centred on the frequent theme of the oak tree and its roots.

Celts and Druids revered nature, significantly historical oak bushes, and regarded them sacred. They noticed the oak tree as an emblem of energy, energy, knowledge, and endurance.

The Celtic image for energy

In the identical means, the Dara Celtic knot is symbolic of the roots of the oak tree with the identical symbolic supply of inside energy.

Celtic knots had been used for decorations, as non secular charms, and as instructing aids. With its affiliation with nature and oak bushes, the symbolic intricacy of the Dara Celtic Knot clearly represented energy.

The image could be referred to as upon by the traditional Celts to supply energy and inside knowledge in powerful conditions.

Uncover extra: Learn extra about this Celtic image in our information to the Dara Knot.

4. The Ailm

the ailm symbol

There are two conventional Irish Celtic symbols for energy – the Dara Knot (above) and the Ailm. The symbols differ tremendously in design, however their meanings are comparable.

The Celtic Ailm image is derived from the primary letter of the Celtic Ogham alphabet. Ogham was a primitive type of written communication in Celtic historical past and the Ogham was initially a gaggle of bushes that had been thought to dispense data and knowledge.

The Ailm is regarded as a kind of conifer or silver fir tree. In historical Celtic tree lore, evergreen fir bushes had been related to the therapeutic of an individual’s inside soul.

The Celtic image for inside energy

The Celts noticed bushes as the last word image for energy, and it’s no thriller why. The likes of an oak can survive and develop in tough circumstances and may ‘dwell’ for lots of of years.

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The Ailm represents energy, endurance, and resilience in addition to therapeutic, purification, well being, and fertility. The Ailm tends to be one of the fashionable Celtic symbols used to symbolize inside energy.

Uncover extra: Learn extra in regards to the Ailm in our information to the Celtic symbols for energy.

5. The Triquetra / Trinity Knot

the trinity knot

There isn’t a definitive Celtic image for household, however there are a number of historical Celtic knots that symbolize the meanings of everlasting love, energy and household unity.

The Triquetra is regarded as the oldest image of spirituality. It’s depicted within the ninth century Ebook of Kells and likewise seems in Norwegian stave church buildings from the eleventh century.

The frilly Triquetra, often known as the Trinity Knot or Celtic Triangle, is without doubt one of the most lovely Celtic symbols and it reveals a circle interwoven with a steady three-pointed image.

The Celtic Image for Household

The that means of this Celtic Knot is that with no starting and no finish, it represents unity and everlasting non secular life. The symbols line interweaves by means of the circle in an unbroken move.

Many imagine that this image represents the pillars of early Celtic Christian teachings of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).

It additionally represents the unity of spirit when enclosed in a circle. The circle protects it, so the symbolic spirit can’t be damaged.

Uncover extra: Learn extra in regards to the Triquetra in our information to the Trinity Knot.

6. The Triskelion

the Triskelion

Also called the Triskele, the Triskelion is one other of the traditional Irish Celtic symbols thought to have been round throughout Neolithic occasions (that’s round 3,200 years BC!).

This spiral image as soon as once more displays the Celtic perception that every little thing vital is available in threes.

The Triskelion has three clockwise spirals connecting from a central hub, a bit of just like the Manx three-legged image. In reality, the Greek phrase Triskele means three-legged.

Also called the triple spiral, the Triskelion has rotational symmetry and is quite common in Celtic artwork and structure.

A logo that represents progress

The Celtic spiral is without doubt one of the oldest and most primitive decorations on earth and is believed to symbolize the solar or ethereal radiation vitality.

Celtic spirals which might be clockwise are believed to have a that means related to concord or earth; if they’re anti-clockwise they’re regarded as pagan symbols that manipulate nature.

The that means of the Celtic Triskelion is seen as an emblem of energy and progress. Because it seems to be transferring, the Triskelion additionally represents the need to maneuver ahead and overcome adversity.

Uncover extra: Learn extra about this image in our information to the Triskele.

7. The Irish Harp

Irish Harp Symbol

The primary of the non Celtic symbols on this information is the Harp. The Irish Harp is the nationwide emblem of Eire and remains to be extensively used at present.

Search for it on Irish Euro cash in addition to on the label of each can and bottle of Guinness. The that means of the Irish harp image embodies the spirit and essence of the Irish folks and is claimed to symbolize the immortality of the soul.

In reality, it was so revered that the British banned all harps (and harpists!) within the sixteenth century in an effort to interrupt the symbolic tie.

Evidently, the Irish Harp image survived and it’s now top-of-the-line identified Irish Celtic symbols together with the Irish flag.

8. The Shamrock

Irish Symbols

The Shamrock is one other of the various Irish symbols that tends to be mistaken for one of many historical Celtic symbols.

This tiny shiny inexperienced three-leafed plant grows throughout Eire and past, and it thrives in cool damp climates.

For those who discover a clover with 4 separate leaves it’s mentioned to be fortunate (learn extra in regards to the luck of the Irish). It’s the nationwide flower of Eire and its symbolism is deeply rooted up to now.

The shamrock is believed to have been an vital Druid image. Druids are mentioned to have felt that the three heart-shaped leaves represented the triad.

In accordance with legend, St Patrick used the trefoil leaves to clarify the unity of the Holy Trinity – three elements but one complete – to the pagans throughout his Christian teachings.

9. The Claddagh ring

Celtic symbol for love
Photograph left: IreneJedi. Proper: GracePhotos (shutterstock)

On the subject of Celtic symbols for love, one design tends to (incorrectly) pop up time and time once more, regardless of clear proof of its origin.

I’m speaking, after all, in regards to the mighty Claddagh. Now, don’t get me improper, the Claddagh is a lovely Irish image, nevertheless it has nothing to do with the Celts.

The Claddagh image originated in County Galway in a bit of fishing village of the exact same identify.

The Celtic image for love

Claddagh rings are extensively exchanged in Eire and elsewhere as an emblem of loyalty and unity. The phrase Claddagh is the identify of the coastal village the place the design was invented by Richard Joyce.

The Claddagh ring is usually used as a marriage ring and custom says that you must by no means purchase a Claddagh for your self; it ought to be given as a present.

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Uncover extra: Learn extra about this image in our information to the Claddagh ring.

10. Serch Bythol

serch bythol celtic symbol

Though much less well-known than another Celtic symbols, the Serch Bythol is important. It additionally reveals the early Celts had been deeply in contact with their feelings and relationships.

The Serch Bythol image is constituted of two Celtic knots / triskeles to represent the eternal love between two folks.

The 2 outlined but intently intertwined elements symbolize two folks joined collectively perpetually in physique, thoughts, and spirit.

The Celtic image for eternal love

This image is believed to symbolize everlasting love and the side-by-side design creates an limitless interconnected move of traces with out finish.

The unification of the symmetrical left and proper halves signifies the bringing collectively of physique, thoughts and spirit with the central circle representing the everlasting love which binds them collectively.

11. The Celtic Motherhood Knot

celtic motherhood knot

Celtic knots, referred to as Icovellavna, embody many knots used for adornment within the Celtic type of Insular Artwork.

The frilly Celtic Motherhood Knot symbolizes the bond between mom and youngster or, in Christianity, the Madonna and Youngster.

The that means of the Celtic Motherhood Knot is one among enduring love between a mom and youngster, religion in God and the Celtic heritage.

A logo of tolerating love

No matter your private religion and beliefs could also be, this Celtic image depicts an unbreakable, unending bond of affection and life.

Historically, the Celtic Motherhood Knot consists of two hearts interlinked with no starting or finish.

One coronary heart is decrease than the primary and youngsters are sometimes denoted by a dot, coronary heart or one other image inside or outdoors the guts design. Because the household grows, extra symbols could be added to symbolize every youngster.

A Celtic image for mom and son or mom and daughter

So, plenty of very finely designed Pinterest pictures would lead you to imagine that there are particular Celtic symbols for mom and son or mom and daughter.

For those who’d like to find extra about these designs (and why lots of them are false) leap into one of many following guides:

  • The Celtic image for mom and son
  • The Celtic mom daughter knot

Uncover extra: Learn extra about this image in our guides to the motherhood knot.

12. The Celtic image for brand spanking new beginnings

Celtic Symbols and meanings
Photograph by the sensible Gareth Wray

Regardless of what you discover on Pinterest, there isn’t any such factor as a Celtic image for brand spanking new beginnings; it’s solely made up.

Somebody invented a design, posted it on-line and now folks imagine that it’s one of many historical Celtic symbols.

The most certainly rationalization for this Celtic image is that it’s one among a number of ‘Zibu’ symbols created by an artist (Zibu) who claims he was given the symbols by the angels.

The place did Celtic symbols come from?

Celtic Cross Ireland
Photograph by the sensible Gareth Wray

Celtic symbols arrived in Eire with the Celts. The Celts had been an indigenous race that lived in teams throughout Northern Europe from pre-500BC to the Medieval Interval.

These historical folks lived in small tribal communities and, regardless of being extensively scattered, they spoke comparable Celtic languages and had many frequent cultural symbols.

One of many teams among the many historical Celts had been the Druids. Druids had been among the many high-ranking skilled, non secular and law-keeping members of Celtic tradition.

Consequently, Druid symbols have a detailed affiliation and overlap with many Celtic symbols and meanings.

What do the Celtic symbols imply?

Irish and Druid Symbols
Extra by the sensible Gareth Wray

Many Irish Celtic symbols had been handed down over time and their meanings had been by no means truly recorded in writing. Nonetheless, many symbols have been interpreted over time.

With these symbols, there’s a frequent theme of affection, loyalty, energy, unity and spiritual perception. Many Celtic symbols have three intertwined elements which symbolize the assumption that every little thing of significance is in three elements.

These included three domains: Earth, sky and sea. The Celts additionally divided the phases of life into three phases: the previous, the current and the longer term.

With the arrival of Christianity to Eire within the fifth century, the Celtic trio was prolonged to incorporate the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Different trios in Celtic symbolism embody humankind being made up of thoughts, physique and spirit.

FAQs about Celtic symbols and their meanings

celtic cros symbol
Photograph left: Bjoern Alberts (Shutterstock) Proper: through Tourism Eire

We’ve had plenty of questions from folks over time in regards to the that means behind sure Celtic symbols.

Under, I’ll attempt to deal with as many of those questions as attainable. When you’ve got one which we haven’t answered, ask it within the feedback.

What’s the Celtic image for energy and braveness?

The Dara Knot is essentially the most notable symbols for energy and braveness. The Celts revered nature (historical oak bushes, particularly).

They noticed the oak as an emblem of energy, energy, knowledge, and endurance. For those who’re on the lookout for the Celtic image for inside energy, go together with the Dara Knot, additionally.

Is there a elaborate Celtic image for love?

We’ve had questions on ‘fancy’ and ‘quirky’ symbols that will ‘look actually aesthetic as a minimalist tattoo’… I don’t even know what meaning…

As talked about within the information above, essentially the most correct image for love is the Serch Bythol. This image is constituted of two Celtic knots (or triskeles) that symbolize eternal love.

Celtic symbols and meanings related to them are nonetheless fashionable in Irish tradition at present. Some folks, naturally sufficient, are extra fascinated with them than others.

Have a query about Irish, Celtic or Druid Symbols? Pop a query within the feedback part under and we’ll get again to you.

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12 Popular Irish Celtic Symbols And Meanings Explained