Little is known as they passed on their knowledge and faith orally. What has remained with us to this day is the mystical symbols of the Celts. Some of them can still be found immortalized in stones in many places in Ireland. The meaning of the Irish symbols has not yet been fully deciphered – perhaps never. However, this does not in the least detract from his beauty, because it also fascinates. Here we will introduce you to the well-known Celtic symbols and their meaning.
The tree of Life
In mythology, the tree has a high priority. It symbolized the connection between heaven and earth: the roots are firmly anchored in the earth, the tree stretches to the sky. As the unifying element of earth and sky, the priests used tree components such as branches or leaves for their magical rituals on special occasions.
The oak was especially revered by them. In beliefs, it represents the center of the planet. The mighty roots of the oak should be the gateway to the “other world”, the realm of elves and goblins. The term “priest” – “druid” is also associated with this. This word is composed of “oak” and “wisdom”. Hence, the druid was the “oak sage”, the keeper of the gates, a man who was initiated into the magic of trees.
The tree symbolizes the hope for a healthy, happy life and prosperity, for courage and strength. In Ireland, you can still find rag trees decorated with colorful ribbons and scraps – pleas for courage, healing and a happy future.
The term “triskele” comes from the Greek language and means something like “three-legged”. Consists of three symmetrically arranged spiral arms. In fact, it is a symbol that goes back centuries. The Neolithic mound of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland, is adorned with stones engraved with a triskele.
Experienced a renaissance in mythology. The magic number “three” plays an important role here. Accordingly, in Celtic mythology, triskele denotes past, present, future and birth, life, death and body, spirit, soul or earth, water, air. In other interpretations, it is considered as a sign of a trinity goddess: a girl, a mother, an old woman.
The Triquetta, also called Triqueta or Triquetra, is made up of three connected circular arcs. The name comes from Latin and means “triangular”. Triquetta is a triplet knot and, like triskele, symbolizes the mystical number three. For the Celts, these are birth, life and death, the elements of earth, air and water, as well as femininity.
Another important motive amongst is the spiral. It is found on dolmens and burials not only in Ireland. Their meaning is still a mystery. But it is believed to represent a journey to a higher form of consciousness or cosmic energy. The spiral was also used by the Celts to represent the sun and its life-giving energy.
Also known as the Celtic cross, it is a bar cross with an elongated support beam. The intersection of the two stripes is circled. The planks are usually decorated with other symbols, such as patterns. The cross can symbolize different directions or elements of fire, water, earth and air.
The origin of what is known today can be found in the Celtic high cross. They date back to the 8th century and were not installed as decoration of the grave, as is customary today, but designated a holy or special territory. They served as a gathering place, reflection and protection for travelers.
There are more than 100 types of Celtic symbols still preserved in Ireland today. The most famous include the Celtic Crosses at Achenny (Tipperary), Ardbo (Tyrone), Drumcliffe (Sligo), or Monasterboise (County Louth).