Celtic Symbols from Ancient times

The following symbols are included in this section. The triquetra, The Sheela-na-gig, The Celtic Cross, The Spiral, The Green Man, The Celtic Knot, Continuuing looping symbol.

There are very few written records of Celtic mythology. The little that can be surmised about the Celts and their religious beliefs and practices must be pieced together from the surviving mythology and from the abundance of icons and symbols they so generously left behind for us to decipher. Celtic iconography abounds with symbols of spirit, emblems of gods and goddesses, and images from mythological tales.

triquetra-vesicaThe triquetra– Its original meaning was simply “triangle” and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a certain more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. Its original meaning was simply “triangle” and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a certain more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. The triquetra is often found in Insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells. The fact that the triquetra very rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic has cast a reasonable doubt on its use as a symbol in context where it was used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions. But Celtic art lives on as both a living folk art tradition and through several revivals.

celtic-cross-12A Celtic cross is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. The symbol is associated with Celtic Christianity, although it has older, pre-Christian origins. Such crosses form a major part of Celtic art. A standing Celtic cross, made of stone and often richly ornamented, is called a high cross or Irish Cross. Celtic crosses may have had origins in the early Coptic church.

In Ireland, it is a popular myth that the Celtic cross was introduced by Saint Patrick or possibly Saint Declan during his time converting the pagan Irish.

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