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Celtic Symbolism

The Celts use of spirals and knotwork in their art and religion is a significant part of their heritage. These designs were developed from nature. Spirals unfold clockwise from their counterclockwise source and represent the inner and outer evolution of the spirit. The dark into light, winter into summer, the contraction and expansion of the sun. This polarity also formed the basis of the Celtic religion.

Knotwork is another significant aspect of Celtic art and religion. These knots are generally endless and signify the binding of the soul to the world and the spiritual progress of humanity through endless lives in search of the divine source, the sacred center.

The Celts believed in the "oneness" of nature and that nature had the ability to transform itself on all levels of existence. The shapes of their zoomorphic designs signified this belief and also their understanding of the seasonal and evolutionary changes of all creatures. Within their art:

                        the fish symbolized clairvoyance,
                        the serpent was divine wisdom,
                        the hare was good fortune,
                        the birds were spirits of prophesy,
                        the horse represented sovereignty,
                        the dragon was a guardian spirit.

Their ancient wisdom and understanding is thought, by many to be beyond other cultures.
  • Celtic Knotwork is probably the best known style of Celtic design. The intertwined patterns of never-ending lines appealed to the Celts, symbolizing their ideas of eternal life and the intricate relationship of humanity with both the divine and the natural worlds.
  • The Celtic Spiral symbolizes the continuity of life and spiritual growth. Death was therefore also a rebirth, whether of a human life, the seasons of the year, the astrological skies or anything in the natural or supernatural world.
  • The Cauldron Symbol or the three spirals represent the Maiden, Mother and Crone aspect of the Goddess. The Cauldron is under the power of the Earth goddess Ceredwen the goddess of transformation. Transformation or Shapeshifting was an integral part of Celtic belief, this symbol is found all over Celtic artifacts. In the Cauldron, divine knowledge and inspiration are brewed.
  • Celtic Crosses symbolizes the bridge to the other world and to higher energy and knowledge. The first Celtic crosses had four equal points representing the four directions, and the four elements enclosed by a circle representing the sun. These early crosses were used to mark holy spots in pre-Christian times.
  • The Claddagh A modern addition to the various Celtic Symbols. This is not really a Celtic symbol, but very beautiful and one to enjoy from the homelands. The Irish symbol of love. The Claddagh is a heart being held by a pair of hands with a crown above. A symbol of love and friendship. The two hands represent friendship, the crown-loyalty, the heart-love. 
  • The Shamrock - Used as a floral emblem of the Irish. The Shamrock is also considered the national emblem of Ireland. Several three leafed plants are called shamrocks including Wood sorrel, White clover and Black Medic. A hop clover (Trifolium dubium) occurs naturally in Ireland and is often regarded as the true or original shamrock. Again, this is not really a Celtic symbol, but a very beautiful one and a favorite among many Celtic jewelry lovers.
 

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