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Some Interesting Celtic Symbols

Updated on August 8, 2013

Celtic symbols have a vast and rich heritage. Although many of these symbols are often miss-used or generally considered nothing more than intricate designs that for the basis of tattoos or irrelevant jewelry, the meaning behind many of these symbols are as vast and rich as the tradition itself. A lot of the confusion as to what specific symbols mean is understandable to some extent – very little is available in regards to documentation that actually gives us firsthand knowledge of what the different symbols mean. Many of these symbols use fairly common symbols in a different way such as the crucifix, different animals and trees. On top of this there are also a variety of symbols attributed to the widely utilized Celtic knot and Celtic astrology.

A few of the more basic Celtic symbols include the triskelion, triquetra, triple spiral and single spiral. The triskelion is a three pronged symbol and the word triskelion literally translates to ‘three-legged’. It is meant to depict man’s forward thinking approach to progress. In fact, if you look at the symbol with just the right amount of imagination it looks like a forward moving stick figure. The triquetra are another symbol with three points. However, this one utilizes ovals to make out each of the three points. What is interesting to note is that it is another symbol that utilizes the number three with triquetra literally meaning three-cornered. It is meant to be a holy symbol with a variety of different meanings surrounding nature, spirit and the cosmos.

The triple spiral is a group of three spirals joined at the line that starts each spiral. It is meant to symbolize women – namely the crone, maiden and mother. The single spiral however denotes power that radiates from a single point (the center of the spiral). It is also meant to symbolize birth and growth in not only a physical sense but a conscious one. Another heavily utilized symbol in Celtic culture appears to be the crucifix or Celtic cross. While it is believed that the Celts are highly spiritual people – in fact druidism is thought to stem from a belief system developed by the Celts – what is interesting to note is that an ornate version of the cross has found its way into celtic symbolism. A few keywords associated with the Celtic cross are things such as balance, temperance, hope, life, unity and faith.

The Celtic fivefold symbol is one that is steeped in mysticism. It is a conglomeration of five circles; four of these are in an east, west, north and south position. In the center of these for lies a fifth circle. In fact, each of the first four represents a direction with the fifth representing the center or current point. Each of these circles also represents an element, a season (as well as the transition between), rituals, calling in life and ruling; amongst other things. The more interesting aspect of these meanings appears to be the calling in life meaning with each circle representing such aspects of farming, bards, druids, soldiers and nobility.


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    • profile image

      Raii 8 months ago

      What does C50 stand for ??? Whats it's meaning

    • profile image

      amber wu 5 years ago

      is C62 the letter S? If so, can it be engraved on cuff links

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 7 years ago from USA

      My dad, who used to tie intricate knots, and was of celtic heritage drew a symbol and told me to never forget it. Now I wonder if it has a special meaning I should try to find.

      Great article.