Top 40+ Celtic Symbols And Their Meanings

Top Celtic Symbols and their Meanings

No matter how creative uniqueness is asserted, the transformation of our reality is based on the cultural heritage of our ancestors, perpetuating the memory of different peoples. The modern author tends to pay more attention to his vision of the solution to the problem and its form, not realizing the meaning embedded in his product, which was broadcast a thousand years ago. Today, everything that carries a mystery is interesting, and a light mystery gives aesthetic pleasure. Therefore, the unquenchable curiosity of representatives of visual culture is awakened by the age of the Celts.

What are the main Celtic symbols and their meanings?

The main Celtic symbols include the Celtic Cross (denotes the sun and cardinal points), the Tree of Life (represents the lower world, earthly Life, and the sky), the Triskelion (shows cyclicality), the Celtic Spiral (expresses the human principle, the connection of body, spirit, and consciousness), as well as the Trefoil (a sign that supposedly protects from negativity).

The possible roots of these people’s names are related to the word “keel,” which means “to hide.” And according to modern archaeologists and ethnographers, the Celts had something to hide. They were militant, freedom-loving, brave, and courageous. And this in the character of the Celts was enhanced by their devotion to their mythology and an irresistible craving for the transcendent. Before Christianity, they had a pantheon of gods – a pagan belief system with its own attributes and cults. This is evidenced not only by Celtic artifacts found by scientists but also by the recorded testimonies of Hecataeus of Miletus and Diodorus of Siculus. The links between the external symbols and the inner world of the Celts are inextricable. The potential of their spirit was necessarily demonstrative: ornaments and patterns were sacred signs that made changes in Life, attracted good luck, diverted trouble from the house, emphasized natural talents, or strengthened physical and spiritual strength. Each pattern had mystical power – destructive or constructive, depending on the use of the ornament, its medium, or the object on which the image was applied. Undeniable and obvious: the traditions of Celtic culture intertwined in the patterns of generations. They have become a measure of elegance and versatility of the fine arts in our time.

1 Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross symbol

Perhaps the most popular among fans of Celtic culture is the Celtic cross. Visually, it represents pointed and rounded patterns of interwoven threads shingled or inscribed in a circle. When looking at such a combination of forms, one immediately thinks of harmony, integrity, and cyclicality. Indeed, this ornament testifies to the connection of cardinal points, and from below, the image always points to man’s growing needs. Guess and the image of the sun – sociocentrism was a distinctive feature of Celtic paganism. Therefore, it is not surprising that the bearers of this pattern believed in protection from dark forces and talent of a special kind.

2 Tree of Life

Celtic Tree of Life symbol

Another sought-after pattern is the image of the Tree of Life. It is not difficult to imagine this ornament: the hands reach for the sky, and at the bottom, you can see the outline of the root of the tree. The symbol reflects three concepts – the lower underworld, earthly Life, and the sky. Celtic tribes had a special relationship with nature; in particular, they valued trees. Visual images of the tree endowed objects of Celtic Life with sacred meaning, visually linking the past, present, and future.

3 Triskeles

Celtic Triskeles symbol

One of the other recognizable images is the Triskelion. Its name comes from the name of the deity of spring or summer, Triskeles. His appearance in human Life is dictated by the cyclical nature of the seasons: each time, he passes through the stages of Life and death, rebirth and extinction. The depicted Thread of Life, passing through the Earth, Water, and Fire, brings a person grace, wealth, and good luck. Since the Celts believed that the gods gave the patterns to people as a gift, they should not be changed. After all, doing so would have irreversible consequences, violate what the deities had ordained, and incur their wrath, which would make them harsh and deaf to the prayers of the pagans.

4 Celtic Spiral

Celtic Spiral symbol

No less interesting is the pattern of eternal infinity, metaphysical and mystical search, and spiritual hunger. It is depicted in the form of spiral petals and has various modifications depending on the owner’s preferences. This pattern denotes the constancy of harmony, persistent spiritual growth, and stability of the triad “body-spirit-consciousness.” The central point of the spiral – the place of man in space, the universe, his existence in the world. Thus, the Celts pointed to the beginning, the origin of man, and represented him in the vast world, which is self-sufficient and integral, and thus self-sufficient.

5 Shamrock (Clover)

Celtic Shamrock symbol

The clover is the most undisputed symbol of Ireland. According to legend, it was this plant that helped the Christian missionary and catechist St. Patrick explain the meaning of the three hypostases of the Trinity. The Celts were convinced that the shamrock protected against the failure of planned events, evil tongues, and the evil eye and could even anticipate the beginning of a storm by taking an upright position.

6 Wheel of Taranis

Celtic Wheel of Taranis symbol

Having familiarized with the variety of images of the pagan pantheon, it becomes clear why the key figure in the beliefs in natural forces is Taranis, the god of thunder. His mythological “brother” is the Roman Jupiter. Therefore, the image of the bearded hero, in the hands of lightning and wheel, is repeatedly found in archaeology in the territories of the former Celtic civilization. Taranis united the sky, the sun, and lightning. His power formed the basis of image motifs for coinage.

7 Aven

Celtic Awen symbol

Aven (three rays of light) is hotly debated among fans of neo-paganism and specialists in Druidic practice. Some say that it is the three elements (water, earth, air), and some believe that it is a generalization of the physical and rational. Spiritual beginnings of man, some say, symbolize the inseparability of love, reason, and truth. The idea of the awakening of truth is also present here: the desire to know the truth, to protect it, and to realize it is played out.

8 Claddagh Ring

Celtic Claddagh Ring Symbol

Nothing epitomizes friendship, romance, and love feelings as vividly and visually as the Claddagh ring. This pattern is transparent and unambiguous: it is based on hands holding a heart. Such jewelry is used as a sign of support, friendship, love, and approval. Hands – support, reliability, strength of feelings. Heart – love, friendliness, friendliness, and loyalty. The crowned heart signifies loyalty and approval, i.e., status support of something or someone.

9 Cross of Saint Brigitte

Celtic Brigid’s Cross symbol

Brigitte is considered the patron saint of Ireland, and her cross is the unofficial symbol. The saint is revered in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, although there is very little information about her Life. Her generosity and wisdom, manifested in miracles, are described in legends, and her celebrated kindness and mercy are combined with a surprisingly simple character and humility. This is what accompanies the image of the cross – simple, unassuming, and understandable. According to legend, she wove a cross when her father (according to another version of the legend – a rich pagan) was about to go to the next world. Having realized the meaning of the symbol “wreath,” he decided to be baptized before his death.

Usually, such a cross was made of reeds or straw, and in the center, a square was made with weaving. The result is rays, and the circle symbolizes the sun. Now, there are beliefs that such a cross wreath will protect the house from troubles, and some Catholics living in villages still use this ornament.

Geometrically opposite shapes can indicate the unity of the physical (material) and spiritual (immaterial) sides of human Life. The soul strives for salvation, and it turns out that its visual image is enveloped by the almighty Sun of Truth.

10 Triquetra

Celtic Triquetra symbol

Triquetra is a curious and ambiguous pattern. Its variations are different, and its meaning is reduced to a description of the three roles of the female goddess (Maiden, Mother, Smart Woman). Some medievalists believe that originally, this ornament looked simpler and functionally played the role of a “patch,” a graphic element to fill complex compositional patterns.

Be that as it may, in the pattern, a circle and several triangles can be seen from here, in fact, and went the name. In Latin, it means “three” and “having angles”. When discussing the meaning of this pattern, ideas are added that it is a symbol of the movement of the sun, the phases of the lunar cycle, and the embodiment of renewed Life.

11 Celtic Knot

Celtic Knot symbol

The Celtic Knot is nothing more than a thread twisted several times in a complex pattern. In general, we can assume that this is a line of Life, the life path of man, long and difficult, always with dashing turns and unexpected descents and ascents. At least, visually, it looks like this. Most likely, the Celts used this pattern to denote the desire to know the truth, the meaning of their lives, and a way to accept their fate as it should be. Undoubtedly, this ornament speaks of man’s entanglement in the world, his twists and turns, and his search for a way out. There are also explanations of this pattern as a symbol of love, eternity, and the union of kindred souls.

Sailor’s Knot

Celtic Sailor’s Knot symbol

From the name, it follows that this ornament is associated with separation, parting, and endless love. It can be assumed that this ornament arose as a result of the practical creation of the favorite sailors of the Knot in memory during a long and forced separation.

Bowen Knot

Celtic Bowen Knot Symbol

The heraldic Knot, as it is also called, was invented by the Welsh James Bowen in the XVII century. This symbol was conventionally nicknamed “the knot of a true lover.” The endless rope pattern, in which four loops are visible, forms a square or four-pointed cross. It is logical to assume that it is not even a knot but tangled loops with no beginning or end. In Norwegian heraldry, such a knot is called “valknute.” There are several modifications of this symbol, but they are united by the main feature – endless loops. The use of this pattern meant an expression of devotion and special disposition of a man to a woman.

Solomon’s Knot

Celtic Solomon’s Knot Symbol

This type of ornament, named in honor of King Solomon, is considered a symbol of masculinity, wisdom, and strength of character. He was characterized by the exceptional traits of a wise ruler and a powerful man. A person wearing such an ornament positioned himself as a strong and authoritative person.

12 Animalistic patterns


Celtic Bird Symbol

Birds were held in high esteem by the Celts. They earned respect through their connection to the sky, freedom, and independence. Therefore, in the ornaments of the Celtic culture, bird motifs can be found, containing the idea of the patronage of the sky, the help of the gods to people, and the transfer of their will through birds.


Celtic Hare Symbol

It is not surprising that the hare also became a revered symbol of the Celts because, in its nature, it laid such features as speed, sensitivity, physical endurance, and fertility. This is why prosperity and well-being were demonstrated through hare patterns.


Celtic Snake Symbol

It is logical to assume that the snake symbolizes in the Celts the depth of knowledge and high intelligence. However, ancient people put another meaning – they considered snakes to be excellent healers. This meant that the mesmerizing effect brought the Celts to use their traditional methods of treating diseases and wearing attributes with snake patterns.


Celtic Deer Symbol

It would seem that the deer deserved such attention from the Celts because it is just a large and fast animal. But Celtic beliefs say that the deer represents the connection with the cosmos, the universe. A symbol of cyclical Life, rebirth, and a source of energy, it was directly connected to the Tree of Life due to its anatomical feature – horns. Interestingly, the Celts associated it this way: every year, the antlers of the deer change, grow new, and are in shape. They resemble a tree, which means that every year adds vitality, contributing to spiritual growth.


Celtic Boar Symbol

Fortitude before enemies, courage, and stubbornness – these are the promises that the bearer of the boar pattern made to those around him. On the other hand, it is softness and ease of communication and hospitality. This symbol was also associated with Celtic housewives, who, in turn, considered boar meat a delicacy.


Celtic Bull Symbol

Fertility and strength, prosperity, and power distinguished the Celtic symbol from the bull. It was named by both women and men and was also used to decorate the walls of domestic fortifications.

13 Mythological creatures

Since the Celts were a people who believed in the mystical, they also tried to transform animals into powerful and mysterious beings in ornaments.

The Dragon

Celtic Dragon Symbol

For example, the dragon is an unshakable stronghold, has strength and agility, inspires terror and awe, and inspires outward confidence. Integrity and isolation, self-sufficiency and eternity, invincibility and immortality were represented in the form of a dragon with a spear in its tail.


Celtic Griffin Symbol

Like the lion and the eagle, the griffin combined nobility, harmony, loyalty, and strength. Extremely inspired the Celts to brave feats of arms.

14 Druid Sigil

Celtic Druid Sigil Symbol

Vertical lines running parallel and crossing the lines of the circle are the ritual signs of the Druids – sigils. It is a magical element, so not everyone can wear it. It signified fertility, a rich harvest, and a connection to Mother Earth.

15 Gaelic Festivals

Celtic Gaelic Festivals Symbol

The Celts had their own calendar of holidays and designated each holiday with certain symbols.


Celtic Yule Symbol

A celebration of the splendor of the new sun, of victory over darkness, similar in meaning to the Roman tradition of Saturnalia and Christian Christmas.


Celtic Imbolc Symbol

St. Brigitte’s Day, the Feast of Imbolc, signified the return of the light. It was the end of winter, and rituals were performed to attract good luck and prosperity.


Celtic Eostre Symbol

According to Celtic mythology, the goddess Eostre (Ostara) awakened nature in the spring. Curiously, this name provides the semantic basis for Easter.


Celtic Beltane Symbol

This pattern was essential in celebrating the beginning of summer. The name itself comes from the words “at-beil” – “the shining fire of Bela” (deity) is dying out. On this day, it was believed that the doors to the gods were open, and they could be asked for anything, including good weather for the harvest.


Celtic Lammas Symbol

According to Celtic traditions, Lammas is a holiday that celebrates the glorification of Mother Earth and Father Sun, who generously give people a bountiful harvest. The name of the ornament exactly repeats the name of the holiday, which means “bread mass.” This ornament expressed maturity, gratitude to the gods, and energy, and the Druids believed that it was a sign of fading and preparation for the departure into eternity.


Celtic Lughnasadh Symbol

The name August in Celtic also gives the pattern its name and translates as “the gathering of Lugh” (the god who held a feast after the death of his adoptive mother).


Celtic Malbon Symbol

Malbon is the pattern of the end of the fertile harvest period. It is a time of gratitude to the gods for their loyalty to the people, generous gifts, and help. With the help of this symbol expressed gratitude to the fertile land and summed up in the fall with the last harvest.


Celtic Samhain Symbol

Completes the list of famous Celtic symbols, one of the most favorite – the Samhain pattern. It was the last “song” of the harvest period, the closing of the sowing season, the gathering of fruits, and the grazing of cattle on rich meadows. The holiday itself signified finality, the approach of death, the finality of all living things on earth.

16 Double Spiral

Celtic Double Spiral Symbols

In the Celtic culture, the pattern of two intertwined spirals, directed in different directions, is associated with the concept of “eternity.” The fact that the twisted lines have neither beginning nor end, so they can represent the endless cycle of birth, Life, and death. Sometimes, they symbolize development, as the inward movement of the spiral reflects the invisible process of personal evolution. In a broader sense, it is a symbol of any transformation and change – not necessarily spiritual. In China, the double spiral symbolizes harmony between Yin and Yang, two opposites that come together to form a whole.

17 Cernunnos

Celtic Cernunnos Symbols

The ancient Celtic god Cernunnos is often depicted with stag, ram, or bull horns, as well as his symbol of power, the serpent. In some drawings, torcs, metal hoop-shaped necklaces that were popular among men, dangle from the horns. In Celtic mythology, Cernunnos was the patron saint of fertility, wildlife, and animals. Because he was considered the god of magic and wisdom, the Celts associated him with spirituality, enlightenment, and inner development. In modern interpretation, it is a symbol of masculinity and strength.

18 Cross of Triquetras (Carolingian Cross)

Celtic Cross of Triquetras Symbols

The cross of Triketras combines elements of Christian and Celtic symbolism. On the one hand, it consists of four triquetra, which the Celts associated with wholeness and infinity. In addition, the twisted lines denoted magic, spirituality, and motherhood.

On the other hand, the Carolingian cross was widely used in Christianity as a personification of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It epitomized the idea of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ. During the reign of the Carolingians, the cross was a symbol of their dynasty and the unity of spiritual and secular authority.

19 Dara Celtic Knot

Celtic Dara Knot Symbols

The Celtic Knot of Dara is associated with both Celtic and Irish culture. It consists of intertwining lines that represent the branches and roots of the oak tree. The Celts considered this tree sacred and believed that it gave people strength, endurance, and longevity. As for the Celtic Knot of Dara, it symbolizes strength and stability, primarily on a spiritual level. This sign is also associated with the goddess Brigita, patroness of art, wisdom, and knowledge.

20 Quaternary Celtic Knot

Quaternary Celtic Knot Symbols

Some believe that the Quaternary Celtic Knot symbolizes the balance between the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. According to another version, it can be interpreted as a symbol of the four paths a person can choose: intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical. It is also a sign of infinity, having neither beginning nor end, reminding us of the cyclical nature of Life, that everything changes and evolves.

21 Eternity Knot

Celtic Eternity Knot Symbols

The eternity knot consists of a single intertwining and winding line. It has different variations, but the basic form always remains the same. In the Celts, this sign is associated with mystical beings and symbolizes the cycle of Life, death, and rebirth. In Buddhism, the “knot of eternity” expresses the concept of interconnectedness and interdependence of all things in this world. In modern pop culture, it is used as a personification of endless love and friendship.

22 Five Fold Symbol

Celtic Five Fold Symbols

The symbol of the five folds is usually identified with the number five, but it has many other meanings:

  • God, spirituality, faith, heaven;
  • fire, earth, air, and water;
  • winter, spring, summer, fall;
  • north, south, west, east.

The symbol shows their interconnection and harmony. At the same time, the central link is the unifying element – the universe itself, which exists surrounded by different energies.

23 Triskelion

Celtic Triskelion Symbols

The Triskelion contains three interlocking spirals that are associated with the triple divine essence. However, they are sometimes associated with other aspects such as past, present, and future, or Life, death, and rebirth. In Celtic culture, Triskelion represented the unity of heaven, earth, and the spirit world. In the ancient Greeks, he was a symbol of the sea god Poseidon. In modern interpretation, it is a sign of balance and harmony.

24 Circular Knots

Celtic Circular Knots Symbols

The Celts used circular knots as a symbol of eternal Life because they have no beginning or end. The intertwining lines that form a circle represent the endless passage of time. They also express the concepts of devotion, love, and friendship. In addition, circular knots can signify protection and strength, as an unbreakable network is associated with unity.

25 Ailm

Celtic Ailm Symbols

The cross in a circle represents the letter “A” from the Old Irish alphabet Ogham, which is the basis of the Gaulish script. Ailm traditionally symbolizes a pine or fir tree. In Celtic culture, these evergreen trees were associated with healing – both spiritual and physical. It was also believed that they have protective properties and can get rid of evil spirits. All these qualities were automatically transferred to Ailm, so the sign was used to create amulets. It currently serves as a talisman promising wisdom, rebirth, and renewal.

What do all the Celtic symbols mean?

Almost all Celtic symbols have a sacred meaning. They are united by the themes of religion, community, strength, loyalty, love, protection. It is noteworthy that many patterns have three parts. The Celts considered the three to be a sacred number, which meant that everything most important must contain three basic elements.

What is the celtic symbol for life?

The symbol of eternal spiritual life is Triquetra, a three-petalled flower pattern depicted in one continuous line.

What is the symbol of the Celts?

The Celts attached special importance to their symbols and used them as talismans. Unusual pagan ornaments lay the foundations of religious beliefs and ideas about how the world works.

What is the Celtic symbol for perseverance?

Perseverance, courage, and strength are symbolized by Dara Knot. It is associated with an oak tree, so in this case, the internal resources of people are compared to a powerful root system hidden underground.