Saturday, November 22, 2008

Celtic Symbols - The Spirals of Life

By Thomas O Donovan and Frank Soul

Celtic Spirals
Spirals are some of the oldest known Celtic symbols. Prominently displayed on ancient artifacts dating long before the written word in Ireland, the symbols of the Celtic Spiral are second only to Knotwork designs as the symbols most associated with Celtic Art. These mythical spirals are among the oldest symbols associated with Celtic Art. They are believed to represent the spiritual balance between inner and outer consciousness. People from many lands herald Celtic symbols designs such as the cross, the spiral, and even knots as the emblem of their heritage because the people known as "Celts" lived in many areas of modern-day Europe.

The Spiral of Life
The Triple-Spiral, otherwise known as the "Spiral of Life", is found on many ancient Irish stone carvings - the most famous of which is Newgrange, found in County Meath, Ireland, which dates back to 2500 BC. Most scholars believe the spiral of life represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Others say this deeply mystical symbol represents the male, female, and child on the path of life. Another interpretation is that it also represents the Triple Goddess.

The Triskele, or the Triskelion
The Triskele, otherwise known as the triskelion, is a three-pronged spiral, and is often used as a basis for more complex spirals. Some suggest ancient Celtic triskeles represented the Triple Goddess of the three ages of womanhood. It later came to represent the Holy Trinity in Christianity - God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whatever its' meaning, it is interesting that the motif is based around The Number 3 - regarded as a highly sacred number in many ancient cultures, not least the Celtic Druids.

Trinity Celtic Knot or Triquetra
The Triquetra, commonly known as the Trinity Knot, takes an individual strand and wraps it into and onto itself, such that it becomes a three-lobed, yet singular design (with no beginning and no end). This design symbolises the connection of the three planes of existence: mind, body, and spirit. As above, to Christians, it illustrated the essential core of Christian belief wherein one God was Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For both beliefs, the Trinity knot symbolized the way in which the three separate essences were vitally interconnected.

Three is a Magic Number
Here are the various explanations and meanings of the number three as related to druid beliefs.

The Druids believed in three worlds and in transmigration from one to the other: in a world above this one, in which happiness predominated; a world below, of misery; and this world, the present state. This transmigration was to punish and reward, and also to purify the soul. In the present world, said the Druids, good and evil are so exactly balanced that man has the utmost freedom and is able to choose or reject either.

Then there are three objects of metempsychosis: to collect into the soul the properties of all being, to acquire knowledge of all things, and to get power to conquer all evil.

They are also, the Celtic Druids say, three kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the name of each thing, of its cause, and its influence. Three things that continually grow less: darkness, falsehood, and death. And three things that constantly increase - light, life, and truth.

The Number Three is a sacred symbol in many cultures all over the world.

Irish Astrology is about bringing awareness of the Celtic Symbols used in the Druid belief system. They were used as early as the Vedic, Greek, or Roman systems. Click here for more info on Celtic Symbols and here for lovely Free Screensavers

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