Body paintings with a deep meaning were very important to Celtic people. They believed that spiritual protection and guarding powers work throughout the symbols, as a result, those symbols were used in jewelry, clothing, and paintings as well. Authentic symbols of ancient Celtic culture are still very popular tattoo features in the previous Celtic countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Wales and in many other European countries too.
Different variations of Celtic knots are one of the most popular features of the Celtic-based tattoo designs. These symbols are flexible and easy to be extended or combined with any other symbols and usually are accompanied by symbols of nature such as trees, flowers, birds or animals. The exact meaning of the knot depends on its variation as well as country, culture and personal belief. Overall, these knots are known as magical knots and they are related to the supernatural powers, eternity and never-ending cycle of life and death. Usually, the knot tattoos are finished by the circular rings that represent the eventual magical power.
One of the most popular knot’s variations is called triquetra or the trinity knot. The traditional design of triquetra is three connected ovals — one pointing upward, the other two pointing down, to the left and right. This knot is also made of one continuous line that interweaves around itself and usually has a ring around. Triquetra symbolizes eternity, spiritual life and inner strength. As this trinity knot has no end and no beginning, it tells about living without fears because there is no power that could destroy the eternal cycle of life. It is highly possible, that triquetra can be one of the oldest Celtic symbols as it was found on many ancient monuments and historical artifacts.
This is an Irish-based symbol highly related to the holy trinity as a result it is was named after the old Irish word – triskele or triskelion. This ancient symbol has been found on many historical kerbstones in the area of Ireland. This symbol of three spirals was important to Christians and pagans with the very similar meaning of three the main Gods. Also, triskele is related to the main materia of the sky, water, and land as well as represents all understanding about spiritual, physical, and celestial subjects.
These specific crosses are not related to Christianity as it was proven that ancient Celtic tribes used these symbols many years before this religion. According to some researches, these crosses were related to four fundamental elements of fire, air, water, and land. This symbol was widely used on the shield of Celtic warriors as it represented the strong beliefs, loyalty, and strength.
The well-known variation of the Celtic cross is called the cross of Bridgit. She is a life-giving goddess and is a very popular figure in many folktales of Celtic mythology. Usually, it is drawn with four arms tied at the ends and a woven square in the middle and the symbol itself is related with the protection as it should keep the enemies, evil, hunger, and fire away from home or person.