Celtic Symbols–Celtic Crosses

October 18, 2009 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

Celtic Cross Crystal Block

Celtic Cross Crystal Block

Ancient Celtic crosses, some dating back to the time of the Druids, can be seen throughout Ireland’s countryside and cemeteries.  The Celtic High Crosses were probably the most important achievement in the entire history of Irish sculpture.  Generally sculped from sandstone and reaching a height of twenty feet, Celtic crosses are characterized by the circle connecting the four arms of a standard cross.  Early examples of the Celtic high cross depict abstract decorations, but by the 9th century their illustrations broadened to include elaborate scriptural scenes.

Interpretations of the parts of the cross vary.  Some believe that the horizontal portion of the cross represented the earthly world and the vertical portion, heaven.  The joining part represents the unification of heaven and earth.  In other explanations, the number four holds great significance with the four arms of the cross representing north-south-east-west, fire-earth-air-water, and mind-body-soul-heart.

Others will point out that the Celtic cross was also known as a Sun Cross or Sun Wheel and was a symbol of Odin, the Norse god.  The circle in the Celtic cross is now widely known to represent the sun.   Modern interpretations view the circular portion as a symbol of eternal life and God’s infinite love.

In Irish legend, St. Patrick is credited with introducing the first Celtic cross.   The  Celts told him of the sacred stone they worshiped, representing the moon goddess.  St. Patrick sade the mark of a Latin cross through the circle and blessed the stone, creating the first Celtic cross.

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