Celtic Symbols–Celtic Knots

October 21, 2009 at 9:02 am Leave a comment

Celtic Knot Necklace

Celtic Knot Necklace

Celtic knots date back to the 5th century and were used extensively by ancient monks in illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and Book of Durrow.  The Celts did not record the meanings behind the designs they created but scholarly speculation is that the symbols represented basic tenants of life, mankind, and spirituality.

The continual looping of the designs suggests themes of eternity and interconnectedness.  Interwovenfigures of people and animals may have represented the interdependent nature of life.  Two or more knots laced together symbolize lovers, hunters and their prey, God and man, and so on.  Some ancient Celtic symbols have changed in meaning over time, having been influenced by the introduction of Christianity and the influence of other cultures.

A general rule of thumb is that the shape of the design often determines the meaning of a knot.  Circles represent eternity or the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.  Triangles and trefoils represent the threefold dominion of earth, sea and sky.  Squares or four-sided shapes are shield knots, symbols of protection from spririts.  Interlaced animals and men represent relationships, or emphasize the interdependence of manking and nature.

Celtic knots are extremely popular in Celtic jewellery.  From necklaces (shown above) to rings and bracelets, they make a lovely accessory as well as (now that you know) a good conversation piece.  When you see someone wearing a piece of jewellery with a Celtic knot, you can explain to them what it means….because they probably don’t even know!

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