Do you know what a Celtic knot symbolizes? This article will provide you with everything you need to know about the meaning of a Celtic knot.
If you fancy yourself an adventurer, have a passion for camping, or spend your days sailing the salty seas, you’ve likely come across a knot or two.
From the square knot and bowline to the grip knot and figure eight, there are a number of different knots — but are you familiar with the Celtic knot?
In this guide, we’re exploring the symbolic Celtic knot to uncover its meaning, origin, and more. So, if you’ve ever been curious about this coveted knot — keep reading. Here’s our complete guide on the Celtic knot.
What Is the Celtic Knot’s Meaning?
A Celtic knot is a symbolic pattern that depicts a looped knot with no start or finish. In other words, it’s a symbol that features a continuous line.
The endless knot goes on infinitely, which is thought to symbolize the eternity of life. If you were to draw a Celtic knot, you would have one starting point and eventually finish right back where you started — at the beginning. This symbolizes how eternity and life are interconnected.
What Is the Origin of the Celtic Knot?
Celtic knots originated from an ancient group of people called the Celts sometime in the third and fourth centuries. The Celts were pagan; however, over time, most converted to Christianity. The Pagans believed in the infinite nature of all living things.
Before the influence of Christianity, Celtic culture was in the form of braid, spirals, plait, patterns, and of course, knots, symbolizing seven creations, which included:
The symbolic Celtic knots came with many different themes, such as unity, loyalty, strength, love, and religious beliefs. Around this time, the idea stood that the coveted knots represented the earth, sky, and sea as well as the past, present, and future.
Eventually, the holy trinity — God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (aka Holy Spirit) — were incorporated into it as well.
What Are the Different Variations of the Celtic knot?
A basic Celtic knot consists of an interlacing pattern that dates all the way back to the middle ages, inscribed by monks on the famous book of Kells. That said, did you know that this basic knot is not the only variation or aesthetic interpretation of the Celtic knot?
Yup, it’s true — the basic knot is just one of eight Celtic knots, which are three- or four-cord plait patterns. The eight Celtic knots are as follows:
- Trinity Knot (Triquetra). Arguably the most recognizable style of Celtic knots, the Trinity Knot derives its Latin name “Triquentra,” meaning “three-cornered.”
- Celtic Cross. Also known as the Irish Cross, the Celtic Cross is said to represent both Celtic culture and religion. Today, this knot is a cultural symbol of Ireland.
- Celtic Love Knot. The knot of love, Celtic Love Knots were exchanged between loved ones as a token of affection (similar to the modern-day wedding ring).
- Solomon’s Knot. Often associated with the Israeli King Solomon, the Solomon’s Knot symbolizes the intrinsic connection between man and the divine.
- Shield Knot. Representing defense and protection, the Shield Knot was thought to protect people (especially Celtic sailors) from evil spirits.
- Sailor’s Knot. One of the simplest Celtic knot designs in the bunch, the Sailor’s Celtic knot represents the strength of the bond between a family.
- Dara Knot. Similar to the brute strength of the Sailor’s Celtic knot, the Dara knot is often used as the visual representation of strength in Celtic culture. Dara’s name comes from “doire,” which means “oak tree” in Gaelic.
- Celtic Spiral Knot. Comparable to the Trinity knot as another three-sided knot, the Celtic Spiral knot is commonly considered to signify the three forces of nature: water, fire, and earth.
What Are the Most Popular Celtic Symbols?
In addition to there being many Celtic knots, there are also many Celtic symbols — here are some of the best-known symbols:
- The Awen
- Claddagh Ring
- Celtic Tree of Life (Crann Bethadh)
- The Triskele
- The Celtic Harp
- Brigid’s Cross
- The Shamrock
- Wheels of Taranis
- The Celtic Spiral
- The Ailm
- The Celtic Motherhood Knot
What Are Translations of Celtic Knot?
Now that you’re familiar with what the word “Celtic knot” means, let’s take a look at a few translations:
- Portuguese — nó Celta
- Mongolian — Кельт зангилаа (Kyelit zangilaa)
- Albanian — nyjë kelt
- Ukrainian — кельтський вузол (kelʹt·sʹkyy vuzol)
- German — keltischer Knoten
- Greek — κέλτικος κόμπος (kéltikos kómpos)
- Korean — 켈트 매듭 (kelteu maedeub)
- Croatian — keltski čvor
- Polish — węzeł celtycki
- Hebrew — קשר קלטי
- Danish — keltisk knude
- Thai — ปมเซลติก (Pm sel tik)
- Norwegian — keltisk knute
- Afrikaans — Keltiese knoop
- Arabic — عقدة سلتيك (euqdat siltik)
- Japanese — ケルトノット (kerutonotto)
- Chinese (simplified) — 凯尔特结 (kǎi ěr tè jié)
- Czech — keltský uzel
- French — noeud celtique
- Dutch — Keltische knoop
A Final Word
It goes without saying that Celtic knots are iconic. The ancient symbols have been around for centuries, yet are still commonly seen today in many places, including graveyards, monuments, and churches. Additionally, Celtic art and knots are often incorporated into jewelry, tattoos, and clothing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Roman, Welsh, or Scottish — anyone can enjoy Celtic knotwork. In other words, you don’t have to be a Pagan or Christian to use the ancient Celtic symbol.
Coveted all around the world, the Celtic knot is meant to be shared far and wide. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need to truly understand the meaning behind the Celtic knot. To discover more interesting words, head on over to our website today!