Celtic Symbolism

The Celts and Their Symbolism

The Celts were a group of people that dominated the regions of Central Europe from the Bronze Age (B.C.) well into the early Christian period. The areas that remained Celtic after Romanization were: The Isle of Man, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Cornwall. These people excelled as artisans and as warriors. They invented the chariot and the idea of chariot warfare long before the Romans'. They were one of the first people to use the horse as a beast of burden and then for warfare instead of hunting it for food. They were inventive storytellers and poets but none of their early literature was in written form, it was totally from memory. This is why so little is known about the Celtic lifestyle, except from early Greek and Roman writers.

The Celts use of spirals and knotwork in their art and religion is a significant part of their heritage. These designs were developed from nature. Spirals unfold clockwise from their counterclockwise source and represent the inner and outer evolution of the spirit. The dark into light, winter into summer, the contraction and expansion of the sun. This polarity also formed the basis of the Celtic religion.

Knotwork is another significant aspect of Celtic art and religion. These knots are generally endless and signify the binding of the soul to the world and the spiritual progress of humainity through endless lives in search of the divine source, the sacred center.

The Celts believed in the "oneness" of nature and that nature had the ability to transform itself on all levels of existance. The shapes of their zoomorphic designs signified this belief and also their understanding of the seasonal and evolutionary changes of all creatures. Within their art:

                        the fish symbolized clairvoyance,
                        the serpent was divine wisdom,
                        the hare was good fortune,
                        the birds were spirits of prophesy,
                        the horse represented sovereignty,
                        the dragon was a guardian spirit.
Their ancient wisdom and understanding is thought, by many to be beyond other cultures.

Le dùrachdan



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