Celtic Tattoos

Celtic mythology and culture pre-dates the strong Christian authorities that eventually overtook the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Wales. These were the nations where Celtic languages were spoken and where the culture developed over hundreds of years, eventually absorbing the Christian influence. The ancient culture of the Celts is rich in artistic tradition and storied mythology.

The most common Celtic images are taken from the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament. The manuscripts are ornately decorated with intricate knots, intersecting and interlacing in an endless loop to demonstrate the eternity of God. The knots are often designed into a cross shape, emphasizing the influence of Christianity.

The Triquertra is a trinity knot with three intersections creating a trefoil knot, a triangular shape. A circle, representing eternity, is sometimes added to the symbol. Its origins are uncertain and so it remains an important knot in both early Irish Christianity and the pagan pantheon.

In Celtic, or Irish, mythology, Dagda is the primary god, significant to the pantheon as a father-figure. He carries a club of immense killing power and is illustrated as both strong and clever. He is paired with the goddess Morrigan who is associated with fate and premonitory powers. She appears as a beautiful young woman but can shapeshift into many animal forms.

Brighid and Boann are two other Celtic goddesses who are associated with the beauty and power of nature.

The Celtic wheel is another symbol of Celtic mythology, often carried by the god of thunder Taranis. The wheel is an iconic Celtic image that was used to imprint on coins and art forms. It is a representation of the sun and so the passage of time. It is associated with the Wheel of the Year, a pagan calendar used to mark the seasons of the year.

The Claddagh is also a symbol of Irish and Celtic heritage, named after the village from where the symbol originated. Two hands fit together to hold a heart topped with a crown. It is a symbol of love and friendship that has been used commonly as an Irish wedding ring.