Throughout history and all of the different cultures that have existed, there have been some very fascinating symbols that just by looking at them, you might not know what they mean. These are the kind of symbols that get you talking about them. These are the kind of symbols you look at and think it might be something special. This is especially true with the symbol of the triskele. People get even more curious when they see it tattooed on the body.
The triskele tattoo is a popular one and happens to a be symbol that will have people coming up to you asking what it means. That is the great thing about a tattoo like this. Hearts and butterflies are nice but when you go out on a limb and pick a symbol that looks like the triskele, you are bound to have admirers and when you understand the meaning of the triskele tattoo, you will start to understand why it is a popular tattoo.
In this post we are going to be discussing the triskele tattoo and talk about the origins of this symbol. We will also talk about the triskele tattoo meaning and what it symbolizes to those that went ahead and had the image tattooed on their bodies. We will also get into some different variations of the triskele tattoo and talk about the images that might be tattooed with the triskele and talk about if it changes the symbolism. We hope that by the end of this article you will have a better understanding of the symbolism behind the triskele tattoo.
History of the Triskele
Sometimes called the spiral of life. The triskele has been seen in many early cultures. It was first seen at around the 4400 to 3600 BC mark by the Malta. It was also seen at the tomb of Newgrange in Ireland, which was built in 3200 BC, in the astronomical calendar. Some other places this symbol has been seen is on coins in Lycia, staters of Pamphiylia, Pisidia and Mycenaean vessels. It seems to be an emblem that is heraldic and placed on the shields of warriors and seen on the pottery created by the Greek.
In many cases, there is a Celtic origin attached to the Triskele but the word comes from the Greek word, “Triskeles”, which means three legs. However, there is some truth to the symbol having a Celtic history. Many people used this symbol during the Tene or the second Iron Age. The symbol is engraved all over the place including a big rock at the entrance of Newgrange.
The symbol had all but disappeared for many years until it made a resurgence in the later parts of the 6th century when it was seen in Merovingian art. However, it soon left the forefront of symbols being used except for those that lived in Ireland where the symbol still sits on many illuminations and monuments. It was a popular druidic symbol in the late 19th century. It was once again rediscovered in national journals in 1914 in Britain and was adopted as the Breton National party symbol in 1940. Ireland still uses the triskele officially and is a common symbol in Celtic music as well.
Triskele Tattoo Meaning
There are many interpretations to what the symbolism of the triskele is. It is said that it isn’t easy to give a definition as to the meaning but we will share what we’ve gathered below.
First, the curved, rotating sections of the triskele or branches, symbolize movement, enthusiasm and dynamism in opposition of all that is fixed and right. It can be a symbol of life. The Breton, it means “three rays” and one historian and archaeologist named Wenceslas Kruta talks of the solar nature of the triskele.
In Celtic mythology, the triskele could be a symbol of the three points of movement for the sun, which include sunrise, then zenith and finally, sunset. In other Celtic lore, the triskele is a symbol of the pantheon of gods. It is threefold and symbolizes Ogme, Daghda and Lugh. The three sections of the triskele represent these. The triskele symbol is also known to represent the only goddess and all three of her beings, which include wife, mother and daughter.
In other cultures, it is said the triskele tattoo symbolizes time passing. In this case it would be the past, the present and the future or the three different stages of life that we go through which would be childhood, maturity and being elders.
As you can see, most of these meanings revolve around the idea of life and how we embrace it. Whether it represents the stages of life or the different worlds we experience in our existence, it truly will be up to the person that has the tattoo.
Triskele Tattoo Variations
The triskele tattoo is a tattoo that has one variation and we know what that looks like. However, people tend to add other symbols to their tattoo or the triskele might be one part of a bigger piece that could include other symbols from the cultures the triskele has impacted. Below are just a couple we have see and those along with the pictures below should give you a pretty good idea of the directions you could go in.
Triskele with other Celtic Symbols
This is vague but the triskele fits in nicely with a Celtic themed piece. Whether it is a cross, the green man, the harp or the shamrock, the triskele fits right in with it. It would be a nice addition to a full Celtic piece to represent your Irish heritage.
Triskele and Tribal Tattoo
This combination of style and symbols just goes perfectly together as the triskele is often tattooed in dark, bold lines. It happens to flow right along with most tribal tattoos. With the history behind this symbol, it also fits in terms of cultural and historical value.
However, whatever your reason for getting the triskele tattoo is a perfect reason because nobody can tell you what tattoo you should get. Just make sure you are comfortable with your tattoo artist and make sure they are well versed in dark tattooing.