Celtic cross tattoos are shrouded in mystery. The culture of the Celtic people really is based in folklore, mythology, anthropology, and symbolic meaning. If you’re shopping for Celtic cross tattoos this may or may not make a difference to you for many people are simply mesmerized by the intricate interwoven knots that are the basis to the Celtic style; the cross is not an exception. For the purposes of this discussion on Celtic cross tattoos, the perspectives of the Christians, Celtic People, and Druids, will be examined.
Basic Celtic cross tattoos start with a simple cross, like a small letter “t”. A circle is placed where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect. This symbol was around long before the Christians, but without all of the intricate Celtic knot designs.
The Christians have several interpretations which will be blended here because they all apply to Christianity. They interpreted the Celtic cross from their perspective and that is what was recorded in written history. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the circle is representative of his birth, death and eventual return; sometimes interpreted as his resurrection as well. In addition, the Christians altered the symbol by elongating the vertical axis on the bottom so it took on the appearance of the cross in which they were familiar.
Pagan Irish scholars however present an earlier meaning; one that may be more desirable depending on your spiritual beliefs. Originally the pagan Irish symbol differed from the modern cross in that it was more like a “plus” sign with the circle. In other words, the horizontal and vertical lines were the same length. In this example the symbol was thought to represent the sun and all of its power. During modern times, a pagan Irish revival brought back the use of Celtic cross tattoos to represent heritage. Some modern associations have adopted the Celtic cross tattoos to symbolize their membership to that group. For these folks, the Celtic cross tattoos symbolize “white pride”.
Digging a little deeper into the meaning of Celtic tattoos, one will eventually run into mention of the high Celtic god Tanaris. There are various spellings of his name. But the folklore and meaning remains the same. Images of Tanaris have been found and he is always depicted holding a wheel. Like the original Celtic symbol for the sun, mentioned above, the wheel that Tanaris holds, is also thought to be representative of the sun. Tanaris is the god of thunder, rain, storms and foul weather in general. Some have conjectured that he is also the Sun God because he is holding the wheel. But if the truth be told, modern culture really doesn’t know why Tanaris is holding the wheel or sun.
Celtic cross tattoos present many design opportunities. Your first choice should be whether or not you want a pagan cross or a Christian cross. Pagan crosses are nice because they fit in a wheel. Be sure and research associations that use the pagan Celtic cross tattoos as they’re association symbol, you don’t want to revisit for a cover up job. In addition, put some thought in to the intricate knot work that would fill the empty space.
Perhaps you want to stay with a simple individual knot, or one that represents unity in your relationship, never ending, by using two knots intertwined. The lover’s knot doesn’t have to be about your earthly love. It could represent your love and relationship with God using a pagan cross! Look at images and galleries for the types of Celtic cross tattoos now that you’ve gained some tools to analyze them.
More Celtic Cross Tattoos
Photos of Real Celtic Crosses for Inspiration