Celtic knot tattoos are evolved from the ancient Celts along with influence from Christian missionaries. They are symbolic of strong Celtic pride. Because the Celtic people did not leave a written record regarding their intricate art, it’s important to note that many symbolic meanings of Celtic knot tattoos are modern interpretations. That’s not to say that modern meaning is not valid. Many scholars have researched and written on the topic. They have attempted to interpret the meanings as concisely as possible.
Types of Celtic Knot Tattoos
There are many types of Celtic knot tattoos, and a number of them go by several names. I am going to clarify some of the names and their contemporary meanings and modern symbolic significance below.
Any of the Celtic knot tattoos that have no beginning and no end fall into this category. The meaning of an eternity knot is symbolic of the never-ending circle of life.
Lovers Knot also known as the Josephine’s Knot or Granny Knot.
When Celtic sailors spent months at sea, they often spent their free time weaving rope mementos for their loved ones. The Celtic Sailor’s Knot is made of two intertwined ropes joined together as one. This knot, also known as the Celtic Lovers’ Knot that symbolizes the union of two into one.
Love knots are very popular as jewelry, but an excellent tattoo idea for couples who plan to spend eternity together. An additional idea would be to have the love knot designed in a circular pattern to symbolize the never-ending circle of life.
Triquetra Knot is also known as the Trinity Knot. It is probably the most popular knot used in Celtic tattoo designs.
Like all Celtic art, the origins of the Triquetra knot are debatable. Wandering Christian missionaries either borrowed it from the Celtic people or vice versa. Recent literature seems to agree that it is originally Celtic.
The meaning to the Christian is that of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, the Irish pagans believed that the triquetrum represented the water, earth, and air. It can also mean the union of three separate individuals.
The triquetra is a versatile knot because of its meaning and size. It can symbolize anything that comes in three. If you’re looking for smaller Celtic knot tattoos, this could be the one. Because of its shape, it would wear well on almost any body part.
Celtic Spiral Knot
This knot symbolizes eternal life and one of the oldest Celtic designs. It is another three-sided knot that stands for the forces of nature water, fire, and earth. It features a single continuous line that represents the oneness of spirit and unity.
Triskele or Triple Spiral is one of the oldest Celtic symbols. It is also known as a Triskelion.
This ancient symbol’s meanings can differ depending on the era, culture, mythology, and history. Some of these connotations include life-death-rebirth, spirit-mind-body, mother-father-child, past-present-future, power-intellect-love, and creation-preservation-destruction, to name but a few.
Celtic Dara Knot
The Dara Knot is an intricate Celtic knot that resembles a tree. In Irish, the word ‘Doire’ means ‘oak tree,’ The knot represents both the tree and the root system. Trees were very significant in Celtic culture, and oaks were especially sacred. Dara knot symbolizes wisdom, strength, power, and leadership.
Celtic Shield Knot
Square or Celtic shield knot tend to be much more elaborate and complex. The most commonly held meanings of Celtic shield knot include the four seasons or directions, the four elements of nature (earth, wind, fire, water), the four Celtic festivals of Samhain, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh, and Imbolc, or St. Brigid’s four branches of wisdom; hand, hearth, head, and heart.
In any case, it is the symbol of protection and good fortune.
In modern Celtic tattoo designs, people include several knots intertwined together. They also incorporate initials of their loved ones, colors, and elements that are important to the Celtic culture into the tattoo designs and have more meanings.
More Celtic Knot Tattoos & Tattoo Designs
Today’s Celtic knots feature intricate designs that developed over several centuries in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and North England with strong influences from the Viking culture.