Symbols of Celtic Magic

celtic-triangle-knotThe Triquetra or what some call the “trinity knot” is an ancient symbol that some people might recognize from the Charmed TV series. The word ‘triquetra’ originally meant ‘triangle’ and was used to describe triangle-shaped objects. It has pre-Christian origins and some scholars say it was originally a Goddess symbol. Over time, it was co-opted by the Celtic Christian Church to represent the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Still, modern pagans, witches and druids use the symbol to represent the three aspects of the Goddess (Maiden, Mother and Crone) or the triplicity of Nature (Land, Sea and Sky). Some associate this symbol with Body, Mind and Spirit. Many witches will wear a triquetra pendant if they are not comfortable wearing a Pentacle ( a 5-poined star in a circle). In our modern times, the Triquetra has become associated as a symbol of Celtic Witchcraft and magic, although some Christians still use it as well.

triskele

The Triskele or Triskelion is another symbol with three points representing Land, Sea and Sky. This symbol consists of three interlocked spirals. At second glance it appears to be spinning, indicating motion and progress. This is one of the main symbols used by Druids, Celtic Pagans and those who practice a Celtic form of Wicca.

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The AWEN symbol is the primary symbol of Druidry. ‘Awen’ is an old Welsh word that means “poetic inspiration”. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids describe the three lines as rays emanating from three points of light, with those points representing the triple aspect of deity and the points at which the sun rises on the equinoxes and solstices – known as the Triad of the Sunrises. The emblem is surrounded by three circles representing the three circles of creation. There are many layers of meaning to this symbol. The three dots represent the three sacred drops of ‘poetic inspiration’ that flew out of Cerridwen’s cauldron onto Gwion Bach’s thumb. Those familiar with this ancient story know that when Gwion Bach put his thumb in his mouth, he ingested the three drops and was thus imbued with all of the magical wisdom of Cerridwen. Various Neo-druid groups and individuals have their own interpretation of the Awen. The three lines relate to earth, sea and air; body, mind and spirit; or love, wisdom and truth. It is also said that the Awen stands for not simply inspiration, but for inspiration of truth; without Awen one cannot proclaim truth. The three foundations of Awen are the understanding of truth, the love of truth, and the maintaining of truth. The rays also stand for the letters from which all others evolved: I, O, and U.

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The Celtic Knot Circle has interlacing lines that stand for “No beginning, No ending”, continuity and intertwining. It represents how we are all connected to each other. In the Circle we stand as equals.

$(KGrHqVHJB8F!lZIlZbYBQZd-+mHbw~~60_35The Celtic Tree of Life is another many-layered symbol. It represents balance and harmony in Nature, Wisdom, Strength and long life. It also represents rebirth. Just a tree sheds it’s leaves in the Fall, and hibernates in the Winter, it is ‘reborn’ with new leaves in the Spring. The Tree of Life unites the Upper and Lower worlds. It’s roots reach deep into the Lower World, while the branches reach high into the Upper world. The trunk of the tree connects the two worlds to the Middle world (the material plane). It is through this connection that Celtic Gods and Goddesses can commune with people, through the Tree of Life. It is believed that the Druids regarded the trees and living, magical beings. Trees were considered a doorway to the spirit world. There are many meditative practices that incorporate the visualization of a tree.

The Ogham is an early medieval alphabet used to write the early English language and later the old Irish language. There are roughly 400 inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and western Britain. The largest number outside Ireland are in Wales. The Oghma is also called by some the Celtic Tree Alphabet, as it is believed the names of various trees can be ascribed to individual letters. The symbols are read from bottom to top. Below are charts that show the Ogham symbols and their tree associations.

ogham_alphabet_by_studioogma-d5t631y

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To see what your name looks like in Ogham script, visit this link.

There are many more Celtic symbols, some that contain various animals and other Celtic knotwork. Druid witches use both the Awen symbol and the Pentacle.

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