Animal Symbols

Celtic-boar

Celtic Wild Boar

In Celtic mythology the wild boar was sacred to the goddess Arduinna (of the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and Luxembourg); in some Celtic myths it had the role of leading its hunters to the Otherworld. Considered the fiercest and most dangerous of the hunters’ prey, the wild boar symbolised fearlessness and strength. In the hunt the […]

cernunnos

Celtic Stag Symbol

The most important and well-known  animal symbol of the ancient Celts, the Celtic stag symbol, is associated with Cernunnos, the horned (antlered) god of all wild animals, hunting and fertility and the consort of the Great Mother. Cernunnos represents the active side of nature; consequently, he is the god of sexuality (in the detail on the […]

Celtic-fish

Celtic Fish Symbol

In Celtic mythology the Salmon of Wisdom were the keepers of all knowledge, which they gained by eating the nuts of the sacred hazel trees. Salmon and trout were often linked to sacred wells and springs, which were places of physical healing and Celtic symbols of spiritual rebirth.

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Magical Creatures

sheela-na-gig

Sheela-Na-Gig – Celtic Symbol of the Feminine

Sheela na Gig is the name given to a squat, ugly female figure found carved in Celtic stonework, and is most well-known for the fact that she is depicted with exposed and/or grotesquely large genitals, which are often held open with her hands. Throughout the ages Sheela-na-gigs have been a common figure in the stone […]

Celtic-serpent-carving

Celtic Serpent Symbol

Due to its unique characteristic represented by the cyclical shedding of its skin, the serpent was the Celtic symbol of rebirth and was widely referred as an immortal creature that came to life each year after hibernation, complete with a new skin. The serpent is also both a phallic symbol (it is often seen depicted […]

Medieval-gryphon

Griffin / Gryphon

A powerful symbol found in the ancient Celtic tradition and the mythologies of many ancient cultures, the Griffin (also written Gryphon or Griffon) has the head, wings and talons of an eagle and the body and tail of a lion. Belonging to, and ruling over, the skies as an eagle and the earth as a lion […]

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Other Celtic Symbols

trick-or-treat

Halloween trick-or-treat and pumpkins – a Celtic legacy?

Trick or Treat? This Halloween custom, popular with American and British children since fairly recent times, actually have their roots in ancient Celtic tradition. Halloween itself (or Hallow’s eve – the night before All Hallows or All Saints’ Day) can be traced back to pre-Christian Ireland and the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-en), or […]

celtic-spiral-petroglyphs

The Spiral Symbol

One of the most important symbols used by the ancient Celtic peoples, the spiral is actually a universal symbol shared by many other primitive cultures worldwide. Both in Ireland and in China, for example, it was used as a symbol of the sun. The ancient Egyptians depicted their snake god Mehen (meaning ‘coil’) as a […]

riders-of-the-sidhe

Danu, Mother of the Leprechauns

To call the great Celtic goddess Danu mother of the leprechauns might sound strange. The legendary ‘little people’ generally depicted as tiny old men in green coats, in fact, are a far cry from the mysterious early Celtic races with their formidable and often scary deities. Yet in Irish mythology the now world-famous leprechauns are […]

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