Animal Symbols

Book-Kells-bird

Celtic Bird Symbol

In Celtic animal symbols birds represented freedom and transcendence, having the power to soar up above the earth into the heavens, and return to bring messages from the gods. They were thus regarded as spiritual messengers and mediators between earth-bound mortals and the heavenly world. The symbolism of Celtic birds also varies according to 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

Celtic medieval mermaid

Mermaid

The mermaid, half-woman, half-fish, is a powerful archetypal figure common to the mythologies and folk legends of many parts of the world. While the various sacred inland springs and wells were believed to be ruled and inhabited by water deities, water sprites and nymphs, the Celtic sea-faring and fishing populations associated the mermaid with the […]

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 […]

rackham-fairies

The Faerie Folk

The Faerie Folk, by whatever name and in whatever form they may be known – fairies, elves, pixies, sprites, fawns, banshees, leprechauns, little people, etc. – can be said to be symbols, ‘manifestations’, of the profound Celtic bond with the natural and the supernatural world (these two worlds being inextricably inter-connected). Fairies were (and still […]

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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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