Animal Symbols

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 […]

tarvos

Celtic Bull

  The bull is a symbol of physical and mental strength, of ‘bull-headed’ perseverance. Like other animals with similar characteristics it also represents virility and fertility; its symbols, in fact, were worn in the bed chamber on the wedding night to encourage sexual strength and endurance. The bull also represented wealth, since its presence in […]

Celtic-horse

Celtic Horse Symbol

The Celtic horse symbol was associated with victory in war. The Celtic horse-goddess Epona (from epos, the Gaulish word for ‘horse’), or the ‘Great Mare’, was worshipped by the Gauls and was so popular that the Romans adopted her cult and built a temple to her. The horse goddess Epona was believed to accompany the […]

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Magical Creatures

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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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