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Celtic Tattoo Designs

       The art of Celtic tattoos dates back to thousands of years when the early Celts used to display their skills in intricate artwork, especially in metals, jewelry and weapons. The Celtic knot tattoos are generally loops, without any starting or ending point. This symbolizes the never-ending cycle of death and reincarnation. People who indulge in the current fashion trends often create the symbols themselves. In North America, people of Celtic descent wear these symbols to highlight their lineage and descent. The designs of the Celtic tattoo was taken from the Irish manuscript ‘The Book of Knells.’ This book is on display in the library of the Trinity College in Dublin.

    The designs of Celtic animals are often similar to loops, where the cords end in the feet, heads or tails. Pure knots are generally unending, unless the end point of a strand is styled into a zoomorphic element or a spiral. The repetitive crossing of the physical as well as the spiritual is often expressed in the interlacing of the knots. The unending strands represent the permanence of love, life and faith. The connected symbolism popularized the culture of Celtic tattoos.

celtic tattoos

    The ancient Celts were known to impart the knowledge of the art of Celtic tattooing orally and there aren’t any written records. However, it is believed that traditionally, artists used tools made of bronze and copper that were often unpolished. In those times, tattoos were considered the right of the rich and affluent class, who suddenly lost vital support and landed up with the commoners. Despite the immense popularity of the designs of Celtic cross tattoos and Celtic knot tattoos, there is little evidence regarding the history of Celtic tattoos.

    The recent tattoo culture represents absolute freedom of expression. It is considered to be a style statement among the youth. The Irish, Scots and Welsh with a Celtic heritage, sport the Celtic designs to express pride in their heritage. They strive to keep alive the unique artistic skills of their ancestors. However, several people without any Celtic origin continue to flaunt the intricate Celtic tattoo designs.

    The only factor that has prevented the widespread popularity of the art of tattooing is the slow torturous procedure involved. Tattoo designing is a difficult art that requires years of experience and the passion to create attractive and elegant tattoos, replicas of the intricate Celtic patterns. The tattoos cannot be created or sported without a sense of pride in this ancient art form.

celtic tattoo

    The Celtic knot tattoo designs are very decorative on the surface, but at their roots are very culturally significant and deeply symbolic. The Celtic knot is any of eight decorative knots with alternating over-and-under construction, originating in pre-Christian times and found in manuscripts and on monuments.

celtic tattoo design

    Celtic tattoos are becoming the choice for many new and old tattoo enthusiasts.  Celtic knot tattoos are tattoos that originated in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.  Though most are associated with the clan or tribe a person is with, each design has a special meaning in Celtic tradition and that meaning can be portrayed as a tattoo.  The Celtic knot tattoo has various designs, but what is common is that is an intricate design of a rope or knot that does not have a beginning or an end.  It is a continuous loop that loops to nowhere. The loops intertwine but do not seem connected to each other. Each loop in independent and may have a different shape than the loop it is intertwined with.

    When searching for a Celtic knot design you need to think about the significance of that design.  Whether you are a traditionalist trying to capture a bit of your ancestry or you are just a consumer who loves the design, the meaning can convey more importance than most people realize. For example if your Celtic knot tattoo has a horse in it, there are many meanings for which that horse might represent. The horse is a symbol of power.  Either physical or mental, the horse symbol can give the Celtic knot tattoo wearer a talisman to create enter power or let the world know that they are a creature of power. The horse also renders the idea of magic and prophecy in the Celtic world.  Unicorns are apart of the horse family and when a unicorn was seen good or evil things were to follow. The unicorn has passed this power to the horse and the Celtic knot tattoo owner will also carry this legend with them.  The horse is also the transporter to the otherworld.  This meaning is a little dark for most, but if you Celtic knot tattoo is done properly, the more positive aspects of the symbol of the horse will come out.  

    When a pentacle is interlaced within Celtic knot tattoo, the idea of paganism comes to mind.  The pentacle represents the earth, air, water, fire, and spirit.  The pentacle in the Celtic knot tattoo can be traced through the ‘Book of Kell’ as the foundation of most pagan religions practiced today.  Though this symbol is misrepresented as the sign of the devil and satanic worship it still holds the importance of the five elements of nature that are abundant in Celtic culture.  

celtic viking tattoo

    So be careful in what Celtic tattoo you choose for yourself.  The common man in the United States might not know what the symbols mean, but with a growing awareness of Celtic culture in this country, you might not want to misrepresent yourself because you thought the Celtic knot tattoo pattern was pretty. Do some research on the Internet or ask your local tattoo artist.  Most who do Celtic knot tattoo design will have personal knowledge or some reference to help you pick out the design that will empower your self image and show the world that art that you chose.

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