m Celtic Cross Celtic Cross - Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess

August 09, 2005

The Celtic Cross

One thing that I don't think I've touched on here is the origin of my chosen blog name - Celtic Cross. It's much more than a cool looking symbol - there is a rich history and deep meaning to it for me.

The Celtic Cross is one of the most common images that comes to mind when someone mentions the Celts. I have always felt a very strong connection to my Celtic roots. Most of my ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland and England, so it runs in my blood.

Many also associate this widely used symbol, however, with the Christians as a representation of the crucifix and, more often than not, as a monument for the dead.

The history of the Celtic Cross is much older than it's common Christian influence. In fact, the earliest known images of the cross within a circle are neither Christian nor Celtic. The oldest examples of the "Celtic" cross are those engraved or painted on flat pebbles, dating from 10,000 BC and found in a cave in the French Pyrenees. These "ancestor stones" were believed to contain the spirits of the dead. In Scotland, The stones at Callanish are laid in the shape of a Celtic cross. Callanish also predates the time of Christ.

Throughout the Irish country side, cross circles are found laid out on the ground. Through oral traditions, legend and lore, many believe these circles were gathering places for spiritual worship. Even the artifacts found engraved in walls or on stones maintain each leg of the cross in equal size.

The extended lower leg is believed to be an addition from Christian influences. This view of the cross has become known as the 'High Cross'. In relation to this, the symbolism is particularly applicable to me considering my Christian upbringing and subsequent exploration of the spiritual realm outside of Christianity. It is, to me, an ancient symbol of my true heritage transformed into a representation of a Christian ideal by outside forces.

For the pagan practioner, the original form of the Celtic Cross is of the most interest. Through oral tradition and archeological evidence we know the ancient Celts used the circle and cross for spiritual rituals and ceremonies.

Each leg of the cross represents both directional points, as well as, elemental ordinals. The circle represents both the circle of life, the cycle of the seasons and the endless path of knowledge.

Keep in mind that the cross was primarily found laying flat on the ground, the points or legs of the cross laid out in the cardinal directions. Each point of the cross signifies the direction, an element and a cycle of time both for the day (midnight, sunrise, noon and sunset), the year (winter, spring, summer and fall), the elements (air, earth, water and fire), the 4 parts of man (soul, body, heart and mind), and the cycle of life (death, fertility, union, birth).

Another view of the cross and it's components are based on the Druidic view of the 5 Elements:
North - Calas - represents midnight, Samhain, death, and the earth
East - Fluidity - represents sunrise, Imbolg, fertility, body, and water
South - Breath - represents noon, Beltaine, union, heart, and air
West - Uvel - represents sunset, Lughnasadh, birth, mind, and fire
Center - Nwyvre - represents the soul, the Divine Spirit

This interpretation is attractive because of the prominence of time cycles and solar symbols in Celtic mythology and how the celtic cross and its associated art works seem to relate to the sun or to solar symbols.

Today, the cross can still be a magnificent tool for ritual and ceremony. It can be laid out either inside or outside for ritual gatherings using the symbolic elements described above.

Once created, you can enter the circle from the north and walk along the circle, in meditation of your life, your spirit, and whatever evolutionary element you wish to examine and learn from.

The Celtic Cross can be seen as just another example of the Sacred Circle, with an emphasis on Celtic philosophy. However you choose to relate to the cross, it is an ancient symbol worthy of reverence and respect.

By choosing the Celtic Cross as the icon of my blog, I invite my visitors into my circle and welcome you into my life.

19 Comments:

At August 09, 2005 10:07 am, Blogger midwest_hick said...

Once again.....You give me more knowledge than I had before I came in here....good stuff there.

 
At August 09, 2005 10:25 am, Blogger Denny Shane said...

Good posting!! even I learned a few things this morning :)

 
At August 09, 2005 11:01 am, Blogger sydwynd said...

Very interesting! It just confirms my belief that we are all faiths are spiritually connected if we can see it. There are many paths that get us to the same destination.

 
At August 09, 2005 11:09 am, Blogger desertUndine said...

Nice post.

 
At August 09, 2005 12:56 pm, Blogger halo said...

What a sweet thought. Im glad youve invited me in. :)

 
At August 09, 2005 3:19 pm, Blogger Michael Manning said...

Denny at Not So Normal Life sent me. Interesting post!

 
At August 09, 2005 3:39 pm, Blogger Julie said...

As always, the pagan beliefs are at the core of other religions...I smile each time I come across a new proof of that. :)

Had some rune readings done for me in Celtic Cross layout and thought of you last night.

 
At August 09, 2005 4:55 pm, Blogger Celti said...

Mike - thanks! Glad to be...informative. lol

Denny - cool! thanks.

Vince - yep - many paths.

Undine - thanks.

use - I'm glad, too. :)

Michael - welcome! thanks.

Julie - I see it all the time and smile, too. You know, I almost mentioned that spread...

 
At August 09, 2005 7:16 pm, Blogger Brighton said...

That is so interesting! I'm glad I'm in your circle : )

 
At August 09, 2005 8:03 pm, Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

Hey Celti, thanks for letting us into your world. :)

I'm not sure, but I would imagine that Celtic heritage is a little more familiar in UK than in the USA, but it's clear that this is a subject close to your own heart.

As you point out, the Cross is a symbol that the early Christians co-opted from the "pagan" beliefs they encountered as they moved into Europe. Strange how they somehow managed to pull the spirit right out of it at the same time, isn't it?

Thanks again, and great to see your pic too! :)

 
At August 09, 2005 8:46 pm, Blogger Inanna said...

Beautiful post hon.

 
At August 09, 2005 10:25 pm, Blogger cali said...

Glad you posted about the origins and bases for choosing your blog name - I had wondered. Since I'm from the county of Cornwall, which has more cultural and linguistic links to Celtic and Gaelic culture than the rest of England, I enjoyed reading about it. Great idea for a welcoming blog theme.

 
At August 09, 2005 10:37 pm, Blogger Aimee said...

You're so cool. :)

 
At August 09, 2005 10:55 pm, Blogger Jennifer said...

:) Thanks for that clarification... I've always wondered. And now I'm glad that I know :)

 
At August 10, 2005 11:31 am, Blogger Boobabe said...

Wow, that was very interesting. Thank you for inviting me in ;)

 
At August 10, 2005 4:41 pm, Blogger Celti said...

Brighton - :)

Owl - you're welcome! I think you're right - people in the UK seem more aware - of that and a lot of other things. They DID pull a lot of the spirit out of it. :(

Inanna - thanks, hon!

Cali - I thought some might have wondered. Didn't know you were from those parts - how interesting! thanks.

Aimee - *blush* thanks!

Jennifer - no problem. :)

Boo - you're welcome! :)

 
At August 10, 2005 5:34 pm, Blogger Jenn said...

Nice post Celti girl and thank you for inviting us in!

 
At August 11, 2005 10:06 am, Blogger jp said...

Holy cow, I had no idea Celtic Crosses had so much meaning. I almost got one tattooed on my body because they look cool. I'm glad I didn't....I would have hated to field all the questions that would have ensued. :)

 
At August 12, 2005 10:45 am, Blogger just me said...

Ya know....
Us crazy ass Shamans do the same thing. Enter in at North and roam around for whatever Spirit wants you to learn. Funny huh?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your circle. *HUGS*

 

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