Celtic symbolism is a rich, vivid world well worth discovering. Delve into it today with our guide to the Celtic symbol for strength, its meaning, and everything else you need to know.
Celtic symbols have seen a resurgence in popularity recently. From tattoos to jewellery designs, people have found creative ways to incorporate these symbols into their daily lives.
‘Celtic’ refers to people who lived in Western Europe, Britain, and Ireland between 500BC and 400AD.
Celtic symbols are deeply connected with Irish history and culture, and many people worldwide have sought to strengthen their connection with their heritage through these symbols.
Ancient Celtic people created and adapted many symbols to represent the most important aspects of their lives, for example, love, abundance, and spirituality.
Like all ancient cultures throughout the world, the ancient Celts struggled with times of extreme hardship and strife.
Symbols were believed to bestow blessings to counter this adversity, and, as such, Celtic symbols of strength are many.
Check out our guide below to discover the most popular designs that have managed to endure the tests of time.
The Oak Tree – the king of the forest
Still known as “The Mighty Oak”, many cultures throughout the world believed this towering tree to be a symbol of knowledge and strength. The Celts were no different.
A native tree to Ireland, some of the oaks standing today have reached ‘ancient’ status, and it is no coincidence that it has been declared the country’s national tree.
Often huge in size, the trees are advantageous to biodiversity, attracting all forms of birds and other creatures to make homes in their wide branches.
While the oak tree is predominantly seen as a symbol of strength and life, it is also believed to represent longevity, knowledge, luck, and prosperity.
Ancient Greeks shared this reverence for the oak tree, associating it with their most powerful god Zeus, the ruler of the gods and the sky.
Interestingly, while the oak tree is most prone to being struck by lightning compared to other trees, it will often possess the strength to thrive regardless.
This endurance inspired ancient people across many cultures, including the Celts.
Ailm – seeped in rich Celtic mythology
The Ailm is another enduring Celtic symbol for strength. It is derived from the letter “A” of the Celtic Ogham alphabet.
This symbol is also deeply connected with trees, an important facet of Celtic culture.
Ogham is a primaeval form of communications within ancient Celtic culture. The Ogham was believed to be a realm of trees that were thought to grant wisdom to any who sought it.
The word “Ailm” is thought to mean “conifer/silver fir”.
Evergreen conifers represent strength also, managing to hold onto their leaves and colour despite the harsh conditions of winter.
Dara Celtic knot – a popular choice for tattoos
The Dara Celtic knot is one of the most famous Celtic symbols for strength out there.
A popular choice for tattoo and artwork, this is another symbol that can be traced back to the Celts’ reverence of trees.
The meaning of Dara Celtic knot is associated with the Irish word “doire”, which translates as “oak tree”.
Like the tree itself, the Dara knot represents inner strength, endurance, and the ability to stay grounded through adversity.
While the most recognisable Dara knot resembles a tree, there are many variations of the design.
These intricate symbols may include several interlaced patterns, such as braids, steps, spirals, and plaits.
Most scholars believe that Celtic knots came into existence for religious purposes, and the Dara Celtic Knot can be found on ancient Christian manuscripts that have survived the weathering of time.
Whether you are looking for a great tattoo idea to strengthen your connection with your ancestors, or you want to incorporate a Celtic design for strength into a piece of art or jewellery, you are sure to find a symbol that will fit your needs.
As you can see, the world of Celtic symbolism is a rich and fascinating one.
While this article is just the tip of the iceberg, we recommend reading up more about the intricate beliefs of ancient Irish people. You won’t regret it.