Celtic Warrior Symbols
Most Celtic warrior symbols were used to adorn the body in preparation for war and were also placed on shields and weapons. Many of these tattoos were placed on the meridians, which are the energy points of the body. This article will cover most of the tattoos used by Celtic warriors.
Celtic Warrior Symbols
The Celts were fierce warriors and that is reflected in the symbols they tattooed or painted on their bodies. When they went into battle, they would be bare-chested or even naked to intimidate their enemy. To further the warrior image, they might put bright dyes in their hair or make spikes with their hair. The first warrior symbol to be explained is the Celtic arrow.
Celtic arrows symbolized power, strength, and virility. It also symbolized the brotherhood felt between warriors and was called a symbol for the brothers of the arrow. Sometimes the arrow is paired with the sun showing the arrow piercing the sun. This represented the power of the sun to preserve life and the arrow showed the inner strength a warrior needed to be successful in battle.
The Ken rune is a symbol of flame and was used by warriors to represent action, virility, and heroism. This symbol was worn around the neck to ask the gods for assistance in battle. It is a horizontal V and looks like the "less than" mathematical sign.
The Celtic alphabet was based on sacred trees they believed were our ancestors. The oak symbolized the center of the earth and was the strongest tree. So the Duir letter was two parallel lines going horizontally and connecting with a vertical line to their right. The Fearn letter was a sign for the alder tree which stood for strength and endurance. It was a vertical line with three parallel horizontal lines out to the right.
Some symbols painted or tattooed on a warrior's bodies or displayed on shields were spirals. Spirals symbolized power and were used in many ways by the Celts. Some tattoos had skulls and images that identified their clan and some symbols indicated rank at war or status in the clan.
Animal made up some of the Celtic warrior symbols. They were mainly used for strength and it was believed if you had the animal's image on you, it released the animal's power and spirit. Bulls were used for their strong will and uncompromising attitude as well as their physical strength. Bears stood for power and lions showed nobility and strength. The boar was used for his ferocity. The mythical griffin was used for qualities of a lion and an eagle, and dragons were used for a foe that could not be beat.
Celtic Symbols of the Tuatha De Danann
Four symbols were considered talismans for Celts. These Celtic warrior symbols were carried by the Tuatha de Danann when they came to Ireland to reclaim their lands. These people were very magical and superior warriors. These four symbols are also referred to as the four Celtic treasures or jewels. They are the sword, spear, cauldron, and stone, and were inspired by the Celtic goddess Danu.
The element air ruled the sword and its description was "All are subject to the will of the Sword". It was the symbol of victory, gain, and dominion.
The element fire ruled the spear and its description is "The spear that never misses the mark." It symbolized focus and single-minded attention on a goal. The spear also stood for beginnings, passion, and creativity.
The cauldron was ruled by the element of water and its description was "A cauldron with endless supply". The cauldron historically stood for femininity and the god Dagda took it as his symbol partly because he was a good god and the god of fertility. It was claimed to revive wounded or dead warriors on the battlefield so the water element cleanses and heals.
The element earth ruled the stone and the description was "The stone who knows the heart of man." Goddesses were supposed to live in stone and the stone symbolized a connection to earth energy. They could heal and renew.