The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot reserves a special place on our list of popular Celtic symbols and their meanings.
The triquetra is a Latin word, meaning “triangular” or “three-cornered.”
In its purest form, the triquetra is three interconnected ovals — one pointing upward, the other two pointing down, to the left and right.
While many of the other Celtic symbols are popular in modern-day tattoos, the Celtic knot or “Triquetra” is by far one of the most popular.
Some interesting facts and appearances of the Triquetra or Trinity Knot:
You might be saying that you have seen this symbol before?
Well, you would be right! This Celtic Symbol has had some impressive appearances in the modern-day.
- In the motion picture, Thor a triquetra symbol is displayed on Thor’s hammer Mjollnir
- A triquetra is one of the four symbols on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, where it is used as the personal symbol of bassist John Paul Jones.
- Michonne’s katana in the TV series The Walking Dead features a triquetra on the inner crossguard. Custom-designed for the character, propmaster John Sanders intentionally chose the triquetra for its meaning as a triple goddess symbol.
- The triquetra symbol in a circle became well known as the cover motif on the Book of Shadows in the American TV show Charmed. It represents the three sisters working together as one, and the sisters’ “power of three” when united
Who created the symbol has been an issue of controversy for centuries:
Christians feel that it started with the Monks, who brought these designs along with their teachings of Christianity when attempting to convert the Celts of the day.
However, the Triquetra has been speculated to be the oldest symbol of spirituality.
It appears in the ninth century in the Book of Kells as a decoration, with no particular religious significance, and the symbol has been found in Norwegian churches dating to the 11th century.
It has been documented and carved onto tombs that are thousands of years old.
When the triple spirals are drawn in a straight line, it has been speculated that this represents life and death.
What is the meaning behind the Triquetra
Meant initially as “triangle” it was used to refer to various three-cornered shapes.
Sometimes, the traditional triquetra symbol is accompanied by a circle.
As previously mentioned in the Celtic tree of life the Celts favoured that everything in this world came in threes.
- Three stages of life: life, death, and rebirth
- Three elements: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
- Three domains: earth, sea and sky, past, present and future.
Triquetra tattoo and jewellery design in modern times
The triquetra image is a popular tattoo among men and women.
The main symbology of this is not just because they look nice but the reason behind them.
If you see or are thinking about a Triquetra tattoo then it can mean one of the following:
- The cycles of life (life-death-rebirth)
- The promises of a husband to his wife (love-honour-protect)
- The family (father-mother-child)
- The passage of time (past-present-future)
- Or just something that has a hidden meaning in someone’s life.
It is this reason that not only tattoos have become a popular symbol but the Triquetra appears in knot-work, jewellery, emblems, logos and basically anything with a three-fold meaning.
Among females, the preference is for the smaller symbols visible on the wrist and the nape of the neck.
The reason for choosing this symbol for tattoo stems more from the fact that it is a Celtic symbol, whose form beyond simple is beautiful.
What is the meaning of the circle on the Triquetra(Trinity Knot)
The triquetra is sometimes drawn weaving around a circle, symbolising the unity of the three parts.
The circle, in many belief systems, is a symbol of eternity.
I’ve had a request for upside-down trinity knot meaning:
The main upside down trinity knot meaning is that it represents the opposite of all the attributes the right-side-up trinity knot stands for.
This could be interpreted as the opposite. Instead of moving from life, death to rebirth it would now mean the reverse moving from rebirth to death.
Other interpretations could be upending of the Truth (such as in an upside-down cross) and a symbol of the beast.
But all that said it could have no additional meaning and not be taken to mean anything different just because of the way it is displayed.
Some final notes on the Triquetra
Whether it is the eternity of God’s love or the eternal circle of life itself, the circle adds even more weight to the significance of the triquetra.
So, whether you’re Christian, Pagan, or somewhere in between, there’s a good chance that the Triquetra could hold some kind of personal significance and no one else can dictate what it should mean to you.
If you enjoyed this post, I would suggest learning about some other Celtic Symbols here.
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