Cruet set: Celtic Symbols part 1

The Triskelion

triskelion 2

The Triskelion pattern involves three conjoined spirals and seems significant not just to the Celts but also to pre-Celtic people. It’s unclear what the symbol means, but it has been adopted by many modern pagan groups to represent many triplicates in their cosmology and theology.

triskal spiralsClose up of the stone outside Newgrange monument – one of the oldest known man-made structures.

Maze/Labyrinth

rock valley tingagel maze carvingCarved maze, Rock Valley near Tintagel, Cornwall

The Maze pattern is usually a straight line spiral pattern and made using connected dots. Some contain eyes or a figure with horns and a snake around the waist which is believed to possibly be the Celtic god Cernunnos.  It’s also been depicted as a snake itself and seems to be a development from the Neolithic and earlier swirls seen before. On the ancient symbol of mazes Anne Baring writes:

The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol whose convoluted form…. has always been highly suggestive to the imagination. Spirals and meanders , precursors to the labyrinth, have been found  among the cave paintings of prehistoric peoples often incised on or near goddess figurines, carved animals, cave walls and thresholds. These labyrinthine spirals indicate the symbolic passageway from the visible realm of the human into the invisible dimension of the divine, retracting the journey souls pf the dead would have taken to reenter the womb of the mother on their way to rebirth.

A journey to the afterlife and back again is an idea that holds  close to the one I’m exploring with “feeding the gods.” Perhaps it should be a connection between the two – not just an offering in the form of a cruet but (as seen in the Celtic spoons) a way of taking messages from them – a divination with salt and pepper (or at the very least a way to sprinkle it on your food).

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