Celtic Tribal Tattoos – Why We Love Them
These are the tribal tattoos that have most captured the public imagination in recent decades. From stunning Celtic Shamrock designs to mysterious Celtic Crosses, these tribal artistic creations are sure to leave a lasting impression on observers.
The history of the Celts goes back at least to the 2nd Century BC. They lived in tribes and settled in territories across Western Europe.
Central to Celtic culture are the Druids, who were respected members of the priestly and learned class in the final centuries BC. From the 1st century CE they began to be suppressed by the Roman ruling elite, and by the 2nd century AD, had disappeared from written records.
But their legend lived on..
They transmitted information from generation to generation in an oral tradition that succeeded in keeping their philosophies, religion, and social customs known to the modern world.
A typical druid learnt his craft – medicine, religion, sorcery, by secret instruction, in caves and forests. Druidic lore comprised multitudinous verses learned by heart, and Caesar, the Roman emperor, stated that it took up to twenty years to complete a Druidic course of study.
The Druids made full use of the power of tattoos and piercings, in their numerous spells and incantations. The tattoos held real spiritual power, and were fundamental to Druid rites.
Popular Types of Celtic Tattoos
Celtic Cross Tattoo.
This resembles a Christian cross, but has a circle at the intersection, representing the Sun, which the Celts worshipped. The upper arm and hip is a favoured location for a Celtic cross tattoo. Robbie Williams is one celebrity who spots a Celtic Cross tattoo on his right hip.
Celtic Butterfly Tattoo
The butterfly symbolized rebirth, and renewal, a positive commitment to surmount all difficulties after previous adversity. This tattoo is usually made small and thus, would be well-suited to the ankle or shoulder. When adorned with swirls, it looks perfect on the lower-back.
Celtic Heart Tattoo
This tattoo symbolizes a union of souls and is perfect for expressing love to those that are close to you.
Celtic Knot Tattoo
Celtic knots were believed to hold mysterious powers.
Celtic Shamrock Tattoo
This is the definitive Celtic design, and features the ubiquitous Celtic three-leaf clover. In the Irish Catholic church, the shamrock symbolizes the Holy Trinity.
Other Celtic tribal tattoos depict animals such as the horse (a sacred animal to the Celts), the dragon (associated with magic) and the lion, which stood for nobility and strength.
Angels, the sun, moon, and flowers also feature in Celtic tribal tattoos, with each of these elements of great spiritual value to the Celts, a people described by 1st century BC Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, as the most just of all men.
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