Tattoos of Ancient Celtic Symbols for Self-Protection

These designs from the Celtic culture have become a source of inspiration to body art. The abstract geometric designs that characterize these symbols have been an unparalleled aesthetic reference, as well as a protective charm for those who wear it.




It is one of the most renowned symbols of Celtic culture. It is made up by three spiral legs that merge together in the center. It makes reference to the number 3, which is a sacred number according to Celtic tradition. A Triskelion talisman means evolution, learning, and also represents the ideal balance of mind, body, and soul.


Single spiral

According to this ancient culture, a Spiral shape didn’t have a beginning or end, therefore it represents eternal life, infinity of time, and the solar and lunar cycles. A common belief was that these spirals were associated with water and its natural flow, since many petroglyphs with spiral designs also contain carvings that allude to lakes and seas.



This symbol is associated with a spirit that shares the same name. It is represented by three crowned parallel lines drawn inside three circles that reproduce the Celtic philosophy. Awen’s underlying principle is to provide harmony between opposites in nature and divine inspiration for poets, writers, and artists.


The tree of life

Trees are recurring motifs in many ancient cultures, since they represent our connection with nature. Its branches have the form of endless knots because they don’t have a beginning or end. They are woven together to represent the continuous cycle of life on earth.



This symbol is associated with the warriors’ protection, although its exact origins are unknown. It is thought to be inspired by the Greek Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent eating its own tail and means the infinite circle of nature’s endless creation. The Celtic representation consists of a circle made up by two interwoven snakes.


Celtic cross

This cross is closely related to the solar cross. Each of its arms represents one of the four cardinal points. In addition, it represents the four elements of nature –earth, water, air, and fire– and also the four natural qualities according to the Celts: dry, cold, wet, and warm. It can provide spiritual and cyclical navigation to the one who carries it.



This is one of the most important symbols, not only in Celtic culture, but also in the field of graphic design. It is made up by three knots intersecting a ring that also symbolizes this life’s cycle and also rebirth.


There are lots of Celtic symbols. The ones mentioned above are only a few of them. There are many book about their meanings and the protection they provide. If you would like to get more symbolic imagery ideas for tattoos, you may want to read about these Tattoos Inspired By Tarot Cards or these Tattoos inspired in ancestral Japanese Culture.

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