Celtic Tattoos: Everything You Wanted To Know!

celtic-tattoosThe culture of the Celtic has historically been most popular with so many nationalities. Encompassing Indo-European families that include Scots, Irish, Welsh, and several other pre-Roman languages/people groups as the Gaul’s, their history is rich and powerful. Going back thousands of years, at one time all of Europe belongs to the Celts and they ruled England. Years of wars moved the Celts west and north and featured the battle of King Arthur and his Celtic army against pagans in England. Arthur’s loss was woven into the historical Celtic accounts and he was ensconced in our stories of medieval knights and adding to the culture.

Celtic art for thousands of year’s history included elaborate knots, interlacing patterns, color, weapons, figurines, and a host of additional models that included warriors who were fierce and represented strength and honor.

The Celts were deployed to battle often bare chested or naked which gave great psychological fear and heightened intimidation and huge fear. The hair was often outrageous in color from the use of various flower pastes and it was not unusual to see tall spikes in hair arrangement. Can you imagine a strange colored, naked guy with spiked hair? That is enough to have anyone turn and run.

Tattoos for the Celtic warriors became popular and the Woad plant (Isatis tinctoria) a biennial native to the British Isles and Wales gave design depth and color. Blue dyes found in the Woad is by far much more intense then the indigo plant

Leaves from the Woad plant are dried. Boiling hot water is used to rendered the harvested leaves, strained and boiled again and the residual turns into an end product quite viscous. Using needle like instruments, the Woad paste is tapped into the skin, which result in an indigo stain under the layers of skin. The designs will be addressed later but they are indelible. This ancient process was of little cost versus what you pay for a Celtic style tattoo today.

Designs for Celtic tattoos are extensive in type and variety. Often the warriors would want their many scars impeded with the Woad plant leaving numerous symbols and the ability to scare other people. Some were quite frightening and having battle scars was very common and worn proudly.

Those people of Celtic origin delight in Irish artwork and symbols that unify their legacy as well as instill pride of origin. The Celtic knots are the foundation or primary design representing lines and loops that intertwine to form a labyrinth with no beginning or no end. The knots are very attractive and can be quite intricate.

The Book of Kells is the famous source for knot work that may have been taken from the four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible. The loops have mysterious significance and have said to be worn to fight evil. Tattoos of Celtic knots also have historical basis as in the triskele or triquetra. The triskele originates from a design of spirals, three in number and interlocked or could also be three bent human legs. Celtic Reconstructionist designated it represented the Trinity. The triquetra interlaced 3 sided triangle very commonly known in the Celtic knot also represented the Trinity.

Symbols and Celtic designs were linked to vivid imagery. With the numerous languages among the different cultures, communication was often by imagery. As lovers of all nature, the designs using animals displayed their passion for all creatures.

Types of Celtic tattoos are many but there is a main category of several types, which are synonymous with the history and rich culture of the Celts.

The Irish Cross, aka Celtic cross is usually a standard Christian cross with a beautiful circle around the intersection and knot work that is very fine and detailed which adorns the cross. Legends have stated that St. Patrick (who was not really Irish but Welsh) crafted the first designs to convert Irish pagan as the Christian cross as well as the sun and moon were a main focus by the Druids. The meaning does vary a lot as designs go back hundreds of years and modify to time and symbolism.

The Celtic butterfly is seen as a rebirth and transformation symbol a good way to explain would be that the person who bears the tattoo has undergone some process of difficult times and then is reborn in the personification of his/her soul. Some men will wear this but most often, it is very popular among women. Women often wear it on their back or shoulder.

The Celtic knot has symbolic meaning but not very clear and many people will lend that the knots have magical powers. The love knot is used to demonstrate the constant love between man and wife, and others mean eternity as the know has no start or ending point.

Celtic tribal designs are seen as stark lines and curves, often around an upper arm or across the back. Tribal tattoos go back centuries and have deep meaning or some people just like them for their intricate lines and curves that are pronounced.

Celtic tattoos are very popular across the globe. They make a statement.