Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Odin stone







In the last post I quoted words attributed to the Norse god Odin. Father of the slain, god of battle with roots in shamanic traditions he's an enigmatic figure for sure. This little carving was inspired by the shape of the stone, then came the crown. On the reverse I envisioned a raven - which became the two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (thought and memory). So there we have it, Odin on his throne waiting for warriors in Vahöll! 

Odin will be the subject of another future post.





The Druid



Here's a wee sample of my recent carving. He'll be going on the stall during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - where I'll be trading for 3 weeks! 

When I carve these figures I let the shape and natural colourations of the stone guide me. As soon as an idea begins to form in my mind I get to it and  as I begin more ideas rush in, one notion leads to the next (from a word to a word... says Odin).


stone carving

stone carving

stone carving

stone carving

stone carving

stone carving

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hands To The Sun - Solar symbols



We all like to sit in the sun, we like it’s warmth upon our skin. We appreciate how it is needed to ripen our fruit and our crops. We also know its danger, it can burn, ignite wild fires, cause drought and induce deserts. To the ancients its nightly disappearance, and gradual loss of power during the course of a year, were sources of mythological tales. The sun is a life-giver, life sustainer, it embodies both strength and protection. To dance or proceed widdershins (clockwise in the direction of the sun) was deemed to bring fortune and luck.


Stone Mad Crafts
Helios,  4th c. BC, Ilion

For example, in Greek mythology Helios is the sun, himself the offspring of Titans ( his father Hyperion - means the High One -  and his mother Theia  - means wide shining light). His sisters are Eos (the dawn) and Selene (the moon). Helios was portrayed wearing a crown of sun rays and he drove the chariot of the sun across the sky everyday. His cult was most prolific in the Greek Island of Rhodes (The mighty Colossus was dedicated to his honour). 


Sun Symbol
Trundholm Sun chariot, dated to between 1800-1600 BC though dates are contested, others believe it to date between 1100-550 BC.

In Hellenic times Apollo becomes associated with the sun, and the Romans named it Sol. However to the Bronze-Age Scandinavians Sòl was a female deity. Sometimes she was called Sunna and her brother was Maní, the moon. Her husband, Glenr, drove the horses of the sun across the sky - although in early myth the wagon or chariot was actually a boat. Some say this 'sun-boat' myth points to an Egyptian origin, but that is not necessarily true.


stone mad crafts
Coligny Calendar

Surviving fragments of a Gallo-Romano calendar from Coligny in France seem to indicate that the moon was more relevant to the Celts (at least in terms of their time telling). The amazingly detailed calendar, itself based on earlier models, it pictured above. 

We know that ancient peoples aligned many of their sacred sites with the midwinter sun, and that many henges were astrologically aligned, pointing to a deep understanding of the celestial bodies, the constellations and movements of sun and moon. Surely some of this knowledge was inherited from the times of the megalith builders. 


Alan Sorrel
Stonehenge by Alan Sorrel

Pomponius Mela, a geographer of the 1st c. AD, wrote that the druids “claim to know the size and shape of the earth and universe, the motion of the stars and the sky and the will of the gods…
Caesar mentions that Apollo was amongst the gods venerated by the Gauls. Apollo was associated with solar and healing properties (of course, Caesar used a Roman name to describe a foreign deity). 

In northern Italy, the eastern Alps and southern Gaul Bēlenos was honoured; the name said to come from root Gwel, to shine. Bēlenos' worship is reflected in names such as Belluno. In Britain and Gaul there is evidence of a god named Lug, Lugh or Lleu Llaw Gyffes which means 'the bright one with the strong arm' (he threw magical spears... sun rays?). The name of this Deity is evidenced in many place names from London to Lyon.

However many scholars including Anne Ross and Ronald Hutton are opposed to the idea that the Celts worshiped the sun as a god, or that there were sun cults as such. I find it hard to believe that, given the obvious veneration of the solstices (and the respect given to the motions of the year) that the sun was never considered as a deity. Solar wheels and sun discs appear in many cultures, including those considered Celtic and Germanic. 


Solar Crosses from 1500 BC - pic by Radan Haenger.


Scandinavian Bronze-Age carvings - the solar boat


Many myths make reference to a solar disc being drawn through the sky. Often myths make reference to the solar god/goddess being drawn, or carried. It is possible that images of the solar wheel come from this idea. Indeed the symbol is used as the wheels of chariots in ancient art (see the sun chariot above).*

The solar wheel was developed in the Carpathian region about 3000 BC and spread across Europe. In  often appears on gold items, strengthening its solar association. In Bronze-Age Scandinavian artwork it appears being drawn by horses, borne in boats or chariots (tying in with the whole sun-boat imagery and ancient mythology regarding the rise and fall of the sun). There is even archaeological evidence that Iron Age Gauls offered solar wheel images at shrines and also (more importantly) cast them into water - perhaps as a symbolic gesture representing the sun’s departure into the ocean (the Underworld).


Viking
Scandinavian rock carving from the Bronze-age


Another sun god worshipped across the continent and in Britain during the Roman invasion was that of Mithras, who enjoyed something of a cult following (though not an especially populous one - its adherents being drawn from a select cadre of Roman society and by the military). In many ways Mithraism shared common ideas with Christianity: born of a virgin, an ultimate sacrifice, his followers addressed each other as ‘brother’ and temples were run by a ‘pater’  (father). Unlike Christianity Mithraism was tolerant of other faiths. 


Mithras born from the rock.


Mithras’ roots reach far back into antiquity; having his origins in the Middle-east, a Hellenised form of the deity was worshipped in Europe with the spread of the Roman Empire. Temples were even erected along Hadrian's Wall in his honour (one at Housesteads dedicated to Sol - with whom Mithras was also associated). There is also some speculation whether Ogmios, a Celtic deity associated with the Ogham alphabet and also a solar god, was perhaps mingled with elements of this exotic deity (maybe even sharing certain root similarities). There is also speculation whether the 6th century bard Taliesin was knowledgable in the ‘mysteries’ of Mithraism

Robert Fludd
Alchemical sun by Robert Fludd 17th c. AD

In the middle-ages Alchemists viewed the sun as an active agent, as gold prepared for the work’, and ‘philosophical Sulphur. There was also 'Sol in homine' which was the invisible essence of celestial sun that nourished the inner fires of mankind. From such aspersions Jung, the master of symbolism and its interpretation, considered the sun as wholeness (especially when unified with the moon like a king for a queen). 

There is something particularly enigmatic about some of these Alchemical and medieval images of the sun. To those versed in their layers of meaning surely the images evoked a sense of the deeper mysteries and spiritual insights Hermetic Alchemy professed. 





In doing the research for this piece I’ve come to the conclusion that the sun was many things to many different cultures that have populated the earth throughout history. Never has there been a single unifying principle, though certain common themes exist between cultures. 

For example, the sun as life-giver, protector offering salvation seems to me a natural, instinctive symbolism. Archaeological records show that burial mounds and stone circles of the megalithic period were possibly involved in the veneration of both sun and moon. In a generalisation of myth into single, easy principles the sun could be seen to reflect the masculine principle, while the moon the feminine. Equally the sun could be said to encompass the hero, passion. In its yearly progression from the summer solstice, through the seasons toward mid-winter it represents re-birth. A cycle of hope, which surely ancient pastoral and pre-pastoral peoples clung to for the basic, pressing necessity of their survival. 




Sun horse from Balken

*curiously the sun-wheel image pre-dates the invention of the wheel - thus it may be that the sun wheel's spokes are in fact sun rays. 



Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Levels Of Meaning In Knot-Work And Interlace Designs


If you’ve ever visited my humble stall and perchance listened to me waffle on you might have heard me mention that I felt the knot-work reflected the thread of life, or  a sense of connectedness, and the incorporation of animals and plants into the designs reinforces this notion. My explanations evolved with my understanding, from an instinctive reasoning after years spent carving the motifs onto stone. Sometimes such ‘notions’ have been backed up by research. 

knotwork
The famous Sutton Hoo burial buckle, 7th c. AD

In twenty years of carving I've restricted my use of knot-work. This is due to a  number of factors: 

1: It’s complicated and time consuming to reproduce the type of work found in the likes of the Book of Kells, there is a lot of planning involved; laying out the design before any carving begins (although the knots I freehand onto pendants are simpler designs).

2: I feel that knots have become synonymous with Celtic art and this is not wholly true. The knot is a later development and not restricted or ‘culturally ‘owned’ by the tribes we nowadays term Celtic. If anything the knot was borrowed and later adapted from other cultures. 

3; I prefer carving pre-christian imagery and seeing as most of it was actualised by monks knot work involves a lot of Christian imagery (I prefer the Bronze Age work artistically)



Lombard knotwork
Lombard gold disc from Cividale in northern Italy, 6th c. AD



As with all ancient designs appropriated by various cultures, the symbology morphs and can be understood to reach, or rest upon, deep foundations, therefore containing meaning that works on various levels.  Many ancient cultures saw the world as a vast web, or a tapestry of threads, fates strung together (“do you know the string on which this world, and the next and all beings are strung together?” - Upanishads 3:7:1). Life was woven, but never remote, never isolated, but linked by these invisible threads.  In the distant East Tao was the chain of all creation, while the ancient Babylonian word markasu means both link/cord and, in myth, “the cosmic principle that unites all things”


In some cultures, such as the Norse, certain goddesses, or female principles were in charge of the threads of fate. In Viking myth the three Norns, Urd (from wyrd, which means fate - but the word also links with what was, or has been), Verdandi (being) and Skuld (what shall be*), sit below the World tree, Yggdrasil (itself perhaps a metaphor for the universe) is highly significant - they are the governesses of time and therefore govern all.

Knotwork
Norse 'Mammen' Style artwork, 10th c.  AD
Hence looking at some of these fantastic images here with the above text in mind perhaps you can sense that connectedness is rife through these designs. It is also interesting to note that this sense of place and connectivity reflected in quantum physicist David Bohm’s book, “Wholeness And The Implicate Order” - in which he likens the rush of thoughts as a river, in which there are eddies and vortexes of thought but all are connected and moving,  though our mind isolates and fragments thoughts into phenomena this isn’t actually so. In the quantum world everything is linked, nothing is separate. I suppose this too ties in with chaos theory (the two of course are interchangeable) and the famous platitude of the butterfly (whose tiny wings could kick-start hurricanes across the globe), which is only a allegory, not a truth, but I like it all the same. 

Sometimes I have the uncanny feeling that at an instinctual, intuitive level the ancient peoples, or so-called ‘primitives’, grasped  fundamental principles of existence, perhaps not fully understanding the physics behind the metaphors - but it suited their cosmologies and sense of sacredness all the same… or perhaps that is my interpretation, my fancy… a hope. Oh what tangled webs we weave! 

Indeed! Back to the Knots!

Thinking of the primary function of a knot in a  piece of twine, hempen rope or blade of grass. It binds, ties, fixes one to another. Marriage is a binding of two, legally and emotionally (and some later knots from the Highlands indeed symbolise this idea). In the past sorcerers and various cult practices bound or tied spirits or demons to their service, ‘bewitching’ was ‘to bind,' and across the globe the etymology of magical words is often linked to root words for tying/binding/chaining. Woden was bound and hung from the world tree and there is evidence of cult practices amongst ancient Germanic tribes that involved binding rituals. Indeed in one of the earliest human sculptures of a ‘goddess’ type the hands appear wrapped in a cord, possibly a hint at some ancient ritual involving ceremonial bondage (bending the will of the goddess perhaps?). Thus the knot could be used as a talisman to protect from evil spirits, much like the idea of labyrinths, in which the malign spirit becomes lost in the maze. Knots could be used both beneficially and detrimentally, they could curse as well as heal. But don’t worry, all the knots I carve are ‘happy knots’! ho-ho. 



Celtic Knotwork
Celtic interlace from Edinburgh Museum, 8th c AD


John Romilly Allen in his book, ‘Celtic Art In Pagan And Christian Times,' points out that even during the Roman occupation of Britain knots were simple plaits, that is without what he terms ‘breaks’ by which method the designs could metamorphose into the intricacies such as adorn the Book of Kells and later high crosses of Britain. He traces the change in northern Italy in the 6th Century A.D, during the Lombard invasion. He identifies what many consider ‘Celtic art’ (like the ripped off designs of all the made in Thailand silverware that fill most of Edinburgh’s tourist shops - dig, dig) to be a local mutation of the Lombardo-Byzantine style, from which fantastical creatures such as centaurs, griffons, etc are borrowed  (they hardly feature in earlier pagan mythology of the insular Celts). However the art-form flourished and developed to exquisite heights, though the imagery was overwhelmingly Christian, with mythological imagery used out of context, so that a centaur might represent a desert, or a foreign clime rather than some episode in Greek myth. This would point to pagan influence and that much is evident from the so-called Migration Period art from the 5th and 6th c. AD (that’s when the Germanic tribes get restless and move throughout Europe and beyond).

I think this notion is important in our day and age and also in relation to the symbolism;  nothing is achieved in isolation, ideas move like people move - religions, creeds, philosophies - all inspire and alter art, reflecting the evolution of perspectives. Recently Britain voted itself out of the EU, for better or worse. However it is pertinent to say that movements of peoples are evidenced by art. Ideas from Europe and further afield have always been integral to the island’s culture, and these were indeed altered, developed and adapted by these island’s inhabitants (including Ireland here too). States are fairly modern conceptions, they are the amalgamation of ancient kingdoms, peoples (themselves migrants and movers, invaders or refugees). This has always been the way of the world and no walls or frontiers can stop that. 




Knotwork
Islamic Knotwork from a 12th c. AD Koran




National Museum of Scotland
Celtic Christian Cross showing marriage of styles and mythological monsters. 

References:

Romilly Allen -  Celtic Art In Pagan And Christian Times 
HR Ellis Davidson - Lost Beliefs Of Northern Europe 
Migman - Intuition


In Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe HR Ellis Davidson has Skuld as connected with debt, or something owed… as in life.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Ancient Symbology Of The Wolf




Wolf design
15th Century AD Scottish hand-and-a-half sword from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 


Even though the wolf was often portrayed as a symbol of destruction and chaos - when personified by such entities as Fenrir (the giant winter wolf of Scandinavian Mythology), it was also a warrior's symbol. 

I’ve seen wolves etched into the blades of Highland swords in Blair Atholl and Edinburgh National Museum. Such motifs, meant to bring luck in battle, are lingering refrains of the ancient belief that objects created from metal were not inanimate objects. The Celts across ancient Europe saw metal as a magical element, to inscribe a  design onto a blade was to endow that object with a powerful essence. The inscribed wolf on a sword offers us a tantalising glimpse of a thought process that is a direct inheritance from more ancient times. 

To call upon the wolf; its ferocity, its fury - for tribes across the world was to ‘become’ the predator, and was achieved through various methods. Codexes from Mexico portray a Cuetlachtli warrior dressed in a wolf skin. Other warriors wear predator pelts and wolf warriors appear across the globe. Tales abound in which people turned into wolves by wearing their skins. Warriors may have taken part in a sort of animalising ritual, in which the movements of the wolf were mimicked. By performing such rites, as a ‘wolf-dace,’ the warrior would gain ’sympathy’ with the wolf.


Wolf Ceremony
6th c. Ad from Bjornhouda, Torslunda parish, Oland



Giving credence to this idea is the famous plate from a 6th century AD helmet. In this we see a dancing figure with a horned ceremonial helmet (most likely a priest of Odin or perhaps the god himself) and a warrior in the guise of a wolf. Odin also had two wolf companions, Geri and Freki.  It has been speculated by historian, Michael P. Speidel, of the evidence of a warrior wolf cult, associated with Odin. These 'Berserkers' wore the skins of wolves or bears when they charged into battle. 

 To identify with a predator like the wolf was to be a better warrior. There are examples of ‘wolf clad warriors’ on Trajan’s Column and the Germanic association with war and wolf was reflected in name prefixes like Ulf, Wulf (a famous example being Beowulf). The Germanic tribe the Alamanni were proud wolf-warriors, and the Langobards (Lombards) were known to have ‘hound-headed’ warriors in their bands (cynocephali). In ancient Italy the Brettii were the young, wolfish outcasts of the Lucani (wolfmen). Such themes abound in history, surviving well into the Medieval period (and perhaps this warlike association is hinted at in tales of lycanthropes).  


Viking design
5th Century AD gold bracteate depicting Tyr and Fenris

In Roman mythology Mars, God of war, took the wolf as his sacred animal (along with the bear). Back to the Vikings and Tyr, the warrior god, lost his hand to Fenrir while binding the wolf (incidentally the Romans sometimes identified the god Mars with Tyr). 

In North American Indian mythology many tribes treated Wolf with great respect. Wolf was a creator and loyal protector that offered fortune in the hunt, but for the Plains tribes he was a symbol of war and identified with the warrior. 

I think here we see natural observations taking symbolic form across various cultures. The wolf’s predatory nature is reflected in a duality of themes, from being a malign entity to guardian and helper.  Perhaps then the wolf is a symbol of unbridled nature, something to be accessed in times when humanity is uncalled for and brute strength is required, such as courage in battle. The wolf is to be respected. Yet it also reveals its nurturing nature in themes as Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome who were suckled as infants by the Capitoline She-wolf. 


Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus from the Capitoline, Rome


Myth is an ongoing process. It evolves, even as we guess the nature of the symbology of the past, drawing our conclusions, it mutates - myth can never wholly be what it once was. We superimpose our own preconceptions, our political and moral tastes upon these ideas. Thus much modern wolf imagery symbolises modern man's sense of departure and longing for the wild. The wolf embodies a sort of noble sense of the power of nature, its uncertainty and mystery. There is a striking sense of power and pride in much of the visual data (as a google image search will instantly reveal). It appeals to the sense of community (the pack) and yet appeals to those appreciating solitude (the lone wolf). 








References:
Symbol And Image In Celtic Religious Art - Miranda Green
Ancient Germanic Warriors - Michael P. Speidel

Monday, July 11, 2016

Regarding Research





One thing that I don’t wish my posts to turn into are dry historical accounts that could have been written by some history prof long ensconced in academia and its narrowing compass. What I mean to say is even a  cursory glimpse through historical sites and the more speculative New Age stuff tends to make me feel that there are two camps, both at odds with each other - the dry, empirical data-bound academic and the fanciful. 

A case in point is Marija Gimbutas who wrote a whole series of academic books in which she referenced, from her own experience in the field, the discovery of numerous mesolithic and neolithic goddess figurines. She began to interpret the resulting data into a theory in which a passive matriarchal society was superseded by a warrior based patriarchal one. Her book The Goddesses and Gods Of Old Europe is a fine book indeed. I came across this book years ago, when I was looking for designs to carve (over the past twenty years I've filled many sketchbooks with images from sites, ref and museums). However, in part, her theories are intuitive and don't always rely on much evidence (fanciful, intuitive). She caused a stir in the academic world.  

As far as I'm concerned I like her idea. Her notion is an insight, not truth... we'll never know the complete truth. And after researching numerous dry archaeological accounts which offer measly tokens, usually from a safe, logical perspective, I feel that there is room to examine the finding of so-called alternative archaeologists (like Martin Brennan for example). 

Here I’m trying to gather both the archaeological, historical and notions, ideas that might sometimes deviate from the rationalist path. Why? Because throughout history people have never been rational or reasonable. When it comes to things like symbology and religious meanings  the empirical attempt falls short, as we are dealing with a subject that sits uncomfortably with reasonable minded professors, clutching thesis and degrees based on scant evidence. The illogical nature of belief is therefore best approached with a healthy measure of irrationality, a sort of inspired madness perhaps. 

I’m going to delve into some odd ideas in the course of these blogs, that much is for certain, but exactly how ‘out there’ they might appear remains to be seen. I’m hardly going down the UFO conspiracy line, but I’m attempting to keep an open mind. If something strikes me as relevant, interesting and plausible I’ll include it. 

There will also be something of the intuitive here too. I do believe that much that so-called primitive humans knew/discovered was the result of ‘channeling’ a deep, inner intuition. 


I’m also going to take on a slightly holistic approach - again I need to explain this. Many modern archaeological bodies appear to be constrained by location and thus the tendency is to focus on that location, albeit a modern location - say for example a Scottish archaeological society funded by the Scottish government, finding itself limited to Scottish sites and data  - the problem being such geographical boundaries did not exist way back when:   for example Celtic tribal boundaries were always shifting and our knowledge of them comes from Roman manuscripts written at a certain point of a very long history. With such documents we have to take into account hearsay, interpretation, political bias etc etc - however we can’t discount them altogether, just see them for what they are: insights rather than ’truths’. In fact it is safe to say that this approach is best at many levels - to see both ancient texts and archaeological data and 'interpretation, as insights



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Triskele: part two


Stone Mad Crafts
A copy of a design from 7th century Ireland carved by the author

The word Triskele comes from the Greek,  meaning three-legged. In general the design consists of curled or bent legs radiating from a  central point,  both clockwise or anti-clockwise. They appear on both weaponry and other functional items.  The whole design is indicative of movement. For antiquarians of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the symbol was often figured to be a relation to the swastika (minus a limb) and therefore associated with the sun.

Geometrically concise the basic construction method of a triskele originates with a hexagram - from which many images of the Celtic Iron Age take shape. The hexagon is composed of two equilateral triangles said to represent the equilibrium between male and female elements (in many cultures there exists a mythic triad e.g; the Trimurti of Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction are personified by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva*). It is also said to embody the golden ratio,  one of the core principles of Pythagorean mystic thought, with which the Celtic druids became acquainted with via Zamolxis, a follower of Pythagoras (as cited by Hippolytus in the Philosophumena XXII). However the  triple spirals of the infamous Newgrange tumulus surely predate these Iron Age conceptions (see the previous post).

The triskele could also represent the unification of the three Celtic kingdoms air, earth and water. Many Celtic coins have the solar symbol punched in their centre, binding them to the sun god perhaps… Often the legs of the triskele become the bodies or necks of animals, most notably and common are birds (see the samples below). 


triskelion


The triskele also featured on a lot of Celtic military equipment across Europe and the Balkans.  Possibly in conjunction with some form of protective element.


celtic triskele


celtic sword


Over and over again in Celtic myths and legends the number three re-occurs; patterns or sets of three, triskeles, three dots marking the corners of triangles, three-faced deities **, three-headed gods and the triple aspect of the goddess Brigit. Over and over the sacredness of the number is reinforced. It is even possible that the number was reproduced in ritual and sacrifice (eg: the Lindow Man who was hung, had his throat slit and was pushed into a bog therefore sucuumbing to a threefold death). Indeed the number 3 permeated Celtic thought (as it did and does with other cultures). The triad was even used as a learning device. Still to this day the idea of a lucky shamrock bringing luck (the origins of this are Christianised, most likely the corruption of older traditions - remembering that St Patrick is supposed to have used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity***). No doubt the similarity or appropriation of cult symbolism would not have gone unnoticed by someone as astute an evangelist as Patrick. 

Perhaps the evident respect and reverence for the triad is as simple as forward, middle and back, or left, centre, right, past, now, future. And maybe the use of triads in Celtic stories helped reinforce concepts, adding weight and measure to heroes and their deeds. Images of deities were tripled to help intensify their power, and obviously the triskele’s visual, aesthetic power  worked at a deeper, psychological level too. Certainly the symbol reflects this preponderance with triads, which are not confined to a single explanation.

Of course there are the triple goddesses that are attested both in Celtic literary sources as well as archaeologically. Triadic goddesses (Matres or Matronae) appear as refinements or reflections of deities, reaching far back into the depths of time. These Matronae were widely worshipped across ancient Europe (at least 1100 shrines still exist) - the goddesses appear under various guises, names, shades and imagery indicating a complex of goddess worship spread across old Europe. Try this link  for extra information about the Matronae in the meantime: polytheist.com

The one thing that strikes me is I have seen no Matronae imagery from the Gallo-Romanic period portrayed alongside the triskele -  that does strike me as a little odd. We have numerous statues with quite realistic, classical style imagery but no symbols accompanying them. There again there exist Grecian spells and hymns referring to a triple Goddess (who includes Hecate, Persophone and Selene) with powerful 'triskele' evoking imagery: Triple pointed, triple-headed, triple voiced, triple-pointed, triple faced, triple necked, etc.

The triskele also shows up in a lot of Celtic-Christian and Catholic sculpture and artwork. Personally I feel that, as the Christian church appropriated the symbol for their own religious needs, so too earlier forms of paganism (that is sets of gods and goddesses arriving with the cultural interpolation of invaders or migrations) similarly utilised the triskele, warping its nature to suit their template. Perhaps in this endeavour the symbol has evolved, adopted fresh layers with each wave of migrants/invaders/movements. 

It is a ripe and rich tangle, there being no easy answer. Nothing as convenient as those cut and paste websites with 'one-hit answers'. Perhaps, as with any symbol, it is what feels right to you, how the symbol sits in your sights, for perhaps we superimpose our own templates of perception upon such devices, cut off, as we are from revealing literature of any source that dictates what this symbol means.  And the template that I keep harking to, it is formed by our nature, the way we are nurtured, by environment and the influence that forms the intricate mesh of our experience.


Sources used in this post:


1: Cross And Spiral - The Triskele In Early Christian Art - Brendan Mac Gonagle

2 The Power Of 3 - Some Observations On Eastern Celtic Helmets - Brendan Mac Gonagle
3; An Tríbhís Mhòr - On The Triskelion In Iron Age Celtic Culture -  Brendan Mac Gonagle
4: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamrock

5: Symbol And Image In Celtic Religious Art - Miranda Green

Check out this website to see methods of spiral and triskele construction using triangles and hexagons - HERE



* note the similarity here between the modern version of the trisklele reflecting the earth goddess and the idea of life, death rebirth… maintenance, destruction, creation. 

**three-faced god images appear in Gaul right up to Scotland. I wonder if such deities had the abilty to gaze into the different worlds or from the present into the future and the past.
*** the earliest reference to this appears on coins from the 1600’s.