Among ancient symbols such as the Tree of Life or the Celtic knot, the Triskelion is undoubtedly one of the most present in different cultures. From Wales to Galicia, through Breton and Viking culture, the triplicity of its spirals has resonated through the ages to carry many meanings and symbolism. In this article, we guide you to discover the history and symbolism of this mystical emblem.
The Triskel symbol, also known as the Triskelion, is a trilateral symbol composed of three interlocking spirals. Its shape has similarities with the Swastika. Derived from the Greek word "Triskeles" which means "three legs", the Triskelion or Triple Spiral is a complex ancient Celtic symbol. This emblem represents one of the oldest spiritual symbols created by man. Its earliest recorded creation dates back to the Neolithic period in Ireland at the archaeological site of Newgrange.
The Triskele gained popularity in Celtic culture from 500 BC. Triskels have been engraved on Neolithic stones and on numerous manuscripts and objects from the Bronze and Iron Ages, runes, shields, Celtic crosses, etc.
This archaic symbol occupies an important place in ancient and modern Celtic art, as it evokes the Celtic interpretation of the interconnection and harmony of the elements, air, earth, fire, water, but also of the three kingdoms of Celtic mythology, spiritual, physical and celestial.
In reference to their symbolism, these emblems were represented during rites to accompany the spirit of the deceased to the realm of the Divinities. They also occupied a central place in the stories of the myths and legends of our ancestors.
- THE SYMBOLISM OF THE TRISKEL
The widely recognized ideology of triskelion symbolism is strongly linked to personal and spiritual growth. The number three is recurrent in Celtic symbology. Triadic symbols can represent anything from the cycle of life (life, death, rebirth) to states of time (past, present and future).
The meaning of the triskell is therefore diverse, varied and offers many possibilities. It can vary according to time, culture, mythology and history, which is why there are so many variations in the meaning of these three extensions. This diversity makes it one of the most complex Celtic symbols.
Among the many meanings of the Triskelion, here are the most common:
- THE SYMBOLISM OF TIME
The idea that the triskelion represents movement is a widely held ideology in different cultures. Its three branches are positioned so that it appears to be moving outward from its center. The movement, or displacement, echoes the passing of time, past, present and future.
- THE SYMBOLISM OF LIFE
The symbolism of life is widespread. It is particularly central to pagan and Wiccan culture, which considers the triskel as a cyclical symbol of interpretation of the triple moon, birth, life and death.
- THE SYMBOLISM OF THE ELEMENTS
It represents the interconnection of each of us with the elements that make up our Earth. It is a form of representation of spirituality similar to the ideologies of Druidism and Shamanism.
- THE SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE KINGDOMS
In the time of the ancient Celts, the Triskel was intimately linked to the symbolism of the three Celtic worlds. The mortal (physical) world, where we live with plants and animals. The other world (spiritual), where the spirits, gods and goddesses live. The celestial (heavenly) world, where invisible energies and elementals live and move. Like the forces of the sun, moon, wind and water.
- THE SYMBOLISM OF THE TRINITY
Body, mind, soul.
Whatever the meaning of the motif, or perhaps precisely because of its many symbolic interpretations, this Celtic symbol has been placed at the heart of Irish and other European beliefs.
With so many possibilities of interpretation and meaning, it is not surprising that over the centuries other civilizations and cultures have adopted the triskele.
Nowadays we still find many triskel symbols in the Nordic culture, in the Irish territory but also among the Welsh and even the Bretons. This symbol is strongly represented in the form of tattoos, drawings and modern Celtic jewelry. These include pendants, earrings, talismans, Irish charms and Celtic brooches.
The symbol also continues to appear in modern culture. In addition to decorating the flags of Sicily and the Isle of Man, it also inspired the badge of the Irish Air Corps, which features an orange, white and green tricolor swirl.
Like the appearance of the Triquetra in the series "Charmed," the Triskel has found a place in science fiction and fantasy pop culture. In the Marvel Comics universe, the S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence agency uses a building named Triskeles as its headquarters. The symbol is also found in the fantasy series "Merlin" which was inspired by Celtic tradition and regularly used the triskelion symbol as a symbol of the druids.