The Celtic knot is a highly important symbol to the ancient Celts, but nowadays it is an important symbol to the Irish and descendants of Irish ancestors.
There are so many different designs of Celtic Knot tattoos!
Interestingly, every single one has its own meaning and significance in modern culture.
Do you have to be Irish to wear a Celtic knot tattoo?
The answer is although they are typically representative of not only a specific meaning but also a celebration of Irish culture, no, you do not have to be Irish to have one.
If any of these meanings speak to you, you’re welcome to bring a little Celtic flair to your personal style!
Now let’s check out these many Celtic knot tattoos and see what they represent today in the tattoo world.
But before we get started, keep in mind that it’s important to know that each and every Celtic knot is completely connected without a single break.
We will now get into what that means and explain each type of Celtic knot tattoo in detail:
Celtic Eternity Knot Tattoo
A Celtic eternity knot tattoo is a design that looks so complicated that it’s hard to believe all those lines are interconnected!
Also, it is important to note that its design can come in many variations– it’s almost as if no two Celtic eternity knot tattoos look the same.
They all share an infinity symbol, representing eternity.
As we mentioned, each Celtic knot is interconnected through a line that loops and ends up back where it started.
This Celtic knot tattoo is especially related to this concept because its meaning (much like the meaning of an infinity symbol) is that everything in life is connected and will repeat for eternity.
Life has no beginning; neither does it have an ending.
This is quite a spiritual concept which not everyone may agree with.
If this idea of eternity in nature and in the universe itself speaks to you, then this is a great tattoo for you to be reminded of your beliefs.
Celtic Lovers Knot Tattoo
Also known as Josephine’s knot, is a sailor’s Celtic knot which means that it used to be made from two ropes joined together to create one unified knot.
Though there are a few variations, for the most part, this tattoo design is a heart with a triquetra knot tattoo connected to it, which is one design we will discuss coming up.
This sailor’s knot is special because it’s joining of two ropes has meaning as it represents two hearts connecting.
This would be something the sailor would bring back home and give to their significant other.
A Celtic lovers knot tattoo symbolizes undying love, especially a love that has made it through the years despite challenges or being apart for a time.
This is a tattoo you would get in honor of your significant other because it means that your love for them is infinite and therefore will never die.
Celtic Lovers Knot Infinity Tattoo
This Celtic knot design is an interesting concept.
It is the same as the Celtic lovers’ knot tattoo except it also includes the infinity symbol joined intellectually into an amazing interconnected design.
The mix of pointed and round shapes makes for an aesthetic tattoo and both the hearts and the infinity symbol stand out depending on what your eyes are focused on.
The meaning of this tattoo is that you have experienced a love that is not only incredibly special to you but also is one that you view from the perspective of being infinite.
This would be a great tattoo to show the permanence (literally, on your skin) of your marriage!
Not only that, but this tattoo could represent lots of types of permanent love such as the love you have for a family member or for God.
Celtic Triquetra Tattoo
The triquetra knot tattoo is composed of three-pointed sides with a circle connecting them along with many complicated lines that to be honest– who knows what’s happening to create this design.
Props to the tattoo artist making any Celtic tattoo because these designs are so much more complex than meet the eye.
Try to follow from one point around the composition of this tattoo and you will realize just how much goes into it: this tattoo design is special and deserves recognition.
This triple knot tattoo, also called “three-cornered,” is one of the most popular Celtic knot tattoo designs for a reason.
Not only are the triquetra knot’s three corners beautiful, but they also have significant meaning along with being the Celtic symbol of strength.
This tattoo symbolizes unity because of its unbreaking line and symmetrical nature.
It also represents everlasting life, which can be taken as a symbol of your spirituality depending on your beliefs.
Not to mention, the triquetra knot tattoo means that you are protected by a higher power.
Celtic Motherhood Knot Tattoo
This tattoo essentially looks like many hearts joined together in a downward cascading fashion.
Connecting the hearts, in the center, are two semicircles joined to create an unusual shape that is not rare for a Celtic symbol but is definitely unique in itself.
The empty spaces created by the hearts can be decorated such as with dots near the top or by adding initials.
The meaning of this Celtic tattoo design is pretty simple but has some rules to it.
First of all, the amount of dots placed in the design refers to the number of children you have.
This is not a necessary part of the tattoo, however, it is an option to add these dots to emphasize your number of children.
Also, this is a tattoo for a mother to honor the bond between her and her children combined with her and their faith.
Importantly, this tattoo also symbolizes the family’s heritage in a big way.
Celtic Four-Cornered Knot Tattoo
This tattoo design is very intricate and can be simplified or made to be extremely complicated.
The most important part of the design which signifies that it is in fact a four-cornered or quaternary tattoo is that there are four significant sections to the tattoo.
This tattoo is a definite way of displaying Celtic heritage: the design screams pride in being Celtic!
There are a few different meanings to this tattoo design.
One more obvious one is the four directions: North, South, East, and West.
This can mean that you are an avid traveler, or that you have had trouble finding direction in life and want to find the right path.
On the other hand, this tattoo can symbolize the four elements: Earth, wind, fire, and water.
This symbolism can represent that you are at peace with all elements of nature and therefore you feel that you are an old and wise soul.
Celtic Five-Fold Knot Tattoo
Not exclusively Celtic, this symbol encompasses four circles with a fifth circle joining them in the knot.
This design can also have four circles, which when intertwined create a quaternary symbol in the center representing the fifth element of the tattoo.
It all depends on how the circles are placed and what shapes they create in their lines and within the empty spaces.
The meaning of this tattoo is similar to the four-corned knot tattoo in that it symbolizes the four elements, the four directions, and even the four seasons.
However, the fifth ‘element’ of this tattoo is the powerful connection between these four elements of nature.
This tattoo is for someone who values the connectivity of nature (especially since Celtic knots are all about connectivity) and is highly spiritual.
This tattoo makes you think– again, this design is for a wise soul.
Celtic Dara Knot Tattoo
The Dara knot tattoo is one of the most elaborate Celtic knot tattoos and also one of the most different.
This design actually opens up and has lines that aren’t connected, which is unusual for a Celtic knot tattoo.
This tattoo looks like a tree because Dara is an old Irish word for ‘oak tree.’
So, we know it symbolizes an oak tree, but what exactly does that mean?
The Dara knot has a powerful meaning of having strength under enormous amounts of pressure and still being able to persevere.
This tattoo can also represent wisdom in all things, just as how trees are known to be wise and see many things around them.
It symbolizes that you have the ability to transform knowledge and life experience into wisdom about all aspects of life.
Also, this design can mean that you have the leadership skills to do well in life and that you cherish being able to lead others and guide them.
Celtic Mandala Knot Tattoo
This tattoo design is a circle which contains many knots which can vary a lot in shape and design.
The most simplistic design is a ring of twisted knots surrounding a symmetrical center of similar-looking twisted knots.
Other designs include various swirling designs within the same spherical shape, keeping a common symmetry.
The Celtic mandala knot tattoo means that you have found peace, or wish to be more grounded.
This is a tattoo for someone who believes in a soul and knows that their soul is traveling through the universe in order to learn and to grow.
It also means that you understand your deep connection to your ancestors and your origin within the universe.
We are all interconnected with our ancestors and however you believe that connection exists, it is important to someone who gets a mandala knot tattoo.
Celtic Shield Tattoo
A Celtic shield knot tattoo design is a circle with the main design within it.
This design inside is an intertwined symmetrical four-cornered knot.
This knot design is interesting because it encompasses many of the traditional knot styles all in one!
Plus, it looks like a shield. It looks powerful and even regal.
This symbol was used by soldiers as a good luck charm to be safe and even was used to help people who were weak, viewed as almost a magical amulet.
The meaning of the Celtic shield knot tattoo is protection from evil spirits.
This shield knot is meant to protect you just as a shield protects someone during battle.
Someone would wear this tattoo for the purpose of always knowing someone out there is looking over you, whether it be God, people who love you, any higher power, or even the universe working in your favor.
This tattoo is great for someone who needs help in life and guidance towards a better life!
Celtic Solomon Knot Tattoo
A Solomon knot tattoo is essentially two ovals joined together in a knot that formed four distinct sections.
This Celtic knot is one of the more simplistic of the knots because it can be more easily sketched out, unlike the complicated mandala knot, for example.
However, it can be made to be more complex by adding multiple ovals connected to each other or by creating space in between the spots where that would overlap.
This Celtic knot design goes way back all the way to cave drawings of the stone age.
Therefore, its symbolism certainly involves the heritage of the Celtics and can be received in remembrance of the great ancient civilization.
Its name comes from King Solomon who was known for his great wisdom.
However, this knot tends to represent the connection between us humans and the divine, or in other words, our deep personal connection to our spirituality.
Celtic Spiral Knot Tattoo
This is an interesting design because there are many ways to create a Celtic spiral knot tattoo.
The most common design is three spirals that are each connected in the center.
This tattoo can be in black ink or even a touch of blue!
The spirals are contained by a circle and there’s a lot of white space creating an interesting look.
As for the meaning of this tattoo, this is a tattoo that represents the different parts of life that connect such as life, rebirth, and ending.
It also symbolizes the spirit of the mind and body and the concept of love.
It’s almost impossible to explain how much this tattoo means– it encompasses all the joys of life itself.
It even symbolizes the importance of remembering the past and looking forward to the future.
What a special tattoo!
There are many reasons that you could get this tattoo, and one could say that this is one of the most meaningful of the Celtic knot tattoos.
Celtic Cross Knot Tattoo
One of the most important of the Celtic knot tattoos is the Celtic cross tattoo.
It’s also one of the most popular– for a reason.
This tattoo is a cross that is filled in with many intricate knots.
These knots vary, and sometimes there is a lot of empty space in between them and the edges of the cross.
However, the cross is typically filled in with grey or white, and sometimes the knots and even filled in themselves with red or blue.
The meaning of this tattoo is pride in your Irish heritage.
It also signifies that you are highly religious and want to show off to the world your belief in Christianity.
It represents the eternal love of God and that he is protecting you wherever you go.
This is a very common tattoo for someone who is an Irish Christian.
Not only is this tattoo meaningful, but it is also beautiful, and one of the most common Celtic knot tattoos.
Celtic Sailor’s Knot Tattoo
A Celtic sailors knot is a two-strand knot that represents duality.
There are many ways of showing a sailor’s knot in a tattoo, and a sailor’s knot is a whole genre of Celtic knots in itself.
A sailor’s knot was traditionally made by sailors as a way of remembering those they left behind to go to sea.
The meaning of a Celtic sailor’s knot tattoo is wrapped in the meaning of why the knot was made itself.
Therefore, it represents friendship, eternal love, romance, and unity.
This tattoo can represent the actual union of marriage, literally meaning that two souls are attached and become one permanent bond just as how the knot itself is one continuous line.
This is a common knot tattoo to receive when getting married, or even as a symbol of eternal friendship with someone special.
There are so many important meanings that go along with a Celtic knot tattoo.
It is easy to pick one that relates to you because of this.
From celebrating friendship to being proud of your children, there are many ways that a Celtic knot tattoo can become an official symbol of the bond you have with others, of your spirituality, or, most importantly, your relationship with your heritage.
Most people who receive a Celtic knot tattoo do have an important pride for their Irish heritage.
It is also important to remember that almost every knot is itself a continuous line that represents the eternity of whatever concept it symbolizes.
A Celtic knot tattoo, any which one, is a great tattoo to have and is packed with important personal meanings that will last a lifetime.
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Alyssa Renee Hardy is a writer, curator, and photographer who publishes articles on the topics of the arts, culture, and social justice. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in fashion business and art history and museum professions. Her experience working with a variety of art institutions, her world travel, and her inquisitive nature provides her with a unique insight. Check out her about page, she would love to connect with you!