The word triskelion means “three-legged” in the Greek language and is comprised of three interlocking spirals.
There are a few variations of the triskelion tattoo with different types of swirls, but the main concept of the composition is always the same.
Although the word comes from Greek, the symbol is in fact an ancient Celtic symbol key to their belief system.
Let’s take a look at what the triskelion tattoo meant to the ancient Celtics, as well as what it symbolizes today.
Triskelion Tattoo Meaning
To the ancient Celtics, the triskelion was a symbol of continuous movement.
The symbol represented life and death, eternal life and rebirth.
The three spirals stood for the mind, body, and spirit, as well as the past, present, and future.
Today, the triskelion tattoo has a similar meaning.
It can refer to the spiritual meaning behind life, death, and rebirth, or in other words, refer to eternal life.
Each meaning of the triskelion tattoo is three-fold and combines to have one combined and complex meaning.
The triskelion tattoo also is symbolic of continuous motion such as the continuous movement of time, or cycles in nature like the tides.
- Minimalist Triskelion Tattoo
Minimalist triskelion tattoos tend to be small tattoos that can be placed on the wrist, forearm, or ankle, among other placements.
Minimalist triskelion tattoos are also simple tattoos with the most basic three swirls connected together.
These tattoos represent the basic meaning of the triskelion as well, which is a belief that life is defined by constant movement.
- Watercolor Triskelion Tattoo
Watercolor triskelion tattoos symbolize the mind, body, and spirit.
The mind is our thoughts and that which we can not see but that exists on Earth.
The body symbolizes the physical and tangible aspects of life.
The spirit represents that which we cannot see and that which not everyone expresses a belief in (the spirit is beyond comprehension).
These three aspects of life help to define it and bring an explanation to existence itself, creating a creative and intelligent tattoo.
- Stone Triskelion Tattoo
Stone triskelion tattoos are a triskelion symbol that looks as if it is an archeological artifact found from ancient times.
This kind of triskelion tattoo is a reminder of those ancient times and of the Celts, meaning life, death, and rebirth.
In other words, this tattoo refers to the belief in some form of eternal life.
- Blackwork Triskelion Tattoo
A blackwork triskelion tattoo is a triskelion tattoo that uses black ink, however, the design varies.
Some designs simply use lines to create three swirls, while others use intricate and detailed designs that show the swirls in a new way.
This type of triskelion tattoo refers to the mind, body, and spirit, or refers to life, death, and rebirth, or in other words eternal life.
The triskelion may be an ancient symbol, but it still has resonance today.
Its three-pronged meaning gives it an added interest because other Celtic tattoo symbols such as Celtic knots are not quite as complex in their meanings.
The key to understanding the triskelion tattoo is motion.
The triskelion tattoo’s symbolism does not stand still– is about the constant change in nature and in the universe.
If you are thinking about receiving a triskelion tattoo, keep in mind that there is not just one type of design.
The artist can even use brilliant colors to make a watercolor triskelion tattoo.
Therefore, you should do your research before receiving one and pick out a creative design that fits your personality and matches the meaning you choose.
We highly recommend this tattoo because it is creative, dynamic, and will have everlasting meaning.
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Alyssa Kucinski 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!