Trinity Knot: The History Of Triquetra

A symbol that is made of three interlocking circles, the Trinity Knot is also known as the Triquetra, which means three-cornered or triangular.

Not much is said about this Irish symbol origin because it is too old, but some say it’s based on solar and lunar cycles. It is prevalent in Irish history, and it’s one of the popular Celtic symbols. 

Read on to learn more about Trinity Knot’s history. 

Trinity Knot: The History Of Triquetra

The Trinity Knot

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There is no definite meaning for the Triquetra, but it is commonly associated with earth, fire, and air. Others say it represents the mind, body, and soul.

The Trinity knot, however, is known as one of the earliest symbols of Christianity, pre-dating the cross by hundreds of years, and it used to symbolize the 3 in one of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. It can also be seen in Celtic metalwork and is present in the Book of Kells.

The Trinity Knot History

Celtic Trinity Knot or the Triquetra

The history of the Trinity Knot or Triquetra, as well as its meaning, has always been the subject of debate. It holds meaning for both Christians and non-Christians alike, which is why there are at least two versions regarding its origin. 

To be able to trace at least the history of the Trinity Knot, it is best to look at and interpret how and where we find this symbol.

Most archeologists and scholars agree that this Celtic symbol is a pagan design more prominently used by Celts.

This knotwork was used to adorn early Celtic artifacts. The earliest versions of this knot were made up of braids, plaits, and spirals, mostly seen in artifacts that date back to around 450 A.D.

These patterns were used to depict, people, animals, and plants. The design and pattern evolved over time, to the Trinity Knot that we know today which is said to have been from the 7th century. 

 


For the Christians, meanwhile, it is widely believed that the Trinity Knot started with the monks. It is said that these monks brought the Trinity Knot design along with Christianity when they converted the Celts.

For Christians, the triquetra represents the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This design is found in Celtic Christian treasures from the 7th to 10th centuries.

Examples of these treasures that bear at least one triquetra are the spectacular Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow, and the Killaghtee Cross.  

From adorning ancient artifacts, high crosses, and manuscripts, the Trinity Knot is now a popular symbol in body art (tattoo) and jewelry).

Neopaganism has also adopted the triquetra as a representation of the goddess as well as the three stages of womanhood: maiden, mother, crone. 

Meaning of Trinity Knot Symbol 

Celtic Trinity Knot or the Triquetra

The Triquetra is a Celtic knot composed of three interlinked leaf-like shapes that form an overall triangular profile. Some variations of this knot include a circle at the center.

The triquetra, like most Celtic knots, is basically one continuous line interweaving around itself, with no beginning or end. This knot is said to symbolize certain aspects of the spiritual life. 

As for its meaning, it all depends on who you ask. 

Christians believe that the three points of the trinity knot symbolize the three elements of the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Pagans, on the other hand, will tell you that the trinity knot is the representation of the natural elements – earth, air, and water.

Other interpretations associate the trinity knot with life, death, and rebirth. Other theories present a variety of meanings for the triquetra, all of which reference three entities that are connected to one another.

An example of these three interconnected entities are the three domains earth, sea, and sky. 


The Significance of Triquetra 

Despite its many interpretations, one the Trinity Knot shows how the Celts favor the idea that everything important in the world comes in threes. It could be the three spiritual elements for Christians, the three stages of life, or the three domains.

Some triquetra design features a circle in the middle, which represents the unity among the aspects or elements. 

This unity and the infinite design of the triquetra fits so well with the Christian belief. This is why they have adopted the Trinity Knot to adorn high crosses, monuments, and manuscripts such as the beautifully illuminated Book of Kells.

The triquetra and other Celtic knots are also seen in Christian art pieces in Britain and Ireland.

Check out some of the sample Celtic inspired gifts below.

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