The ancient people of the Celtic Isles believed in the Tree of Life or Yggdrasil. Early Celtic mythology tells the story of the Tree of Life connecting the two worlds of Father Heavens and Mother Earth. When a Celtic tribe cleared new land for settlement, they always left a great tree in the middle known in Ireland as the crann bethadh, Gaelic for “Tree of Life.” Embodying the integrity of the Celtic people, chieftains were inaugurated under the sacred tree, for with its roots stretching down to the lower world and its branches reaching to the upper world, it connected him with the powers of both this world and the “other” spiritual world.
When the Norse invaded what is know as the Celtic Isles they brought with them another story of the Yggdrasil. It is said to be an eternally green massive holy ash tree with branches that stretch over all of the nine worlds, extends up and above the heavens, and is anchored by three enormous roots each leading to a sacred well. Located in Asgard, the land of the Nordic gods, the tree is said to provide wisdom to those who drink its magical spring waters of knowledge.
Meaning of the Celtic Knot
All Celtic knots, whether square, triangle or round, symbolize“no beginning, no end... infinity,” the intertwining of this world and the “other” or spiritual world, the continuity of life paths, the mingling of relationships, and the binding together of all.
The history of the Celts is an oral one and the exact meaning of their artwork, including all Celtic knots, is unsure. However scholars believe the round Lugh knot comes from Celtic mythology with Lugh being the Celtic god of Harvest; to this day a festival called Lughnasa is celebrated, in Ireland and in the Celtic Isles, halfway between the Summer solstice and Autumn equinox.
The triangular three-point knot called Triquetra, Triknot or Trinity has meaning for Christians and pagans alike. Early Christians adopted it as a symbol of the three-in-one God or Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Triquetra is often found in insular art such as illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells. It is also found in similar artwork on Celtic crosses from the early Christian period. Pagans took it as a symbol of division of the world into the realms of Earth, Sea and Sky, and as a symbol of the triple goddesses, for example, Epona and The Morrígan.