Celtic Shield Knot Meaning and Origin Explained

Symbols played an important role in the Celtic daily life. The Celts used them in their rituals, religious and cultural practices amongst other things.

Today, it would be impossible for anyone to travel around Great Britain and not see the artworks left behind by the Celts featuring their symbols.

Celtic Shield Knot Symbol, a Celtic Protection Symbol
Celtic Shield Knot Symbol by Yulianas

Celtic knots were a big part of the symbolism that went on to inspire the civilizations established on the island after the Celts. From Church walls to tombstones, various versions of Celtic knots could be seen in Christian artworks.

That said, not all Celtic knots are the same and different knots have different meanings. In this post, we will be examining the Celtic shield knot, its meaning and origin.

Quaternary Four-cornered Celtic Shield Knot, Green on a Black Background
Quaternary Four-cornered Celtic Shield Knot by VitAnGen

What Does a Celtic Shield Knot Look Like?

The Celtic shield knots have four corners and this is the reason why they might sometimes also be called ‘quaternary Celtic knots’ or ‘four-cornered Celtic knots’.

It might be placed within a circle or a square but the actual knot symbol always has four corners.

Celtic Shield Knot in Green and Grey
Celtic Shield Knot by Polosatik on Shutterstock

The Celtic Shield Knot Meaning Explained: What Does The Celtic Shield Knot Mean?

Although the Celtic variations of the shield knots carried unique features of their culture, it is important to note that the shield knots were actually universal symbols and they did not exclusively belong to the Celts.

Celtic Shield Knot Design in Green and Black
Celtic Shield Knot Design by Polosatik

They have been around since long before the Celtic civilization and could be observed in the artworks of many ancient civilizations spread across the world.

It is believed that some of those civilizations used the shield knot symbol to invoke gods.

In our case, we should take a look at what the shield knot meant specifically for the Celtic people and how they used the symbol.

Gaelic Irish Shield Knot Symbol Design
Gaelic Irish Shield Knot Symbol by VitAnGen

The Celtic shield knot was mainly used as a symbol of protection, both physical and spiritual protection, that is.

The Celts drew and/or carried the symbol to protect themselves against physical harm from their enemies.

Being the spiritual people they were, the Celts also believed the symbol provided spiritual protection against evil spirits. That is why it was placed near the people who were sick.

Celtic Shield Knot Symbol with Four Corners, Meaning and History Explained
Celtic Shield Knot Symbol with Four Corners by VitAnGen

The secondary meaning behind the Celtic shield knot symbol is related to the generic interpretation of Celtic knots.

Like many other Celtic knot variations, since the Celtic shield knot is a closed one and does not have any open ends, it can be said to represent unity as well eternity. Some sources say that it can also be considered a symbol for love according to some modern interpretations.

Celtic Shield Knot Symbol Meaning and History Explained, Green and Black Colors
A Celtic Shield Knot Symbol by VitAnGen

The shield knot is one of many interesting symbols used by the Celts. If you liked reading about it, you will probably want to check out our other articles on Celtic symbols here.

 
Celtic Shield Knot, Its Meaning and Symbolism

Link/Cite This Page

If you would like to use any part of the content here for your own work, please kindly cite this page as the source using the following code:

The link will appear on your website as:

Celtic Shield Knot Meaning and Origin Explained – SymbolsAndMeanings.Net, April 22, 2021

Leave a Comment