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Celtic Cross tattoos
Celtic Cross Tattoo Designs - If you are Irish, Scottish, or Welsh, the Celtic Cross may be more symbolic of your ethnic heritage than of faith. And that goes for other Celts as well, in Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia and the Isle of Mann.
But if you are Scandinavian you may also be drawn to the Celtic Cross, as Norse art and Celtic art heavily influenced each other and it is still unclear as to the exact origin of the forms. Clearly there were exchanges between cultures through both trade and conquest. The complexity of Celtic design is thought to mimic or echo the complexity of nature, the use of Celtic knots in spirals and mazes, the intricate interweaving showing no beginning and no end, reflective of the cycles of the seasons and of life.
That's just as well, since arguments over its ancient religious meaning go around 'eternally', just as the circle within the cross suggests. Circles and crosses -- all cultures have them in their systems of symbols, so when cultures collide, as they inevitably do, it's no surprise that meanings are often ambiguous.
The cross as a Christian symbol was just emerging in the 4th century, and coincided with the time when the Gospel was being introduced to a sun and moon worshipping culture in what is now the Britain Isles. The legend of St. Patrick suggests how the two came together in his attempt to bring the Druids to Christ. Shown a sacred standing stone marked with a circle, Patrick blessed it by making the mark of a Latin cross through the circle. Was that the first Celtic Cross? The Druids probably continued to recognize their phallic symbols, even after the Christians re-sculpted those large stones as crosses. And more than a millennium later, 'born again pagans' are seeing the circle as the sun, appropriating the Christian symbol back to its supposed primal meaning.