The history of the Celtic Cross is an interesting one as it is bathed in many myths ansd stories. It is widely believed by many historians that the Celtic Cross was introduced to Ireland by Saint Patrick during the time when Pagans when converted to Christianity. However, many also believe that it could have been Saint Declan or Saint Columba who introduced the Celtic Cross . One thing that is certain though is that the Celtic Cross is instantly recognizable and that it symbolizes the meaning of Celtic Christianity.
With regards to the famous stone circle that surrounds the middle of the Celtic Cross, it is believed that this is a design feature that strengthens the Cross and helps to prevent breakage, while supporting its weight and the delicate ‘arms of the cross. However what does this stone circle represent? Many believe that it represents the Roman God of Sun, who was Invictus, hence the naming of the Celtic Cross
as the Celtic Sun Cross. However many Christians believe that this stone circle represents Jesus’s halo. So the stone circle is open to a wide interpretation, depending on what your beliefs are.
Although the Celtic Cross obviously symbioses the Christian religion, in fact its roots are firmly embedded in Pagan history. There are many stone circles within Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England; where a simple cross is predominantly featured. One such place is in Scotland, on the outer Island of Lewis. This simple cross design, with each arm being the same length, is believed to have been the inspiration for Saint Patrick, in his designing of the Celtic Cross that we know and love today.
There are many different theories about what the Celtic Cross actually means, other than obviously being a religious symbol. One possible meaning is that the arms of the cross depict the different times of day; so the morning, afternoon, evening and night-time. Another theory is that the four arms of the Celtic Cross represent different human qualities such as those of energy, the self, wisdom and nature. Probably the most common theory though, is that of the Celtic Cross representing the four elements of wind, fire, earth and water.
If you ever plan to visit Ireland, the birthplace of the Celtic Cross, then you will mainly see Celtic Cross’s as the headpiece on a gravestone. This was incredibly popular around the Eighteenth Century.
The history of the Celtic Cross most certainly is a fascinating one, with many theories and interlinking stories surrounding its design and meaning. Hopefully you will get to see one and see its true beauty and meaning for yourself.