50+ Celtic Rross Tattoos – AND Secret Meanings Most People Don’t Know

celtic cross tattoos

Celtic Cross Tattoos Introduction

Celtic cross tattoos are not your ordinary, average tattoos. A Celtic cross itself is an image that combines a typical Christian cross with a circle or a ring surrounding the part of intersection. In modern tattoos, one popular version of the Celtic cross tattoo is represented with the same circle and very elaborate knotwork that is interlaced completely.

Similarly, variations of this type of tattoo exist as well. The question to ask is this: where did they come from and what do they represent? The following are the origins and symbolic meanings of this tattoo.


A very famous story about the Celtic cross is one where Saint Patrick, an Irish Catholic priest, tried to convert Celtic pagans to Christianity. The story basically goes that one day, while preaching to some Druidic priests and Irish pagans, he drew a circle around the cross on a stone which was said to represent the Celtic worship of the sun. (1)

The reason for this was to find a balance between their faith and Christianity so they may accept Christ as their God and it supposedly worked. Just like this, there are many legends as to how the image of the cross itself was formed. It is believed to have started in the 5th century and the Book of Kells is considered to be the source of all the Celtic symbols. The in-detail illustrations and Celtic art in the book continued on, spread out and lasted to this day.


Circle of Life

The visible spirals and the knotwork seem to have no point of beginning or ending in the tattoos. The circle is representative of the “circle of life’. This Celtic cross tattoo inspires a particularly continuous type of motivation and for certain people, it is representative of the natural elements of life i.e. how it is never ending and how with each death, there is birth and with each loss of life, a new one is born. We can never know the true beginning and ending of life, but merely accept the fact that life is continuous, and no matter what we do it shall maintain its repetitive cycle.

Faith in Christianity

Celtic cross tattoos represent stern faith and belief in Christianity for some people. There is a debate where some Christians do not support the use of this tattoo as they are against the concept of tattooing at all whereas others believe the Celtic cross is one that acts as a sort of exception. The varying origins and vast history of the cross allow people to feel stauncher in their belief and the tattoo symbolizes a sense of perseverance to them as to how much Christianity has been through and just how long it has been around. (2)

The Four Quarters representing weather

The four corners or directions of the Celtic cross each represent a separate thing. Some people relate them to the weather. The northern corner is representative of the harsh weather of winter, stability of a situation and wisdom of the old. The eastern corner is representative of the calm mood of spring, the essence of true learning and understanding of knowledge. The southern corner represents the arduous weather of summer, never ending strength, true passion and the vibrance of vitality. The West is representative of inner knowledge, the different stages of emotion and human intuition. The circle connecting all four is the process of rebirth.

The Four Quarters representing Natural Elements

The earliest of Celts saw the Celtic cross as having many deep values. As mentioned earlier, the four corners can be representative of many things. People also believe them to represent the natural elements i.e. those present in nature. They include fire, water, earth and wind. Each of them can have varying meanings for example fire can represent the wrath and destruction of nature. Earth can represent the endless land that nature provides with all its trees and forests. Water can represent nature’s way of providing us with sustenance so we may survive and continue this cycle of rebirth. Wind can represent both destruction in the form of tornados or hope in the form of being the winds of hope.

Bond between Man and Woman

Another important interpretation of Celtic cross tattoos is how they symbolize the relationship between man and woman. The cross is associated with man and the circle with the woman. The meeting of both objects at certain points shows the link between them. The bond between a man and a woman is considered both natural and religious. It is a sacred thing and one of the purest of miracles granted to humans. This bond is what allows each to survive in this world and contribute to the rebirth cycle and without this link, they are truly astray.

Sun God

For some pagans, the circle or ring represents their Sun God. The portrayal of Celtic cross tattoos can be done in a variety of ways and these people usually get it made in ways that they are comfortable with. Colors can vary and so can the design to an extent. The point to notice and realize is that for them, this tattoo is not a representative of Christian faith but rather of pagan perseverance as to how they have survived up till now regardless of all the persecution they faced.

Inner feelings

Celtic cross tattoos can be an important representation of inner emotions. As I mentioned earlier, they can be designed in a variety of ways and many people get these tattoos in specific designs that they think showcase their feelings in the best way. The concept is a human one and has holy aspects in it as well. It’s the expression of art onto the body allowing an individual to express their deepest feelings combined with a symbolic tattoo that has an extremely rich historical significance merged and transformed to fit an individual’s needs.

Christ’s Love and Salvation

Some Christians see the Celtic cross as a manifestation of the eternal love of Christ. The circle represents this love and it covers the symbol of the sacrifice he made for his followers. People who get the Celtic cross tattoo with this interpretation see it more as a duty for them to get it so they may be reminded of this love and sacrifice regularly. Others believe this circle to be a representation of Christ’s promise that all the true believers will earn salvation and heaven.

Celtic cross tattoos hold within them many strong interpretations and usually if you see this tattoo on an individual, you should automatically know that it holds a deep meaning. Other than the meanings and representations I have mentioned above, many exist that are based upon history, culture and interpretation. These tattoos have been around for a while and will most likely be around decades from now.

Some Celtic Cross Tattoos Ideas


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