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Celtic Tattoos

If you are looking for a tattoo, you should know Celtic Tattoo styles is a really big trend all over the world.

The main reason: Celtic tattoos are really cool, of course, with a strong meaning and from an ancient culture.

But, let me introduce you what are we going to cover on this guide:

Let’s move on!

Table of Contents

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Celtic Chest Tattoo Example

This first photo about Celtic Tattoo style is not a random one.

Here you can see some of the most classical and famous knot patterns in Celtic Tattoo, moreover, all in black ink with some blackwork and a lot of different Celtic symbols.

This kind of Celtic tribute is made by Anthony Fowler, an Irish tattoo artist focused on Celtic, North and Viking tattoos you may follow.

A Little Bit About Celtic History

A lot of people think that Celtic culture is about Great Britain island, and it is ok, but not in the very beginning.

In fact, Celtic culture started in Austria (well, it was not Austria in 800 BC), with Hallstatt celts.

Hallstatt society was really advanced and they used to build complicated stuff with metals, originating intricate designs.

Then, La Tène Culture expanded all over Europe, from the Balkans to Spain/Portugal, and, of course, the British Isles.

An Adaptation Story

But, in other parts like Spain, Portugal or Britain there were people there when the Celtics arrived, so they had to adapt and mix with the local population.

They did it with success and, because of this, there are some differences between Celtic culture in France, Northwest Spain, Scotland or England.

But, you know, Celtic people were warriors too, because of their work with metals, so sometimes they fight with their neighbors and eventually conquer them.

And Then, It Comes The Romans

Celtic Cultures were in touch with Mediterranean ones, especially with Greeks and Romans and, moreover, back in 2nd Century BC, the Romans conquered almost every place in the Celtic World.

But Celtic legacy persisted all over the centuries, especially in Normandia (France), Galicia (Spain), North Portugal and the British Isles and, because of this, we can write this guide for you now, for example.

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Celtic Ear Tattoo

Yes, this is not for everyone, and we do love it.

This very, very bold tattoo design in the neck, ear and jaw with different patterns and motives but with some 100% Celtic details like the symbol in the ear (for example) is another nice example, not only about Celtic Tattoo, moreover, how you can mix it with geometrical ones.

This artwork is done by Shogan Tattoo, working at Northern Fire Collective.

We do love it. Just it.

Celtic Art and Tattoos: Key Points and meaning

Well, we think we all have in mind the complex design for the celtic art and, because of this, Celtic tattoos are often complex and intricate too, as you can imagine.

But there are three key points for Celtic Tattoo Style:

For Celtics, spirals were the symbol of the circle of life, death and rebirth.

On the other hand, knots represent unity and eternity, it’s like thinking that everything is connected to other things.

A really high thought for a society 3.000 years ago, you know.

In Celtic art most of the symbols are interconnected patterns. Sometimes lines, circles, squares, triangles or whatever.

It represents the interconnectedness of life and eternity.

Something common in ancient animist cultures is mixing animals and natural things with abstract designs, or even making animals with human features.

Well, Celtic art has this too, of course. Usually with birds, serpents or wolves.

Top Symbols for Celtic Tattoos

Celtic Culture is plenty of beautiful symbols, here you can find the most known ones:

Top 1: Celtic Knots, of course

The point for Celtic Knots is a knot pattern, very intricate, creating an illusion of something with no beginning and no ending. That is the point.

This net-like visual represents three different things: Interconnectedness, eternity and unity, and, of course, different knot patterns represent different things, from ravens (intelligence) to butterfly wings (transformation), or even one special for love.

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Celtic Knot Leg Tattoo

We have chosen this tattoo because, for us, it is the perfect example.

Is kind of a simple tattoo design but with a strong feeling, nice blackwork, and a good detail level for the knotwork.

All in black ink, with a nice finish.

This tattoo is done by Mikey Snee, tattoo apprentice at Own Agenda Tattoo, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Celtic Cross, The Fist Symbol Integrating Christians

The Celtic Cross is a top symbol too.

It is like a cross made of knots with a circle, and it represents the very first integration between Celtic Culture and beliefs and the Christian world.

The circle, as well as in Asian culture (Chinese and Japanese especially), represents the universe.

celtic-cross-tattoo-la-familia-tattoo-joensuu

Celtic Cross Shoulder & Arm Tattoo

Another nice and very classical example for a Celtic Cross tattoo, this time in the shoulder and arm.

This tattoo is unique because of the detail level of this kind-of-broken-cross in the skin.

We do love the way it is done, and the shadowing is just perfect.

The tattoo is done by La Familia Tattoo Joensuu, in Finland.

Triquetra, or Trinity Knot

Yes, this is the more known celtic knot and, because of this, it has its own space on this list.

Triquetra is a three-cornered knot with 3 circles, and it is another adaptation to Christians.

You know, the Holy Trinity.

But, trinities are not exclusive to Christian beliefs, in fact, for Greeks a lot of gods were in packs of 3, representing the young, the mature and the ancient one of the same figure.

For Celtic people, a trinity could be the land, the sea and the sky, for example.

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Triquetra Back Tattoo

Maybe one of the most simple and beautiful symbols in all the Celtic world.

Yes, just three lines and a circle to represent the three goddesses in one culture.

That’s all, and it is just fantastic.

The tattoo is done by Alexis Vargas, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, another very talented tattoo artist you may follow.

Spirals, another nice Celtic Symbol

A lot of symbols in Celtic Tattoos are with spirals, it is like something very integrated with Celtic Art.

Spirals for Celtic people means the circle of life, death and rebirth and, depending on the direction, may symbolize other things.

For example, clockwise spirals are often related to positive energies, and counterclockwise, with negative ones.

The point here is to understand the context.

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Spiral and Zoomorphic Huge Tattoo

This is not just a tattoo, it is much more.

First, the pattern you can see here is a huge tattoo of a spiral pattern with a strong inspiration about La Tène Culture.

Then, another artist added the human and animal figures to give another detail to the composition.

The one who added these figures is Broc, another artist focused on Celtic and Viking tattoo working at Nortants, in the UK.

Spiral of Life

Inside spirals for Celtic Tattoos, you can find the Spiral of Life, of course.

This spiral has a lot of turns and loops.

It changes between the different Celtic Cultures to more intricate to another more simple like triskel, but all are beautiful.

Tree Of Life, another nice Celtic Tattoo

The Tree Of Life is present in cultures around the globe, from India to America and, as well as in other cultures, the tree of life has a strong representation:

Tree of life is for connecting two opposites, like life and death, earth and heaven, and to represent the connection between you, your parents and your sons.

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Black Ink Celtic Tree of Life

This is the most classical design for the Tree of Life symbol in Celtic Culture.

Of course, you can do it in color ink, wider, with a lot of different details, but, the essence is right here.

The tattoo is done by Elisheva N. Aleknavicius.

The Claddagh Ring

This is a very traditional Irish thing:

It is a ring with two hands holding a heart with a crown.

It represents three different and fantastic things:

Love (the heart), friendship (the hands) and loyalty (the crown).

Beautiful, isn’t it?

claddagh-ring-celtic-tattoo-liz-marie

Claddagh Ring Tattoo in Classic American Style

Yes, nice mix.

On the one hand, the Celtic Symbol for Claddagh Ring, you know, the hands holding the heart and the crown, but made with a classic American style to give the composition thick lines and saturated colors.

We do love it.

This tattoo is done by Liz Marie, a very talented woman tattoo artist working at LakeWood Electric Tattoo, in Cleveland (Ohio), you should follow right now.

Awen Symbol Tattoo

The symbol is very simple but beautiful.

Just three points up, with three lines going down, like emanating.

This symbol represents something like illumination, in the most mystical way, of course.

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Awen Symbol Leg Tattoo

As you may see, the Awen symbol has a strong feeling, isn’t it?

It’s like just 3 dots and 3 lines can be much more.

The tattoo itself is very simple, but the difficult part here is to perform the line and the blackwork to give the composition the perfection you want to have.

This tattoo is done by Sydney Bulmer, working at Fifth Estate Tattoo, at Gilbert, Arizona, and we think you should follow her. Now.

The Boar as a War Symbol

For Celtic Culture, the boar was the animal symbolizing the war and, if you think about it, it’s a nice animal to think about war.

It represents strength and courage, but fertility too.

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Celtic Boar Simple Tattoo

Maybe the boar symbol for Celtic Tattoos is not the most famous one, but, you know, it was a very strong symbol for Celtic Culture, so here it is.

As you can see, the boar is usually represented in the side, with details in the skin and trying to give the curve and spiral patterns.

And we do like it a lot.

The tattoo is done by Phil Collison, working at Crying Wolf Tattoo, in Dublin.

And a Little Bit About Celtic Mythology

If you want to go one step further with your Celtic Tattoo, we have a proposal for you.

This are the key figures in Celtic Mythology:

Tuatha Dé Danann

Well, the translation should be something like “People of the Goddess Danu” and, for Irish people, there were the people who habited Ireland before the arrival of other populations.

Dagda was the father of all gods and Brigid with healing.

Tír na nÓg

For Celtic culture, Tír na nÓg is the Otherworld, you know, the mystical realm beyond the mortal one.

Of course, it is a place with abundance, eternal youth and beauty.

Moreover, in Celtic mythology it is usual to have figures between both worlds.

The Morrigan

The Morrígan is difficult to explain, because sometimes it is represented by a goddess, other times like 3 sisters (Badb, Macha and Anand), and, other times, like a crown or a raven.

It is like the fate deity for Celtic culture.

Cú Chulainn

Cú Chulainn is, in Irish mythology again, the usual hero with incredible strength and loyalty.

It represents 100% the berserker guidelines and, because of this, it is very prominent in different stories.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide about Celtic Tattoo!

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