Much of the Celtic artwork is characterized by complex “knot work” patterns.
The Celtic knot symbolizes the “Thread of Life”.
To the Celts, the human soul was thought to be a fragment of the divine, which will ultimately return to its divine source. Through successive rebirths the soul rids itself of its accumulated, inherited impurities until it finally achieves the goal of perfection.
The interlaced, or latticed, knot work patterns, with their unbroken lines, symbolize the process of humankind’s eternal spiritual evolution. When the cord is unraveled, it leads us on our journey.
A knot lattice can be used as an aid to meditation by occupying the conscious mind with a demanding repetitive task. In fact, I think that you will notice that when you gaze at Celtic Knot work you are immediately “drawn in”. The designs actually seem to pull and compel your psyche to follow the intricate paths of the design.
As you explore some of the patterns you may begin to notice similarities to symbolism and patterns from other cultures. Is there a link back to one source? Perhaps. Or perhaps something in the human psyche is simply drawn to these patterns and our minds, simply because of our basic similarity in design, strive to define our world and experience through these symbols and patterns which also show up in our natural environment.
There is not just one knot that can be called an “Eternity Knot”. Any knot that has a closed path, with no beginning or end may be symbolic of eternity or continuum.
It is debatable if this was ever the intentional meaning of ancient scribes, but since this meaning was suggested by the great Scottish Celtic art teacher of the 20th century, George Bain, it has been an accepted meaning by many artists and craftsmen. Since knot work is often used as an emblem of heritage, the symbolism of “continuum” reinforces the endurance of the tradition.
Likewise any knot can be a “lover’s knot”. Most commonly knots that link separate paths are used as lover’s knots. The “Josephine Knot” or “Granny knot” is a linking knot that is frequently called a lover’s knot.
The Tuim Knot
Tuim Knot is said to represent the four seasons the four seasonal lunar holidays, and the four elements earth, air, fire, and water