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Celtic Rings and Others That Show Your Spirit
Nature lovers and modern-day mystics are finding a wealth of personal meaning in the symbolism of Celtic rings and butterfly rings.
It's hard to know the exact meaning of most known Celtic symbols, because there are few surviving records. We do know that the Celts, who lived in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Brittany, left behind intricate and colorful designs based on nature.
Among the most common designs are some form of the number three, which some think shows unity of body, mind and spirit. The Irish, for instance, saw threes everywhere: the stages of a woman's life, the three-legged nature of human progress, and especially the shamrock's three leaves. It's no wonder that St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Irish the meaning of the Christian Trinity.
Irish triple symbols abound for Celtic rings. There's the triskelion, which looks like three legs running. There's the triquetra, a Latin word meaning "three-cornered," that is often called the "trinity knot." And there's the triple spiral, drawing on the feminine powers of maiden, mother and crone, especially through transition and growth.
Much like "first peoples" in the Americas, the Celts used animal symbols such as a stag, a bird, a dog or a horse, to represent human qualities like courage, strength, patience and endurance. One unusual Celtic symbol used to represent wisdom is the salmon, the fish that swims upstream to spawn. Maybe the Scots felt smarter after they ate their delicious roasted salmon.
Perhaps the best-known Celtic symbol, often used in wedding rings, is the Celtic knot.
The design began appearing around AD 450, but there's little written history defining its purpose. Celtic knots are also referred to as mystic knots or endless knots because they're believed to represent the timeless nature of human spirit, or infinite cycles of birth and rebirth in both physical and spiritual realms. Today knot designs make beautiful braided rings when worked in silver or gold.
Like Celtic rings, butterfly rings have become more popular these days, due somewhat to singer Mariah Carey, who wears butterfly rings herself.
Many cultures around the world see butterflies as the departed souls of ancestors, freed from the cocoon of their human bodies to a new spiritual life. The butterfly also is a Christian symbol of resurrection.
The Greeks saw the butterfly as a symbol of the restless human mind, jumping from idea to idea like butterflies flit from flower to flower. The Greek word for butterfly is "psyche," from which we get our word "psychology," the study of the mind.
Butterflies also are symbols of transformation, just as the beautiful winged insect emerges from its drab cocoon in one of the animal world's greatest changes. A butterfly's metamorphosis can be likened to the many changes we go through in life, especially when those changes involve great struggle.
Whether you choose a mystical Celtic image or a butterfly's lovely wings, your symbol ring can show your deepest spiritual belief.