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Essay Samples > Definition > The Celtic Cross
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The Celtic Cross

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Many people have used the Celtic cross jewelry for a long time; however, most of the users do not have an idea about its history or meaning. “The jewel has replaced grave stones as the most expression of the symbol. Craft objects for personal use, clothing and tattoos are all the media where the versions of Celtic cross are evolving in the continuum of this powerful symbol. Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie in the IoniaIsland first produced the Celtic cross as jewelry in 1899. The arts influenced their enterprise and crafts involved in the Celtic cross.” (Stephen, 2008)

The Celtic cross is made of three sections. These are the vertical bar and the horizontal piece. Both of these meet at the intersectional point at three quarters distance up the vertical member. A circular shaped ribbon surrounds the intercession of the two members. The vertical member is taller than the horizontal member is. The Celtic cross is decorated with interconnecting knots and unending spiral lines through out the structure. Sometimes, images of animals have been carved on the cross.

The Celtic cross is about 10 inch in length. At the bottom of the cross, there are some modifications included to make it broader in several stages with the bottom acting as the base of the cross. The cross is usually found in orange or yellow color.

The Celtic cross is with much significance although many wear it oblivious of it's meaning. The cross by pointing in the four directions is a sign of dividing the world into four different directions; that is East, west, north, and south. In addition, it may signify the four main seasons in the world. These are the summer, winter, spring, and autumn. All the four arms meet at the center to signify that all the diversity portrayed by the different directions or seasons has intersection point, which is their cause and in this sense the cause being God. The circular element at the center of the cross stands for the sun or the moon as a sign of light. This is explained by the fact that, many people view the church as the spiritual light. 

The broadening of the cross at the bottom is a reflection of the previous stones in the ancient Celtic traditions where artists were engraving the cross. The cross surface is rough with spirals and interconnected knots running throughout the cross. Spiral lines or wavy lines signify motion, struggle, or the meandering of the day-to-day life. The spirals are the symbolism of the struggles and the liveliness of the day-to-day life, which the Christians used to live and still live up-to-date. The interconnected knots are the symbolism of togetherness, love, and unending relations between people in their lives. The color of the cross being set to be yellow often is the meaning of quality or value.  Gold is very precious and is usually yellow in color. This tells of the prestige in which the cross and its significance is handled by the people or the Christians in particular.

Davis Courtney in his book 101 Celtic crosses (2004) states that the cross was a significant part of Christian faith wit the Celtic natives. He express the fact that apart from the cross representing faith in Christ, it was also an axis- munduli. This means it was a hypothetical symbol in that everyone is in harmony and symmetry. It was thus stationed at the center of every village as a center of the world to mean the axis of the world. According to Courtney (2004), crosses were sometimes imposed on disks the significance of the sun as a source of light for all lives.

Derek Bryce in her book Celtic cross (1989) emphasizes that the cross was carved on stones, which were considered as the axis of the world. This was the link between heaven and earth. They replaced the holy tree or “Tree of life” which served the same purpose before.

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