Celts were known to create beautifully intricate and complex knot designs that have to manage to survive the test of time. The reason is that these knots are versatile in meaning. As such, different cultures or faiths can adopt them by giving them their meanings. A great example of such an ancient Celtic symbol is the Endless Knot.
The knot remains popular among many cultures and faiths even today. You’ve probably seen it depicted in different art forms or tattooed on someone’s skin. But have you ever wondered what is the meaning behind this Celtic symbol? Well, you don’t have to, because in this article we will delve deep into explaining what the Endless knot is, where it originates and what it signifies to different people.
What Is Celtic Endless Knot?
The Endless knot goes by several names, including the glorious knot or the eternal knot. The design is made up of lines at right angles, continually overlapping and interlocking with no end or beginning. That is where it gets its name from. The fascinating symmetrical design is what you would call sacred geometry.
Although it is referred to as a Celtic Knot, it is mostly associated with Buddhism, especially the Tibetan Buddhists. In Tibetan, they call it ‘palbeu’ or ‘Shrivastava’ in Sanskrit. You’ll often find it featured in Tibetan tents, jewelry, handicrafts, and other items. That is because the Tibetan Buddhists believe that the endless knot is among the eight auspicious symbols the Buddha was given after receiving enlightenment. The other seven gifts include a lotus flower, pair of golden fish, conch shell, white parasol, golden wheel, victorious flag, and a wish-fulfilling treasure vase. The Celtic symbol is also significant in Jainism and the Hindu faith. You can also find it in Chinese culture and inspired artwork.
History Of Endless Knot
The Endless knots are among the most ancient symbols. Its origin is believed to be from a symbol related to Naga. These were powerful beings, with varying levels of perception and enlightenment who lived in different locations ranging from undergrounds to waterways, to unseen realms. Among them were some considered to be Dharma protectors. Hindu mythology believed the Nagas to be gods and demons that represented the two parts of the human unconscious mind.
They were symbolized by snakes thought to represent the duality of many cultures and the systematic shedding of their skin represented the cycle of life. These are two things the Endless Knot is believed to symbolize, hence the association. The first appearance of the knot is said to have been on clay tablets as old as 2500BC, from Indus Valley Civilization, Ancient Asia. This was around the Bronze Age. It has existed in the Celtic culture since the rise Roman empire reign. In Chinese culture, it was incorporated around 960AD. Even today it continues to be an important symbol in many of these groups.
The Endless Knot Symbol Meaning
The eternal knot has a variety of meanings. It depends on which group you refer to. Let us begin with Buddhism, which seems to have a deeper association with the symbol. As we mentioned, the knot is one of the eight auspicious symbols given to the Buddha. The continuously interlaced lines and loops are a representation of the Buddha’s endless wisdom and compassion as well as, the omnipresent self. Buddhists believe that the interconnectedness of the knot is symbolic of how different aspects of the world are connected and of continuity as the fundamental realm of reality. The continuity aspect is about the mind, reality, time, and universal harmony.
According to Buddhist traditions, there is a lot of significance given to duality. This means that there are opposite sides to every aspect of life that are interconnected. Among them is every person’s connection to their karma. The mutual dependence between religion and secular life is also a good example, as well as, the unity between wisdom and method. All of these are represented by the continuous knots and twists of the symbol. The Buddhists also believe that the knot is a symbol of samsara which is the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
In Jainism on the other hand, the endless knots represent the 24 saints or the twenty-four Tirthankaras chests. In Chinese culture, the knots symbolized long life and were used as a good luck charm, especially on auspicious celebrations like the Chinese New Year. As for the Celts, the knot represented love, loyalty, and friendship attributes used to describe marriage. So, the endless knot would also make a great symbol for marriage or wedding bands.
Endless Knot Jewelry Applications
Based on the many discoveries made related to the endless knot, it is safe to say that the symbol had many applications. This is especially true for the Tibetan Buddhists who curved, and wrote the symbol in many of their religious and ceremonial items, not to mention, general artifacts. But jewelry and fashion are where the symbol has best been applied in the modern-day.
The symmetry and continuity of its design make it perfect for jewelry making. As such the symbol has been incorporated into many jewelry designs including charms, pendants, earrings, and rings. The symbol has also been printed on t-shirts, jackets, and other fashion items. You may even spot some with a tattoo of the symbol on different parts of their bodies.
Not only does the Endless knot appear cool, but it also carries a variety of deep meanings. It can be a way of reminding you of the dualities, interconnectedness, and continuity of life and everyone around you. Once you understand the origin of the symbol it becomes easier to personalize its meaning to suit you so you can incorporate it into your life. The symbol engraved on items or as jewelry would also make great meaningful gifts. It could be a way of wishing a person good luck, wisdom, good fortune, or long life. The beauty of it is that the gift would fit any occasion and it doesn’t matter what the gender, culture, or religious affiliation is. It is a gift many people would appreciate and cherish.