The triquetra is one of those symbols that has always fascinated me! So let’s learn what does the Triquetra symbol mean and represent in different cultures.
As I saw it again on one of my favorite TV shows, Dark, I thought it would be interesting to dive into this topic and learn more about it!
What does the word triquetra mean?
The term triquetra derives from the prefix tri-, (derived from the Latin tres, meaning “three times”), and quetrus, which means “made at an angle”. Is an ancient Celtic symbol that symbolizes a triple female divinity, which later became a symbol of the Trinity in Christian Ireland.
Also called the Trinitarian Knot, this sign is perhaps one of the most important that represents the profound symbolic meaning associated with the number three, the Ternary. Always considered the holy or divine number par excellence, this value still maintains the reputation of a “perfect number”.
The Pythagoreans, in fact, considered it as such, for being the result of the sum of the first odd number and the first even number: 1, a symbol of unity and uniqueness, and 2, a symbol of duality, which is a universal principle. 3 is also the smallest of the “triangular numbers”: these are defined as those which are the results of the sum of a sequence of integers starting with 1, e.g. 10 and 21 are triangular numbers because 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4; 21 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6, and so on.
The denomination lies in the fact that these numbers can be “drawn” as a series of points arranged on overlapping rows, each of which has one more element than the previous one, and together they form the design of a triangle.
|Trinity Symbol||The Triquetra represents the concept of a trinity, such as the Holy Trinity in Christian symbolism.|
|Celtic Symbolism||In Celtic culture, the Triquetra symbolizes the threefold nature of existence: land, sea, and sky.|
|Pagan Symbol||The Triquetra is associated with Pagan and Wiccan traditions, representing the Triple Goddess or God.|
|Past, Present, Future||The Triquetra can represent the cycle of life, symbolizing the past, present, and future.|
|Unity and Connection||The interwoven nature of the Triquetra signifies unity, connection, and the interdependence of elements.|
From the point of view of mathematics, it is a geometric shape involving an intertwining of two knots: it is obtained by interweaving a cloverleaf knot and a simple closed curve (circle, or trivial knot) in a non-simplified way. The geometric shape is obtained by presenting the aforementioned weave in a substantially symmetrical shape, invariant by rotations of 120 degrees. The previous figure is also simplified in the purely two-dimensional correspondent (eliminating the overlapping distinctions).
In heraldry, it is synonymous with trinacria or triscele. The triquetra has the same topology as the so-called Gordian knot.
What does the triquetra symbol mean?
It is a Celtic symbol that embodies the POWER OF THREE in various interpretations, including the Goddess in its triple aspect: Virgo, Mother, Old; the triple Celtic manifestation of the divine: Wisdom, Love and Strength; and the three ways of being human: Body, Soul, and Spirit. We could go on and on.
In the context of the Christian emblem, the triquetra is nothing but the expression of the divine Trinity, especially since it can be said to result from the union and intersection of three distinct Vesica Piscis: if a single stylized fish represents Jesus, then the union and interpenetration of three fish necessarily means the union of the three Divine Persons in one: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In the earlier pagan cults, in particular, those related to the Celts and Druidism (the triquetra, in essence, is only the most elementary of the Celtic knots), the symbol takes on a more “telluric” aspect, indicative of the three predominant natural forces: earth, air, and water. On a more spiritual level, it indicates the three degrees of the evolution of existence: life, death, and rebirth.
|Simple Triquetra||The simple Triquetra consists of three interlocking loops, each with equal size and shape.|
|Celtic Knotwork||The Triquetra can be depicted as an intricate Celtic knotwork design, showcasing elaborate patterns.|
|Modern Adaptations||There are modern variations of the Triquetra that incorporate additional symbols or embellishments.|
Furthermore, since the three elements of the Triquetra are closely interconnected, they must not be considered as separate elements but as three different aspects of a single entity, the “whole”.
In many representations, the triquetra appears surrounded by a circle or presents a circle interlaced with its lobes. The circle, in most symbolic traditions, is associated with eternity and cyclicity. Once again, if it is referring to eternity and the infinite love of God or to the endless cyclicity of life and the cosmos, the circle drawn around the symbol only reinforces its meaning.
The triquetra is strongly linked to Wicca as it represents the cycle of infinity (the cycle of life), but little is known of the actual origins of this symbol.
It also represents the cyclicity of fire, a shield against negative energies, and, given its particular shape, it is very useful for meditating.
In Funbo, Sweden, a group of rocks carved with runic writings from the eleventh century was found. One of these stones also has a triquetra.
On the stone, we find written: “Thane and Gunnar raised this stone after Veðr.” The triquetra is also used in some neo-pagan and Wicca groups, where it represents trinities such as virgin-mother-sorceress or earth-air-water.
However, the most common meaning today is related to Christianity. The Book of Kells is one of the most beautifully illustrated manuscripts ever produced in Celtic monasteries.
Written in the 1800s, it contains four Latin Gospels, with many richly elaborate portraits and miniatures. A small decorative triquetra appears on page 66 and is the first example of the use of the triquetra in the Christian context.
The spiritual meaning of the Triquetra symbol
The triquetra symbol is one of many possible representations of the trinity of life. The intertwining of the triquetra symbol reminds you that body, soul, and spirit are inextricably linked together. The moment you neglect one of these three parts, you harm the other two.
Therefore, the triquetra symbol invites you to objectively observe your life to understand if, at this moment, you have too unilateral an attitude and/or a lifestyle.
This symbol has existed worldwide and in many variations for thousands of years. From the historical point of view, it is associated mainly with the Celtic civilization.
This was a non-Christian symbol and was used by the first Christians to represent the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Beyond a single religion, the three elements of the triquetra symbol constitute a unity that derives from the connection of the three parts.
Together they form a whole as it is found in life and in nature:
- Birth, life, and death
- Mother, father, and son
- Sowing, crop, and growth
- Sunrise, noon, and sunset
- Childhood, adulthood, and old age
- Past, present, and future
If in your life, you often see the symbol of the triquetra or you are often attracted to it, then you need to know what does it mean!
Maybe you have an overly optimistic attitude about life? Or too pessimistic? Or do you have a lot of ideas, but you put too few into action? Or are you still too exuberant or do you do things on impulse? Any NOT balanced attitude can weaken your physical, mental, or energetic sphere which, as mentioned above, will also affect the other spheres.
The symbol invites you to regain the harmony of every part of your life.