Celtic Cross Pendants
The Celtic Cross necklace and pendants for men are not just for Irish Catholic men as a St. Patrick's Day gift any more as men of all nationalities and faiths are wearing them.
Celtic Cross pendants have remained a classic piece of jewelry for men, but have recently regained a real rise in popularity, especially in silver, because of the interest of punkster subcultures.
The punkster cultures such as the Goths, Gothic Punk Lolita, Steampunks, Dieselpunks, Gutter Punks and Cyberpunk enthusiast, just to name a few of the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of subcultures out there love adding chunky, ornate, gothic looking crosses to their wardrobe as necessary accessories..
And of course they remain popular as gifts with the biker clubs, and religious organizations such as Christians, Wiccan, Pagans, Green Men and Satanists. Today they are being seen all over world in the men's fashion scene as a very handsome and masculine piece of jewelry..
The Celtic Cross is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. It is revered in the Christian community as well as the Wiccan-Pagan community in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, USA and Australia. In fact every country who has Irish-Scot immigrants.
If you are in a quandary as to what gift to give to the men in your life for St. Patrick's Day or any other special occasion, you can't go wrong with a Celtic Cross Pendant!
Erin Go Braugh!
Celtic Cross Irish National Heritage Park, Near Ferrycarrig and Newcastle, Wexford, Ireland
But Where Does The Celtic Cross Come From?
But where does the Celtic cross come from? What did the Celtic Cross symbolize in the past? Browse through a brief history of the Celtic Cross and see if you can decide which rings true and which is mythical lore.
Origins of the Celtic Cross
The origins of the Celtic Cross of Ireland are steeped in mystery and trying to find the answers to these mysteries can be as frustrating as as trying to pry Patty Murphy from the bar stool before 2 A.M.
Even though the history of this powerful symbol is ambiguous, we can all agree the Celtic cross is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding its intersection.
It is believed to belong to the class of crosses found throughout history with a halo surrounding a supernatural entity.
In the Celtic Catholic tradition it was combined with the Christian cross. Often this design was used in the creation of the richly engraved stone high crosses found in cemeteries all over the British Isles, particularly in Ireland.
This was a departure from the Celtic medieval symbol use of the cross as public monuments.
There Are Three Popular Beliefs in Ireland
In Ireland, one of the most popular beliefs is the Celtic cross was first introduced by either Saint Patrick or Saint Declan during their times of converting the people from the Pagan faith to the Catholic faith.
However, stone crosses of this kind have been found much earlier than St. Patrick's timeline and wood celtic crosses have been found dating back even earlier than the stone crosses. They are believed to have been carved by Druid priests.
Archaeologist are currently involved in numerous digs in Ireland which may turn up more accurate information. One never knows.
St. Patrick didn't immigrate to Ireland until the 5th century and it is also the 5th century A.D. when Celtic Crosses began to appear on the scene as cemetery stones. St. Patrick was not yet a priest in the 5th century.
The Cross of Muiredach
The Muireadach sept (Scot’s have clans; Irish have septs) date back to the 3rd century A.D. in Ireland.
An example of one of the 3rd century stone crosses is the Cross of Muiredach. The design of the Muiredach stone cross is from a pagan sun symbol, or the sun wheel (the creator of life or the navel of the world).
The Cross of Murdock (Muiredach) stands 18 feet tall and is considered to be one of the finest High Crosses, out of over 200, in Ireland. It was originally made of sandstone and named after the abbot Muiredach mac Domhnaill of the now ruined monastery settlement of Monasterboice.
The stone pillar of the Muireadach cross symbolized a phallic representing fertility. This High Celtic Cross of Muiredach is made of bonded stone.
Celtic Monument Changed by the Christian Monks
5th Century High Celtic Cross
In 500 B.C. celtic stone monuments and crosses were erected engraved with the Druid celtic symbols.
When the monks came to Ireland in the 5th century, 600 A.D, the Christian cross was added to these old stone relics by superimposing the Christian cross above the Celtic symbols on these old stone Celtic monuments.
Examples of this can still be seen in the monastic ruins of Dingle, Ireland.
The Celtic crosses became teaching tools by the monks for the pagan illiterate by using images on the crosses.
The images told stories from both the Old and New Testaments, stories depicting the lives of saints along with pagan mythology lore.
They were also painted in bright colors with the same sort of ornate patterns found in the intricate paintings of the Book of Kells and the Ardagh Chalice.
The 6th century monks built beehive style rock monasteries all over Ireland. The Irish monk stone carvers used high celtic crosses to depict the triumph of Christianity over Paganism in Ireland. Examples of this can be seen on Skellig Michael island were the monks lived until the 12th century,
In the 12th century, the English replaced many of the old monasteries with their own stone churches in an attempt to centralize their control over Ireland and the still active Pagan religion.
Eventually in history, the wheel became a symbol of the Christian Catholic Godhead representing eternity. The sun wheel was originally a cross surrounded by a circle with a center stone representing the sun and mock suns at the four quarters.
It is said, St. Patrick merged the elements of culture and religion by combining the cross (the symbol of Christianity) with the sun cross (the symbol of Paganism) to make the merge from the pagan religion into the Catholic religion an easier transition for the people to grasp.images
I love these vintage St. Patrick drawings with the snakes. He is legendary for driving the snakes from Ireland. Only thing never has been any snakes in Ireland for St. Patrick to drive out.
The Irish Catholic priest will not hesitate to the telling of the story of the Celtic Cross as the symbol of eternity, with emphasis on God’s eternal love by the sacrifice of his only begotten son’s crucifixion on the cross.
The Catholic Christians theorized the cross would show the pagans the importance of the idea of the cross as a connective link to the life-giving neverending elements of the sun. Other theories claim that placing the cross on top of the circle represents Christ's supremacy over the pagan sun.
The hope was for the Pagans to put aside their old ways of nature worship to embrace the Catholic faith and the Holy Trinity.
Did it ever fully take? Not really. Today, we still celebrate Easter with rabbits and chicks (Pagan), May Day with a Maypole (Pagan), Halloween dressed in masks (Pagan) and Christmas in December with decorated trees (Pagan Winter Solstice) instead of March when Christ was thought to have been born.
Two Crosses Associated with St. Patrick
There are two main types of crosses associated with St. Patrick, the cross pattée and the cross saltire.
The cross pattée. also known as St. John's Cross, Knight's Cross, Maltese cross and many other names, is the more traditional association, and was imagined hundreds of years prior to Hitler's fascination.
Unfortunately when anyone seeing an image of this cross automatically thinks of Hitler's regime.
The association with the Cross Saltire dates from 1783 and the Order of St. Patrick, which was a British chivalric order established in 1783 by George III . This is the cross seen on the St. Patrick's flag for the order.
During the mid-19th century there was a Celtic cross revival in Ireland.
It became quite popular by the wealthy to erect cemetery monuments with Celtic crosses into what we know and love as a Celtic tradition today.
Celtic Druid Clerics
The Second Popular School of Thought
The second very popular school of thought in Ireland is that the Celtic Cross comes from the days of the Druids.
The Druids of Celtic Ireland and Britain were considered to be mystical holy men who held all the secrets of nature.
In 55 B.C. the Roman army, commanded by Julius Caesar, arrived on the shores of Britain after their winning battle at Gaul. The Celt tribes were described as barbaric tribal warrior people who were fierce in appearance and ruled spiritually by holy men called Druids.
These Druid priests presided over the spiritual life of the Celt tribes. They were in charge of all religious things, including sacrifice, gift giving, healing, divination, astrology, astronomy, cosmology. They were the liaisons between the people and the gods. They were thought to be philosophers, teachers, doctors, counsellors and sorcerers with supernatural powers,
There are those who believe the Druids were the original creators of these early crosses as Pagan religious phallic symbols. It is said they were carved into crosses to disguise their original purpose of fertility rituals.
The Pagan Sun Cross
The sun cross (looks like a swastika) dates back possibly to the Bronze age (2000 BC).
An example of this swastika shaped sun cross was carved into a stone discovered in Ilkley Moor, England.
The stone has a double outline of a swastika, with ten cups fitting within the five curved arms. The design is similar to art of the Celtic Iron Age period (600 BC), so the carving is more likely to be dated to a later period than the majority of other Bronze age carvings discover on the moor.
The earliest Celtic crosses were found made of wood with old Irish Druid (Ogham) inscriptions dating back as early as the 2nd and 3rd century. Remember, St. Patrick lived in the 5th century. The Ogham (script) and Beith-luis-nin (alphabet) are what we call Celtic runes in layman terms.
The Book of Kells
Lastly, the third theory popular in Ireland is the belief that the Celtic Cross came from the beautiful, ornately decorated Latin book of insular art and calligraphy, The Book of Kells.
The Book of Kells is believed to have been created in a Columban monastery in ca. 800 AD. probably in either Britain or Ireland, however there are Celtic crosses which have been discovered from earlier timelines.
So it goes to reason the Book of Kells may have been a by product of the Celtic cross and and not a fore product.
Either way the manuscript is an incredible work of art and design. The vibrant colors in the hand mixed pigments is a splendor all its own, let alone the the incredibly beautiful hand painted designs.
Beautiful Photos of Ancient Celtic Crosses
This is a video of beautiful photographs featuring monolithic Celtic crosses. The soothing background music is by Tracey Hewat from "The Best of Celtic Music", Track: 02 Firelands.
A Third Theory Published June 2000 by Crichton E M Miller
There is also the belief the Celtic cross represents an ancient instrument used by people as far back as Neolithic times. The theory is that it was a survey and navigation instrument used by Ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians.
In 1997 Crichton Miller made an astounding discovery that changes our concepts of the historical and religious origins of the Celtic Cross.
He says the Celtic cross was a mathematical measuring instrument which allowed any knowledgeable observer to find their geographical position anywhere in the world within 3 nautical miles.
According to Crichton Miller, in his book “The Golden Thread of Time”, "This incredibly simple, yet complex [Celtic cross] instrument, has the potential to measure angles and inclinations to an accuracy of 1 minute of arc or 1/60th of a degree, depending on the size of the instrument used....One of the most interesting but obscure abilities of the Celtic cross is its capability to take sidereal measurements."
According to Miller, the Celtic cross instrument could, theoretically, be the basis of geometry, mathematics, ancient astronomy, map making and time keeping.
He claims ancient observatories were placed strategically throughout the known world to keep local time and traditions while aiding ancient land travelers and mariners. These observatories were stone or wood henges in the north and pyramids in the lower latitudes.
What Do You Think?
The Celtic Cross by Crichton E M Miller - Part 1
The Celtic Cross by Crichton E M Miller - Part 2
The Cross Of Thoth: The Conspiracy Behind The Cross
If you would like to bypass the long musical introduction, fast forward to 4:26 to get past it. This video is an interview with Crichton Miller, author of the "Golden Thread of Time", I mentioned above.
Some Men Prefer Cold Crosses Over the Silver
Give a St. Patrick's Day Gift of a Gold Claddagh Celtic Cross
For the men in our lives who prefer gold over silver, this gorgeous, 14k gold pendant is an excellent choice for a St. Patrick's Day Gift.
The Claddagh with the hands embracing the heart symbolizes love and deep friendship, they come together to nurture and protect the heart. The crown is symbolic of loyalty, representing love's fealty throughout life.
I think this gold Celtic cross is beautifully made and a perfect gift for a love one because of the Claddagh accent. Anyone receiving this cross will know right away how special they are in your eyes and heart.