The first Celtic Cross, going back to the 10,000 a.C., has been found
in one cove of the French Pyrenees.
Today, like centuries ago, great crosses of stone punctuate the campaigns, the cities and the monastery of Ireland. They are found again, in smaller measure and various in the shape, in the remaining areas of celtic Europe: Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Carved generally in sandstone stone, they are scattered everywhere: often to indicate the borders of the monastery, a grave, dedicated to a king or a saint, placed in the places of prayer or to protection against the infernal forces.
Beginning from 16th/17th century d.C. were developed and perfected until XII the century, disappearing after the English conquest of 1170. The culminating period of this shape of sculpture was that one of the centuries churns from the invasions vikings and scandinavians to you, when the raids of these Barbarian populations attacked the great Irish monastic centres.
Celtic Cross is also called “Wheel of the sun”, “Crossed Ring”, “Seals of the Druids” or “Cross of the Druids”.
It is probably the most complete symbol and the most universal and has been adopted in the symbolic patrimony from nearly all the civilizations. Various interpretations and legends can be found on the history of the symbolism inborn in the Celtic Cross. There are some symbols that can be considered the predecessor of this type of cross. One of these is “Chi-Rho”, therefore called because formed from the two letters of the Greek alphabet that compose the monogram of Christ. It is a common symbol in the Christianity of the Roman Empire of IV the century, since it is the symbol of the eternity that emphasizes the demonstrated divine love through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Latin cross up appears in sense to crisma the same but conserve the ring that remembers P (rho) and forces to find in the ancient crossing X (chi) straightened.
A legend narrates of how Saint Patrizio created first Celtic Cross. He was preaching in front of a sacred stone delimited from a circle, during his work of conversion, he traced a circle inside the sacred stone and blessed the stone, creating therefore the first Celtic Cross. This legend does not have to be interpreted literally, but rather it goes inserted in the work of the celtic christianity to use already present symbols and ideas in the local culture. However the Celtic Cross was not a symbol commonly used from Christians until the 5th century.
There are different types of Celtic Crosses, some of which introduce recordings and workings many complexes. They can represent human figures, in order to narrate Biblical events. In general terms, however, the nodes, the spirals, interlace to it geometric and the animal representations are those that more often appear; these are the same elements that characterize the objects in metal and manuscripts of the same age. On the contrary of the scenes of crucifixion of Southern Europe that show the suffering of Christ, generally half-naked and tortured from the wounds, Celtic Cross aesthetically seems made in order to be beautiful. When the human figures appear, these seem much simple if compared to the complex decorated items they have around. It is the vertical cross that diagonal with the arms of the same length is of the present symbols in very many cultures. These two symbols, circle and cross, nearly seem to have antithetic valences: the circle does not have a beginning or one fine and it does not have direction, while the cross has a motion that expand itself towards the outside beginning from a single point central. The circle is often feminine lunar symbol, while the cross registered in a circle is male solar symbol. In fact, some theories “New Age” see in this symbol the representation of the Sun and the Moon, the God and the Goddess, the Male Principle and that Feminine one, making to go back the origin of Celtic Cross to a Hindu symbol.
Celtic Cross could also represent one some shape of garland prevails them in honour of the Cross of the Redemption.
But Celtic Cross represents also: the Tree of the life; the four elements joined to fifth, since the circle is seen like energy symbol; the four festivities age them (Samhain 1 November, Imbolc 1 February, Beltane 1 May, Lugfhnasadh 1 August); the bridge between the world land and that divine one enclosed in infinity of the universe.
It is a symbol spaces them and temporal and this property renders it adapted to express the mystery of the cosmos, in which the earth is inserted. To case many abbeys do not have a plant to cross shape, it comes to being the centre of the world, and the man, to its inside orient itself expanding in the four directions of the four points cardinals.
Celtic Cross could very adapt to one symbolic reading in watertight key according to the paradigm of Ermete Trismegisto “like up, therefore low”. In the Celtic Cross we can, in fact, to see one representation of the microcosm in relation to the macrocosm: the man (microcosm) through of it orients itself, leaving from the single point to the centre of the cross, towards the four points cardinals, the four elements, in order to reach the circle of the seasons scans from the solstices and the equinoxes and of the universe (the macrocosm). The created relationship therefore is not static, but dynamic, determined from a centrifugal movement that gives to the microcosm door to the centripetal macrocosm or, from the macrocosm to the microcosm.
In the course of the history the crisma it was used also like emblem from Constantine in order symbolizing the triumph, like sign of auspice in the battle of Milvio Bridge and like imperial symbol in occasion of the coronation of Carl Magnus in the 800.
The symbol was diffused in juvenile atmospheres of the right since was the symbol of the Charlemagne division of Waffen SS, formed from French volunteers who fought until the last days of life of the Hitler’s Reich to Berlin against the Soviet ones. It became a symbol in France from the Jeune Nation of Sidos in 1955, endured after in Belgium from the Pnf, and 1958 in Italy from the juvenile national formations. The neo-fascist movements have decided to resume this symbol, adding a flame from the Italian colours that burn on the background of the Celtic Cross. The symbol was proposed from the “rautiani” inside of the M.S.I in first years '70; from '76/'77 it diffuses itself very much in all the ambience of the right juvenile neo-Fascist.