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Universal Meaning of Celtic Knotwork
By Marc Choyt

In the spring of 2003, I spent three weeks in the city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, located in Southern India. Each morning, walking before the heat of the day, I was amazed to see intricate knot work patterns drawn out free hand with flour in front of the driveways and gates of homes. These artistic scrolls, I was told by an Indian friend, were offerings to local gods, and were part of a tradition that stretched back into the ancient past.

I have seen knot patterns in my travels throughout many parts of the world. In Islamic countries where iconography is prohibited, the mosques are heavily decorated with knot-like patterns. Stone-carved knot work motifs can be found on ruins from the Americas to the Hindu iconography of Bali, Indonesia. In Tibet, the “eternal knot” is a common symbol representing the endless cycles of existence.

The knot work most familiar in the West is from Celtic iconography. Though the Celts, before the Roman Empire, were spread throughout much of Western Europe, we’re most familiar with their designs remaining today in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. On the moors, surrounded by winding rock walls and ancient neolithic bridges, this knot work carved in stone transcends time. We know from the writings of the Romans that the Celts believed strongly in the sacredness of place. Similar to the beliefs of many in South India today, the land anchored a particular god or goddess that was meant to be honored, though we do not know whether the knot work designs were made as offerings.

The broad spectrum of knot work designs found in many cultures suggests that the motif is both universal and rooted in ancient mystery. From the most general perspective, knot work iconography can be viewed as a metaphor for our own unique tapestry of experience. On a macrocosmic level, the knots express metaphorically that life on earth is deeply interconnected, as illustrated in the Spider Women’s web or the Great Hoop of Life in Native American stories. As one Native woman told me, if you move a pebble on top of a mountain, you can change the course of a mighty river. This is also expressed slightly differently in the Biblical aphorism, “We reap what we sow,” which is similar to the Eastern understanding of karma. Even physics today speaks of a “unified field.”

Yet it is also true that individual elements of knots hold specific meaning from the perspective of sacred geometry. Look around you at different geometric forms. Why is the earth, our eyes, the trunks of trees circular instead of square? How does the circle function in the world verses the triangle and what does that mean in terms of knot work that uses circular patterns? Here are a few hints to help you with these blueprints.

We speak of a circle of friends and live in circular cycles, such as the day and the season. Native cultures throughout the world hold ceremonies in protective circles. A knot work pattern with circles or variations of circles certainly has some important keys to relationships and community.

A square knot motif concerns structure and stability, which is why buildings use the shape of a square foundation. Numerology has always played a part in ancient cultures and there are many books on the subject. The number five, for example, represents the four directions and the center point, or the five senses.

We also often see knot work shaped like an oval, which is the shape of an egg. The oval has something to do with generative creativity and birth. Planets circle the sun in an oval. And if you squeeze an oval together you get the lemniscates, the symbol for infinity which is very prevalent in knot work motifs.

Many knot work motifs also deal with vectors that travel in a certain direction. If you look at the shape of an arrow, it’s easy to understand why a triangle might connote movement.

Another common motif is the knot work depicting a trinity. In the Celtic tradition, many deities had three forms. The Mother Goddess was understood to the maiden, mother and crone. The universe was viewed as heaven, earth and otherworld. We are born, we live and we die. Certainly the trinity knot also illustrates the One being dividing off into the masculine and feminine, or the mother and son-- a mystical truth contemplated in many sacred traditions.

The cross is also a symbol rich in meaning. From a simple point of view, two lines crossing symbolizing a connection or meeting which can be a point of creativity. Some mystics speak of the horizontal axis representing the earthly plain, while the vertical axis points toward the heavens.

While the above guide for understanding knot work is not necessarily based on any scholarly or anthropological text on the meaning of knots, it does provide a starting point that is based on a universal perspective. Most knot work designs are going to have some variation of these shapes. Spending time contemplating the motif may yield some insight.

Lastly, there’s an essential reason why the knot work is so prevalent, and that is beauty. I will never forget Jaisalmer, an ancient town in the desert of Rajasthan. This ancient city, where caravans used to stop and trade, is made from sandstone. Many of the buildings are carved with intricate knot work patterns. Strangers walked up to me and said, “How do you like our beautiful city?” I could see clearly how art is life-giving and the need for beauty is something fundamental. In the middle of the desert, the beautiful knot work in golden stone brings joy to the heart.

©2005, Marc Choyt

Marc Choyt graduated from Brown University in 1984 with a degree in English. In 1995, he received an MA degree in Humanities from St. John's College. In 1996, he and his wife, Helen Chantler, founded Reflective Images, a designer jewelry company specializing in contemporary Celtic jewelry. http://www.artisanweddingrings.com
http://www.celticjewelry.com

Please send email requests to marek@celticjewelry.com


Lucky Charms and Talismans
By Samantha Stevens

Many of you already own several lucky charms or talismans. You just may not be aware of the object's symbolism or meaning. Below I have compiled a list of some of the more popular and common good luck symbols that can be purchased in the form of jewellery, paintings or statues.

The Ring: A ring made of gold represents eternity and the circle of life. A diamond on a gold ring symbolizes fidelity. The tradition of the wedding ring goes back to the ancient Romans. Puzzle rings that interlink symbolize the integration of the spirit with the mind. When you give a puzzle ring to a friend, it means that you never want the two of you to part ways.

The Clover: The three-leafed clover is a symbol of health and vitality and for the Celts, symbolized The Holy Trinity. A four-leafed clover symbolizes sudden good fortune. A five-leafed clover symbolizes a happy marriage.

The Heart: A heart is the classic symbol of love. A picture or lock of hair carried inside a locket is thought to be the ultimate way to symbolize the carrying of another's spirit in your heart. As an amulet the symbol of the heart protects against heart disorders, anxiety and the tendency to blame others.

The Pentagram: This five-sided star is also known as the Druid's foot. It helps as a talisman to fulfill wishes, invoke spiritual powers and activate inner powers. It also serves as a protective amulet against the "evil eye" and casts evil back to where it came.

The Star of David: This six-pointed star is also known as the Seal of Solomon and the Hexagram. It consists of two interlocking triangles and is used as a talisman to attain harmony, gain knowledge and invoke the aid of the angels.

The Heptagram: Also known as the Mysterious Star or the Love Star, this seven pointed star is sacred to Venus and helps one radiate beauty and attractiveness as well as radiate harmony and love.

The Crescent and Star: This symbol is a powerful love talisman that also symbolizes sexuality, wisdom and well being.

The Eye in the Triangle: This is an amulet that finds its origins in the culture of Europe, Asia and Africa. An image of an eye within a triangle is thought to reflect evil back to the wisher of bad luck and protect against envy, jealousy and misfortune.

The Eye in the Hand: These good luck tokens which feature a human eye centered in the palm of a human hand originate in the Near East and are of Jewish-Arabic origin. The open hand represents the intervention of God and the eye represents the all-seeing eye of Go. This talisman is thought to bring God's mercy, strengthen faith and protect against bad luck.

The Ankh: This looks like a Christian Crucifix but with a loop at the top. This lovely ancient Egyptian symbol represents love and long life.

Thor's Hammer: This talisman usually looks like a small axe or very blunt edged cross. Carrying this symbol is thought to help achieve social success and protect against petty quarrels, making the wrong move in life and losses on the stock market!

The Pictic Knot: This is a Celtic charm that looks like three interlooping triangles. It is represents the three realms of consciousness and is worn to protect from black magic, magickal mistakes and dangers in general.

The Celtic Knot: These come in many designs and look like knotted threads. The knots based on mirror images or the number two represent passion, inspiration and a happy marriage. Knots based on the quadrupling of an image represent personal power and wisdom.

The Medicine Wheel: For about 5.000 years, almost all Native American Indian tribes have designed some form of a medicine wheel. The design varies but basically medicine wheels are Mandalas whose imagery is based on the number four. Medicine Wheels help you develop personal power and equilibrium, attain wisdom and understand the ups and downs of life!

The Dorje: This is a Buddhist "thunderbolt" that also resembles sceptre or a dagger. They are usually freestanding brass objects about the size of a paperweight done. This symbol is thought to repel demons, help one follow the true path and not be misled by false prophets.

Roman Coins: Antique Roman coins are thought to bring prosperity and good fortune to those who wear them as jewellery.

The Two Headed Ax: This image is found in almost all cultures: ancient Crete, Asian, Northern Europe and African cultures. It represents justice, authourity, and strength of character.

The Human Skull: Human skulls, whether bone or silver are usually worn to protect one from death. Shamans wear them to symbolize the accessing of deceased spirits.

The Devil's Trap: This is a circular gold or silver coin or talisman which features tiny Hebrew text that spirals more and more tightly inward towards the center of the circle. The idea is that the "Devil's Energy" is trapped inside the circle so it can't escape. This is worn or placed near doorways to protect from evil and clear one's path of obstacles.

The Zen Symbol: This looks like a black teardrop shape and white teardrop shape embracing each other in a circle. It is from the Far East and is also known as the Ying Yang or Tai'Chi symbol. It is worn to achieve equilibrium, balance and harmony between the sexes.

Samantha Steven's articles have been published in many high-standing newspapers and she has published several books. If you wish to buy Samantha's books about metaphysics click here http://www.insomniacpress.com/author.php?id=110 You can meet Samantha Stevens at http://www.psychicrealm.com where she works as a professional psychic. You can also read more of her articles at http://www.newagenotebook.com


Holy and Unholy Numbers
By Samantha Stevens

Many of our great religions hold that numbers contain hidden meanings that in turn hold the mysteries of the universe and God within them. Ancient Hebrew mystics referred to this as Gematria. Numbers are also given corresponding associations to various deities, colours, plants, gemstones, and superstitions. Here are a brief list of associated correspondences and lore for the numbers 1 through 13.

The Number 1

In the faiths of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures the number 1 is associated with the unity of God. For medieval alchemists and metaphysicians the number was associated with the Philosopher's Stone, the unknown catalyst that was thought to transform base metals magically into gold.

The number 1 is also associated with Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love; Apollo, the Greek God of Beauty and Truth; Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Hunt; Vesta, the Roman Hearth Goddess; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility, and the Chinese God Pangu.

The number 1 is associated with the colors red, crimson, scarlet and cherry. Gemstones associated with the number 1 are ruby and garnet. Flowers associated with the number are red roses and red carnations.

Common superstitions about the number one are:

Break one egg and you will break a leg

It is unlucky to walk around the house in one slipper.

Only keep money in one pocket or you will lose it.

People with one hand are psychic.

A one-eyed person is a witch.

Seeing one magpie bodes a death in your future.

Seeing one white horse brings bad luck.

If you wash your hair on the first day of the month you will have a short life.

It is unlucky to get married August 1st or January 1st.

If you dream about the number 1 you have received a direct message from God.

The Number 2

In the Tarot deck, the number two represents duality, choices, decisions and partnerships. The Chinese believe that it represents the polar forces of Yin (the receptive, constrictive female energy) and Yang (the creative expansive male energy.)

Early Christians believed that the number represented the Devil or the division between soul and God. Similarly, the Zoroastrians believe the number represents the forces of good and evil locked in an eternal, yet equal, struggle.

The number 2 is also associated with the Ceres, the Greek Goddess of the Grain from whose name we have the word Cereal; Frigga the Norse Goddess of Hospitality and Wife of Odin; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility and Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love.

2 is associated with the colors orange, gold, tangerine and peach. Flowers associated with 2 are freesias, orange roses and orange lilies. Gemstones associated with the number 2 are gold and coral.

Superstitions about the number two are:

If two crows fly over the house there will be a wedding in the family.

If two people sneeze at the same time both will have good luck.

If two shoots grow from the root of a single cabbage, you will have good luck.

Two people should never pour tea from the same pot.

It is lucky to have two holes in the same sock.

Breaking two eggs accidentally is a sign that you will find your soul mate.

Finding an egg with two yolks means there will be a death in the family.

If you wash your hair on the second day of the month you will have good fortune.

It is unlucky to get married January 2nd and September 2nd.

If you dream about the number 2 somebody is jealous of you.

The Number 3

Christians interpret the number 3 as representing the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The great psychologist Carl Jung interpreted as meaning the merging of the will with the heart and the soul. The ancient Babylonians and Celts interpreted this number to represent creation being born out of the union of 2 and thereby being a 3rd and distinct thing.

The number 3 is associated with Cronos, the Greek Titan who fathered the Olympians; Hecate, the Queen of the Witches and Goddess of the Crossroads; Pluto, the Roman God of Death; Saturn the Roman equivalent of Cronos and Tyr, the Norse God of Battle and Strength.

3 is associated with the colors yellow, lemon, beige and cream. Flowers associated with the number are yellow roses and orchids. The gemstone associated with 3 is topaz.

Some superstitions about the number three include:

A series of unlucky events always happen in threes.

It is bad luck to see three butterflies sitting on a leaf.

Spitting three times shoos away the devil.

It is unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match.

If an owl hoots three times, there will be misfortune.

If a cat washes his ears three times you can expect a visitor.

A three-legged dog brings luck.

Try anything a third time and it will succeed.

If you wash your hair on the third day of the month you will have great wealth.

It is unlucky to get married May 3rd.

If you dream about the number 3, you will lose your lover.

The Number 4

For the ancient Hebrews, the number 4 was considered to be especially significant. This connects to a mystical understanding of YHVH, the four-letter name of God, which was traditionally never written down. The number 4 and its equivalent geometrical shape, the square, were considered to be sacred by ancient cultures that believed the world was flat.

Many modern Pagan religions find within the number 4 a representation of the four directions (north, south, east and west) as well as the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

Deities associated with the number four are the fatherly Gods such as the Roman God Jupiter, the Norse God Odin and the Greek God Zeus.

Number 4 is associated with the colors green and emerald. The gemstones symbolized by 4 are jade and emerald. Plants associated with four are ivy, bamboo and baby's breath.

Some superstitions about the number 4 include:

A four-leaf clover brings luck.

If four cookies fuse together in the oven while you are baking there will be a wedding.

Four ravens clustered together on a tree branch means there will be a wedding.

Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.

A house with the number 4 in the address is very inauspicious.

Keeping the four aces of an ordinary playing deck on your person is thought to bring power (spades), wealth (diamonds), love (hearts) and popularity (clubs).

Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.

If you hold the four of clubs while playing a card game, you will always lose.

If you wash your hair on the 4th day of the month you will go gray early.

It is unlucky to get married June 4th or October 4th.

If you dream about the number 4, you will soon be handed a lucky opportunity.

The Number 5

Pythagoras believed that 5 represented man in perfect balance with the universe and containing the sum of the male and female elements. At times this was taken to symbolize marriage. For the Sikhs, the number symbolizes the five sacred objects that are worn by all males.

The Chinese believe the number represents the 5 elements that are used in the divination oracle The I Ching as well as on the Pa' Kua that is a device used for determining Feng Shui: earth, air, water, fire and metal.

In Wiccan circles, five can be found in the star shaped pentagram that symbolizes the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water surmounted or united by spirit.

Deities associated with the number 5 include Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine and Ecstatic Revelation; Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of Love, Sex and War; Mars the Roman God of War and Thor the Norse God of Thunder.

The colors sky blue and turquoise symbolize the number 5. The gemstones associated with 5 are turquoise and aquamarine. The flower associated with 5 is the anemone.

Some common superstitions about the number five are:

A five-leafed clover is even luckier than a four leafed one.

Wearing a five-pointed star turns away evil.

If five cookies fuse together while cooking a funeral will take place.

If you twist the stem of an apple and it breaks on the fifth twist you will be married within the year.

In the hoodoo tradition, a talisman featuring a hand displaying all five fingers is known as the Lucky Hand and is used to ward off misfortune as well as for luck in gambling.

If you wax your hair on the fifth day of the month you will go bald.

It is unlucky to get married on November 5th.

If you dream about the number five you will soon be famous.

The Number 6

For Christians, Jews and Moslems, the number 6 represents the day that man was created. Mathematicians revere the number 6 because it is the first perfect number.

Deities associated with the number 6 include Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom; Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine and Hermes, the Greek God of Communication.

The number 6 is symbolized the colors deep blue, navy and royal blue. Gemstones associated with 6 are sapphire and lapis lazuli. Flowers that symbolize the number are thistles and bluebells.

Some common superstitions about the number six are:

It is unlucky to purposely turn the number six upside down in jest as it means your projects will not be completed.

If you find a rose with six petals it means you will be lucky in love.

If you find a pansy petal with six colors in it, it means you will receive an unexpected visitor.

A talisman with the number 6 worn on it means you will be protected against hurricanes and tornados.

It is unlucky to get married October 6th or November 6th.

If you dream about the number 6 you will soon have sex.

The Number 7

The number 7 is equally sacred amongst Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions. According to Jewish and Christian mythologies it took six days to create the world with the seventh day being the holiest day - a day of rest. The Bible, Zohar and other religious texts also recommend that fields were to be left fallow every seventh year as means of allowing the earth to regenerate itself. Some Christians believe the number 7 represents the seven levels of hell.

It is Hebrew tradition to mourn, or sit Shivah, for a period of 7 days.

Deities associated with the number 7 include Frigga; Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Intelligence and Wisdom and Mithras the Sun God in Zoroastrian lore.

The number 7 is associated with the colors violet, purple and plum. 7's gemstone is amethyst.

Flowers associated with 7 are irises and deep purple roses.

Some common superstitions about the number 7 are:

If your date of birth can be reduced to a single number that can be divided by seven then you will have a particularly lucky life.

Shattering a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.

If you sing before 7 am then you will cry before 11 am.

Wrapping her husband's belt 7 times around a tree causes a woman to become fertile.

The seventh child of a seventh child is said to have psychic powers.

If you wash your hair on the 7th day of the month you will have trouble with the law.

It is unlucky to get married April 7th or December 7th.

If you dream about the number 7, you will soon meet a soul mate.

The Number 8

The ancient Greeks associated the number 8 with unhappiness and imperfection. The psychologist Carl Jung equated the number with the secret and dark movements of the subconscious that constantly folds into itself like a snake eating its tail.

According to the principles of Chinese Feng Shui the number 8 represents abundance and prosperity. It is considered lucky to have a house number that contains an 8.

Gods and goddesses associated with the number 8 include: Mercury, the Roman Messenger God; Gaia, the Greek Earth Mother; and Hera, the Greek Queen of Heaven.

The number 8 is represented by the colors pink and rose. 8's gemstones are rose quartz and pearl. Flowers associated with the number are pink roses and pink carnations.

Some common superstitions about the number 8 are:

If you fall ill eight days after a new moon, you will die by the full moon.

If you give 8 pennies away you will receive 108 times that amount.

Repeating your own name 8 times while staring into your own eyes in a mirror is thought to bring prosperity.

It is unlucky to give a person a bouquet with 8 flowers.

A house with the address 88 will bring you double happiness.

If you wash your hair on the 8th day of the month you will live to a ripe old age.

It is unlucky to get married February 8th and June 8th.

If you dream about the number 8, you will soon lose a great deal of money.

The Number 9

In occult circles, 9 is considered to be the number of completion and is closely connected with the Dead, especially one’s personal ancestors, and with the forces of the cemetery and the Underworld. The nine is also associated with Hecate, the Queen of the Witches.

In Chinese mythology, the number composes the lo-shi, a magic square that comprises the first nine single digits on the number line.

Gods and goddesses associated with the number nine include: Juno, the Roman Queen of Heaven; Luna, the Roman Goddess of the Moon and Odin, the All-Father & Ruler in Norse mythology.

The number 9 is symbolized by the colors white and pearl. 9 is associated with the silver, platinum, diamond and pearl. Flowers associated with the number are white carnations, white roses and lily of the valley

Common superstitions about the number 9 include:

You will be blessed if you find nine peas in a pod.

Tying nine knots in a strand of your lover's hair will convince him to come to you.

Tying nine knots around a photograph of an enemy will cause them to give up the battle against you.

An address with the number nine in it brings you a long life.

If a young man wants to marry he should count 99 stars in the sky for 9 days. On the tenth day he will meet his soul mate.

Misfortune befalls the person who finds the Nine of Diamonds card on the street.

The moon that falls nine days after the New Moon in May is considered to be an unlucky day.

If you wash your hair on the ninth day of the month your marriage will be happy.

It is unlucky to get married December 9th.

If you dream about the number nine, your home will soon be blessed with a child.

The Number 10

For Christians, the number 10 symbolizes the Ten Commandments that were delivered through Moses from God at Mt. Sinai.

Deities traditionally associated with the number 10 include the Greek Gods Atlas, who bore the weight of the world on his shoulders and Uranus who was responsible for imagination and technology.

A common superstitious is that if you wash your hair on the 10th day of the month, you will receive a promotion at work. Another is that if you dream about the number 10 your mate is unfaithful.

The Number 11

The number 11 and in particular the number 11:11 (as seen on a clock) is considered, by many light workers and channellers to be a portal to other astral dimensions. The number 11 is also considered to be a 'master number" in schools of numerology.

Deities associated with the number 11 are the Sea Kings such as the Roman God Neptune and the Greek God Poseidon.

A common Chinese superstition is that washing your hair on the 11th day of the month will improve your eyesight.

The Number 12

The number 12 is associated with the Twelve Apostles, the number of people on a jury as well as The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The number 12 is also identified with the Roman Two-faced God Janus.

A common superstition is that washing your hair on the 12th day of the month will bring you misfortune. Another is that if you dream of the number 12, a solution will soon be found to a nagging problem.

The Number 13

Usually considered an unlucky number, this double-digit represents Judas, who was the guest at the Last Supper who betrayed Jesus. As a result it is also thought to be unlucky to have a dinner party with 13 guests.

Many hotels are missing a thirteenth floor or have omitted the number from their room doors.

Gods associated with the number 13 are Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld and Pluto, the Roman God of Underworld.

The color associated with the number 13 is black.

Some common superstitions about the number 13 are:

It is unlucky to have an address with the number 13.

It is also unlucky to have 13 numbers in your name.

Friday the 13th of any month is said to be an unlucky day.

The moon that falls thirteen days after the New Moon in August is considered to be an unlucky day.

Washing your hair on the 13th of the month ensures that you will give birth to a son.

---

Samantha Steven's articles have been published in many high-standing newspapers and she has published several books. If you wish to buy Samantha's books about metaphysics click here http://www.insomniacpress.com/author.php?id=110 You can meet Samantha Stevens at http://www.psychicrealm.com where she works as a professional psychic. You can also read more of her articles at http://www.newagenotebook.com

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