The ancient Celts used knot work symbols as a unique and highly artistic way to express and pay homage to their interconnectedness with each other, to nature as well as with the Gods and Goddesses. One Celtic symbol that contains continuous looping knot work showing no beginning and not end was used to represent the eternal love that sisters shared.
The ancient symbol is the Celtic Triskele is also a symbol of sisterhood as it represents the trinity of three such as mother, daughter and grandmother, or the three stages of women. Otherwise known as the triple spiral symbol that is very closely related to the Triquestra, the Triskele is composed on three interlocking spirals. The three spirals in ancient Celtic symbols are related to the sun, the afterlife and to reincarnation and some believe to pregnancy as well.
Triskele’s are very common in this art work and can be found in a variety of different styles, both ancient and modern. These three conjoined spirals evoke the Celtic concept of three domains, namely earth, water and sky and how they relate to each other. These spirals signify the special connection between sisters, how their lives are forever intertwined, no matter where the twists and turns of life take them.
The Triskele emblem is commonly found today in such things as tattoos, stationary, clothing, glassware and pottery as a way to depict Celtic symbolism. It is a triple spiral Celtic symbol with no open ends, a continuous line in other words, each one fluidly spiraling in the same clockwise direction. The continuous line of the spirals signifies the never ending cycle of life, something that is easily synonymous with sisterhood.
In Celtic and pagan folklore, the Triskele is connected to the mother goddess.
The Sisterhood of Avalon
The official business logo of the Sisterhood of Avalon has as it central image a Celtic Triskele, moving counter clockwise which is meant to depict the energies of the Divine Feminine. The arms of the Triskele are shown as stylized ‘9’s’ meant to honor the ancient nine fold Sisterhood of Avalon.
At the center of the Triskele is an apple cut in half, revealing the five seeds of wisdom which is the core of the Avalon tradition. These five seeds seen in the cut apple reveal the mystery of the five fold cycle which brings us to the wisdom of the Heart of Self.
The nine pointed star is the primary symbol of the sisterhood of Avalon and honours the Nine Morgens, the Honored Ancestress of Avalon and the Guardians of the Avalonian Tradition. The silver apple itself signifies the otherworldly island of Avalon and the mysteries kept by her priestesses, or sisters.
One Celtic knot in particular that is accepted as being a symbol of sisterhood is the Triquestra. It takes the form of a three sided triangle intricately crafted out of interconnected loop knot work. The Triquestra was often used in Celtic metal work and jewelry to symbolize the interconnection of special things or people such as mother, daughter and grandmother as well as other concepts that fit into the idea of a unity such as sisterhood and family. A common representation of the Triquestra can be seen with a circle in the center of the triangle which dissects the three interconnected loops. This circle is meant to emphasize the unity of the three elements.
Today the Triquestra can be seen as one of the quintessential design elements of Celtic artwork, and many use it to display their heritage or culture. The symbol has become so popular that it can even been seen in use by the rich and famous. For instance, in the popular TV program “Charmed” which features three witch sisters working together as one unit to defeat evil, the Triquestra is seen adorning the Book of Shadows.
The symbol of sisterhood when depicted by either the Triskele or the Triquestra is a popular work of art used by many, and while many Celtic knot work patterns and designs are hard to define, the spiritual and physical elements depicted in these two symbols are easy to understand. The interlacing strands are said to represent the never ending pathways of life itself as well as emotions of love, friendship and faith.