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The Triskele symbol, otherwise known as the Triskelion, is a trilateral symbol consisting of three interlocked spirals. Widely regarded as one of the oldest Irish symbols in existence, it appears on the Newgrange kerbstones, which date from approximately 3200 BC. Triskeles feature prominently in both ancient and modern Celtic art, as they evoke the Celtic interpretation of the three realms of material existence: earth, water, and sky (and all their interconnections). The symbol is also thought to represent the three worlds: spiritual, physical, and celestial.
Other Trinity connections associated with the triskele are life-death-rebirth, past-present-future, earth-water-sky, and creation-protection-destruction. Each one deals with some aspect of personal growth, human development, and spiritual progress. One theory posits that the triskele represents reincarnation, as it consists of one continuous line that could be analogous to the unbroken movement of time. In this context, it represents the process of constantly moving forward to reach a state of understanding and enlightenment. Another theory states that at the Newgrange monument, the triskele is meant to symbolize pregnancy.
The Celtic symbol of three conjoined spirals may have had triple significance similar to the imagery that lies behind the triskelion. The triple spiral motif is a Neolithic symbol in Western Europe. Though popularly considered a "Celtic" symbol, it is in fact a pre-Celtic symbol. It is carved into the rock of a stone lozenge near the main entrance of the prehistoric Newgrange monument in County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange, which was built around 3200 BCE, predates the Celtic arrival in Ireland, but has long since been incorporated into Celtic culture. The symbol is also found carved in rock in Castro Culture settlement in modern-day Galicia and Northern Portugal. In Ireland before the 5th century, in Celtic Christianity the triskele took on new meaning, as a symbol of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and therefore also a symbol of eternity. Its popularity continues today as a decorative symbol of faith for Christians of Celtic descent around the world.
The triskele, usually consisting of spirals, but also the "horned triskelion", is used by some polytheistic reconstructionist and neopagan groups. As a Celtic symbol, it is used primarily by groups with a Celtic cultural orientation and, less frequently, can also be found in use by various eclectic or syncretic traditions such as Neopaganism
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