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> The Celtic Cross, Your Opinion Please!
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 12:43 PM
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Hello my Christian brothers and sisters!

I need your opinions on something I recently found. I bought a beautiful Celtic Coss necklace recently. I've always found the Celtic Cross to be a beautiful reminder of both my Christian and Celtic heritages. But there was a card attached to the necklace that makes me wonder if the Celtic Cross is truly a Christian symbol at all.

Here is what the card says:

Celtic Cross

The Cross is a symbol of the redemption of the world's sins through the death of the Lord Jesus. The Celtic Cross is much older than that. It shows a circle on a cross. The four quarters it forms point to the four directions. To the North lies wisdom, silence, Winter and death. To the East lies rebirth, youth, Spring and growth. To the South lies vitality, vigor, Summer and strength. To the West lies knowledge, experience Autumn and guidance. The circle which connects them is the cycle of eternal returns of all these things. The Celtic Cross symbolizes both the love of Christ, and the ways of the ancient religion.

Well? Opinions, please!


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Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
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MDF3530 
  Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 01:21 PM
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My interpretation of the Celtic Cross:

The crucifix: a symbol of faith.
The circle: a symbol of unity.

Having faith in something unifies people.


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May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.


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Keltic 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 01:28 PM
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Having worked in and amongst Celtic artists for over a decade now, I have heard so many different personal theories about symbolism in Celtic art. At least the artists know that they are only theories. Unfortunately, the public buys a piece of jewellery or art with information on the meaning and what they don't realize, in most cases, the information is the belief of the producer of the item.

Being in the Celtic jewellery industry, I will tell you that jewellers are quite often the worst offenders. A wedding ring with beautiful Celtic art will sell but a ring with beautiful Celtic art with two intertwined animals symbolizing love and faithfulness will sell many more!!!

I know artists who were told by stores that they were wholesaling to, to include symbolism or they weren't interested in carrying their work. There was a company selling ceramic Celtic jewellery that provided info on all of their items but unfortunately, they didn't research too deeply and some of the goddesses represented weren't even Celtic.

Anyways, back to the cross. I have heard theories that the center of the cross represented God and therefore, must always be a Celtic spiral design. I have heard the theory that the circle around the cross may have been used for engineering reasons. The weight of the arms of large stone crosses would break without added support which the circle would add. The top part of the circle would be for the balance of the design. I have also heard that the earlier, pre-Christian standing stones were phallic symbols on mother earth.

Through all the different beliefs and views, the only belief and view that matters is the person who is wearing the item. If you are comfortable with the Celtic Cross, the symbolism of that piece is through your eyes.


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Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 02:07 PM
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One of the more balanced explanations of the origin of the Celtic Cross I have seen may be found at Celtic Cross History and Symbolism, which states, in part:
QUOTE
If the Celtic Cross borrowed a pagan sun symbol, just as the Chi-Rho borrowed the pagan imperial laurel wreath, applying these to a Christian symbol were expressions of honor and reverence that should be seen in the context of the cultures that brought them forth. There are Christians who unfortunately see these vestiges of paganism as unholy. They ought to be regarded as the reverent tributes they were as these great cultures accepted the Gospels. The Celtic Crosses made at Iona and elsewhere from the 6th century onwards were made by Christians for the Glory of God. Like much of what they did and believed, their pagan heritage influenced their art. The early Christians certainly were erecting neither phallic symbols nor pagan monuments in their own minds when they carved these splendid creations.

The circle on the ringed crosses have been explained as a symbol of eternity as long as anyone can remember. It has meant that as long as the ringed cross has had meaning as a Celtic Christian symbol. But this is only the most common of several meanings.


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Síochán leat,
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Rindy 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 05:43 PM
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This is what I came up with:

The meaning of the Celtic Cross is told in legend of Ireland's St. Patrick. He was shown a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle. St. Patrick took this opportunity to show the union of old and new ways. He marked a cross through the circle and blessed the stone.

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Avonlea22 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 06:44 PM
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Well, I'll put in my .02 cents worth, being non-Christian.

I've always loved Celtic crosses. Not for what they represent, but just because I think they are beautiful. I think when I finally pass on, I want to be cremated, beautiful I were to ever change my mind and decide on being buried, i'd want a Celtic cross as my headstone. To me, it shows I'm of Irish descent, and proud of it.


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dragonboy3611 
Posted: 08-Jan-2005, 08:05 PM
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Well the christian religion wasn't the first thing out there! I don't know if celts were or what, but I believe the pagan belief was along before the christian one. Possibly this symbol started out to be pagan, but than was "converted" to be a christian icon to the eyes of certain people.


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"Men at some time are masters of their fate"
Jul Caesar, Act i, Sc.2

"When sorrow comes, they come not single spies, but in battalions"
Hamlet, Act iv, Sc.5

"All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity"
Hamlet, Act i, Sc.2
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Aaediwen 
Posted: 09-Jan-2005, 01:42 AM
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What I have heard on this somewhat mirrors what has been said here. There are many examples of Christianity 'borrowing' pagan symbols and of Patrick's use of them to teach of Christ and of the holy trinity to the pagan peoples. What I have heard was that this is a case of Christianity borrowing the pagan symbol for the sun, and adding it to their symbol of the cross, to help make it easier for people to understand and accept Christianity.


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gwenlee 
Posted: 09-Jan-2005, 12:20 PM
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Most of our Christian symbol have some sort of pagan orgin, and as others have said these symbols were used to explain the faith. I don't get hung on orgins unless it is outright sacreligious. Most of these things have been symbols of our Christian faith for so long that a lot of people are unaware of their orgins. If we get so prue in what is Christian then we might as well stop celebrating Christmas, and Easter. Both of these holidays have pagan orgins but we Christian have made them our holidays. So you can either get hung up on the orgins of Christian symbols or focus more on what our life as a Christian should be and how our lives reflects our beleif to those around us. With that in mind as a Christian I would wear or display a celtic cross.
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 10-Jan-2005, 12:03 AM
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Thanks for your posts on this topic, everyone! I still have some mixed feelings about it, but I do feel a little better after reading your thoughts! I wish I could get Tassiecelt's opinions on it!
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Madadh 
Posted: 10-Jan-2005, 11:12 AM
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Wizard,

A lot of our christian symbols and holy days were borrowed/changed from their original meanings. This was a method that the early christian church used to help people come into the church. Some examples are the celtic cross, All Souls Day, St. Nick.


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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 10-Jan-2005, 11:19 AM
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Okay, but using this defense, couldn't I walk around wearing a pentagram necklace? If anyone asked I could say "Oh its not a pentagram, its a reminder to me of the star of Bethlehem!" And perhaps to me it might really represent that, but does it really? Its still a pentagram!

(No offense intended to non-Christians!)
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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 10-Jan-2005, 12:28 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 10-Jan-2005, 11:19 AM)
Okay, but using this defense, couldn't I walk around wearing a pentagram necklace? If anyone asked I could say "Oh its not a pentagram, its a reminder to me of the star of Bethlehem!" And perhaps to me it might really represent that, but does it really? Its still a pentagram!

(No offense intended to non-Christians!)

Wizard,
But if someone sees a cross, of any form, I believe they will associate it with Christ. That would not be true of a star/pentagram.

BTW, my oldest son discussed with us about getting a tattoo. His thought was to geta cross one. Even a celtic cross. He never did. But if he had, I would not have objected (too loudly at least).
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 10-Jan-2005, 02:25 PM
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What about the peace symbol (which is nothing more than a cross with its cross bar broken and turned upside down) or the ankh. These are crosses too, but are not typically associated with Christ.

As for Halloween, It used to be one of my favorite holidays, but once I became a Christian I have stopped ahving anything to do with it. While I do still observe Christmas and Easter, I do have my doubts about them. I will never stop observing the days for what they represent, but I am trying to drop all of the pagan-influenced details of these holidays. No Easter eggs or rabbits or other pagan fertility symbols. Christmas is more difficult since I love the tree, but I am trying to remove any and all vestiges of Santa Claus from my house. I am also against depictions of halos around Jesus' and other Biblical figures heads since they are nothing more than sun symbols derived from ancient sun-worshipping religions.

When the Jews finally made it into the Promised Land, God told them to destroy everything and keep nothing from those peoples they conquered.

I am not saying that anyone here is wrong, only that I am still confused and would like to hear more opinions!
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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 11-Jan-2005, 06:59 AM
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Brother WizardofOwls, an interesting topic you have here!
This is an issue I have considered quite a bit.

When I was saved from the occult and came to Jesus Christ I determined that I would seek the "faith once delivered to the saints" and shun the many pagan influences that have crept into the church (mostly the Romanism).

I was influenced in my early days of faith by Ralph Woodrow's book "Babylon, Mystery Religion", which, as the name suggests, traces the many beliefs and symbols we have today back to Babylon.

The cross is one such symbol.

The church of rome has through history, placed great importance on the cross, including the necessity of making the 'sign of the cross'. They adorn walls of churches and homes. I believe it has become just one of the idolatrous objects used in worship.

Early Christians did not trust in 'the old rugged cross', rather, what was accomplished on the cross.

They saw the cross not as a virtuous symbol, but rather as the "accused tree", a device of death and shame (Heb 12:2).

There is even doubt as to whether the Lord was nailed to a cross at all, it may have been a 'stake" or single post. It matters not to me.

Now having said all that, since my interst in celtic things has grown I find myself being less "hard line" on some issues, including the cross.

In a nutshell....I don't use the cross at all, but I can appreciate the sincerity of some of the early celtic saints who found a use for it.

I'll do some more study on this.

That;s my two bob's worth

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