Tying the Generations Together

The Celtic Trinity Knotwork is an art form that has intrigued us for centuries. often seen in carved stone form, woodwork, trinity knot jewelry and other decorative arts.

Generation after generation, we’ve found and embraced rich, sentimental meaning in these distinctive, flowing designs of lines without beginning or end. The trinity knot is perhaps the most popular variation, and among the oldest examples of Celtic knot work. It’s a motif that is both intricate and strikingly simple at the same time.

What is a trinity knot? It is a series of three-pointed loops drawn seamlessly in a triangular shape. It has three points, and if you superimposed a triangle on it the points would correspond with the corners of the triangle. But what does it mean?

At their most fundamental, Celtic knots have two meanings. One is eternity. The knots have no start or finish. The lines flow onward without interruption in a seamless design. The other meaning is so obvious we often overlook it. The purpose of any knot is to tie things together, to connect them. So the trinity knot represents three connected ideas or entities.

Trinity Symbol Cut Into Stone
Trinity Symbol Cut Into Stone

The trinity knot has had many meanings to people throughout its long history. The ancient Celts probably saw it as spiritual, representing the three stages of life – youth, adulthood and old age.

Some would say it represents the maiden, the mother and the crone. In more recent centuries, it’s been used by Christians to represent the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Regardless of belief systems, anyone can enjoy it as a symbol of the past, the present and the future.

A Motif to Link Generations.

The trinity knot is a perfect way to celebrate the generations of a family. It shows the unbroken line stretching from one generation to the next. The past, the present and the future repeat endlessly in its loops. Throughout our lives, we move from being the newest generation to the oldest – from child to parent to grandparent. The many tiny details that us ourselves – the sound of our laugh, the arch of our eyebrows, our penchant for silly puns or a love of the outdoors – is inherited and passed down through our DNA and the example we set.

When families gather, this is what we notice. Who has granddad’s eyes, who has a great-aunt’s gift for telling a story or an uncle’s cowlick. In Ireland, you’ll hear people say ‘they didn’t lick that up off the stones’ when a child has a parent’s mannerisms or attitudes. Our most priceless inheritance isn’t a house or a set of crystals or even land. It’s the intangible legacy of our ancestors, passed on through
our genes, what we teach our children and the stories we tell.

The trinity knot is set against a DNA motif is an exquisite symbol of the gift of ourselves that continues through the generations, endlessly, past, present and future. It’s perfect to celebrate your mother, grandmother or daughter.