(Celtic) Moon Symbolism

There’s crescent moons, triple crescent moons, regular moons and knotwork mixed in there with every combination of the three you can think of. There’s a lot of moons.

Thusly, Celtic moon symbolism is tricky.

Why? Because it’s bloody complicated. Each one builds on the other, yet they strip away a few meanings here and there and add others, while they each have their own specific meaning.

 

See? Complicated.

See? Complicated.

 

There are predominantly three different moon symbols throughout Celtic usage. They are:

  1. The Crescent Moon
  2. The Triple Crescent Moon
  3. The Triple (Goddess) Moon

While the Triple Goddess is more widely known as a Wiccan symbol, all three of these symbols originate in some form from the Celts. I’m not going to delve very deeply into what I consider “Celtic”, so for now, know that this is what’s going on in my head.

 

Celtic: Ireland, Scotland, Norway (Isle of Man), Welsh, Brittany, and Cornwall.

That is half of Europe and more or less the peoples considered Celtic. There are always going to be people arguing over this. I’m not going to sweat it.

Plus, I have a bat. And knives. So yeah, I’m good.

Hopefully this makes sense. Here goes…

 

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CELTIC MOON

All Celtic moon knotwork is associated with 4 things:

  1. Femininity
  2. Women
  3. Growth
  4. Creativity

I separate the two – femininity and women – for a reason. They’re two separate things. Women are a gender, they’re women. Femininity is an aspect of all creatures. Everyone can be feminine and masculine. Most moon symbols also represent the female menstrual cycle, as the moon phases often lined up with it.

Normally, when you think of female symbolism in modern society, you think of frilly dresses and pink bunny rabbits. That’s not so with Celtic symbolism. Women are nurturing and soft, yes, and they are the equivalent of little mini mother earths (you know, cuz they have children) but they don’t run from mice and swoon in men’s arms.

You have to keep in mind that the Celts showed their women goddesses and symbols as strong – fiercely protective of what they create (children included) yet still very feminine. Celtic mythology and symbolism is big on balance.

There is a moon goddess also worshiped by the Celts, who is associated with the lunar cycles.

 

Waning Crescent Moon.

Waning Crescent Moon.

 

CRESCENT MOON

The word “crescent” comes from the Latin term ceres meaning to “bring forth, create” and crescere, the Latin term for “grow, thrive”.

There are tons of symbols and drawings and knotworks with moons and crescent moons in them. Each symbol carries its own meaning while carrying the inherent meanings of each crescent and full moon.

Waning Crescent: symbolizes the expulsion of negative energy in your life, getting rid of things you know you don’t need, or those things/people/habits, etc which are harming you.

Waxing Crescent: symbolizes growth and creativity. Real general there, but it carries a broad spectrum. Use your imagination. 😉

 

Women. We're mysterious. Wooooooo. (okay, moment over)

Women. We’re mysterious. Wooooooo. (okay, moment over)

 

TRIPLE MOONS

Don’t forget that each triple moon symbol incorporates the meanings behind each crescent and full moon in Celtic knotwork (as stated above), so just add it on or figure out how it meshes to your liking.

All triple moons symbolize the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

Waxing Crescent Moon = Maiden

Full Moon = Mother

Waning Crescent Moon = Crone

You can liken the meaning of the three aspects of a woman’s life to practically anything. Have you started a new project, job or begun working towards a new goal? What stage are you in?

Now, if you’ve read any of my posts on the 8 Celtic festivals, you know the Celts are all about renewal, the cycle of moving forward and moving on, beginning again and breathing life and fire into the stagnant realms and corners of yourself and your life.

Triple moons are big on the meaning of renewal and cycles. Life and people are constantly changing, moving, adapting or falling by the wayside as they refuse to do so. So in effect, triple moons also symbolize change.

 

Triple Crescent Moon

Triple Crescent Moon

 

The Triple Crescent Moon

DESIGN: Three crescent moons interlinked or back to back to back. The moons can be made of or outlined in Celtic knotwork but don’t have to be. Seriously, google it. There are tons with this one.

This design is comprised of every single moon and crescent moon meaning we’ve discussed above. But, it also has it’s owns specific meaning.

The Triple Crescent Moon is linked with the Fates, the three women in Greek and Roman mythology who control fate.

They control the birth, life and death of every person in existence. Each crescent moon represents one of the fates; Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.

  • Birth (Clotho)
  • Life (Lachesis)
  • Death (Atropos)

That means that you have a lot of room to find your own meaning with this one. It practically encompasses your entire life.

 

Triple Goddess Crescent Moon

Triple Goddess Moon

 

Triple Goddess Moon

DESIGN: This depicts a waxing crescent, a full moon and a waning crescent, in that order from left to right.

  • Rhythm of time.
  • Cycle of life.
  • Renewal

The never-ending circle is popular in Celtic symbolism. In this design, the full moon represents this and it holds onto each opposing aspect, the crescents. This tells us that everything is connected and never ends. Nothing is coincidence.

(Again, don’t forget, to uber take into account the above mentioned meanings of each crescent moon.)

Oh – and by the way, the “maiden, mother and crone” is called the “Triple Goddess”. This symbol is also the used by Wiccans and Neopagans as the symbol of one of their goddesses.

 

Waning Crescent Moon.

Waning Crescent Moon.

 

POPULAR MOON MYTHOLOGY AND SYMBOLISM

Okay, so you know the Celts weren’t the only ones with opinions and beliefs surrounding the moon. There is tons of lore and mythos circling the moon and all her phases. No pun intended. 😉

In Native American lore, the New Moon is a time to let things go, whereas the Full Moon is a time to begin things. The reasoning is that at the time of the new moon, you’re covered in darkness and no one can see the emotion you display, while during the full moon, your aspirations and hopes are transparent and visible.

It’s also big on these meanings:

  • Transformation
  • Fertility
  • Illumination
  • Change
  • Shadows
  • Balance
  • Emotions
  • Intuition, Inner Knowledge

The Greek goddesses Hecate and Artemis are also associated with the moon and all its mystery.

 

The Fates.

The Fates.

 

CONCLUSION

I love the symbolism of balance and shadows, emotions and illumination. The moon is the illumination between complete darkness and the sun’s complete light. It’s known to be the elusive connection between consciousness and your subconscious. It’s the in between, the unknown.

I like that.

Most Celtic meaning is trying to poke at you until you figure out how to apply each symbol to yourself. Until you figure out what it means to you. By taking the specific meanings of the two designs and adding the meanings of each crescent and full moon, mash it all together and figure out what it’s saying to you. It’s speaking words. You just have to learn to be telepathic. 😉

 

174px-Zoso_John_Paul_Jones_sigil_interlaced_triquetra_overlaying_circle.svg(Also, I did a post on the Triquetra two years ago and there’s a pretty good list of trio meanings, if you want more for the triple/goddess crescent moon symbols.)

 

Sooooo, tell me. Was that confusing?

Do you like the moon’s symbolism? Is there a specific design you prefer?

What does it mean to you?

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55 Comments

Filed under The Odd Bit

55 responses to “(Celtic) Moon Symbolism

  1. Michael L Potts

    Thanks so much this piece spoke to me no it screamed at me when i saw it. I truly heared everything you have said i am not very knowledgable in eiccan or celtic beliefs, but i feel and have felt for some time a strong pull in there ditection. Thanks again, michael potts aka Butch.

  2. TK

    Do you know anything about the crescent moons where the curve is to the bottom/top. I usually see them on foreheads. What do they mean? Been looking everywhere for an answer but have only found waning and waxing symbolism. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for all the info here, it has been most useful for my research.

  4. Deanna

    I found this very helpful and conveyed with simplicity and accuracy! I am no expert but I find your meanings to be true and I love that you convey the importance of the meanings to each person need to be discovered and defined by them. They are tricky and hard to break down, even harder to draw….Thank you Daphne!

  5. Pingback: 5 Things Blogging Has Taught Me | DaphneShadows

  6. Jennifer

    Crescent moon with a blue stone in the center

    • Gostaria de saber o porque de divulgar o aumeiconhec-tonto? Não seria natural guardar para si, ou em outras palavras, pouco se interessar se outros vão ou não seguir tais conselhos?

  7. I found this diagram inside of my GGG uncles diary from the American Civil War: I believe it fits his circumstances. https://bnabucketlist.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/the-david-phillips-tragedy/

  8. Pingback: The David Phillips Tragedy – BNA Bucketlist

  9. Pingback: 7TH TENNESSEE CSA | Battle of Nashville & Beyond

  10. Alex deMadonnaLucifera

    without understanding of ancient views.pseudo pseudo pseudo.

  11. Daphne is my middle name…how swanky. Actually I stumbled across your site trying to learn Celtic Artwork or what Celtic artwork is, so I can make my sister a holiday gift (I like to create art)….So, I stumbled across your site, saw the name, and then noticed the word Wiccan in the caption somewhere on the search, and my older sister is Wiccan. Therefore I thought, what a coincidence, twill check out your site. Squee! Dandy times

  12. Will

    Thank you for your explanations. They fall in line with much I learned growing up. Thy also made it easier for me to explain to my wife some of the symbolism in each sign as I am thinking using one of the signs as a tattoo as a reminder in my life of the representations presented.

  13. Anonymous

    I always thought of the moon as the night goddess ,who rules the night ,or the mother of the night who puts her children to sleep at night ,and watches over them until dawn ,she is a very powerfull eliment of witch the earth can’t live with out,she gives life ,some fishes or turtles hatch from there she’ll or give birth on the full moon,or farmers wait on the full moon to sow ,she eather gives off a dull yellow shine or a brite yellow shine or a neon blue sheen ,of witch gives a different kind of energy,as for me when ever the moon don’t comes out on a particular night I think she’s angry with one of her child she don’t want to see there face they’ve done something bad so she don’t put them to sleep very sensitive God ,the sun and moon represents balance mother and father of witch is missing from the home today ,the earth is Lord and the fullness there of.

  14. Kazmiera drysdale

    Today 9\11 2016, I had a dream where I was at a house that my dad use to live before he past a few days ago and in the dream I was on the balcony and when I was there there was a moon coming down another moon going up and another in the middle and then it glitch and the was two Crescent Moon and one full one. I went back inside and ran out the front door and I saw many really big orbs in the sky and they where shooting some beams down. This dream made feel very confused and I don’t know what it means plz help

  15. Roe Jean Ericsson

    I would like to have three possibly four rings made. Three for my daughter-in-law and two for my granddaughters. The parents are divorced. I would like to use two crecent moons and a new moon using their birthstones and for the girls I would like to have their dad’s included. Any thoughts on a meaningful design? The girls are teenagers and the divorce was traumatic. Also any thoughts on a ring for my son? I would be very appreciative.

  16. Donna

    I have a necklace that has a moon stone surrounded by two crescent moons above the moon stone is a celtic knot and below the moon stone is a feather. Ths was given to me by my brother based on the date and time of my birth, 11/20/1961. Can you give me more detail of the meaning of all of the symbols?
    Thanks,
    Donna

  17. Naymoolove

    I have one on my right wrist and it’s not a tattoo it also pops up so I can feel it it’s a moon Crescent turning right and looking down a bit. Do you know what it means??

  18. Hi! I dreamed of two crescent moons facing each other. The other one is slantly facing upward and the other is slantly facing downward, like they’re forming a circle. Then each of the moon has a singe dot at the center. What could be its meaning? Thank you!

  19. Shelby

    Hey I’m trying to find something similar to what I’ve found do you know of anything with a downwards facing cresent moon and three dots that comes from it’s opening, or mouth.

  20. Anonymous

    I love that people are talking about this post and getting a Moon Phases tattoo! Needless to say, I am in the same boat. I will either get the triple goddess moon or a complete moon phase excluding the new moon.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Can yuo provide info on the Celtic Moon and sword diagram? As I though t that would be covered here. It was an interesting read. You touch on the Celts and Power of Three. Which is as important both in Pagan and Neopagan and in JudeoChristian beliefs. The Celts see it as Earth, Fire and Water. The Pagans, Maiden. Mother and crone and The Christians the Father, Son and Holy Ghost., Perhaps not the Moon- but the triqueta. But address the Moon and Sword aspect. .

  21. Vikki

    Thanks really helped me understand my dream. That was the only part of my dream I remember it was a black crescent moon that had been tattooed on my right hand wrist so odd as I’ve never had dreams like that before x

  22. Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this! Its very helpful! Let’s just say I’ve been through a lot and I’ve been looking for a meaningful tattoo to represent that. I think the phases of the moon will be perfect! Like the post says, you are supposed to relate the Celtic meaning to yourself, and I totally have! Thanks again 😃

  23. SoundEq

    very informative. ty

  24. Holly Noel

    I love this post. All the symbols are amazing. My favorite is the Tripple Goddess moon, although I ‘see’ the male aspect as a guide. Have you ever heard of any legends that mention a Waxing Pink crescent moon?

  25. Michelle Owen

    Who am i to god?….. What’s my purpose? It’s on my heart very heavy. I have a Celtic moon someone gave I to me I also had a universe with it but it is lost now so now its on my necklace with a cross. But I’m very confused and scared because I don’t want to offend god but I want to wake up so bad .but don’t know how.

  26. Martin Luinigh

    Norway is completely different from the Isle of Man. Norway is a Scandinavian country that borders Finland, Sweden, and Russia. The Isle of Man is a tiny little island in the Irish Sea, about halfway between Ireland and Great Britain. And though some Norwegian Vikings did conquer the Isle of Man about a thousand years ago (after some settlements on the north shore of Scotland didn’t work out), they’re not the same place, and the Isle of Man’s culture has remained mostly Celtic.

  27. gail eaton

    three half moons together 2 pointing right the third at bottom pointing up with a star above it what does it mean

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  29. Anonymous

    Want to know the meaning of a cresent moon upside down with three lines above it???

  30. Thanks for your excellent posts! Great information 🙂

  31. izmirlisair

    Hello, you wrote nice things about the crescent
    I noticed that this information is missing
    In this symbolism not only in Europe and Asia, Turkey is using,Turkish flag
    My english is not very good

    • You know, that’s strange. I looked that up and could have sworn I put that in my post. I’m glad you pointed out that it’s missing. Thank you! 😀
      And I understood you just fine, it’s all good. 😉

  32. isabella

    I just noticed this if you look at the triple cresent moon you can see the triquetra!

  33. Excellent post. A lot of good info here. I use symbolism in my stories and the moon in particular.

    • Why thank you AND you are very welcome. 😉

      • Bruce Loy

        I have a hand carved dining table which I inherited from my parents. I know my father found it in the basement of a home in the Midwest…probably Kansas. One end has a crest of triple moons, lined up vertically and facing to the right. I can send you a photo of it, but I am curious if you can tell me the meaning of these crescent moons?

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