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.
There are predominantly three different moon symbols throughout Celtic usage. They are:
- The Crescent Moon
- The Triple Crescent Moon
- 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…
All Celtic moon knotwork is associated with 4 things:
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.
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. 😉
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
- Intuition, Inner Knowledge
The Greek goddesses Hecate and Artemis are also associated with the moon and all its mystery.
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. 😉
(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?