Common Totems and Their Celtic Meanings
Celtic animals were commonly depicted in their life and history. Animal symbols are seen in Celtic jewelry, tapestries, carvings, clothing, etc.

Celtic animals as symbols, just like all symbols, signs or totems hold incredible power and fascination for us all.

More importantly, animal symbols serve as reminders of qualities (i.e. strength, courage, patience) we all want to have. As reminders, these animal signs convey deeper meaning, and also provide us with an illustrative focus – providing an aid on our path to obtaining the qualities of virtue we desire.

By understanding the meaning of animal symbols, we can adopt these meanings into our lives. The Celts knew this, and called upon the spirit of the animal that provided them with the insight and qualities they required.

Adopting animal symbols is an honorable and age-old practice of self- improvement. It is a concentrated effort to obtain the desired attributes of the animal itself. Furthermore, it is a pathway to internal investigation. Animals urge us to open ourselves to internal exploration, and ultimately they put us on the path of understanding.

Please note: I have provided information on Celtic animal symbols here with a goal to maintain historical accuracy. However, please keep in mind much of this information comes from deduction and intuiting Celtic intent. This is because written history of Celtic symbolism is piecemeal and sketchy. Indeed, the druid's passed their esoteric understanding via unwritten means.

But we can use the ambiguities to our advantage. They give us the opportunity to step into the energetic realm and weave in our own delightful interpretations based upon the Celtic foundations we are aware of.

It is my hope you will come to understand and respect each animal symbol meaning within the context it is given - keeping in mind that it is ultimately your own heart, mind and spirit that determines a symbol meaning.

For more information on animal symbols and animal symbol meanings, please visit the animal totem page.

And, be sure to check out the newly added Celtic Animal Signs (a zodiac based on the Celtic lunar year) here, and my page on Celtic Animal Symbols (with Ogham correspondences) here.








Celtic Bull:
The bull is a much-revered among Celtic animals, with several different translations. Mostly, the Celtic bull symbolizes of strong will, uncompromising, and even belligerent the bull stands for unbending, stubborn personality traits – leading up to the term "bull-headed." On the flip side, the bull is also a virile sign for men, and a sign of fertility for women. Donning the bull symbol in the bed chamber (depicted on sheets, robes, pillows, etc) is said to enhance the mental state – leading to sexual strength and endurance. A third representation of the bull sign is that of riches and wealth. Likely due to the fact that this creature was a great source of food the Celts, it can easily be associated with easier, fairer, and abundant times in the Celtic villages. Also see: Bull Symbols.




Celtic Butterfly:
Research reveals that the symbolic meaning of the butterfly is similar across most cultures and time. Invariably, this beautiful Celtic animal symbol represents transformation, inspiration, and rebirth. The concept of rebirth with the Celts is particularly of importance in terms of recycling of life – both in the spiritual and physical realms. Perhaps the bible and the Byrds extol the concept best: "To every season, turn, turn turn." This was an intimate concept with the Celts, and the butterfly – in its miraculous way symbolizes transformation and rebirth. More on butterfly meanings here. Transition is common in all nature, and the Celtic woman would be keenly aware of its presence. As such, butterflies would adorn birthing gowns, blankets, and bed sheets as a sign of smooth transition when welcoming new babies into the village fold.




Celtic Cat:
By way of the Egyptians to Romans, and from Romans to Celts came the transference of the symbolism of cats. Unanimously, the cat represents the guardian of the Otherworld (or Underworld, depending which texts you read from various regions). Stoic, silent and mysterious, cats fit the bill of Otherworld guardians quite well. They keep the secrets of the Otherworld eternally to themselves, as the gaze with guile upon a world that does not see or understand the depth of their knowledge. Astute, crafty and clever, not only do they make great Otherworld guardians, they are also liaisons to mystic realms. When invoked, they can grant the caller a variety of insights regarding more esoteric, ethereal knowledge. No wonder the cat is a prize among Celtic animals. More on symbolic cat meanings here.




Celtic Dog:
The dog animal symbol also maintains a pure root meaning throughout time and culture. That meaning is loyalty, of course. Man (and woman's) best friend, the dog symbolizes the strong bond of companionship felt between human and animal. Get more about Dog Symbolism here. The dog was considered to be good luck in the village, and as such, the symbol of the dog was commonly found in Celtic décor, clothing, etc. There are reports that the dog symbol is a harbinger of good health. More likely, the dog's companionship warded away the illnesses loneliness and rejection cause. Further, a Celt was rarely found hunting without a hound nearby. Dogs were necessities in life, and therefore highly regarded. For more neat tidbits on general symbolism of the Dog, go to my Animal Tracks Symbolism Page where the meaning of dog tracks and other animal tracks are listed. See also wolf symbolism.




Celtic Dolphin:
Many a tale has been told about the magic of dolphins. Their appearance off the shores of Ireland urged the Celts to contemplate an unknown universe – the sea. Those who could not settle to simply cogitate – Celtic seafarers held the dolphin in high regard. It became a symbol of friendship, intelligence, and good luck. Its status of luck was likely related to the fact that the dolphin was most commonly seen on the seas when the weather and waves were calm and fair. The Celts innately understood the intimate relationship between nature and beast. However, did the sight of the lucky dolphin cause fair weather, or was it the weather beckoned the dolphin out of its depths? Clearly, it's a question of which came first – the chicken or the egg. Regardless, the dolphin is viewed as quite lucky indeed – and this quality combined with it's cleverness and speed in the waters made the dolphin a highly respected among Celtic animals. Learn more about dolphin symbolism here.





Celtic Duck:
Ducks, along with geese (see entry below) share the same symbolism of transition due to their migratory nature. Ducks are also a Celtic animal symbol of honesty, simplicity and resourcefulness. Ducks also represent sensitivity, as they tend to be very sensitive to their surroundings. Also viewed as graceful and agile – particularly in the water, ducks are respected for their beauty and adaptation to nature.




Celtic Goose:
Geese were common sights in the lush green lands of Ireland, and their migration was duly noted by the ever-observant Celts. Consequently, among Celtic animals, the Goose deals with our own migratory or transitory nature. The sign of the goose urges us to consider our changes of mood and heart. The Celts understood that oneness in thought leads to oneness in deed, so invoking the goose aids in our ability to understand why we have such changes of thought, and what we can do to ground our thoughts so that our actions aren't "willy-nilly." Furthermore, the goose is also a strong symbol of hearth and home. Always returning to the same spot each spring, the goose was recognized for it's incredibly navigational devised, and identified for it's keen sense of return to home. Celts being fierce patriots, the sign of the goose was a strong symbol of the importance of home. Likely, the goose was a common symbol in the home, displayed to encourage the safe return home of Celtic warriors. More about goose symbolism here.




Celtic Griffins:
An ancient creature embraced by many cultures, the Celtic animal griffin is a symbol of duality. Part eagle and half-part lion (depending on the region – even part serpent, horse or dog), the meaning of the griffin reflects is dual physical form by presenting a balance of both good and not so good qualities. The griffin's more likeable qualities include nobility, gentleness, and justice. Depicted on ancient stone tombs, griffins are the guardians and protectors of life, and remain loyal in their protection even in the afterlife. Griffins count nobility, vigilance, virtue and strength among their many positive attributes. The griffin is an incredibly strong symbol, and used only when the mightiest gods' attention needs to be captured, and reserved only when the need is greatest. Misused, or invoked for selfish reasons, the griffin brings about gluttony, vengeance, ferocity, and violence. In Roman texts, the Griffin is strongly aligned with the fire god, Apollo. This makes the griffin a possessor of fiery forces – and not to be trifled with when in partnership with Apollo. Given it's power, and considering it can be just as nefarious as it can be kind, respect must be paid when invoking the spirit of the griffin.



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Wicca Teachings

The Celtic Animal Zodiac.

The Celts honored the rhythms of Nature, and observed different flavors of their environment according to the season. Like our Native American kin, the full Moon in each month held a special personality. They had a Tree Zodiac, a Moon Zodiac and an Animal Zodiac. The Animal Zodiac is based on the animal that is most prominent within the season and the month of the persons birth. Below is a brief description of personality traits from the signs.

Stag/Deer
December 24 - January 20
The stag Celtic animal sign has high ideals and aspirations. If you want to start a new project, get a Stag sign to help you. They will not be deterred from their vision. They are thorough, patient and their persistence insures their triumphs. When others have long given up, Stags buck their way past boundaries. They are proud, and rightfully so - they hold themselves in a regal way. They are naturally noble, like they came from royalty. This is not to say Stags feel entitled. Far from it. They believe in righteous hard work, and their integrity is their trademark. You might also want to read my page on stag meanings for tattoo ideas here.

Cat
January 21 - February 17
Quick minded, and even quicker wit, the cat of the Celtic year packs a pounce in the realm of intellect. This Celtic animal sign has impeccable reasoning abilities, but moreover they have a knack for seeing the underside of things, a "sixth mental sense" if you will. They have unorthodox vision, and should be called upon when fresh new perspectives are needed in a project. They also have a kind, humanitarian quality that makes them lovable. Although sometimes they can appear aloof because they like to be on the fringe, always observing. Nevertheless, they have the best intentions at heart. Cats are also very creative, and need an artistic outlet to express themselves.

Adder/Snake
February 18 - March 17
The Celtic animal sign of the snake has a cool exterior but are infinitely lively. They are curious and are always full of questions about how the world works, and how the people around them work (even if they aren't openly asking, you can bet they're figuring out the answers in their own mind). Snakes are natural communicators, and they can be hugely persuasive. If they are passionate about a cause they can round up the whole neighborhood with their zeal and enthusiasm for their purpose. Snakes can be spontaneous and unpredictable too. And although they're pretty flexible, they like things to go their way (who doesn't?), and will prove to be uncooperative if pushed in a corner.

Fox
March 18 - April 14
The fox sign is amazingly cunning and knows how to work a room with sly, sexy humor. Full of guile, vigor and bright intelligence the fox is an untamable force. This Celtic animal sign is the one to take with you on exotic vacations, they will wind your ways into amazing adventures. They have a knack for story telling, and every experience is fodder for their tales. They are tender-hearted, although they don't show that soft side too often because they're too busy playing and cracking jokes. However, they aren't shy about showing their loyalty; if you are the friend of the fox, you have a friend for life. Highly energetic and courageous, the fox has an indomitable spirit.

Cow/Bull
April 15 - May 12
Strong, loving, stable and sure are the watchwords for the bulls of the Celtic lunar year. Cows/bulls are the ones you turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on, honest opinions and solid advice (particularly in relationships). These Celtic animal signs have bulls-eye intuition and can spot a liar from a mile away. Because they're highly intuitive, they can be misunderstood as moody or over emotional. They also come by stubbornness honestly. They have excellent taste, and have a flair for classy elegance in fashion and home décor. These signs are as trustworthy as the day is long, and know how to keep a secret.

Seahorse
May 13 - June 9
The Celtic animal sign of seahorse is vastly flexible and resourceful. The seahorse is the person you want managing your finances or handling your legal matters because these people are infinitely clever (if there's a loophole, they've either found it or invented it). They also have amazing memory retention. They are sometimes hard to follow because they're minds are so sharp. They can also be changeable, but they always come back around to a level of high charisma. These people are astoundingly versatile and adapt remarkably well in any environment. Seahorses are so lovable too. Even better, they love being adored, and easily reciprocate affection.

Wren
June 10 - July 7
The wren Celtic animal sign is associated with freshness, and opening to new insights, and sunnier dispositions. They are natural care givers and will sign sweet melodies to cheer their friends and family. They remain calm in the midst of stormy weather. You want to have these people with you if you find yourself in a crisis; they are resourceful and stay cool under pressure. Wrens are self-motivated (they know how to get what they want) and work best in solo situations. They are also have a high sense of responsibility and moral integrity. They seek balance in their lives by being leaders at work on in the community, but secretly they would rather be traveling abroad living a life of a gypsy (this however, is often against their better judgment).

Horse
July 8 - August 4
Exuberant, expansive and powerful, the Celtic animal sign of the horse will give you a run for your money. Naturally competitive, and rightfully so. The horse has loads of talent, and enough confidence to go ‘round, particularly in business matters. They have a sixth sense when it comes to strategy and navigation (these signs have an uncanny internal compass). They are gregarious, and openly charming (even flirty). They make grand appearances, and know how to carry themselves with style and authority. They do well in leadership positions, but they are just as happy to be the helpers of the clan (as long as they are given adequate recognition for their talents and contributions). Potentially headstrong, they are also valiant in times of adversity.

Fish/Salmon
August 5 - September 1
Salmon signs dive deep in their inner waters for inspiration, bright visions and dreamy perspective. They are naturally intuitive but they don't make a big deal out of it. These people have a unique view of the world which makes them some of the community's best artists, poets and visionaries. Some times they dive way too deep for the rest of us, and some just can't follow where they swim. But that's okay, the fish sign needs that kind of depth, isolation and introspection because when they come back up for air, the world is awed by their brilliance and insight. They are very bright and intelligent and know how to get what they want no matter how hard they must work for it.

Swan
September 2 - September 29
Spiritually evolved, and eloquent in expressing themselves, the swan swims in a class of their own. They have high standards, infinitely discriminating tastes and they have a keen eye for beauty (even when others cannot see it). Very refined and noble, sometimes the swan is mistaken as detached. This however, is not the case. The swan is a lover, and can prove to be quite passionate in relationships. That "coolness" comes from the swan's understanding of composure. They're natural aristocrats. They can be exacting in details, and have specific ideas about how things should be done. If you want someone who is perceptive, organized and extremely tasteful, get a swan's perspective.

Butterfly
September 30 - October 27
This Celtic animal sign lives up to the adage "social butterfly." Flitting from friend to friend in parties, and always in contact with loved ones (they're the ones always on the phone, or texting). They can't help it. Butterflies are gentle souls who can't be tied down for very long. They love to dream, express new ideas and talk about their plans with all their friends. These are the people who brighten up any dark day with their cheer and magnetically bright personalities. They are naturally empathetic, and would never intentionally harm anyone. Rather, they make easy friends, and like to see others uplifted. Butterflies bring a sense of wonder and youth to our world. Keep these people around you to remind you of how truly good life can be.

Wolf/Hound
October 28 - November 24
Wolves have a strong sense of purpose, and will go to great lengths to see their point is made, and fully understood. This Celtic animal sign is fearless, brave and they rarely compromise. These are the hero's you want by your side in the heat of battle. They will not back down, and they will take no quarter. Others marvel at their inner fortitude. Where do they find the energy and wherewithal to keep going? They thrive on challenge, that's what gives them their stamina. They have impeccable character, and "honor" is their middle name. They are strong willed, and sometimes live up to the "lone wolf" label. Nevertheless, you always know where you stand with them, and they will unite with you as long as you share their cause.

Falcon/Hawk
November 25 - December 23
Seldom do we see more focus in the Celtic animal signs than that of the hawk. When these signs see something they want, they go after it with a force that is remarkable. If, however, they aren't interested in a project, they will fly off to other more interesting prospects. They care deeply for wisdom, and often focus on sharing that knowledge with others. They can be very philanthropic and generous. Hawks have a keen sense of balance, and they navigate through life with an internal "true north" that creates an uncanny integrity within them. They are open minded and philosophical. Although they entertain all manner of hypotheses, they are strongly opinionated (that inner "true north" thing). That is not to say they cannot be persuaded.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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