Research Decodes Ancient Celtic Astronomy Symbols and Links them to Jungian Archetypes
Stonehenge’s X Graphic Design
This Graphics artwork has been donated to Lewis Hales with written permission of the designer, Les Still, to publish in this article.
Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. It was constructed over 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic period and is about 800 to 900 years older than Stonehenge. This site contains exemplary examples of interconnected X artwork. The top photo shows them in a straight line over the roof box that allows sunlight to enter the chamber at dawn on the winter solstice and they are prominently featured on kerbstones 52 and 67 (Refer to Newgrange Images).
Newgrange, Stone Age Passage Tomb in County Meath, Ireland is older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian Pyramids. ( Public Domain )
Photo 1 Roof box was loaned to Lewis Hales by the photographer, © Dave Walsh for this article. Photo 2 is a painting of Kerbstone 52 donated to Lewis Hales with written permission to feature in this article by the artist Kathryn Gerhardt. Photo 3 is an image of Kerbstone 67 donated to Lewis Hales by written permission from the National Monuments Service Photographic Unit, located in Dublin, Ireland.
Symbols, Concepts and Motifs
Celtic artifacts frequently contain symbolism that places them into one or more categories, including the number three, fertility, feminine principle, reincarnation and astronomy. Every major belief or spiritual value, often synonymous, had a primary symbol, possibly several, and an enhanced version of that symbol to express veneration of it on the highest level. For example, the number three is often represented by nine symbols; usually an artifact’s enhanced ideogram indicates it was a particularly valued personal or ceremonial item, such as swords, bells and elaborate or gold adornments.
In ancient Celtic astronomy, the primary symbol was an X or sun wheel and its venerated rendition was an interconnected X design, which also represented the sun’s ongoing journey, considered sacred.
Celtic spiral on kerbstone. Newgrange, Near Kells - Co. Meath, Ireland. (Flickr/ CC BY 2.0 )
One of the most important discoveries of this research was identifying the six major astronomy symbols produced by the interconnected design (Refer to interpretation key chart). All six symbols, either collectively or separately, have been featured on Celtic artifacts for millennia and it is notable that many an artifact recovered from or near Stonehenge is particularly decorated with, or are in the form of, these shapes.
The X symbolism likely goes back much further in the ancestry of European Stone Age culture than Newgrange. According to Sherri Ellington, a historian specializing in Celtic mythology for 20 years, “The discovery of the six interconnected X symbols reveal an enhanced encoded set of astronomical shapes and representations that have been found on Celtic artifacts for millennia. Given that early Celtic and proto-Celtic society was widespread in Europe, the six interconnected X patterns and the primary X sun symbol likely go back much further than Newgrange, which is more than 5,000 years old and quite complex. These six shapes are still with us today and can be seen in our most prominent structures and institutions.”
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Our society still prominently incorporates the six symbols into all aspects of modern daily living, which frequently surfaces in our fashion, architecture, artwork, religious expression , and even in some of our political symbolism thousands of years after the original meaning has been forgotten.
We are a culture that believes that the “X” marks the spot, sends kisses with X symbols, and when we look close enough to notice, there are unlimited examples of the six designs everywhere.
Jung’s Paradigm of Archetypes
Dr. Carl Jung’s archetypal concept may provide an explanation why the X is still popular today. Archetypes are universal recurrent symbols, concepts or motifs found in literature, art, mythology, art and religion. They are basically genetically inherited bits of information that have been passed down for many generations. As a therapist, Carl Jung’s paradigm of archetypes best explains why the six symbols were and still remain significant features throughout society. However, as an educator, I encourage my students to research all available options, material and theories to find an answer that is best for them.
Dr. Melissa Carver specializes in Metaphysics, and has written several articles about archetypal male and female role models and the importance of how superheroes shape the lives of children . She stated of the interconnected X discovery that “Ancient Celtic society for thousands of years used symbols that included the X pattern representing archetypes that stay with us today surfacing in the form of our architecture, religion, and political trademarks, although society is basically uninformed of their meaning or presence.”