World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0001466712
Reproduction Date:

Title: Triquetra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Book of Shadows (Charmed), Trefoil knot, Forever Charmed, Valknut, Reuleaux triangle
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Interlaced triquetra which is a trefoil knot.

Triquetra (; Latin tri- "three" and quetrus "cornered") originally meant "triangle" and was used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. It has come to refer exclusively to a particular more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. Also known as a "trinity knot", the design is used as a religious symbol adapted from ancient Celtic images by Christianity. It is similar to Odin's symbol, the valknut.


  • Ancient usage 1
    • Germanic paganism 1.1
    • Celtic art 1.2
    • Christian use 1.3
    • Japanese use 1.4
  • Modern use 2
    • Neopaganism 2.1
    • Popular culture 2.2
      • In art 2.2.1
      • In brands and logos 2.2.2
      • In film 2.2.3
      • In games 2.2.4
      • In literature and publications 2.2.5
      • In music 2.2.6
      • In television 2.2.7
  • Geometry 3
  • Gallery of variant forms 4
  • Literature 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Ancient usage

Germanic paganism

The triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

Celtic art

The triquetra is often found in Insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells. It is also found in similar artwork on Celtic crosses and slabs from the early Christian period. The fact that the triquetra rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic art has cast reasonable doubt on its use as a primary symbol of belief. In manuscripts it was used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions, and in knotwork panels it is a design motif integrated with other design elements. Celtic art lives on as both a living folk art tradition and through several revivals. This widely recognized knot has been used as a singular symbol for the past two centuries by Celtic Christians, Pagans and agnostics as a sign of special things and persons that are threefold.[1]

Christian use

The symbol has been used by Christians as a sign of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), especially since the Celtic Revival of the 19th century. When modern designers began to display the triquetra as a stand-alone design, it recalled the three-leafed shamrock which was similarly offered as a Trinity symbol by Saint Patrick. have also suggested that the triquetra has a similarity to the Christian Ιχθυς symbol. The triquetra has been used extensively on Christian sculpture, vestments, book arts and stained glass. It has been used on the title page and binding of some editions of the New King James Version.

A very common representation of the symbol is with a circle that goes through the three interconnected loops of the Triquetra. The circle emphasizes the unity of the whole combination of three forces. It is also said to symbolize God's love around the Holy Trinity.

Japanese use

The triquetra has been a known symbol in Japan called Musubi Mitsugashiwa.

Modern use

In contemporary Ireland, it is traditional for a man to give a loved one a trinket such as a necklace or ring signifying his affection towards her. The triquetra, also known as a "trinity knot", is believed to represent the three promises of a relationship such as to love, honour, and protect, and can be found as a design element on Claddaghs and other wedding or engagement rings.[2]


The triquetra design on the cover of a replica of the Book of Shadows central to the television series Charmed.

It is difficult to date the exact origin of the Celtic triquetra, and whether it was first used in a Christian or pagan context; the distinctive interlace/knotwork artistic style did not fully develop until ca. the 7th century A.D., but the triquetra is the simplest possible knot. Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures.

Due to its presence in insular Celtic art, Celtic Reconstructionists use the triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea and Sky),[3] or as a symbol of one of the specific triple Goddesses, for example, The Morrígan.

Germanic Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some New Agers to symbolize the Triple Goddess, or as a protective symbol.[4]

Popular culture

In art

In brands and logos

  • The TNA clothing brand, exclusive to Aritzia, has a logo composed of three triquetras.
  • Game developers Treyarch use the triquetra as their company logo.
  • The flag of the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement.
  • Jersey / Sweater logo for the KHL hockey team Neftekhimik
  • Suarez International, a tactical arm's company, uses a stylized triquetra as their logo
  • S.C.ooT.'s Never Alone Resource Center's Logo

In film

  • A necklace with a triquetra (Trinity Knot) pendant is used in the film Constantine to give its bearer a spiritual "bulletproof vest".
  • In the motion picture Thor a triquetra symbol is displayed on Thor's hammer Mjollnir in response to incantations and other magical stimuli.
  • In the 2013 film Safe Haven, a necklace with a trinity symbol was given to Katie by her husband.
  • In the 2004 film National Treasure, Nicolas Cage locates Trinity Church as the place where the treasure could be buried because of the symbol displayed in a flag.

In games

In literature and publications

In music

In television

  • In recent years, the symbol has become well-known due to its use on the cover of the Book of Shadows used by the three Halliwell sisters on the American TV show Charmed. It represents the three sister witches' working together as one, and is intact when the "power of three" is intact and separated when the "power of three" is divided.
  • The triquetra symbol was featured in the Ghost Whisperer season five episode "Lethal Combination".
  • Michonne's katana in the TV series The Walking Dead features a triquetra on the inner crossguard.[5][6]
  • The Vampire Diaries Season 5.07 - Death and the Maiden used the triquetra when Tessa had all three doppelgängers together and was trying to change the Anchor from Amara to Bonnie.
  • The triquetra is used in the fourth season of the TV series Falling Skies, where it is worn on a necklace by the residents of Chinatown. A much larger triquetra decorates the wall of a shrine in Chinatown. It is explained that the symbol represents unity, a core value among the members of the community, who wilfully decide not to fight the Espheni.


Topologically, the interlaced form of the plain triquetra is a trefoil knot.

Gallery of variant forms


See also


  1. ^ In Search of Meaning, Dalriada Magazine 2001
  2. ^ McMahon, S. (1999). Story of the Claddagh Ring, Mercier Press
  3. ^ Mac Mathúna, Liam (1999) "Irish Perceptions of the Cosmos" Celtica vol. 23 (1999), pp.174–187
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "The Walking Dead Michonne's Katana (SKU: MC-MC-WD001, Price: $249.99)". Medieval Collectibles. Retrieved April 2013. 
  6. ^ Lacey (November 8, 2012). "The Blah-king Dead – Walking Dead Recap – Episode 3.3 – Walk With Me". Retrieved April 2013. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.