The Celtic cross is a powerful symbolic representation of the bridge between heaven and earth. The Celts believed in the power of fire, earth, air and water and because of these craftsmen immortalized this symbol in precious metals, which were worn for adornment and as a constant reminder of its power.
Dragons were considered very important in Celtic folklore and play a major role in Celtic art. The Celts lived a life in tune with nature; especially the land and they believed that dragons were able to influence the land because they believed they were connected to it. If a dragon frequented a certain area, that area was afterwards said to be possessed with magical powers.
Dragons were strongly associated with water too and Celtic dragons often took the form of sea serpents which were depicted with wings, but no legs. Celtic dragon art is often depicted with their tails in their mouths, forming what is known as the ‘circle of life’, symbolising eternal life. Dragons were used as a symbol of power, a good example of this is the dragon depicted on the Welsh national flag and in Celtic myths the name Uther Pendragon was given to Arthur’s father.
Dragons do not feature in Ancient Celtic art and were most likely introduced to the Celts by wandering Vikings. Dragon is derived from the Greek ‘to see clearly’. The Celts believed that dragons had gifts of vision, wisdom and even prophecy and that they were the guardians of all knowledge.
Dragons Celts and Druids
The ancient Druids believed that the earth was like the body of the dragon and as such built their sacred stone circles on the node of this body, believing these areas to be powerful. They also believed that dragons had the power to connect us to the earth’s magnetism and natural healing waters that come from underground springs.
Celtic dragons were highly revered because they were believed to be able to bring Earthly and Heavenly forces together and the ancients believed too that they guarded the gates to heaven and to the underworld and because they protected the earth and all living things dragons are the most powerful of all the Celtic symbols.
The Ley of the Land
This speaks of the belief by the ancient druids that the earth was like that of a dragon’s body, the rolling hills and flowing rivers. It meant how the cosmic forces flowed through and affected certain areas. The path a dragon took was called a vein and this was critical to the flow of energy of the ley of the land. If a spot was crossed often by a dragon or simply an area where dragons rested, that area became an area of increased power, Stonehenge for example.
Some even believe that the Celtic cross which is surrounded by a circle symbolizes the crossing ley lines and they believe how the circle of life should be focused on that power. Without Celtic dragons, there would be no ley of the land and no depiction of it on the Celtic cross.
In view of the incredible respect and the importance Celts placed on dragons and their role they played, it is not hard to see why a dragon is associated with the Celtic cross which is itself regarded as a symbol that represents the very highest ideals and aspiration of all Celts.
The role dragons played in the lives of the Celts changed when Christianity was introduced and it used it for their own benefit. The great spiritual powers of the dragon were deemed to be evil and was said to have become Satan. Legend has it that the dragon was slain by St. George in order to save the maid. The maid depicted Christianity.
Some may argue that the depiction of a dragon together with a cross is perhaps satanic, but one only has to look at the high esteem that the symbolic dragon held in Celtic folklore to understand that this is not the case. In fact the dragon was such a spiritual creature the only way the Celts could depict this was to affiliate it with their highest symbol of spirituality, that being the Celtic Cross.