There are many differing styles of tribal body art designs from cultures all around the globe but there are also some that originate from ancient civilizations whose legacy remains a huge part of the tattooing industry today. These include Celtic tribal tattoos which are popular with those who have Scottish, Irish or Welsh heritage however they are also a big favourite with tattoo enthusiasts in general so let us take a closer look at what these designs entail.
The Celts were an ancient civilization that lived predominantly across the Northern part of what is now Great Britain as well as Ireland and the north of France from the Iron Age through to Roman times. Their tribal society seemed to be split into three main groups which were the scholars, the elders and the warriors. The scholars included the Druid who were deemed to have the power to commune with the spirits and they were responsible for conducting rituals, ceremonies and other Pagan traditions which played a big part in the Celts everyday life. Many of the symbols and images used in Celtic tribal tattoos today originated from these practices and were closely connected to nature and the earth around them which was considered sacred to this ancient race. These included two of the most popular animals requested for tribal designs of this kind today the bull and the butterfly. The former is a very masculine image in any form but it was particularly revered by the Celts because of its uncompromising strength and belligerence so to them it was a symbol of a strong will that also had potent connotations with virility. This is also deemed to be a symbol of abundance, perhaps because of its value as a food source to sustain the tribe therefore in modern body art it can also represent wealth. Female tattoo enthusiasts today are also attracted to these Celtic designs however they tend to go for more feminine images depicted in the style of this ancient artwork. One of the most widely requested designs for women, in any style, is the butterfly and this was also an important symbol to the Celts. Its meaning transcends both time and cultures and it is ultimately a symbol of rebirth and transformation however this inspirational image also serves as a reminder of the cycle of life in both spiritual and physical terms. This concept was of particular significance to the Celts due to their reverence for the Earth and therefore every man, woman and child in the tribe would learn to respect this from an early age. Butterflies were therefore used as a talisman to encourage this natural transition particularly by pregnant women and the mothers of newborn children.
The Celts were renowned for their bloodthirsty warriors who had a fearsome reputation for removing the head of their enemies. According to Celtic beliefs, this particular body part was held in great esteem as it was deemed to be a divine symbol that had links with both life and the after-life. However, there is no recorded evidence that these Celtic warriors actually used the practice of tattooing to mark their bodies, which is ironic really considering the popularity of Celtic tribal tattoos today.