Cross is 7/8" x 1.75" tall with 18" chain included.
Because of its antiquity, the Celtic Cross is popular with Neodruids, occultists, Neopagans and New Age followers, who see the ring representing the thunder god Taranis and refer to the cross as a Taranis Wheel. When a circled cross is seen to represent the Cosmos, several religions refer to it as a Mandala Cross.
Another interpretation is that the cross might be an astrological navigation instrument.
The most common Christian interpretations of the ring include:
- a symbol of eternity that emphasizes the everlasting life in heaven for those who accept Christ
- the world, for which Christ died and the everlasting love of God, as shown through Christ's Crucifixion.
- The circle has been linked to the idea of the Eucharist. Early Crosses in Scotland depicted round millstones used for grinding wheat that were hung in the centre of large Crosses.
- a crown of thorns
- the resurrection of Christ
- a halo
- the story of St. Patrick, living with some new Christian converts (formerly Druids). Patrick took one of their standing stones etched with a circle that symbolised their moon goddess, and scratched a Latin cross mark over the circle. This was to show that Christianity had replaced their Pagan beliefs.
- and perhaps the most compelling symbolism; as a Celtic version of the Chi Rho. We are told by Dr Alexander Roman about archaeological sites of Celtic Christian monastic dwellings where the Chi Rho and Celtic Crosses are traced in stone one above the other. The circle in the Celtic Cross is therefore the 'P' of the Chi Rho.
There is one further, albeit unlikely, suggestion about the circle; that it might be simply a structural support for the horizontal arms.
One of the best-preserved Celtic crosses is the 8th century St. Martin's Cross (photo on the left), which stands in front of Iona Abbey. This is a replica of the earlier St. John's Cross, which has an enormous arm span for a stone cross; over two metres.
Without the circle to support the weight of the arms, it is unlikely the cross would have stood for such a long time.
However, we discount that suggestion in favour of a religious connection for the circle. If ancillary supports were necessary then straight braces at 45 degrees would be more effective.