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The Celtic Art Coracle Volume 1 Issue 8

FYLFOT CROSS Aidan Meehan

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Fig. 52: Fylfot Cross

Fylfot is the old English name for the bent-armed cross, which is now usually described by a word derived from Sanskrit, Swastik, meaning  "sacred symbol". The modern meaning of the word is historically unrelated to the meaning of the symbol as used in Celtic art, so I suggest to use the term, "fylfot" to refer to the motif in Celtic art.

The fylfot is stock-in-trade in the iconography, sacred imagery and symbolism of both pagan and early Christian art.  It is a universal symbol, like the chevron, or the double spiral and S-scroll spirals of the stone ages throughout the planet. In Cro-magnon art, the fylfot is the basis of many maze patterns inscribed on goddess figurines.  

For example, in Asia, one of the marks of the Buddha is a fylfot formed from the lines in the palm of the hand. In ancient America, the fylfot was also a sacred symbol. The Hopis still have great veneration for the symbol: the fylfot appears in petroglyphs that relate the myths of migrations of the first people, who are said to have spread over the surface of the earth in this pattern. These first migrants left symbols, such as the fylfot, along their route, which is as good a way as any to explain the global distribution of the fylfot  throughout the world fromvery early times. 

 

Content: copyright Aidan Meehan 1983
 

The Celtic Art Coracle Vol 1
Contents Coracle Press 1983
ISSN 0828-8321 
All Rights Reserved
10.02.01edition
coracle@thecoracle.tripod.com

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