The Celtic cross (aka Irish cross) is the standard Christian cross, but with a circle around the intersection. Intricate knotwork adorns the cross, making it both simple (in its overall design) and complex at the same time.
The legend goes that the Celtic cross was "designed" by Saint Patrick who was trying to convert the pagan Irish people. The Celtic cross is a combination of the Christian cross and the sun, which was worshipped by the druids.
The Celtic cross is also used by neo-fascist movements, albeit in a very simple design and without ornamentations.
The meaning of Celtic crosses is not really clear and varies a lot:
- For Catholic people the circle is a symbol of eternity, for them the Celtic cross symbolizes the infinity of God's love.
- In the ancient world of the druids, the Celtic cross was a phallic symbol.
- For neo pagans the Celtic cross is the symbol for the sun.
A Celtic cross is a popular choice for the upper arm – a great spot in general to put a tattoo, as that location makes it easy to hide it and show it, as you wish.
Also popular (amongst neo pagans) is the ankh cross tattoo in the Celtic style. The ankh cross is Egyptian in origin and has many meanings as well. Go here to learn more about ankh tattoos