The simplest way to divide a circle is into quadrants or to place a cross within it. When divided this way, the sacred circle can have many interpretations. The Celtic cross is formed from this simple sacred geometry and the North American Medicine wheel is also created from this form.
The Celtic cross predates the use of the cross as a Christian symbol by several centuries and was used by the Druids and earlier cultures. Druidic spiritual practice was recorded as early as the 4th & 5th centuries BC by the Romans and whilst a few stone circles have been located, these were not the only centres of spiritual practice.
Often a circle of trees or an earthen mound near water sufficed and later Christian churches and chapels were built on these spots. The Christian priests chronicled the history, and existing Druid and Celtic rituals and festivals were gradually given a Christian overlay.
The Celtic cross was originally was two intersecting lines that had short, equal length arms surrounded by a circle.
The stone at the centre represented the sun and four more “suns” were found in each quarter. The stone pillar of the cross also embodies phallic and fertility characteristics. A circle on its own was a symbol for the moon and a circle with a cross through it represented the sun. The circle also represented the spiritual journey of life and death in a never-ending cycle. The cross within the circle also relates to the four directions of the earth and the intersection of the lines implies the bringing together the energies of heaven and earth.
More on the North American Medicine Wheel later……