The triskele, otherwise known as the Triskelion, is a trilateral symbol consisting of three interlocked spirals. Widely regarded as one of the oldest Irish symbols in existence, it appears on the Newgrange kerbstones, which date from approximately 3200 BC.
Triskeles feature prominently in both ancient and modern Celtic art, as they evoke the Celtic interpretation of the three realms of material existence: earth, water, and sky (and all their interconnections). The symbol is also thought to represent the three worlds: spiritual, physical, and celestial.
Other trinity connections associated with the triskele are life-death-rebirth, past-present-future, earth-water-sky, and creation-protection-destruction. Each one deals with some aspect of personal growth, human development, and spiritual progress.
One theory posits that the triskele represents reincarnation, as it consists of one continuous line that could be analogous to the unbroken movement of time. In this context, it represents the process of constantly moving forward to reach a state of understanding and enlightenment.
Another theory states that at the Newgrange monument, the triskele is meant to symbolize pregnancy. This Neolithic structure has a distinct womb-like appearance and the sun spirals in its movements every three months, with the symbol’s three spirals representing nine months in total.
With so many possibilities for interpretation and meaning, it comes as no surprise that over the centuries, other civilizations and cultures have adopted the triskele. The modern Irish Air Corps badge and the United States Department of Transportation logo both incorporate it, and variations can be spotted on the Füssen coat of arms (Germany) as well as the national flags of Sicily, the Isle of Man, and Brittany.