Triskelion Tattoos: History, Meaning, and Design

Triskelion Tattoos: History, Meaning, and Design

Culture is a heritage that carries over from generation to generation and can, in some cases, extend far back into the murky prehistoric age of humanity. One symbol that is still recognized today, mainly around Europe, is that of the Triskelion. Many people have used it as a tattoo, giving them a connection to their ancient heritage.

A Triskelion tattoo is based on the ancient symbol found in both Ireland and Greece. Although they vary slightly in design between the places, as the older Irish version is a triple spiral, whereas the Greek version is often portrayed as three legs, they are both known as triskelions. It’s become a popular tattoo in our modern age and represents the threefold nature of existence. 

In this article, we are going to discuss Triskelion Tattoos, their meanings, origins, and where the most popular place to get them tattooed on your body is. So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about Triskelion Tattoos.

Untitled-1 copy

What is the history of Triskelion Tattoos?

The triple spiral, also known as the triskelion, is an ancient symbol found throughout Europe from the Neolithic period to the Iron age spanning some six-thousand years. It’s often associated with the Pre-Celtic people of Ireland, where we find it on the Neolithic site of Newgrange as well as Bronze Age copper discs. 

It’s also found on artifacts attributed to the La Tene Culture, roughly centered in modern Switzerland.  The name triskelion comes from the Greek triskeles, meaning “three legs.” This is because it is not a spiral in ancient Greece. Instead, it is portrayed as three legs running in a spiral formation. 

In Greece, it has been found on archaic pottery and continued to be used as an important symbol right into the classical period as it was printed onto coins.

Untitled-2 copy

What Do Triskelion Tattoos Mean?

Myths and legends have survived in Ireland from the post-Roman era of its history and may indicate that the triskelion was an important symbol to their ancient shamans known as the Druids. 

It’s said that the triskelion represents the threefold nature of reality i.e. physical, mental, and spiritual, and may even have been an influence on the later Christian holy trinity, the father, the son, and the holy spirit.

The nature of three has multiple references in philosophy, and the triskelion is said to represent the power of three, whether it be life, death, and eternal life, past, present, and the future, or the mind, body, and spirit. It’s the coming together of the three main aspects of existence and how all things are unified at their core.

Untitled-3 copy

What do Triskelion Tattoos Symbolize?

There are many theories as to what the triskelion symbolizes. The most common idea is that the triple spiral symbolizes the continuous cycle and motion of the universe, as shown by the Greek version, which is three legs running in a circle.

It symbolizes the present physical realm, the spirit world of the ancestors, and the celestial world of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. The interconnectedness of the spirals to the core symbolizes the connection between the mentioned three aspects to the center of the universe.

It also symbolizes the power within us to gather strength and progress through life, with the ability to move forward and overcome adversity along our path. This is the meaning behind the movement, as life is a continuous flow of events.

Untitled-4 copy

Characteristics and styles of Triskelion Tattoos

The traditional style often used as a tattoo is a trio of interlocked spirals radiating out from its central point. Whereas if you have ancestry from the Mediterranean area, you may be inclined to opt for the Greek version of the triple legs. 

It can come in a multitude of styles and shapes, and sizes. It has become quite popular in recent years to tattoo a small and minimalist triskelion on a small piece of the body such as a wrist or ankle. These minimal styles are usually made of simplistic lines meeting at the center.

The most common style of the triskelion tattoo is one that takes people back to their ancient heritage and is the closest representation of the Irish style, which is a stone triskelion tattoo. The tattoo is made to look like the archaeological style, which has bold lines and can often be found accompanied by a circle around the design.

An alternative version for the new age population is a watercolor triskelion. This style looks a little different than your average triskelion but brings the symbol into a new age with a creative and intelligent design.

Untitled-5 copy

Where do Triskelion Tattoos Usually Go?

Triskelion tattoos are often chosen as a connection to one’s heritage. We like to feel connected to our ancient past and can do so with symbolic tattoos such as a triskelion.

This is why we often see them on parts of the body where they can be shown off, such as the forearms, upper arms, calves, shins, and back of the legs. Sometimes we even see them as small designs on people’s hands, wrists, ankles, and possibly even their necks. 

To The Point Facts

  • A Triskelion is an ancient symbol found mainly in Ireland, Greece, Switzerland, and Gaul
  • The style has two main variants, the Irish triple spiral and the Greek running legs.
  • The triskelion’s meaning relates to the power of three such as body, mind, and spirit.
  • The triskelion is said to symbolize the physical world, the spirit world, and the celestial world of the stars. 
  • The spiral represents the continuous motion of our universe, as well as helping us conjure the strength to continue along our path in life.
  • The traditional symbol used in a tattoo is the Irish style, made up of a triple spiral. 
  • There are many styles of triskelion tattoos, such as the ancient style, the minimalist style, the watercolor style, and the bold style.
  • It’s often tattooed in places where it can be seen, such as the forearm, calves, wrist, ankle, and neck.
Untitled-6 copy


The triskelion is an ancient symbol that remains an important heritage sign today. So because of this, it has become a popular tattoo among people who want to feel their connection to their ancient heritage. 

The triskelion’s multiple meanings, such as the continuous motion and the power of three, gives people something they can believe in and makes it a worthy tattoo for those seeking their heritage.

Leave a Reply