Celtic/scottish endless knot symbol meaning and history(2020-updated)

As one of the most powerful symbols of Buddhism, the endless knot is nothing short of profoundly intriguing and eye-catching. Let us look into the history and meaning of the endless knot.

Although it is mostly in Buddhism, the endless knot, also known as the eternal knot or the glorious knot, is also in Chinese culture, Chinese-inspired art, and Celtic culture. The endless knot is a closed and symbolic ornament with entangled and right-angled lines that overlap without showing the beginning or end. Its intricate design consists of a pattern of intertwined and never-ending loops to form an eye-catching lattice pattern. The endless knot is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Tibetan Buddhism. Many experts suspect that the design of the endless knot originates from an ancient symbol related to Naga with two stylized snakes. Without further ado, let us look into the meaning and history of the endless knot.

Endless knot meaning

All the Eight Auspicious Symbols have a distinctive spiritual representation. The Eight Auspicious Symbols show the offerings made to the Shakyamuni Buddha when he achieved enlightenment. Apart from the endless knot, the other seven Auspicious Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism include two golden fishes, a white parasol, a victorious banner, a golden wheel, a lotus flower, a wish-fulfilling treasure vase, and a conch shell. The endless knot is one of the most famous symbols in Tibetan Buddhism and is often on its own.

Its divine significance is that it shows the connection between the movements of time, the omnipresent Buddha self, and one’s spiritual path. The symbol has interlaced lines without a beginning or an end to show the infinite compassion and wisdom of Buddha. It represents the endless continuity as the fundamental reality of existence.

The intertwined lines in the symbol show how phenomena in the world are yoked and conjoined together, to form the closed cycle of effect and cause. The whole composition of the endless knot is a pattern that is closed in itself without any gaps, creating a representation of fully balanced harmony and excellent simplicity.

When you spot the endless knot on a gift or greetings card, it shows the optimistic connection between the recipient and the giver.  Similarly, the symbol reminds the recipient of future positive effects, which have their roots in the causes of the present. As a result, the symbol provokes the righteous karma of the recipient, showing the connection or link to our fates, binding us to our karmic destiny.

Alternatively, this symbol represents the endless continuum of mind, also referred to as samsara, which is the Buddhist concept of the eternal cycle of birth or suffering, rebirth, and death. It shows the karmic cycle that continues eternally until there is complete spiritual liberation. The symbol may also have the interpretation of the interaction of opposing forces in a dualistic manifestation world. It symbolizes the mutual dependencies of secular affairs and religious affairs. The union of these dualistic and opposing forces brings harmony and peace throughout the whole creation.

Endless knot history

Blue tibettan buddhist endless knot with yellow lotus.

As discussed above, the endless knot originates from a symbol related to Naga. Nagas are beings that live in different locations ranging from waterways to underground areas to unseen realms. They are powerful beings that vary in their levels of enlightenment and perceptions, similar to human beings. More so, some of them are considered to be protectors of Dharma.

According to Hindu mythology, Nagas are malevolent and benevolent, gods and demons, who represent the unconscious mind of humans that consists of two different parts; higher self, and base consciousness. This symbology among the Naga is thought to be an icon of snakes to represent the duality of many cultures. The serpents are believed to symbolize renewal and rebirth due to their systematic shedding of their skin. In other ancient cultures, the snakes represent time cycles.

In Buddhism, there is a heavy reliance on the idea of duality and finding the balance between the masculine and feminine qualities of life. It provides a balanced perspective that allows the practitioner to let go of tough situations and see the other side of the argument in a new light/angle. It advances the idea of letting go of hatred and attachment, resulting in a closer path to enlightenment and self-realization.

The endless knot has several twists and knots to illustrate the interconnectedness of all beings on planet earth. As a result, the sacred endless knot shows the ideal representation of unity in the entire universe. This symbol appears on clay tablets from the Indus Valley Civilization of 2500BC and also on a historic era inscription. The design of the endless knot is often seen on Tibetan tents and buildings.


The endless knot shows the karmic consequences of the world in that if you pull here, something is bound to happen over there. The wearer of jewelry with this design realizes the fundamental rule of the universe of cause and effect. It also reminds the wearer that they need to let go of various life challenges they may experience and instead work with the knot rather than work against it. The endless configuration of the eternal knot shows the cyclic nature or renewal and rebirth. It also brings to mind the importance of karmic connections to the world.


 Celtic Knot