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The Serch Bythol: A Celtic Knot of Perpetual Love Explained

Pronounced serk beeth-ohl, the Serch Bythol is not nearly as popular as other Celtic knots, but it is one of the most beautiful in meaning and appearance. Here’s a look at its history and symbolism.

Origins of the Serch Bythol

Celtic Serch bythol
Serch Bythol symbol

The ancient Celts were simple pastoral people yet serious warriors who prided themselves on strength and prowess in battle. But for all their aggression and war, they were equally tender, loving, compassionate, generous, spiritual, and creative.

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Nothing shows this more than all the various knots the Celts had to represent and symbolize a myriad of human concepts. To the Celts, family, love, and loyalty were valuable concepts, and they placed honor on familial and tribal bonds. One such symbol is the Serch Bythol which represented everlasting love and family bonds. Serch Bythol is a direct translation from the old Welsh language. The word “serch” means love and “bythol” means everlasting or perpetual.

Symbolism of Serch Bythol

Serch bythol creation

What makes the Serch Bythol meaningful was that it was made by placing two Triquetras, also called Trinity Knots, side by side.

Drawn in a connecting, never-ending loop, the Triquetra is three-cornered knots designed in such a way so that everything connects. It signifies several concepts that come in triplets:

  • Mind, body, and soul
  • Mother, father, and child
  • Past, present, and future
  • Life, death, and rebirth
  • Love, honor, and protection

The Serch Bythol comprises two Trinity Knots. They are connected side-by-side and present a graceful flow of continual, infinite lines complete with a circle around the center. This fusion of Trinity Knots symbolizes the ultimate unity of mind, body and spirit between two people. In this way, the power behind the Trinity Knot doubles.

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The Serch Bythol is a design seen on many stone carvings, metal workings, and Christian manuscripts, like the Book of Kells from around 800 AD. Some of these illustrations of the Serch Bythol also contain a circle as seen in Christian Celtic Crosses and other stone slabs.

The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells, public domain

Symbolic Meaning and Uses

While there is no one symbol to signify the family unit, the Serch Byrthol expresses family solidarity, speaking to the importance of commitment to the family unit.

This precious symbol of love and family is perfect for jewelry gifted to loved ones or as a wedding ring. This can be for the initial proposal of engagement or for the actual marriage ceremony. It’s also given to children from their parents.

Modern Depictions of the Serch Bythol

Even though its history is shrouded in mystery, the Serch Bythol is a very popular symbol in today’s world. It’s on t-shirts, tattoos and jewelry. This symbol has even crept into music and literature.

For instance, Deborah Kaya wrote a book called “Serch Bythol”. It’s the story of a gifted musician named David Pierson who goes on a spiritual journey while confronting the ghosts of his past when he and his family move to Yorkshire, England.

There’s also a song called “Serch Bythol” by a music community called Kick a Dope Verse! It’s a laid back tune combining jazzy and mellow hip-hop with techno beats.

In Brief

Of all the Celtic knots, the Serch Bythol is one of the least known and it’s difficult to pinpoint the symbol’s origins or find a historical standard for its background. Nonetheless, it portrays many of the traditions and beliefs of the ancient Celts, and is seen on monuments, stone slabs, old manuscripts, and unearthed jewelry.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.