The five-fold symbol, also known as the Five-Fold Knot or the Borromean Cross, is a lesser-known yet highly powerful symbol with profound symbolism. While it’s primarily associated with the Celts, it has ancient origins. This symbol primarily represents the five elements, creation, the cyclical nature of life, interconnection, duality, as well as balance and harmony.
In this article, let’s explore this symbol in detail and understand its deeper symbolism and meaning. Let’s begin by learning how this symbol is drawn.
How to Draw the Five Fold Symbol (Five Fold Knot)
To understand the deeper symbolism within the Five Fold Knot, it’s important to first learn how it is drawn.
To draw the symbol, you begin with a circle that represents God, Source or Consciousness. You then divide this circle into four quadrants with a vertical and horizontal line, symbolizing the separation between the spiritual and material worlds. Their intersection at the center denotes the point from where creation emanates.
In the next step, you draw two circles within the main circle so their centers lie on the vertical line and their edges pass through the center of the main circle. These circles represent the divine masculine and feminine energies.
You then draw two more circles so their centers align with the horizontal line and their edges pass through the center of the main circle.
These four circles represent the four elements that are the basis of all existence. If you notice, all four circles are connected to the center of the main circle which symbolizes their connection to the source energy.
Lastly, you draw another circle of equal radius, centered within the main circle, with its boundary intersecting the centers of all four circles. This circle represents the fifth element, often associated with Ether or Source Energy. Its presence at the core of all four elements emphasizes the presence of source energy within each element. It also symbolizes the interconnection and interdependence that exists between the four elements.
Now that we know how the Five Fold Knot is drawn, let’s look into 5 spiritual meanings associated with this powerful symbol.
6 Spiritual Meanings Associated with the Five Fold Symbol
1. Five Elements of Nature
The Five-Fold symbol primarily signifies the Five Elements of Nature. The four outer circles correspond to the elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, while the central circle represents the 5th element, Ether or Source energy.
The boundary of the central circle passes through the centers of all four circles. This represents the presence of source energy within each one of these elements.
It also symbolizes the interconnectedness, interdependence, and interconversion of these four elements, which are fundamental to sustaining the material world.
As each element is associated with a direction, the Five Fold knot is also used to represent the four directions – with Fire representing North, Water representing the South, Air representing the West, and Earth representing the East.
2. Creation of the Universe
The Five Fold symbol is a potent symbol of creation and creative energy. If you closely examine the symbol, you’ll notice it contains a cross-like structure, as we discussed during its construction.
The vertical line in the cross signifies the spiritual realm, while the horizontal line represents the material realm. Thus, the cross signifies the dualistic nature of the universe which is at the core of all existence. The point at which these lines intersect, (which is at the center of the symbol) represents the point from where creation emanates.
Also, as depicted in the image above, the central circle is enclosed by a square, symbolizing the interaction between the material and spiritual realms. The square stands for the material realm, and the circle represents the spiritual realm.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the symbol denotes the four fundamental elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, which form the basis of all creation. The central circle, threading through these elements, signifies their interconnection and their transformative nature, how they can change into one another to give rise to everything in existence
3. Balance & Harmony as the Basis of Existence
The Five Fold symbol is the ultimate symbol of balance and harmony. Firstly, as you would have noticed, the symbol contains five circles of equal radius. The four outer circles are connected at a single point and the circumference of the fifth circle runs through the centers of all four circles symbolizing absolute balance and harmony.
In addition, the Five Fold symbol also contains within it many other symbols that represent balance and harmony.
Firstly, you find within this symbol the image for a cross (as discussed earlier). The cross with its horizontal and vertical line symbolizes balance and harmony that exists between various facets of existence including the material and spiritual realms.
You also find the Eight Pointed Star within this symbol as depicted in the image above. The two squares that make the eight-pointed star represent the connection between the spiritual and material realms which is the basis of all existence.
You can also find the Five Fold symbol within sacred geometry symbols like the Seed of Life, and the Yin Yang which are again powerful symbols of balance and harmony.
The following image depicts the symbol found within the Yin Yang.
It is believed that the five circles create a balanced, unified power that, when meditated upon, can help individuals achieve inner harmony and balance. Some even believe that connecting with this equilibrium can provide access to esoteric knowledge, such as the akashic records and higher dimensions of reality.
4. Five Fold Knot and the Torus
If we superimpose six Five-Fold knots on top of each other, each rotated by a small degree, we obtain the Torus shape as depicted below.
The Torus is a potent symbol representing balance, wholeness, healing, transformation, and the eternal cycle of life. It holds sacred significance, appearing in various aspects of existence.
For example, it constitutes the fundamental shape of all magnetic fields, and some suggest that the electromagnetic field surrounding the heart resembles a torus. The energy field surrounding an atom and even the aura energy enveloping our bodies share this toroidal resemblance. Likewise, there are claims that the Earth resides at the center of a toroidal electromagnetic field.
5. Eternal Cycle of Life
The Five Fold Knot is a powerful symbol that represents the cyclic nature of existence. This symbol has been used since ancient times to represent the important solar and seasonal events that occur throughout the year.
The image above illustrates the Five Fold symbol and the eight significant Pagan festivals that occur throughout the year, collectively known as Sabbats. These encompass four solar festivals and four seasonal festivals.
The four seasonal celebrations align with the changing of seasons, while the solar festivals encompass the equinoxes (when day and night are of equal length) and the solstices (when the sun reaches its highest and lowest points).
The equinoxes where the days and nights are of equal length are represented by the two circles that lie on the horizontal axis whereas the solstices where the sun appears to reach the highest and lowest point are represented by the circles that line on the vertical axis.
The upper circle represents the summer solstice when the sun is at its highest point and the lower circle represents the winter solstice where the sun is at its lowest point.
The points that correspond with the four Vesica Piscis represent the four seasons that happen between these four solar events.
Hence, the Five Fold symbol is a potent representation of the cyclical nature of existence.
6. Dual nature of the Universe
The Five Fold symbol symbolizes the dual nature of the universe and that everything exists because of the interaction between two opposing yet complementary polarities or creative energy fields.
As you would notice in the image above, every circle in the symbol can be encased within a square. This symbolizes that every element has both a spiritual and material aspect to it. This is because, square represents the material world and a circle that has no beginning or end represents the spiritual world. Similarly, the central circle and square represents the union of the spirit and material worlds which is the basis of all creation.
Similarly, as we saw earlier, this symbol contains within the eight pointed star and the two overlapped squares of the eight pointed star represent the union of the material and spiritual realms.
Also, as you would notice in the image above, this symbol also contains within it the Solomon’s Knot.
In-fact, it looks like the Five Fold knot was used as a base to draw Solomon’s knot. The Solomon’s knot is a powerful Celtic symbol that has a vertical and horizontal loop that represent the union of man and the divine. It also represents the four directions, the four elements and is a symbol of eternity, immortality, and love.
Variations of the Symbol
One popular variation of this symbol is as depicted in the following image.
This is derived by taking the four Vesica Piscis formed by the intersection of the outer circles and the central circle as shown in the image below.
One more symbol that is not exactly a variation, but looks very close to this symbol is the symbol of the Witch’s Knot as shown in the image below.
Not only do these symbols look similar, they also have similar symbolism.
The Five Fold knot may not be as widely recognized as some other Celtic symbols but yet it is a powerful symbol that contains within it many secrets of the universe. It teaches us about the dual nature of the universe and the cyclic way the universe works involving the four basic elements. It also teaches us about source energy and how this energy is present within each one of us.
It also encourages us to bring more balance into our lives as that is the way to access higher knowledge and reach your true potential. If this symbol resonates with you, consider using this symbol in your life by drawing it, meditating on it, using it as decor, wearing it or using it in other ways.