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Tau cross jewellery symbol of St Francis of Assisi and pilgrims

What is the meaning of Tau cross jewellery?

Symbolic of the Franciscan Order and of St Francis of Assisi, and of pilgrims, the Tau Cross is also a symbol of life and reincarnation, and is often thought of as meaning contemplation, acceptance, patience and waiting - as someone moves on into a 'new' life


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Tau should not to be confused with Tao (or Dao), which is a Chinese concept signifying way, path, or route, and is associated with Taoism and the Yin Yang of light and dark, hot and cold, etc, where every action creates a counteraction.

Tau, on the other hand, (and it's symbol, the Tau Cross), although related to pilgrims and people on their journey through life (or way, path or route), is a symbol of life and reincarnation after a period of reflection and contemplation - and a symbol of the Christian Saint Francis of Assisi.

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The Cross of Tau, named after a Greek letter, is thought to have originated in Egypt but it has been a symbol to several cultures (including Christianity - when St Anthony of Egypt bore a cross in the form of a Tau on his cloak).

The Tau Cross is also considered as a symbol of the Franciscan Order and of Saint Francis of Assisi. Almost all Franciscan places of worship have the Tau painted on their buildings and many members of the Franciscan Order wear a wooden T in a string with three knots around their ankle. In 2013, the Roman Catholic Pope took Francis (of Assisi) as his name to become Papa Francisco.

The Cross of Tau is sometimes called the St Anthony's Cross, the Old Testament Cross, the Egyptian Cross, the Advent Cross, or simply, the St Francis Cross, and makes a good gift for a friend or loved-one who is at a point of change in their lives - a period of reflection and contemplation - although accepting the things of the past and being ready to move on to a new life . . a new beginning, a new start. 

The Tau Cross pilgrim:
During the Renaissance period in Europe from the 14th to the 17th century, the Tau cross was used in religious paintings and carvings to denote monks, pilgrims, and wandering hermits - and so it also became linked to people making pilgrimages and became known as the Cross of the Pilgrim (Cruz del Peregrino in Spanish). For this reason, you can find it in many places in the city of Santiago de Compostela - the final destination of the greatest pilgrimage in the Christian world: El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James.

The Tau symbol has entered popular culture because, the twelfth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks is the The Hanged Man which depicts a man suspended upsidedown by one foot from a Tau Cross (usually in the form of the bows of a tree). This card however, signifies life in suspension - the act of acceptance, of contemplation, patience and waiting - which has dual meaning with the Tau Cross symbol. (Tau should not be confused with the name Taio - a Chinese boy's name meaning 'great' or 'extreme' popularised by British singer-songwriter and rapper Taio Cruz.)    


SEARCH our online shop for Tau Cross jewellery . .


. . a present for pilgrims, or a gift of St Francis - implying reincarnation into a new life / a new begining, and of acceptance of things that have passed


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