The triskelion is the traditional symbol of Sicily. It appears on the yellow red flag of Sicily, which shows a woman’s face surrounded by snakes, two little wings, three wheat ears, and three legs in rotating motion.
What is the meaning of such an enigmatic symbol? Before giving an explanation, a brief introduction on symbols is needed.
The term, symbol comes from the Greek word sunbolon, which means put together. In ancient times, the sunbolon was an identifying token. It was an object split into two halves. Only the person who possessed one half of the symbol was allowed to join the group or the tribe that had the other half. These days, the symbol has lost its original function; now, it is considered a veiled truth. Symbols are not the creation of the human mind but predate it. You can find the same symbol in very ancient populations of different continents, like the pyramid, the cross, the spiral, etc.
It is not possible to understand a symbol only with your intellect. A feeling is also needed.
That said, I will try to explain the symbol of Sicily with my mind and heart.
The triskelion is a religious symbol.
The image in the center depicts the face of a goddess or rather of the goddess mother (we cannot infer just from the snakes on her head that it is Medusa’s face).
The small wings symbolize the passing of time and the frailty of human life.
The snakes around her face mean wisdom. Since time immemorial, this reptile has symbolized knowledge.
The three legs in rotatory direction indicate a spiral, a very ancient widespread symbol that conveys the idea of the eternal becoming, and the never-ending cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
The wheat ears on the flag of Sicily don’t belong to the original triskelion. They have been added later to indicate the fertility of Sicily.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind