Symbols are the language of religion and faith. Since belief often fails to conform to words, humans for all of time have tapped into the emotional connection to spirituality through imagery.
In modern Paganism and Wicca, there are a number of popular and common symbols. This is a brief introduction largely from my own research. I encourage my lovely readers to really sit with these symbols to discover their meanings for themselves.
The symbolism of the pentacle is ancient, but not so mysterious. It is a star, which largely correlates to hope and wisdom. In modern Wicca the pentacle symbolizes the convergence of the elements earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Many practitioners also connect it to the number 5, which is the number of balance.
It is used as the major public symbol of Paganism. In 2007 the U.S. military recognized the pentacle by allowing it on the grave markers of Wiccan and Pagan soldiers and veterans.
The triple goddess refers to the modern theology of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. The Maiden is the young, youthful goddess bright with energy, possibility, and potential. The Mother is full of compassion and caring and is often depicted fully pregnant. The Crone is the experienced Goddess deep with wisdom and knowledge. To tap into the full power of the Goddess, witches and Pagans use this symbol of the waxing, full, and waning moon as a point of convergence of all three energies.
Some practitioners add the Queen–the Goddess at the height of her power and prestige–to the triple goddess by adding a crown to the full moon.
The consort of the Triple Goddess, the Horned God is all that is wild and primal. Largely this symbol is used in reference to gods of the hunt such as Cernunnos. This concept has been vilified over the years by connecting Him with the Devil. However this God is thousands of years older than Christianity and does not refer to anything evil or negative.
This symbol has seeped into popular culture with the “rock on” hand gesture.
Tree of Life
Trees are sacred to a number of religions. The Romans and Celts used groves of trees as meeting and ritual places. The Norse believe in the World Tree Yggdrasil which connects all of realms of the human and sacred. Even Christians refer to the cross in which Christ was crucified as a tree. Individual types of trees are connected to different teachers, deities, and spiritual guides. For example, the Buddha sat beneath the bodhi tree to gain enlightenment.
In Wicca it largely refers to greater wisdom and connection to the Gods.
The spiral refers to a number of different concepts: the connection of energy and all beings, the path to wisdom, the life cycle, etc. One variation of the spiral is the maze or the labyrinth, which is a scene in mythology and architecture. These paths of wisdom exist all over the world at many mundane and spiritual sites, including Hampton Court Palace in England and Haeinsa Temple in South Korea.
© Ariadne Woods