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10 Common Magic Symbols and Their Meanings

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I have studied crystal healing for many years and have studied and been attuned to reiki levels one, two, and masters.

Read on to learn about the ten most common symbols in paganism, Wicca and magic.

Read on to learn about the ten most common symbols in paganism, Wicca and magic.

1. Horned God

The horned god is a deity found in Wicca and some other pagan traditions that represents the male aspect. Generally, he is considered to be associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting and the life cycle. The horned god may be given various names and depicted differently depending on the tradition, but he is always shown as having either antlers or horns on his head. He is sometimes shown as having the head of a beast such as a goat or a deer.

The horned god can be called upon in magic and spiritual work concerning fertility, sexuality, courage, strength, and any time that a masculine energy is needed.

Horned God symbol.

Horned God symbol.

2. Athame

An athame is a knife that is used in rituals, celebrations and spells. Generally, they are not used for cutting other than if it is needed as part of a ritual or spell. An example of this would be to carve symbols onto a candle during a spell.

Traditionally athames have a black or natural wood handle. They can also be used in casting magical circles and in directing or focusing energy.

Athame symbol.

Athame symbol.

3. Altar

Altars are used in many pagan traditions including Wicca and can be thought of as a focal point for all your magical work, devotion and as a symbolic representation of your inner self. You do not need to have a large or fancy table or space in order to create an altar; any flat surface where you can safely leave items such as candles, statues, crystals, incense, and other symbolic items is fine. There is no right or wrong way to decorate your altar, as it is a very personal representation of your individual path. However, many people agree that it is an appropriate place to keep tools such as athame and bolines and that offerings to the god and goddess can be placed there. Items that symbolise the deity and elements are also often featured.

Altar symbol.

Altar symbol.

4. Salt

Salt is a powerful absorber of energy that will hold on to energy so that it can be used in magic. Salt can also be used to remove negative energy from a room or space and for purification. Salt is commonly mixed with sand and then used to form magic circles and will protect those within it. It can also be sprinkled across thresholds, for example, the front entrance of your house, or even around the entire edge of your property to help ward away negative energy.

Crystals that are to be used in healing can be cleansed using salt water, and if you have access to some, clean seawater can also be used. Other tools can be purified in this way, and some people like to add salt to a cleansing bath taken before performing a ritual. Any form of salt can be used in this way; however, some forms, such as processed table salt, can have other chemicals added, including sodium fluoride or iodine. These could potentially have an effect on the salt's workings.

Salt symbol.

Salt symbol.

5. Wand

A wand is used for channelling and directing energy. They are generally made from wood and can be decorated in a wide range of styles or left plain. A wand may be chosen based on the magical properties of the wood that it has been made from, for looks or because a person feels drawn towards it. It is also possible to make a wand yourself, which enables you to customise it to your exact wishes and means that your energy and intent can be implanted into the wand as you create it.

A wand should never be borrowed or lent to anyone else and should be thought of as an extension of the owner. If you buy a wand, it should be cleansed in order to remove the energy of anyone else that may have been in contact with it previously.

Wand symbol.

Wand symbol.

6. Broom

A broom is often known as a besom in magical circles and is mainly used for the sweeping of ceremonial spaces before a ritual. The besom is used not only to physically clear and clean the space but to additionally clear any negative and stale energy that has accumulated in the area.

You can buy a ready-made besom, or like wands, you can make one for yourself. They can be made with a range of natural materials—birch and willow are common choices.

Broom (besom) symbol.

Broom (besom) symbol.

7. Magic Circle

A magic circle is a circle marked out by a practitioner in order to create a safe space to practice magic or perform a ritual within. The circle is intended to contain the energy needed for their magical work as well as protect them and the ritual from any other energy and negativity from outside. Creating a magic circle is often known as casting a circle or circle casting.

A magic circle can be purely visualised or it can be physically marked using chalk, salt, herbs or other materials. If these are being used, they may be chosen based on the magical properties that they also possess either in protection or to correspond with and benefit the ritual that will be taking place.

Magic Circle symbol.

Magic Circle symbol.

8. Peace

This symbol representing peace is also sometimes drawn with the circles slightly overlapping. It can be used at any time you wish to attract or illustrate peace and harmony of all. For example, the symbol could be carved into candles to be used in a spell, written in a Book of Shadows or placed within your home.

Peace symbol.

Peace symbol.

9. Magic

Magic is the ability to produce change by connecting with the natural energies of the Earth and the universe. Energy exists within and joins all things, and manipulating this can bring about changes in the physical plane. S.L. MacGregor Mathers of the Order of the Golden Dawn described it by saying, "Magic is the science of the control of the secret forces of nature".

Magic is an art form that can be learnt through dedication and practice, even if you do not have a natural talent for it. The power of magic comes from within the person as well as the energy that it harnesses. It should be practiced with great respect and care at all times.

This symbol is also sometimes used to represent magical strength.

Magic symbol.

Magic symbol.

10. Fertility

Fertility can be thought of as the natural ability to produce offspring. This can apply to human and animal fertility and reproduction as well as matter such as the fertility of the soil and how this has an effect on crops that are grown or on animals that graze that land.

There are many pagan and nature-based rituals and practices that can be performed to help enhance or to celebrate fertility, whether that is human fertility, animal fertility, or to ensure a good healthy crop for the year. Maypole dancing is one well-known example and is performed to welcome spring and bring good luck to farmers for the coming year.

Fertility symbol.

Fertility symbol.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can a kitchen witch use Himalayan salt for casting?

Answer: Yes, Himalayan salt is absolutely fine and is believed to have many beneficial properties of its own. This type of salt contains many more nutrients than table salt, so it's a good choice for cooking. Celtic sea salt is also a good option.

Question: What is a circle with a plus sign in it called?

Answer: If the cross extends to the edges of the circle, it may be a symbol sometimes used to represent Earth or a sun cross. I believe that a circle with a small cross within it is a maths symbol.

© 2015 Claire


Anthony Zertuche on November 03, 2018:

if this magic page is so called real than i have a question in my old house there was a whole family murdered there is one room though that has the most spiritual activity that same room has a pendulum built in with the floor it was about 2 or 3 feet long but when the family was murdered the penulum dissapeard the only thing that was there was a empty space on the floor that was down more than the rest of the floor but the strange thing was that no part of the floor was chipped cracked or broken and trace of struggle i need help finding out why and what the penulum was used for in the first place and why it was taken but i do not have anymore details and i can not get the houses history any more because i do not live there anymore and if there is anymore site that can help me please find me on facebook and facebook messenger.

Dullie on September 28, 2018:

What is it when someone ask you a liitle of your yard sand

hannah urbani on June 01, 2018:

how do I work moon magic

Claire (author) from Lincolnshire, UK on July 13, 2015:

Thank you both :)

DzyMsLizzy, where you live can have an impact on how you work. I used to live by the sea so could easily collect shells, sand or use seawater and now cannot. Salt on its own is perfect fine but I always think that if something feels right to you, then it is right for your personal practice. If you feel drawn to collect some earth and mix that with your salt then I would say try it out and see how you feel' Also as you said the sand will be present naturally in the ground to aid you even if you don't. Thank you for sharing.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 12, 2015:

Thank you for this educational piece. Much appreciated by this novice.

I would ask, regarding the 'mixing' of salt and sand...what about where we live? The ground IS very sandy earth. I have usually just sprinkled salt about the area, or over the items I wish to cleanse.

(I do use table salt, but I only buy plain salt, not the iodized kind.)

Voted up, interesting and useful; shared and pinned as well. ;-)

Mackenzie Sage Wright on July 12, 2015:

Useful grouping of symbolism here, for anyone in any Pagan religion. Makes a great guide, great job!