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Pagan 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.

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There are a lot of pagan symbols out there. Each symbol has its own interesting backstory. Here are some of the more famous pagan symbols as well as some other esoteric symbols that have become very popular in recent years.

Pagan Symbols

  • Pentacle
  • Triple Moon
  • Eye of Horus
  • Ankh
  • Hecate's Wheel
  • Triquetra
  • Triskele
  • Setogram (Faery Star)
  • Spiral Goddess
  • Labyrinth
  • Air
  • Earth
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Horned god
  • Eye of Ra
  • Black Sun (Schwarze Sonne)
  • Helm of Awe (Ægishjálmr)
  • Tree of Life
  • Mandala
  • Rod of Asclepius
  • Caduceus
  • Ouroboros
  • Thor's Hammer (Mjölnir)
  • Flower of Life
  • Valknut

Esoteric Symbols

  • The All-Seeing Eye (Eye of Providence)
  • Unicursal Hexagram
  • Satanic Cross
The Pentacle is possibly the most well known but often misunderstood pagan symbol.

The Pentacle is possibly the most well known but often misunderstood pagan symbol.

Pentacle

The star in this symbol is used to represent the four classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire plus spirit. A circle is then placed around them to symbolize the connection and reciprocal relationship between them all. The pentacle is sometimes used on altars and in magical work to symbolize the element of earth.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Triple Moon

The triple moon symbol represents the three phases of the moon, known as waxing, full, and waning. Within some paths and traditions, this symbol is also known as the triple goddess and is used to show the three phases of womanhood: maiden, mother, and crone.

The first crescent, the waxing moon symbolizes new life, rejuvenation, and new beginnings. The middle circle represents the full moon when magic is at its most powerful. Finally, the second crescent moon represents the moon during its waning period. This time of the moon phase is a time that is regarded as the best to send things away, remove them from your life, or to finish things.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol that is often used for protection. This symbol is also known as the Wadjet. The Eye of Horus is believed by many to have healing and protective powers as well as the ability to ward off evil spirits. Because of this, the Eye of Horus is often used to decorate protective amulets and other items.

Horus was an ancient Egyptian God of the sky, and he is typically depicted as a falcon. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Horus injured his left eye during his battles with the god Set, and thus his left eye represents the waxing and waning of the moon.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Ankh

This ancient Egyptian hieroglyph means life or living. Over time the ankh has come to symbolize eternal life and immortality to people from many walks of life. In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the gods were always seen carrying an ankh, making it a symbol of divinity. This symbol is also chosen by some who wish to show that they have spiritual beliefs rather than beliefs belonging to one specific religion.

The Ankh is also known as the Egyptian Cross, or by its Latin name, crux ansata, which translates to "cross with a handle."

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Hectate's Wheel

The symbol of Hectate's wheel is used to represent the three aspects of the goddess: maiden, mother, and crone. Hectate is a goddess in Greek mythology who is associated with crossroads, entrances, the moon, witchcraft, magic, herbs, necromancy, and sorcery.

The wheel is used to symbolize the power of knowledge and life and is a popular symbol in feminist traditions.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Triquetra

The triquetra has long been used to symbolize the holy trinity but predates Christianity and its use as such. This symbol has been found in Celtic and Nordic inscriptions and arts as well as on Germanic coins and Swedish runes as far back as the 11th century.

Some modern traditions use it to represent the connection between the mind, body, and soul. In Celtic-based pagan traditions, it is often used as a symbol of the three realms of earth, sea, and sky. In the past, there has been speculation that the triquetra is a symbol of the triple goddess or was used as a Celtic symbol of feminine spirituality though no solid scholarly evidence has been found to date.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Triskele

The triskele is generally considered to be a Celtic design, but it has also been found within Buddhist writings. The exact design can vary, but this symbol always features one shape repeated three times, with each repetition interlocking. Triskeles can be found all over the world, for example, it can be found carved on many Neolithic stones in Ireland and Western Europe, in the symbol for the Isle of Sicily, and on bank notes in the Isle of Man.

Some Celtic traditions use the triskele to represent the realms of earth, sea, and sky.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Setogram (Faery Star)

The setogram is also known as the faery or elven star. It is used within some faerie traditions but is also associated with many other magical traditions.

Seven is a sacred number in many pagan traditions, and this star symbol can be used to represent different sets of seven things depending on a person's beliefs or tradition. These include:

  • the seven Pleiades (stars)
  • the seven days of the week
  • the seven major Hindu chakras
  • the seven classical planets (Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn)
  • the seven notes in a diatonic music scale (white notes)
  • the seven tenants (balance, harmony, humility, learning, reincarnation, tolerance, and trust)
  • the seven elements (earth, air, fire, water, above, below, and within)

The number three is commonly considered to relate to heaven and the higher realms, while the number four relates to the earth. 3 + 4 = 7 which can be seen as heaven and earth coming together as a whole.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Spiral Goddess

This symbol, often used by Wiccans, is used as a sign of life. The spiral represents the ever continuing cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

The spiraling line can be seen as the constant path of life and has been found throughout history as far back as Paleolithic times, where they were carved on tombs. Spirals can also be found in many instances in nature, for example, galaxies and seashells.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Labyrinth

Unlike a maze, you cannot get lost or trapped in a labyrinth. Despite the many twists and turns that may present themselves, there is only one way in and out. This same pattern is seen in life as no matter who a person is, the family they are born to, and the life they live, there is only one way to come into and leave this world. Due to this, the labyrinth is sometimes used as a symbol of life and death.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Air

Air is one of the elements that are found within most pagan traditions. It is considered as the element of the East and is connected to the soul and the breath of life.

Air is one of the four classical elements that are often invoked during pagan rituals and spiritual workings. The element of air is associated with the color yellow and white, communication, wisdom, and the mind. Air can also be represented by feathers, a fan, or incense.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Earth

Earth is one of the classical elements (earth, air, fire, and air). The symbol of earth is also sometimes used to symbolize Mother Earth.

The element of earth is associated with the colors of brown and green, abundance, prosperity, and fertility.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Fire

The element of fire is regarded as strong and masculine. Although fire can destroy anything in its path, it can also be an aid to life; for example, it enables us to cook food for ourselves and keep warm through the winter.

Fire as an element is associated with the south, strong will, and energy as well as with transformation and change.

pagan-symbols-and-their-meanings

Water

The element of water is believed to have a strong feminine connection, and so it is associated with all aspects of the goddess. The inverted triangle used to symbolize water is felt by some to symbolize the womb and is befitting with this element's feminine association.

Water is a healing and purifying element that is connected to the West. Water can be used in rituals involving love and other emotions and flowing water in nature such as a river, or the sea, can be incorporated into magical workings that focus on carrying away negativity or other unwanted aspects from your life.