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Witchcraft Symbols

There are many Witchcraft symbols.  Magick is a symbolic Path.  Pagan symbols can be found in the most unexpected places, including churches.  When they rebuild Windsor Castle after the fire, Prince Charles was quite excited that one of his favorite things was restored in the renovation. It was a Green Man in one of the stairways.

What follows is a list of symbols that every Witch should know.

The Pentagram

Pentagram

The first and most obvious Witchcraft symbol, is the Pentagram.  The five pointed star within the circle has been used by various people, for various reasons throughout history.  It has been found in one form or another as an important symbol of almost every ancient culture.  Forms of this symbol have been found in Latin America, India, China, Greece, and Egypt.  

It has been found scratched on the walls of Neolithic caves, in rough diamond shapes.  The Pentagram was used in Sumerian texts to mark directions, and in Babylonian drawings, where it marks the path the planet Venus makes on its travels.  It was a secret Pagan symbol of the Goddess Ishtar.  It was used as a symbol of all five visible planets in some cultures, or as just the planet Venus, and a general symbol for the Goddess in others.

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher held that the number five was the number of Man because of the five-fold division of the body, as well as the ancient Greek division of the soul.  He used the Pentagram to symbolize the five Elements that made up man, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and mind or Spirit.  Those same five Elements are still represented by the Pentagram in Witchcraft today.

Scriptures, especially Hebrew, are abundant with references to Pentagrams.  Even Christians have used the Pentagram as a symbol of Christ, during the Renaissance. Before the cross, it was the preferred symbol for jewelry and amulets of early Christians. It is still in use today in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, where you can see it painted on barns as a Hex Sign, to ward against evil influences. 

The Pentagram is a Witchcraft symbol of protection.

Of Pentagrams and Pentacles

The terms Pentagram, and Pentacle, are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference.  A Pentagram is the drawn symbol, a Pentacle, is an object in the shape of a pentagram.  The pentagram is not always the straight forward five pointed star in a circle, sometimes it is disguised within more intricate shapes to hide its significance from the uninitiated.

 Hidden Pentagram        Flower Pentagram

In Witchcraft, the Pentagram symbolizes the five Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.  Those in turn correspond to the colors of green, yellow, red, blue, and white, respectively.  These correspondences are significant when working magick. 

Pentagram Elements

The Pentacle is also a tool used in ritual.  Usually made of wood, or metal, it is placed on the North side of the Altar, and holds salt.  In this form, its only Elemental correspondence is Earth.

The Pentacle is also used as jewelry by most Witches as a symbol of their faith, just as Christians wear the cross or crucifix.  Typically, the Pentacle is warn with one point up, though in the Gardnerian tradition, it is warn with one point down to symbolize the person has achieved the Second Degree of knowledge.

 

The Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon

The Crescent Moon is a Witchcraft symbol of the Goddess, and therefore usually worn only by women.  It is shown in its waxing phase, and worn by young women of birthing age.  The word Crescent comes from the Latin creare which means to create.  This is a symbol of female fertility, and the ability of women to create life.

 

The Triple Goddess

Triple Goddess

Another Lunar symbol is the Triple Goddess.  It shows the moon in three of its four phases, waxing, full, and waning.  The phases of the moon are linked with the monthly phases of a woman’s cycle, each running about 28.5 days in length.  The lunar phases are also symbolic of the human lifespan.  The waxing moon equates to growing up, the full moon is the peak of adulthood, the waning moon is old age, and the Dark Moon is death.

The Triple Goddess is usually warn as a circlet on the brow, and denotes the woman as a Priestess. 

 

Antlers or Horns

Horned God

Just as women wear the moon symbol, men wear antlers or horns.  For centuries Christians have incorrectly identified this as a Satanic symbol.  Many Witchcraft symbols were purposely misidentified as Satanic. It is actually a masculine symbol of the God.  The God in Witchcraft almost always has horns or antlers.  In nature, most animals that are used for food, weather hunted or domesticated, the male of the species has horns or antlers.

The horns worn by male Witches are typically goat shaped, and antlers are shaped like a deer.  This is a symbol of masculine virility, since antlers are used during rutting season to battle rival males for mating rights.

 

Silver vs. Gold

In Witchcraft just about everything has either a masculine or feminine aspect.  Whether they be herbs, planets, or Elements, all can be defined as either masculine or feminine.  Almost all Witchcraft symbols have either a masculine or feminine association.  So too, there are masculine and feminine colors.  Because the moon is a symbol of the female, and its glow is a cool silver, that color as well as the precious metal are associated with the feminine.  The Sun, with its warm golden radiance is a male symbol, so Gold is the color and metal of the masculine.  Typically, jewelry for a man will be made of gold, and for a woman will be made of silver.

 

The Wheel of The Year

Wheel Of The Year

The eight-spoked wheel, symbolizes the cycle of the year.  Each spoke represents one of the eight Sabbats, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lamas, Mabon, Samhain, and Yule.  The significance of the wheel is that there is no beginning or end, it is continual.  We may call January 1st the start of the year, (Though many Witches think of November 1st as the first of the year) but the calendar doesn’t stop, then start up again, it moves from day to day without end.  It’s this unending cycle that the wheel of the year signifies.

The wheel is also symbolic of any cycle.  This can be the cycle of the seasons, or the moon, a woman’s menstrual cycle, a planetary cycle, or the cycle of life.  In the Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune card shows this same Witchcraft symbol, in this case, it represents the person’s search for the purpose of their life. Even the Pentagram can be seen as a wheel.  Any point can be up, and it looks the same.  This alludes to the fact that cycles while they may look the same, are not.

 

The Cross

Cross

Yes, the cross was a Witchcraft symbol long before the Christians adopted it.  Typically in Witchcraft, the cross has arms of equal length, instead of the crossbar being shorter.  This is because it is a symbol of balance.  The Wheel of The Year can be seen as a circle around two crosses, one cross marking the major Sabbats, the other marking the minor.  A Witch may wear a cross as a way to gain balance in their lives, or as a reminder to maintain balance. 

In ritual, anointing oil is used to mark those who enter the Circle.  Each person has a Pentagram drawn on their forehead, and those who have become a Priest or Priestess will have crosses marked on their wrists, and feet.  This is a way of showing that they have learned to work in balance, and to walk in balance.

 

Witch Runes

There are many forms of writing that Witches can employ for symbolism, secrecy, or <A href=” http://www.cyberwitchcraft.com/runes.html”>divination</a>. These include Ogham, Theban, and Futhark runes.  Typically the Theban runes are used in a Book of Shadows to keep spells and rituals secret. They can also be used to mark ritual tools, because the runes are more artistic than other scripts, and can be misinterpreted as a simple design.

 Theban Runes

Theban runes are more than simple Witchcraft symbols, they are also a tool.  The Theban runes are used as a substitution cipher when a Witch desires to keep something written secret.  You simply exchange the Theban runes for the letters they represent.

 

The Spiral

Spiral

The Spiral is a symbol that has been found carved in Neolithic rock formations all over the world.  While it is obvious that it was significant symbol of spirituality, just what its meaning was, is unknown. To Witches, the Spiral is a Witchcraft symbol of the Goddess.    It’s also symbolic of the journey of life.  This is a contemplative Witchcraft symbol.  By following the spiral line with a finger, or just eyeballing it, this symbol forces you to slow down and relax.  This symbolism is demonstrated in the Spiral Dance.

 

The Triangle

Triangle

The Triangle is a purely feminine symbol.  The three points represent the Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  The bristles of the broom form a triangle.  Inverted, it is the female pubic area.  The triangle is a symbol of strength.  It cannot be crushed as the narrow point is supported by the wide base.

 

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