Common Pagan Symbols

Here’s a summary and description of some symbols commonly used in various strands of paganism, courtesy of Jamie:


Pentacle The PentacleThe five-pointed star within a circle is the most common Pagan symbol, and it is typically used to identify oneself as a Pagan orWiccan. The five points represent the 4 elements plus the spirit, and the circle connects them all. A five-pointed star without the circle is sometimes called a pentagram, rather than a pentacle. Based on numerology, the five points means the pentacle symbolizes the Earth element and can be used as an Earth symbol on an altar.
Septagram The SeptagramThe seven pointed star has a few names: septagram, septacle, Elven star or fairy star. The number seven corresponds to the spirit realm, which is why this symbol is associated with elves or fairies. There are no set representations for each of the points, but they are sometimes labelled: earth, air, fire, water, above, below and within. The septagram is also associated with astrology because the classical view of the sky contained seven planets.
Triple Moon The Triple MoonThe triple moon is a Goddess symbol that represents the Maiden, Mother, and Crone as the waxing, full, and waning moon. It is also associated with feminine energy, mystery and psychic abilities. You often see this symbol on crowns or other head-pieces, particularly worn by High Priestesses.
Hexagram The HexagramThe unicursal hexagram is a variation of the 6-pointed star. The more traditional way of drawing a 6-pointed star is in the double triangles of the Star of David. But Aleister Crowley created his own design, to create a symbol that could be drawn in one continuous line. The number 6 represents unity and balance, specifically balance between man and the Divine.
Eye of Horus The Eye of HorusThe Eye of Horus can be a bit of a confusing symbol. It is seen sometimes as the right or sometimes as the left eye. The left eye is Eye of Horus and is connected with the moon. When it’s the right eye, it’s the Eye of Ra, and associated with the sun. Though some sources say there is no distinction at all. The Eye represents the eye that was lost by Horus when he fought with Seth over the murder of his father, Osiris. The symbol is worn for for protection and to ward off evil spirits.
Ankh The AnkhThe short and traditional meaning for the ankh symbol is “everlasting life”. This symbol is a heiroglyph seen in countless ancient Egyptian carvings, usually held in hand by Gods and pharohs to show how they preside over life (in other words, are immortal). In these images, the ankh is held by the loop rather than the base. The ankh is a popular symbol among Pagans, likely due to the similarity to a Christian cross which makes the ankh much less shocking to others, as compared to a pentacle.
Hecate's Wheel Hecate’s WheelThis maze-like symbol is associated with the triple aspect of the Greek goddess Hecate. She is considered a ‘dark’ goddess by some, and rules over cross-roads and the Underworld. Hecate is also known as the Goddess of the Witches. This isn’t a particularly common symbol among Wiccans, but you do see it occasionally.
Inverted Pentacle The Inverted PentacleThe inverted (or upside down) pentacle is a symbol of some reputation. It is typically associated with Satanism, though that is not a completely accurate description. The true emblem of the Church of Satan is the sigil of Baphomet, which is a symbol with a goat’s head and an inverted pentacle. Within Wicca, the upside down pentacle stands for the 2nd degree in some traditions.
Triquetra The TriquetraYes, this is the symbol from the popular TV show “Charmed”. Why they chose the triquetra for their Book of Shadows, I really can’t say. Possibly because it’s exotic without being threatening. Like the triskele, this Celtic symbol embodies the sacred number 3, as seen in the 3 phases of the Goddess (maiden, mother, crone) and the 3 elements of nature (land, sky, sea). During the period of early Christianity, the triquetra took on further meaning as the Holy Trinity.
Triskele The TriskeleThere are many variations on the basic triskele (or triple spiral) symbol. The one illustrated here is very simple to illustrate the basic look of the symbol. The triskele is a Celtic symbol, and symbolizes the power of life and rebirth. It combines the spiral (often used to illustrate the cycle of life) and the number 3 is a sacred number, as seen in the phases of the triple Goddess. This symbol is also referred to as a triskelion.

Thanks very much, Jamie!

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7 thoughts on “Common Pagan Symbols

  1. Interesting post but I have to disagree with you on the inverted pentacle with Baphomet. It is used by pellars, or practioners of traditional Cornish witchcraeft (I myself am a pellar), and represents a traditional deity in Cornwall called “The Bucca” (sometimes called buckie, boucca, bukkie boo, and in some cases ‘the sabbatic goat’). Here are some pages for reference:

    -http://www.cronnekdhu.co.uk
    -http://www.cornishwitchcraft.co.uk/

    Cheers,
    –Darroch

  2. Hail and Welcome Darroch,
    Y’know I’d never heard of Cornish witchcraft before as a distinct tradition; would you do us the honour of writing a short piece on the tradition as a whole and your practices, and we can put it up on this site for you? I’m sure our readers would be equally as interested 🙂
    Waes Hael,
    Amalasuntha

  3. Done and done,
    I like to space the articles out one every few days (gives people chance to come and look round without overloading), I’ve shuftied round the forthcoming schedule a bit, your awesome article is due as the next post on 0900 21/7/2011 🙂
    I love days where I get to learn a little about a subject I knew nothing about before 🙂
    Waes hael,

    Amalasuntha

  4. Hiya!

    I’m helping develop a logo for a webhosting company which is going to cater to Pagans and other non-Abrahamic religions; do you mind if I use some of the symbols from this page for a binary code (think Matrix!) style background?

    Thanks,
    Dawn

  5. Hail Dawn,
    As far as we know, none of the symbols above are under any kind of copyright thing, they’re all in pretty frequent use already. If you could drop us a link somewhere, that’d be fab – and tell us where your new site is, we can link to it in the sidebar 🙂
    -Amalasuntha

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