Are you interested in the Meaning of Pagan Symbolism? Then this guide is for you!
Symbols play a central role in modern paganism as they are used in rituals and spiritual practices.
Some of these symbols feature heavily in beauty and fashion. They also enable the users to connect with useful ideas and elements.
Some of these symbols have been used by pagans for centuries. Today, they still retain their allure, meaning, and symbolism.
What is Paganism?
Paganism involves spiritual practices that are removed from the practices of the main religions.
Another way of looking at it is that paganism is the practice of religious activities that do not conform to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, Bahaism, and any of the other major world religions.
Most pagans worship nature. They are also heavily involved in the practice of modern witchcraft. Practitioners of modern witchcraft are sometimes called Wicca.
Paganism has its root in the religious practices that were upheld before the advent of Christianity. Pagans can be found in all cultures and continents across the globe.
Meaning and Significance of Pagan Symbols
#1 – Air Symbol
Air is one of the four elements revered by pagans, and it features prominently in Wiccan rituals.
The Air element stands for the East direction, which means it connects the soul with divine life. It is closely associated with the colors white and yellow and the East direction.
#2 – Earth Symbol
The is another one of the 4 elements that are held in high regard by the pagans. It is represented by an inverted triangle with a line at the tip.
The Earth element is closely linked with feminine power. It stands for the abundance, fertility, growth, and life of Mother Nature.
This element is closely associated with the colors brown and green, and it stands for the North direction.
#3 – Water Symbol
This is one of the 4 classical elements that is used in pagan rituals. This symbol stands for feminine energy.
In Wiccan rituals, water was carried in containers that symbolized the womb. This means that this element was taken to be a sign of fertility, growth, and increase.
Pagans also take this symbol to stand for healing and purification. It is used to cleanse Wiccan members who seek healing and spiritual revival.
This symbol stands for the West direction, and it is represented by the color Blue.
#4 – Fire Symbol
Fire is one of the 4 classical elements that is used by the Wiccans. It stands for masculine energy, and is closely associated with the South direction.
This symbol is taken to be an agent of purification, strength, and raw energy. Although Fire destroys, it’s capable of creating new life.
This symbol is used by the Wiccans in their initiation rites of passage. It is represented by the color Red.
#5 – Pentacle/Pentagram Symbol
The Pentacle is a five-pointed star that is contained within a circle. The 5 stars stand for the 4 classical elements and a 5th element, Ether.
In Pagan tradition, Ether stands for the Spirit and Self.
Wiccans use the pentacle extensively in their rituals. It is used to designate rank, and to protect the adherents against evil forces.
The Pentagram is used by modern-day witches, freemasons, Satanists, and other pagan and occult gatherings.
#6 – Seax Wicca Symbol
This is a tradition of the Wicca that heavily relies on the 8 Wiccan Sabbats, the Sun, and the Moon. The symbol of this tradition is protection and self-sufficiency in spiritual matters.
The Wiccans borrowed this symbol from the Angelo-Saxon pagans in the 1870s. It inspires Wicca to be true to its vows and promises.
#7 – Elven Star Symbol
This is a 7-pointed star that is used in the magical traditions of pagans. It serves as a reminder of the hallowed position taken by the number 7 in the order of things.
Pagans take the number 7 to stand for the sphere of victory. It also represents the pillars of wisdom and other well-used magical theories.
#8 – The Solar Cross Symbol
This is a variation of the 4-armed Celtic Cross. It stands for the power and influence of the Sun, the 4 elements, and the 4 seasons of nature.
Pagans use the Solar Cross as a visual representation of the Earth and everything in it.
This symbol also goes by the name Wotan’s Cross in some quarters. There are many variations to the Solar Cross depending on the geographical location of the pagan group using it.
#9 – Horned God Symbol
This is one of the basic symbols used in the pagan religion of the Wicca. The Horned God is an important deity among pagans as he represents masculine energy in pagan rituals.
This symbol is closely linked to sexuality, wilderness, Mother Nature, and the unending cycle of life.
#10 – The Triquetra Symbol
This is indicated as a triangle that creates a connection in the mind, body, and spirit. It is very common with pagans who can trace their roots and belief system to the Celtic culture.
The Triquetra indicates the divine connection amongst the earth, sea, and sky.
#11 – Thor’s Hammer (Mjollnir)
This symbol is popular with pagan groups that closely adhere to the traditions and culture of the Norse.
The Hammer of Thor indicates Thor’s control over lightning and thunder and other powerful elements of nature.
Pagans who wear the Hammer as a talisman believe that it protects them from the vagaries of nature.
They can avoid major accidents and life-threatening conditions because of the protection given by this amulet.
In the modern world, the symbol of Thor’s Hammer is used by the Asatru and other modern pagans.
#12 – The Yin Yang Symbol
This symbol shows as a circle that is split in the middle by a curved line. One of the two halves takes the color white while the other takes black.
This symbol has its roots in eastern cultures such as China and Japan. It stands for the opposing powers that exist in all of us.
Pagans believe that there’s light and darkness in every person. Everyone carries the forces of good and evil.
The Yin Yang encourages the adherents to work for the right balance in their lives.
Those with the Yin Yang symbol are inspired to work towards achieving balance in all spheres of their existence.
#13 – The Sun Wheel Symbol
This symbol stands for the 8 Wiccan Sabbats. It is also referred to as the Wheel of the Year. It was used by Wiccans to determine solstices and equinoxes.
#14 – Triple Horn of Odin
This is a special drinking horn that represents Odin, the father of Nordic gods.
It is made up of up to three horns that the Norse held in high regard when it came to toasting rituals.
According to Norse mythology, the 3 horns also represent the 3 draughts of a magical mead known as Odhroerir.
#15 – Hecate’s Wheel Symbol
This symbol belongs to the Greek goddess Hecate, who’s known as the guardian of doorways and passageways.
Hecate’s Wheel is used by pagans as a symbol of magic and witchcraft. It is used to indicate the power of sorcery that is borne by females.
It is also used among pagans to accentuate feminist traditions. This is more so because it stands for the 3 aspects of females: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
#16 – Chalice or Cup Symbol
This is a tool used in pagan rituals. It stands for the feminine element of Water. The Chalice is used by pagans to communicate emotions, psychic ability, intuition, and incubation of life.
It is closely associated with feminine organs such as the womb and breasts. It indicates motherhood and nurture.
With time, Christians borrowed this image from the pagans. In Christianity, it stands for the special cup that held the blood of Jesus during the Last Supper.
#17 – Triple Moon Symbol
This is a common symbol amongst the Wiccans and Neo-Pagans. This symbol is presented as 3 crescents.
The first crescent symbolizes rejuvenation, rebirth, and new life. It is a sign of new beginnings. It indicates the Maiden. She’s vibrant, youthful, and full of life.
The center crescent indicates the full moon. It stands for the Mother. She’s fertile, responsible, and exudes a lot of power.
The pagans take advantage of this phase to unleash their full magical powers, for they are likely to achieve the best results at this time.
The last crescent shows the waning of the moon. It indicates the Crone. She denotes fulfillment, wisdom, and endings.
#18 – The Ankh Symbol
This symbol is drawn from the ancient Egyptian religion. It looks like a cross with a loop at the top. Pagans regard the Ankh as the ‘Key of Life’.
It shows that life does not end with death. Dying is just a passageway to eternal life. This symbol reinforces the pagans’ belief in resurrection, reincarnation, and rebirth.
The cross shows there’s unity between the physical world and the world of the dead. The loop indicates infinity and eternal life.
#19 – The Besom Symbol
This is a rounded broom that has a long pole and straw or twigs tied on one end. It is a symbol of the release of negative energies.
Before any Wiccan or pagan rituals, the adherents are required to let go of anything that may hinder them from receiving positive energies.
The besom is used to symbolically help them achieve this. It enables them to ‘sweep away’ undesired energies and to create room for positive ones.
The besom was also used for cleansing in marriage ceremonies. Newlyweds are asked to jump over the besom to clear their souls of any malice and to strengthen their vows.
#20 – Triskele (Triple Spiral)
The Triskele is used among pagan groups aligned to the Celtic way of life. This symbol stands for the unity between the earth, sky, and sea.
It shows that all things in the physical world are interconnected to the 3 realms of Celtic existence.
Pagans take symbols with a lot of seriousness in their rituals. They use them to create the magic they need to achieve their spiritual goals.
The value of pagan symbols is pegged on how well they enable the adherents to connect their lives to the spiritual realm.
In modern times, pagan symbols feature prominently in the world of beauty and fashion. They are used in jewelry, ornaments, and tattoos.
Some of these symbols have secular as well as religious connotations attached to them.
Ancient pagan symbols are used by modern pagans in their rituals and traditions. They indicate the power of the elements and help the user to generate new ideas concerning their lives.
The power of these symbols has been so obvious that many of the world religions have adapted some of them in their worship rituals.