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Article ID: 8554
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 4th. 2004
Pagan/Occult Symbols A-Z (Intro)
by Kerr Cuhulain
Throughout the Witch Hunts series I've showed you checklists taken from the large number of books and manuals meant to educate the public and law enforcement agencies on the "dangers of the occult". Most of those that I have collected over the past two decades are appallingly inaccurate. The few that have any factual basis are so short that they are virtually useless. The slapdash scholarship, exasperating misinterpretations and deliberate falsehoods contained in these books are truly amazing. Unfortunately unsuspecting investigators take these inadequate manuals and waste a great deal of their time on unproductive wild goose chases trying to put the "information" in them to use. As a result, expensive investigative hours are wasted, innocent people are falsely accused and investigators are embarrassed.
One of the first such manuals that I collected was the Law Enforcement Guide to Occult-Related Crime, written by Sgt. Edwin Anderson, Jr., of the California State University Police in San Jose, California. In the introduction, Anderson states: "This work is the result of compiling information from an abundance of sources, both documentary and testimonial." Having got past the first page one finds that this manual appears to be a glossary of occult terms, though for some odd reason, Anderson lists five names of organizations on the third page with no definition or explanation attached to them at all.
Apart from this Anderson's manual looks very professional, but to the informed reader it is full of surprises. The most obvious error is to be found on page 44. Here one finds the entry "Zodiac, signs of." This is followed by a list of 24 symbols, none of which are labelled. Now, in astrology, the Zodiac is the belt of constellations that circle the sky through which the sun passes. Any astronomer or astrologer will tell you that there are only 12 signs of the zodiac in western tradition. Only two of the symbols that Anderson has listed are identifiable as signs of the zodiac: Libra and Aries. The symbols of the other ten signs of the zodiac (Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) are nowhere to be seen in Anderson's manual.
Five of Anderson's "signs of the zodiac" are actually symbols used by astrologers to mark what they call "aspects". Aspects are the angles that planets make with one another on the natal chart, commonly referred to as a horoscope. Anderson lists symbols for the trine, semi square, quincunx, conjunction and square aspects. One of the symbols that Anderson lists as a "sign of the zodiac" is a planetary astrological symbol for the sun. One symbol is a letter "P", which is sometimes used in astrology as a shorthand for "progression", which is a method of determining future trends from a natal horoscope chart. Four of the symbols Anderson lists appear to be mathematical symbols for add, subtract, "greater than" and "less than". This leaves 11 mysterious symbols that to this day I have never been able to find in any astronomical, astrological, or symbolism text.
Curiously, Anderson names the correct twelve signs of the zodiac elsewhere in the text. However, he demonstrates his fundamental misunderstanding of the subject on page 30, where he defines "Zodiac" as "The pattern of stars and planets used in astrology" and again on page 10, where in two consecutive entries he lists "Cancer: A sign of the zodiac representing June 21 through July 20", followed by "Cancer: An astrological sign". It seems that he does not realize that a "sign of the zodiac" and "an astrological sign" are the same thing, nor does he realize that the zodiac is patterns of stars, not planets.
None of the "...sources, both documentary and testimonial" that Anderson lists in his bibliography at the end of the manual are books on astrology. Not that he needed to refer to a book on astrology. Most major newspapers have a horoscope section that would have given him the names if not the symbols for the twelve signs of the Zodiac, had he cared to look.
The source of such misinformation is often books and lectures by evangelists bent on scaring us into the pews. An example of this is Mystery Mark of the New Age by Texe Marrs, in which he states:
"...New Age disciples are told that the following idols, or symbols, are very important for spiritual initiation into the New Age religion: the lotus, the triangle, the cube, the circle and the point, the line, certain signs of the Zodiac, and the cup, or the holy grail. Also mentioned are the following animal forms: the goat, the bull, the elephant, the man, the dragon, the lion, the dog, and the bear. These symbols are mind-pictures or images that become idols to the New Ager. Indeed, New Agers frequently buy and display idols of stone, stone, wood, steel, plastic, and crystal representing these forms. Yet, in using these images the New Age believer is practising idolatry in violation of God's commandment... New Age practices idolatry on a grand scale... For example... the rainbow... the diamond, the crystal, the rose, and the lotus blossom... But tragically the New Age lie attempts to turn these fantastic creations into things of horror."
Note how Marrs has lumped all non-Christian religions into one New Age category and is suggesting that they all have these common symbols. The lotus is a very common symbol in Hindu and Buddhist spirituality. The holy grail is a Christian symbol related to the ancient legend of the Fisher King. Why Marrs figures that only some of the signs of the Zodiac would be significant to people in the New Age is a mystery which he does not explain. Of course some of the animals listed by Marrs such as the goat, bull and lion are also symbols of the Zodiac, a fact that Marrs seems unaware of. Of course, Christians like Marrs don't seem to consider crosses, scenes of the crucifixion, or images of Biblical personalities to be examples of idolatry. In fact, most of the images that Marrs lists appear in the Bible too. Does that make the Bible idolatrous? Examples that one can find in the Bible include the circle (Isaiah 40:22), the rose (47 entries), the unicorn (Numbers 23:22, 24:8; Job 39:9; Psalms 29:6, 92:10), the rainbow (Revelations 4:3, 10:1), the diamond (Exodus 28:18, 39:11; Jeremiah 17:1; Ezekiah 28:13), the crystal (Job 28:17; Ezekiah 1:22; Revelations 4:6, 21:11, 22:1), the lion (at least 88 entries), the bear (13 entries), the bull (63 entries), the goat (75 entries), the dragon (31 entries), the dog (36 entries), and man (about 5 pages worth of entries listed in Cruden's Complete Concordance). It isn't the New Age turning these symbols into things of horror: Its is people like Marrs trying to convince us that they are.
Another good example of the nonsense one can find in supposedly serious police manuals is a series of terms which Lou Sloat borrowed from Ritualistic Crime Consultants in his Texas Ritualistic Crime Information Network Occult Crime Manual. The uniformed may assume that they are actual terms used by occult groups, but in actual fact they are terms borrowed from the Shannara series of fantasy novels of Terry Brooks. These include:
Certain symbols and definitions have turned up time and again in the manuals that I have collected. Let's look at some of the most common ones, since this will show you where many of them originated as well as where they ended up.
- "Dragon's Teeth- Mountains. Usually with a hidden pass."
- "Druid's Keep: Fortress or home of one or a cult."
- "Iltdatch: Book containing dark evil magic, rituals, spells, roots and how they are used."Iltdatch is a fictional source of evil that created the Mord Wraiths in Wishsong of Shannara.
- "Silver River: Clean water. Unspoiled Water. Nature's Finest."Sounds like an advertisement for a brand of bottled water, doesn't it?
Continue on to Definitions... Symbols (A-B) - Symbols (C-F) - Symbols (G-N) - Symbols (O-S) - Symbols (T-Z)
 Anderson, Sgt Edwin C, Jr.: Law Enforcement Guide to Occult Related Crime, California State University Police, introduction.
 Marrs, Texe: Mystery Mark of the New Age, pg 94.
 Sloat, Lou: Texas Ritualistic Crime Information Network Occult Crime Manual, pg 78.
 Ibid, pg 76.
| ABOUT... |
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
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