Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,487,001


April 20th. 2014 ...

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

Being a Worrisome Witch

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 11304

VoxAcct: 296286

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,598

Times Read: 2,503

RSS Views: 78,065
What's Behind a Symbol?

Author: Crowshadower
Posted: March 11th. 2007
Times Viewed: 2,503

There has been quite a furor of late over the right for Pagan soldiers to be buried with the symbol of their faith to mark their graves, a cause which all free minded individuals should support, and which has led me to wonder about the importance of symbols in religion in general and as a Pagan.

Would I die for the right to wear a pentagram or triskell?

My answer: probably not -- because the symbol is nothing more then that, a symbol.

We use symbols to represent more complex ideas that we could not otherwise readily express in one quick glimpse. They allow us to identify ourselves with the tribe to which we belong. I know of very few Witches who do not own a piece of pentagram jewelry.

Where these symbols fail us is when they become more important than the idea that lies behind them. Have you ever met a young beginner who thinks that just by wearing the pentagram they have become a witch?

When I was younger I used to know quite a few and they were those who would allow any inkling of faith to fall by the wayside because they didn’t really understand the symbol or the beliefs that give it power.

Lets just look into the origins of the pentacle. In my studies I have come across a lot of different meanings and they varied depending on whether the point was up or down but they all stated that the pentacle originated in the Middle East as a symbol of power, normally to amplify power, and as a ward against evil.

It is also used to represent various goddesses in ancient religions of the middle-east and North Africa. Hermetic magi and Pythagorean philosophers, who may have been responsible for its transmittal to Western Europe, adopted it and it was eventually used by renaissance alchemists.

How and when Witchcraft became synonymous with the Pentacle remains a bit of a mystery to me, though it could be the connection with Astarte/Inanna and Ishtar that came with it from its ancient religious meanings.

More importantly is the meaning we now attribute to the pentagram,

I have heard explanations that it represents the five elements of life or the five steps to enlightenment. It is a sacred symbol to practitioners of magic, its form representing both the complexity and the oneness of the world around us.

As a Celtic Pagan, I find the triskell more poignant, representing the three domains of land, sea and air and connecting directly to the Celtic way of thinking. I wear both the pentagram and the triskell on the same cord on either side of a pendant. This is to show first that I am a Pagan, second that my path is Celtic, and third that I am proud of both.

Why do I feel the need to wear these? To tell the world who and what I am without having to convey it in words.

Humans are visual animals who process more from one glance than might be thought possible. We go through an instant process of analysis when we look at another individual and one of the factors weighed is whether we are from the same pack or tribe. Wearing a symbol allows for an instant recognition that we are in some way connected -- be it football strip, a band logo or a pentagram. They all speak of belonging to a certain mind set or social group that helps to put others at ease, which is why it makes us uneasy to go somewhere where there are a lot of uniform individuals if we ourselves are ‘non-uniform’.

In short, the symbols we wear say ‘I am like you’ and allow us to differentiate between members of our tribe and members of other tribes.

Using symbols is inherent in any magic you would learn because they allow for quick understanding amongst those involved and can of course obfuscate meaning for those who are outside and need not understand.

I do not think a single Pagan would not understand the relevance of casting the circle even if they do not do it themselves, or the importance of the chalice and athame however one might represent them. These symbols also allow a focus for all present to concentrate on. What such ritual and ceremonial symbols might stand for is almost unending.

It has to also be remembered that symbols have been used throughout history to mark out and alienate others and to inspire hatred by saying they are different; they are not like us.

When a symbol is used in such a way it becomes invested with negative connotations that do not easily fade. How many of us experience an uneasy feeling when we see a swastika, another symbol of power from the middle east, despite the fact that it is just a symbol with only as much meaning as we allow it to have?

While we continue to see a symbol of oppression and anger as such, we feed the thoughts that went behind it. Racists still use the swastika because of the connotations that surround it and feed their own beliefs. They use that symbol knowing and enjoying the fact that it will offend others. (One thing to remember if you ever have the misfortune to come across a white supremacist wearing a swastika is that the symbol is backwards meaning weakness, powerlessness and everything but what it was intended to mean.)

We give power to symbols by investing our emotions in them and by doing that we grant those who would use them a degree of power over the way we act and feel.

Should a Wiccan soldier be allowed to have a pentagram gravestone? Yes. When he/she died, he/she did not pray to the god of the Israelites and he/she did not seek solace in Catholic last rites. His/her thoughts and prayers would have been to his or her Gods and Goddesses.

Would he or she want a cross over his/her resting place? I would think not. He or she gave his/her life for the political whims of his/her nation. He/she deserves the respect to have his/her own religious symbol mark his/her grave in the same way that Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists deserve the right for their grave markers to bear the symbols that they see appropriate.

Next time you are performing a ritual or ceremony, think on the symbols you use. Does your athame have to be something spectacular that you found in your local esoteric shop? Does your chalice need to be silver? Might you use an old bread knife and a chipped cup and invest them with the same energies? It is nice to have the bright and shiny trappings but as symbols we can invest our energies into anything and get the same results.

After this essay on the importance of symbols and how they might be used, why wouldn’t I die for a symbol? Because a symbol can be changed or replaced or altered to suit the need of the moment.

What is important is the ideals behind the symbol, the power of the thought that created the symbol and the emotions invested in the symbol.

I would die for those.

And for the right to believe in my own faith unhindered, to think without boundaries and to have passion in a cause.





ABOUT...

Crowshadower


Location: Science Hill, Kentucky

Author's Profile: To learn more about Crowshadower - Click HERE




Other Articles: Crowshadower has posted 4 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Crowshadower... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Crowshadower ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).