The explanations behind some symbols.
I’m pretty fascinated by the Francesca Lia Block/Wildfox collaboration, Magical Creatures. I’ve always liked that WF does cute/comfy T-shirts and sweatshirts — an old issue for me since I love these kinds of shirts and now I can wear them without feeling like an unfashionable derp. And Francesca Lia Block is an author I look up to. Another thing that lit a happy fire in my brain was the use of the magical symbols in the logo and promotional images.
I also started to wonder… do people know what they really mean? I’m talking about these:
It’s true that some symbols are adopted by companies and turned into fashion statements like the equal-armed cross. I know some people really don’t like that the Christian cross has, in some instances, been used in a pretty secular way. Have you seen people wearing a rosary around their necks? Traditionally, you’re not supposed to, but someone thought it was pretty. I personally don’t have an opinion about this, it all depends on your religion and how you practice, if at all.
As some of you might know (I’ve blogged about it in the past), I consider myself an eclectic pagan. The pentagram (star without the circle), the pentacle (with the circle) are symbols used in many pagan practices, as well as the triple goddess symbol (the three moons).
I’m not saying you have to have pagan beliefs to be able to wear these symbols, I just think you should know what they mean. If someone asks you about a so-called “satanic” symbol around your neck or on your shirt, you should be able to explain to them what it really means.
The most basic meaning of the pentacle or pentagram is that it represents mankind or mankind surrounded by spirit or god (the circle).
It also points to the number 5 and our 5 senses, 5 elements (water, fire, earth air and spirit, all things we need to stay alive and healthy) and is often used as a protection symbol. If you draw a star like this on a piece of paper, you can also see how the planet Venus travels around the horizon over the course of 8 years. The early Christians used it as a symbol to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. As far as we know, the symbols goes all the way back to Ancient Mesopotamia and the Celtic Druids.
Thanks to movies, TV and uninformed people, a lot of people (even people I know who are otherwise open-minded) thought it was a satanic symbol, represented curses or people casting evil spells. This isn’t the only symbol to recently receive bad press. The swastika was a Buddhist symbol long before Hitler flipped it over and made it the symbol for the Nazi party.
The triple moon goddess symbol is a trinity — meaning it represents three aspects of one deity, in this case, a goddess. I think there is also a stigma around people who mention a “goddess” as well as a god. It has to do with balancing male and female energy to make a whole, not about trying to sound new-agey or whatever. But back to the symbol (don’t you love how I get distracted?), it shows the waxing moon, a full moon and a waning moon. It represents three stages of life (youth, adult and elder) and the three aspects of some goddesses that can split up into “Maiden, Mother and Crone”. This is more of a modern symbol, but the concept behind it is ancient. Personally, I don’t really feel drawn to this symbol. Symbolism is a pretty personal thing when it comes to someone’s spirituality. Sometimes you just feel a pull toward something.
My favorite symbol is the triskele:
I liked it as soon as a I saw it and before I knew what it meant. It means “forward motion” (moving toward your goals, self-improvement, etc.) because of the 3 spirals flowing in the same direction. To the Druids it meant “earth, sea and sky”. There are triskeles on an ancient megalith in Ireland (Newgrange) and it’s the ancient symbol for Sicily and is on the Sicilian flag in the form of three legs instead of spirals (I’m Irish and Sicilian descent) but it appears in a few other cultures as well. I found a ring with a triskele on it a few years ago in an unlikely place — a gift shop at the Ohio Caverns — so I had to buy it.