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The term occult was derived from the Latin word occultus, which means secret, hidden, or concealed. As such, occult may refer to hidden or unknown knowledge. Occultism is the belief in the use of supernatural beings or forces.
For occultists, symbols play a crucial role in their ceremonies and rituals. A lot of these symbols have been used since ancient times, and they are still popular among various modern occult societies and magical orders. To give you a better picture, here is a list of the most common occult symbols.
The ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol that was used to symbolize eternal life. The ankh can be found in numerous artworks of the ancient Egyptians and is often shown fed to pharaohs by the gods. Today, the ankh is associated with neo-paganism.
Baphomet is also known as The Judas Goat, The Men of Mendes, and The Black Goat. The symbol is portrayed as a man with a horned head and goat’s leg and is a gnostic or pagan deity. The Knights Templar were accused of worshiping this demonic deity, and from there, Baphomet was incorporated into numerous occult and mystical traditions. During ceremonies, this symbol is hung on the altar’s western wall. Lastly, various occult societies use the Baphomet to represent the fallen angel Satan.
Cross of St. Peter or Petrine Cross
The Cross of St. Peter is used both as a Christian symbol and an Anti-Christian symbol. In Christian contexts, it’s believed that St. Peter was crucified on an upside-down cross at his own request, as he deemed himself to be unworthy of being crucified in the same way as Jesus. In Satanic contexts, the symbol is taken to represent the Anti-Christ and an undermining of Christian values.
Pentacle and Pentagram
A pentacle is a five-pointed star facing upwards, while the pentagram is the same symbol set within a circle. The pentacle is an important symbol in Witchcraft as it represents several things, such as God and the four elements, the five wounds of Christ, and the five senses.
When used in occult contexts, the pentacle is flipped upside down, with two points facing upwards, known as an inverted pentagram (discussed below). In magic, the pentacle and pentagram are symbols of positive power and protection. It is used in craft rituals to ground the energy, cast spells, and concentrate the Magic circle. As an amulet, the pentacle is believed to protect the wearer from evil demons and spirits. As a talisman, it enables the magician to conjure and command demons. Finally, people also use the pentagram in Craft meditation exercises.
The inverted pentagram features a reversed five-pointed star, showing two points above. This symbol is associated with black magic, and it signifies contempt for the traditional occult and spiritual values. Aside from those meanings, the inverted pentagram can also represent Baphomet or Satan wherein the two tips symbolize the goat’s horn. Typically, the inverted pentagram is used in casting spells and occult rituals to conjure evil spirits.
The All-Seeing Eye, also called the Eye of Providence, features an eye set within a triangle pointing upwards. The symbol has numerous interpretations and has been used in various contexts. For some, this symbol represents God’s omnipresence and omniscience, and signifies that God is always watching. The Freemasons also use the all-seeing eye as one of their symbols. It’s considered as the eye of Satan or Lucifer. Although it has opposing interpretations, many cults and organizations use this symbol, and it’s featured on many famous objects including on the one-dollar bill in the United States.
In witchcraft, the all-seeing eye was used for psychic control and for casting curses and spells. Some also believed that if you can control it, you can control the world’s financial situation. In some cultures, this symbol was used as a talisman to ward off evil.
Icelandic Magical Staves
These beautiful sigils were created by the Icelandic people and were believed to have magical powers. Different designs were used for different purposes, such as luck in fishing, protection on long journeys and assistance in war.
The horned hand is a famous gesture where the index and little fingers are extended while the middle and ring fingers are held down along with the thumb. The gesture is popular as the ‘rock on’.
There are two variations of the gesture. The first is when the right hand is used, and the thumb is kept under the middle and ring finger. This gesture signifies Baphomet, the goat god of witchcraft. The second gesture is meant for the left hand, and the thumb is placed over the middle and ring finger. Typically, this gesture was believed to have the power to curse enemies. For occultists, the horned hand is a sign of recognition, and they believe that the symbol represents Baphomet.
However, in some contexts, the horned hand is seen as a protective symbol. Italians inscribed the horned hand or Mano Cornuto on charms, as they believed that the symbol protects the wearer from the evil eye.
Seal of Solomon
The Seal of Solomon is a hexagram, or six-pointed star, set within a circle with dots placed in certain points around the circle. The symbol holds value in Jewish tradition but has also gained importance in occultism.
The Seal of Solomon is a magical signet ring believed to have been owned by King Solomon. It was believed that the symbol has the power to control or bind supernatural beings. For this reason, the hexagram was used to cast spells and to conjure spiritual forces. Aside from that, the symbol was also used as a talisman.
This is one of the oldest symbols used in occult practices and ceremonial magic. The symbol is drawn with two triangles that overlap each other, with one being inverted. In general, the hexagram symbolizes the sacred union of a male and a female. It can also represent the four elements, which are earth, water, fire, and air.
The leviathan cross is also known as a sulfur or brimstone symbol. The design features the infinity symbol with a double-barred cross located at the midpoint. The symbol represents the eternal universe and the protection and balance between people. The symbol is used in Satanism to represent anti-theistic views.
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol featuring a snake biting its own tail to form a circle. The name comes from the Greek words oura (tail) and boros (devourer). In general, this symbol represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The ouroboros is a vital symbol in magic and alchemy. In alchemy, the primary message of this symbol is the changing of one thing into another, which means All is One. Aside from that, it also represents the spirit of Mercury, a substance that penetrates all things or matter. Lastly, ouroboros also symbolizes the harmony of opposites, continuous renewal, and the cycle of life and death.
Like the hexagram, the unicursal hexagram is a six-pointed star. The difference is that this symbol is drawn in a continuous movement and features a more unique shape. Its meaning is also similar to the standard hexagram; however, it emphasizes the union or intertwining of two halves instead of the coming together of two separate individuals.
For occult practitioners, the design of the unicursal hexagram is better suited for rituals because continuous movement is preferred rather than interrupted movements. The unicursal hexagram can also be drawn with a five-petaled flower at its center. This variation was made by Aleister Crowley, and it is associated with the Thelemites who used this symbol to recognize or identify each other.
The triquetra or trinity knot is a popular Celtic symbol, which was Christianized to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For the Wiccans and neopagans, this symbol was used to honor the triple goddess – the Mother, Maiden, and Crone. To explain further, the mother represents creation, the maiden signifies innocence, while the crone symbolizes wisdom.
Aside from those meanings, the triquetra represents several important triads, such as the three forces of nature (wind, water, and earth), as well as concepts such as unity, protection and eternal life. Additionally, the symbol also stands for a woman’s life cycle, while the circle around the triquetra symbolizes fertility or femininity.
Also known as the wheel cross or solar cross, the sun cross is one of the oldest symbols in the world. It is portrayed as a cross inside a circle. This symbol is frequently fun in prehistoric cultures, specifically during the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age.
In Wicca, the solar cross can have numerous meanings. For one, the symbol was used to represent the sun. Aside from that, it can also symbolize the four seasons and the four quadrants of the year.
Aside from Wicca, this symbol was also used in neopaganism to reconstruct the pagan culture and their faith. The groups that used the solar cross are Norse paganism, Celtic neopaganism, and heathenism.
Overall, the occult symbols mentioned above continue to be used in various occult practices and ceremonies since ancient times. Despite being used in occultism, some of these symbols are popular today in different contexts. Many hold opposing interpretations, such as the Eye of Providence and the Petrine Cross, which holds meaning in both Satanic and Christian contexts. It’s important to note that, at the end of the day, the meaning of a symbol comes from the interpretation given to it. The symbol itself doesn’t hold any meaning.