Let’s be clear about something here; when I say ‘symbols’ I don’t mean symbolism. Like when you’re in English class and your teacher asks “What do the blue curtains symbolise?” Leaving you debating whether the curtains represent the character’s sadness or whether he/she just likes the colour blue.
No, in this particular case I am talking about religious symbols. Which there are a lot of. And I mean a lot. I own an entire book dedicated to explaining different symbols- which actually comes in handy a lot more often than you might think. But for the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus on the two symbols that have shown up in my books so far.
The Latin Cross
The first symbol we come across is the latin cross. This is pretty common in the western world, at least. Chances are, you know about this one – it’s the universal symbol of Christianity. What you might not know is that the cross actually come
s in a few different variations – the latin version is the one we see most often. It’s a symbolic reference to the cross that Christ was crucified on. Of course, you also find this symbol with Jesus on the cross – this is more often used by Catholics.
There are many variations on this cross (well, actually, this one is pre-dated by the greek one, but I’m not going to go too far down that p
articular rabbit hole), but this one is by far the most common.
The Inverted Cross
Here’s a fun one. Theinverted cross is exactly what you might think – it’s the same as the Latin cross, but upside down. Now, depending on who you ask, this can have many different meanings.
A particularly popular believe is that when you turn a religious symbol upside down, the new symb
ol represents the opposite of the original. So if you turn the cross
upside down, it’s a Satanic symbol. Personally, I don’t exactly buy into this, but I sure take advantage of it. The demons in my novels like to mock people, so if turning across upside down is going to make someone uncomfortable, then of course they’re going to do it.
But here’s the main reason I don’t buy into it; it’s also used as a symbol in Christianity and Catholicism – it’s referred to as St Peter’s Cross. St. Peter decided to be crucified upside down, as he was not worthy to be crucified the same way Christ was.
So if you see someone wearing this, it could mean any of the following;
The pentacle (also referred to as the pentangle). Completely misunderstood after Hollywood started using it as a demonic symbol. Yes, it is used by witches, just not the ‘summon the devil and take over the world ones’.
What we’re looking at here is a five pointed star. Each point represents an element – earth, air, fire and water. The uppermost point represents spirit. The outer circle is sometimes thought to represent the binding of these elements together.
Here’s another common mistake – the pentacle is not actually the pentagram. The pentagram has no circle – it’s just a five pointed star. As far as I’m aware, the points still represent the elements. Perhaps someone can correct me on that if I’m wrong.
The Inverted Pentacle
Okay, but the inverted pentacle is a symbol of Satanism, right?
Actually, no. The inverted one is used by second degree witches – it shows that they have a deeper understanding of the craft.
The Hidden Pentacle
Neither the hidden pentacle nor the inverted pentacle has made an appearance in my books, but I thought I’d add them both, because we’ve discussed the inverted cross, and I find the hidden pentacle really interesting.
You see, the pentacle actually was and is used by witches. (And here I’m talking witches in more of a religious sense – I’ve never seen someone successfully turn someone into a toad.) Bu
t remember that whole thing where all the witches were gathered and burned at the stake? Yes, some of them were actual witches. Of course, if you could be burnt at the stake for showing your religion, you probably wouldn’t wear the symbol of said religion, right? But the Pagans in question wanted others of their faith to be able to identify them, so they started wearing hidden pentacles.
So, when it wasn’t appropriate to flaunt your pentacle, you would hide it. These pentacles are hidden in intricate designs – those who practice the craft are likely to be able to identify it, but it’s a lot less obvious. There are many different designs, some make it much easier to see the pentacle than others. These symbols are still used today by those who don’t wish to be easily identified as Pagan or Neopagan.
So there you go, a brief look at some of the symbols which have made their way into my books. There will probably be more at a later date, but we’ll leave that for when it happens.