The Farohar or faravahar is both an emblem of the Zoroastrian religion and of Persian identity.  Faravahar means “to choose.” The Faravahar is descended from the Egyptian winged disk, a symbol of divine kingship. It once represented the Assyrian sun god Shamash, and may have represented the corona of a solar eclipse.

In the modern Zoroastrian faith, it represents the human soul.

The faravahar has several parts, which are given particular meaning by modern Zoroastrians:

  • A winged disk- the three layers of feathers represent the three pillars of the Zoroastrian faith: good words, good thoughts, good deeds. The ring represents eternity.
  • Two streamers, representing the duality of good and evil- left and right, respectively.
  • The head of a man, facing left-representing the prophet Zoroaster, and the choice to live a morally upright life.

Related Symbols:


hathorAn Egyptian hieroglyph representing the headdress of Hathor, a multifaceted goddess of the love, beauty, and fertility.  The headdress consists of a sun disk surrounded by horns, the emblem of Hathor’s cow-goddess aspect.  

Hathor is equivalent to the Roman Venus and the Greek Aphrodite.  She is associated with the Milky Way, and the souls of Egyptian women judged to be worthy were identified with her.

As with the emblem of Venus, Hathor’s sign was often represented as or fashioned into a mirror.

Related Symbols:
TyetFeather of Ma'atMenat


The Heart in Hand, an image of a heart in an open palm, is an easily recognizable symbol in the North Eastern US. This cheerful, welcoming image originated with the Shakers and is found on crafts, signs, and even cookies. The symbol is a pictoral reminder of the words of Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker sect, who promoted a simple life of hard work and spirituality, “Put you hands to work, and your hearts to God.” The image is typical of the Shaker attitude, and implies also a loving welcome.

A heart in hand has also been in use for about a hundred years as a symbol of the Order of Odd Fellows, an early Fraternal Order. These commonly display three linked rings representing friendship, love, and truth. A similar symbol used in Masonry represents charity.

Related Resources:

{ 1 comment }

The image at right represents the Keys of St. Peter, an emblem of the Catholic Church which represents the divine authority invested in the apostle Peter before the death of Christ. As such, they are emblems of papal authority in the Catholic church.

A symbol that appears frequently in Christian art and in the arms of the Popes, the crossed keys were formerly an emblem of the Roman God Janus and the Mithraic Zurvan, both gods of time and keepers of doorways, and removers of obstacles.

It is this symbolism that led to the folk legend of Peter as the bureaucratic keeper of the “pearly gates”of heaven.

St. Peter receiving the Keys

Zurvan with the “Keys of Time”

The keys as an emblem of Papal authority

Related Symbols:



receA slavic solar cross, fashioned after a design found on and Iron Age burial urn in Poland.  Dubbed rece Boga, or “hands of god,” the symbol has been adopted as a symbol of Polish national pride and an emblem of Slavic Neopaganism.

The design below is derived from an urn unearthed in 1936 at Lodz; the urn was an artifact of the Przeworsk culture, used to inter cremated remains.  It is similar in many ways to other Iron age funerary artifacts, and as many of these are also marked with variations of the swastika, and related to the god Odin and his counterparts. Similar symbols and burial customs, wherein cremated remains were interred underground in pottery urns, were widespread throughout Europe.

At the time of discovery, the symbol was used in Nazi propaganda, but today is almost exclusively used to denote allegiance to Slavic Neopagan beliefs.

Przeworsk burial urn
Przeworsk burial urn, from which the rece boga is derived


{ 1 comment }

vegvisirThe Vegvisir or runic compass is a Viking rune stave, a magical device used to aid in sea navigation. According to a number of legends, this apotropaic (protective) symbol was inscribed on seagoing vessels to insure their safe return. The most common depiction of the rune comes from the 17th century Galdrabók, and Icelandic grimoire.

Today, it is most commonly paired with the aegishjalmer, used as a symbol of spiritual guidance and an emblem of identification by Asatru believers.  The most well-known example is worn as a tattoo by the Icelandic pop singer Bjork.

 See also: Aegishjalmur

Related Symbols:


The Triple Horn of Odin is a stylized emblem of the Norse God Odin. This symbol consists of three interlocked drinking horns, and is commonly worn or displayed as a sign of commitment to the modern Asatru faith. The horns figure in the mythological stories of Odin and are recalled in traditional Norse toasting rituals. Most stories involve the God’s quest for the Odhroerir, a magical mead brewed from the blood of the wise god Kvasir. 

The tales vary, but typically, Odin uses his wits and magic to procure the the brew over three days time; the three horns reflect the three draughts of the magical mead. Below is an image of the pre-Christian monument called the Larbro stone. 


The symbol above the rider’s head is the triple horn:

Related Symbols:


Also known as: Hrungnir’s heart, heart of the slain, Heart of Vala, borromean triangles

The emblem at left found on old Norse stone carvings and funerary stelés, is sometimes called “Hrungnir’s heart,” after the legendary giant of the Eddas. It is best known as the Valknut, or “knot of the slain,” and it has been found on stone carvings as a funerary motif, where it probably signified the afterlife. The emblem is often found in art depicting the God Odin, where it may represent the gods power over death. Some versions of the valknut can be drawn unicursally (in one stroke), making it a popular talisman of protection against spirits.

The Valknut’s three interlocking shapes are suggestive of related Celtic symbols of motherhood and rebirth- it may have been a goddess symbol at some point in history. The nine points suggest rebirth, pregnancy, and cycles of reincarnation. The number nine also suggestive of the Nine Worlds (and the nine fates) of Norse mythology. Their interwoven shape suggests the belief of the inter-relatedness of the three realms of earth, hel, and the heavens, and the nine domains they encompass.

The symbol’s nine points have an obvious correlation with childbirth; the placement of the symbol on funeral monuments mark it as a sign of rebirth of reincarnation. The Valknut is also an important symbol to many followers of the Asatru religion, who often wear it as a symbol of the faith. A variation called an “open” valknut, due to the looser, non-unicursal design:

Another, less common version of the Valknut, called a triceps, resembles a cut-away triangle, or a triangle formed of three diamonds (three ‘othala’ runes interwoven):


The triceps was used into the middle ages as a magical sign of protection.  The othala rune signifies the home and one’s ancestors.

valknut3 vikingsymbolshorntriskele

More valknuts

Related Symbols:
Nine worldsJormunganderTriqueta


This Mjolnir, or Thor’s Hammer, is an ancient Norse symbol, a stylized representation of the legendary magical weapon of the Norse God Thor. “Mjolnir” means “lightning,” and symbolized the God’s power over Thunder and Lightning. The Hammer Mjolnir was said to always return after it had been thrown.

The Thor’s Hammer amulet was worn frequently by believers as a symbol of protection- a practice so popular it continued even after most of the Norse population had converted to Christianity. In modern times, is often used as an emblem of recognition for members of the Asatru faith, and as a symbol of Norse heritage.

A later form of the Mjolnir is called the Wolf’s Cross, or Dragon’s Cross, and was associated with early Norse Christianity:

Related Symbols:


The monstrance is the ceremonial vessel used in during the Roman Catholic Mass to display the consecrated communion host. Although the monstrance has taken many shapes during the period of its use, it typically, takes the shape of a solar cross, with a clear central area made of glass or crystal. The host is usually placed in a small crescent shaped holder within the crystal, called a lunette due to its moon-like shape.

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican televised broadcast only an empty monstrance while preparing to announce the Pontiff’s passing.

An ornate Monstrance or Ostensorium

Related Symbols:

{ 1 comment }

sglossaryprayinghandsThe clasped hands prayer gesture is ubiquitous in Christianity. The hands are clasped together and held before the heart; it is a symbol of submission and sincerity.

This particular posture became associated with praying around the ninth century, it probably originated as a secular gesture of humility and submission, such as one would adopt before a superior.

The identical gesture is known as the anjali mudra (offering gesture) in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, a sign of greeting, respect, and veneration. The anjali mudra is used while praying, and also as a gesture of respect toward others, an acknowledgement of their inner divinity.

Symbolically, two hands clasped represents the coming together of opposites, or a commingling of forces. Magically, the hands are the terminus of the body’s polar energy sources, and can be used to channel and direct these energies.

glossarypraying glossaryanjali

Albrecht Durer’s famous sketch 

Anjali Mudra

Related Symbols:



The Cornucopia (Latin, ‘horn of plenty’), a spiraling, woven basket overflowing with an abundance of produce, is an ever-present symbol of harvest prosperity. The symbol dates back to an ancient tale of the Nymph Amalthea,* who, as a reward from the infant Zeus for a meal of Goat’s milk, was given an enchanted goat’s horn which gave whatever one wished for.**

The cornucopia became a ubiquitous symbol of fortune and plenty, and was associated with many Goddesses, including Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune, and Ceres, Goddess of agriculture.

Amalthea feeds Zeus from the horn

*Sometimes, Amalthea herself is the goat.

**Similar tales include the Finnish Sampo and the Celtic legend of the Cauldron of Plenty.

Related Symbols:

Triple hornGorgon

{ 1 comment }

Indalo is an ancient Andalusian symbol. The original image, dating from Neolithic times, can still be seen in the “Cave of the Signboards” at Almeria, in Southern Spain. He appears as the figure of a man carrying a rainbow between his hands, alongside figures of animals, horned men, and a number of odd symbols.

The name Indalo is derived from the latin phrase “Indal Eccius,” or “Messenger of the Gods.”

Indalo’s original meaning and purpose has been lost, but it most likely represents a Shaman or a God figure.Today, the figure is closely associated with the village of Mojacar, and is used there as a symbol of luck and good fortune, and to ward off evil. Like the Native American Kokopelli, he is often emblazoned on businesses, homes, and souvenirs for tourists.

Related Symbols:

Dancing sorcerer



The Keris (Malaysian, dagger) originated in tenth-century Java and can be found throughout Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia.

The keris is a talismanic weapon- a sword or dagger with unique characteristics, carried by men and handed down from father to son, often through a great many generations. A new keris is made by a special artisan, known as an Empu.

The keris is not only a protective amulet, but is considered a mark of manhood.

A keris consists of several characteristics, depending on origin. The typical keris has either a wavy (Luk) or straight (Lurus) tapered triangular blade; the pattern of the blade determines the dagger’s magical properties. The hilt is often designed in the shape of a deity.

Malaysian man with keris

Related Symbols:


{ 1 comment }

This mysterious bird-headed figure, referred to casually as the “Birdman,” is one of many strange symbols found on inscribed wooden tablets written by the early people of Rapanui (Easter Island.) The tablets have never been translated, but are believed to have been religious in nature.

Related Symbols:



The heartline is found on Zuni fetish drawings of animals; it represents the breath as the life force of the animal.


Amulets containing heart line drawings are considered powerful talismans.

Related Symbols:


The Neo-Nazi triskele is a symbol resembling a three armed swastika, used by several “Christian” white supremacy organizations and other hate groups. The arms are numerals, “777,” numbers derived from the Book of Revelation symbolizing triumph over the Antichrist.

Related Resources:

  • Weird religions
    Religious satire, Elvis worshipers, Discordianism, and more! If it’s unusual, cranky, or downright bizarre, it’s here- or at least, some of it is.


The unicorn is one of the most ancient mythological beasts.  Although in modern times it is most often depicted as an ethereal white horse, it has been variously described as an antelope, sheep, goat, or as a composite creature akin to a griffin or sphinx. Then, as later, the unicorn was a symbol of power and virility.

The oldest description of a unicorn occurs in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and in Mesopotamian art it is depicted a a great beast with a ringed neck and long, curving horn.  The earliest mention of the unicorn in the West comes from a Greek account of a fearsome beast with a red head and blue eyes; it’s horn is ascribed the properties later given to the bezoar stone: protection against poisons and disease. Later, Aristotle was to describe the unicorn as a type of antelope.

While the Indian creature was almost certainly a fancifully described Rhinoceros, scholars today believe the Mesopotamian creature to have been a giant aurochs (a now extinct species of buffalo). It is this beast which is described in Old Testament accounts, and probably identical to the mythical ‘Bull’ of Ninevah. A mistranslation of the name (Re’em, ‘horned’) led to the legend of the one-horned beast, to which the strength of God is compared. Jewish legend linked the unicorn to the lion, describing them as fierce enemies, an image carried over in heraldic art.

In the middle ages, the unicorn was described as a small, goat-like creature who was nonetheless very fierce, and whose capture could only be accomplished by a virgin, whose virtue attracted the beast. Although many of these stories tended to be quite adult oriented, the obvious parallels to the legend of Christ and his virginal mother, the virgin who was chosen as the only suitable vessel to contain the incarnation of God.

The virgin and the Unicorn, Leonardo Da Vinci

Gilgamesh and the unicorn

Related Symbols:



This symbol was borrowed from Mayan design by James Churchward of “The Lost Continent of Mu” fame, as a symbol of the people of Mu.

In Churchward’s interpretation, it is a representation of the forces of the universe. Mu is elsewhere called Lemuria.

A fanciful Lemurian

Related Symbols:


This is the symbol of the Raelian “UFO cult,” representing a spinning galaxy within a hexagram.

The original emblem, a hexagram containing a swastika, was deemed offensive and redesigned:

The Raelians have no ties or connections to Nazism; the swastika was intended in its older meaning as an Eastern Cosmogram- a symbol of the whirlings of the universe.

Related Symbols:


See also: Raelians at Alternative Religions

{ 1 comment }