The emblem of the Jain religion, symbolizing its main tenet, the doctrine of nonviolence. The hand is in the position of the abhaya or “no fear” mudra, a gesture-symbol shared with Hinduism and Buddhism. The wheel in the center of the palm is the wheel of Samsara (or dharmachakra); the word in the center of the wheel reads ahimsa, “stop.”
Together, they represent the halting of the cycle of reincarnation through the practice of Jain asceticism, the avoidance of harm to any living creature.
The Pa Kua are the eight trigrams described in the I Ching; the combinations of whole and broken lines represent the constantly fluctuating elemental forces of the universe: Pa Kua also refers to a wooden hexagram containing the eight trigrams with a mirrored center, which is hung over doorways as a protective charm. This device is popular with practitioners of Feng Shui. The Ba-gua is also used as the logo of the “Dharma initiative” on the television drama Lost.
To learn more about the I Ching, and how to use it as a system of divination: I Ching
The Helm of Awe, a type of rune stave, is magical spell of protection used by early Vikings. According to a number of legends, this apotropaic (protective) symbol, when worn between the eyes, was intended to confer invincibility in the wearer or instill fear in one’s enemies. The earliest mention of the aegishalmer is in the Eddas, although pictorial representations only date from around medieval times.
Today, it is used as a charm of protection and an emblem of identification by Asatru believers.
| A depiction of the aegishjalmur in the Galdrabók, a 17th century Icelandic grimoire.
Mano Cornuto means “horned hand” in Italian; the gesture is commonly depicted on charms against the evil eye. It is unclear whether the gesture originated as an image of horns or as a “poking out the eyes” gesture (against the malocchio or “evil eye”), but ancient lunar goddess charms depicting animal horns were used for similar protective purposes and are probably related to the gesture.
The use of the horns as a symbol of satanic belief is recent, and is evolved from its use by heavy metal musicians and fans. (A good discussion of the use of the horned hand gesture in rock can be found here.) The horned Hand gesture is also used occasionally by Wiccans as a symbol of the “horned God” or as the horns of the Moon Goddess, depending on tradition.
The Witch’s knot is a common symbol in folk magic. The witch’s knot is a symbolic representation of the knot magic practiced by witches in the middle ages, and was used as a sympathetic charm against witchcraft, and usually scratched over doorways of homes and stables. One aspect of its efficacy as a protective charm lay in the ability to draw the complicated symbol in one continuous motion.
While the symbol appears to be made up of intertwined vesica pisces, it does not represent “feminine powers” as is sometimes claimed, but the inversion of those powers- the four radiating half circles symbolically reflect malefic winds. Ironically, this is a popular emblem of choice for modern witches.
The ubiquitous Welsh Dragon at left is the national symbol of Wales. This particular image appears on the flag of Wales and is derived from an ancient standard of the Tudor family, which is in turn derived from the ‘Draco’ standard of the Roman Legion.
Although attempts have been made to link the dragon with Arthurian tales of Merlin and his prophetic vision of battling dragons- red for Wales and white for England- the emblem has been in use in Wales for at least twelve hundred years.