Symbols were created as a sort of spiritual language among ancient pagans to aid in magickal rituals, spiritual languages, and alchemy. Fast forward to the present, these same symbols are still being used in witchcraft today.
It is believed that every symbol used by a witch or pagan has been charged during each ritual, which is what makes these witchcraft symbols so powerful in ritual magick to enhance spiritual practices and invoke protection, healing, love, and aid in spells that work with deities.
Thus, when you use a symbol, you are utilizing the energy that was used by every witch or pagan before you as well as aiding in charging that same symbol to become even more powerful than it was before you used it.
In this way, us witches are connected to each other on an energetic level each time we use these symbols in our spells, rituals, and meditations, and manifestations.
Because of this incredible power that we have, it is also our responsibility as guardians of our craft to use these symbols responsibly as to ensure that the energy associated with these symbols remains pure. Below are a few examples of the most popular symbols used in witchcraft rituals and spells.
Used in both rituals and divination, the symbol for Earth is used to call-in grounding, fertility, matriarchal Goddesses, and relates to all things of the material world such as money, property and physical possessions. This symbol can be used in attracting abundance, aiding in fertility, and to enhance all areas related to physical manifestations.
The Earth symbol is also related to Earth signs in astrology such as Capricorn where they tend to be very grounded and stubborn. Some Earth deities include: Gaia, Terra, Prithvi, Persephone, and Ki. Lastly, the Suit of Pentacles in Tarot is associated with Earth as it relates to matters of the physical realm such as money, property, materials, and personal possessions.
Used in both rituals and divination, the symbol for Air is represented by communication, clarity, and balance. It is used in rituals to invoke insight, mental clarity, movement and action. When thinking about this symbol, it should be easy to draw up images of the freedom of a bird and the intelligences it has to balance the air under its wings.
The Air symbol is also related to Air signs in astrology such as Libra as they often yearn to find the balance beneath their wings, flying freely and independently above the mortal world. Some air deities include: Amun, Sidhe, and Aeolus. Lastly, the Suit of Swords is associated with Air in Tarot as it relates to intellect, thoughts, and reasoning.
The Fire symbol represents new beginnings, masculine energy, The Tower in Tarot as represented by the destruction and chaos that new beginnings are built from, and can be used in rituals to invoke purification, protection, and healing.
When meditating on Fire, watch the flames as they dance in the chaos of heat. The Fire symbol is also related to Fire signs in astrology such as Leo where they tend to be fiercely loyal friends but will scorch you if you burn them. A few deities associated with Fire are: Brigit, Apollos, Vesta, and Pele. Lastly, in Tarot, Wands is associated with the Fire element as it relates to creativity, action, willpower, and manifestation.
The water symbol is used in witchcraft to invoke divine feminine energy, healing, love, deep-soul nourishment, as well as cleansing away impurities in the physical, mental, or spiritual realms. Water is the source of all life, use it to invigorate your rituals.
The Water symbol is also related to Water signs in astrology such as Pisces who tend to be very empathetic and prefer when they can move with the subtle flow of life. Some deities associated with the Water Symbol include: the Selkie, Osiris, and Diana. Tarot associations for Water include the Suit of Cups as it relates to emotions, feelings, love, relationships, trauma and healing.
Triple (Moon) Goddess
Often associated with other Goddesses in ancient cultures such as Diana, Hecate, the Charites, and The Fates. The Triple Moon symbol represents the divine feminine witch in all her phases of life as represented by Maiden, Mother, and Crone as symbolized by the phases of the moon, and ruled by Earth, the heavens and the underworld realms.
So really, the Triple Moon Goddess symbol is a neo-pagan symbol representing all of the triple Goddesses throughout history and therefore can be used to invoke these Goddess energies in deity magick. Use it in rituals to invoke the blessings of Goddess energy, to aid in deeper connections with your inner Goddess, connecting more deeply to your intuition, for fertility spells, and for all forms of Moon Magick.
Considered an emblem of perfection by the Ancient Greeks, the Pentagram is the most widely used and known symbol of witchcraft, it represents the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West) as well as the Five Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit). It is the go-to symbol for all of your rituals as it combines all elements, the connection to Spirit or the Universe, as well as ancient protective qualities.
However, this symbol hadn’t been fully adopted by witches until around the 1940’s when Gerald Gardner adopted the ancient symbol into neo-pagan rituals. Because of the popularity of this symbol, the Pentagram is also the most wildly feared symbol among modern society —these fears are largely related to the Satanists inverted, or upside-down version of the pentacle because everything in Satanism is inverted.
So essentially, witches can thank not only mainstream media but also Satanists for the resulting fear-mongering associated with the craft.
Worshipped in Athens, Hecate was considered a Goddess of Protection who blessed families with prosperity. She was a Goddess of borders and doorways, that of the physical and multidimensional realms, where she is noted as being “between” and thus described as a Goddess that was in between this world and others, which includes the Underworld where she holds the keys to the gates between realms.
A Goddess with three women or a single woman followed by a dog, similar to that of the Triple Moon Goddess, it was believed that she ruled over Earth, Sea, and Sky as well as a Mother of Angels and Cosmic World Soul (Anima Mundi) extracted from the philosophies of Plato in that all things are sentient.
A symbol of divine feminine, transformation and again the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, it is encircled by the Cosmic World and the maze symbolizes rebirth.
In plant lore, Hecate is also associated with Yew, an ancient tree associated with bow crafting and poison, in fact, many poisonous plants are associated with Hecate such as, Belladonna, Dittany, Mandrake, and Aconite. As Hecate was a Lunar Goddess, this symbol can be used in all Moon Magick as a way of deepening your connection with the lunar cycles, fertility, birthing, and intuition.
The Solar Cross
The Solar Cross or Sun Cross has been found in prehistoric cultures all over the world. The Sun is represented by this symbol, as well as the four seasons or quadrants of Earth (Spring, Summer, Autumn, and, Winter as marked by the solstices).
The Solar Cross, also known as Odin’s Cross, is also used in astrology and astronomy but ritually it is used to focus on life, transformation, and nourishment, and would be a good symbol to compliment the Earth Symbol.
The Horned God
Deeply symbolizing masculine energy and the consort of the Triple Moon Goddesses mentioned above, he is associated with sexuality, hunting, nature and the cycles of life. Usually depicted as having either horns or antlers on his head, he is representative of the unity between divine beings or Gods, and animals.
In Traditional Witchcraft, he is dualistic in that he represents both the light and dark, summer and winter, the Oak King and the Holly King.
Because of his dualistic depictions and his connection with the triple Goddess, he is also associated with the Pentagram (2+3=5). Additionally, the relationship between the Horned God and the Triple Goddess are also reflected by the Wheel of The Year in stories of The Horned God born in winter who impregnates the Goddess, then dying during Autumn and Winter months to be reborn by the Goddess again at Yule.
The Horned God symbol is a great symbol to use if you are working with deities associated with masculine energy, nature, lifecycles, and it is primarily associated with strength, action, change, growth, and movement.
The Septagram (Faery Star)
Also known as The Faery Star, which relates to the Fae Folk and their realm of Tir Na Nog, the Septagram is related to the 7 alchemical metals and their corresponding planets, the 7 Earthly elements, the 7 sisters (Pleiades constellation) as well as the 7 celestial bodies of the universe. Representative of the sphere of Netzach in the Hermetic Qabalah and the corresponding planet of Venus.
The Septagram was also used by Aleister Crowley as a seal of Babalon. The Septagram is considered one of the most powerful symbols of Witchcraft as it can be used as a gateway to other realms as well as the universe in connection with celestial bodies because of this, take great thought in where and how you use it in your rituals.
The Eye of Ra
Probably an earlier depiction of the All Seeing Eye, The Egyptian, Eye of Ra is a powerful symbol to use for protection against those who might harm you, your loved ones, or your property. This symbol, therefore, can be used as a worn talisman, a sigil in ritual magick, or drawn around your home.
It is important to note that Ra was the Egyptian God of the Sun and therefore this symbol could be used in solar rituals, solstices, or even to aid in illumination spells for clarity or to reveal hidden truths.
Spirals have been found drawn into the walls of caves since the neolithic period. The Spiral is believed to be the symbol of life, representing the cycles of life from birth to rebirth, and reincarnation in a cyclical dance of life and a representation that life and death are both ends and beginnings.
Additionally, spirals are found all over in nature such as the whirlpools in rivers, the patterns on seashells, tornadoes, and the spiral of life or the Fibonacci sequence or nature’s code. Perhaps an earlier depiction of the Flower Of Life symbol that has recently become so popular, it can be used in ritual work to honor the passing of loved ones, past life regression rituals, and nature craft.
How to use symbols in witchcraft
- Use symbols when journaling or scribing to focus your intentions and subconscious in a specific direction. You can also use them within your Book of Shadows when writing down your favorite rituals, or to keep your thoughts safe from nosey Nancy’s.
- Inscribe these symbols (safely) onto wood, for candle sigil magick, clay artworks, etc., the options are endless.
- Adorn yourself with these symbols with jewelry, make up, clothing, or even tattoos.
- Decorate your altar with your favorite symbols or ones that you frequently use. This is a great way to keep your altar charged and protected.
- Use these symbols during mediation by visualizing the symbol in your mind, just behind your third eye to help aid in your meditations for grounding, healing, etc., as well as your manifestations and setting intentions.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a great start if you are new to symbols and would like to use them more in your daily life and in your spells. When we come down to the truth of it, symbols are nothing more than simplistic forms of art, and some witches believe that their true power was created by the hands of mere mortals rather than the Gods and Goddesses themselves.
Symbols are a great way to not only enhance your rituals and spells, but also as a way to feel more deeply connected to this collective of witches that we refer to lovingly as, the craft.