(Image: Eliphas Levi's Pentagram)
Celtic knots, pentagrams, Trees of Life...almost everywhere you turn here at Dragonspace, you come face to face with a sacred symbol that has a long history and manifold meaning. Symbols adorn pendants and trinket boxes, journals and athames, artwork and sculptures. When you see them, your mind immediately makes a connection between the symbol and its meaning, whether that’s spiritual, cultural, historical, or even purely aesthetic.
Language itself has its origins in symbology. Right now, you’re reading ‘words’ or markings on a page and deriving meaning from them. The human ability to condense huge concepts into a succinct visual form is remarkable. And sacred symbols are are beautiful example of that.
Here, we explore a few of the most prevalent symbols featured on our merchandise in the store.
Celtic knots are perhaps the most common symbol you’ll come across at Dragonspace. We’re very inspired by Celtic culture and mythology here at the store, and knots are one of the most recurring features of Celtic design. The interwoven nature of knots makes them a popular symbol of interconnectedness and unity. They often have no beginning or end - simply an infinite loop - making them signifiers of eternity, and perhaps the cycles of life itself. The triquetra or trinity knot is one of the most common Celtic knots, symbolising the three-fold nature of life and the earth. The Celtic Cross is another popular knot—a religious symbol often found in churches or burial sites. Spiral knots are another common Celtic motif, often believed to be inspired by the patterns found in nature. Celtic knots are found in heraldry and jewelry, architecture and textiles, and have come to have universal recognition.
Pentagram and Pentacle
The Pentagram is a five-pointed star with special significance in Wiccan and Neo-Pagan practice. The Pentacle is a pentagram encased in a circle. While the pentagram has long been associated with faith and spirituality, from Christianity to Judaism, it is now commonly associated with magical practice. The Pentacle is considered a talisman that can be used in a variety of ways, such as being worn on the chest for protection, or being used in spells and ritual. While some believe that pentacles represent all of the five elements of nature - earth, air, water, fire and ether/spirit - in perfect harmony, other schools of thought - like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - see the pentacle as a symbol of earth only. In classic tarot symbology, pentacles are one of the four suits of the Minor Arcana, and are associated with money and the material world. In general, pentacles and pentagrams are strong symbols of protection and balance.
Thor’s Hammer is perhaps the most widely recognised of the Norse symbols. Thor was a powerful Norse God, and his hammer - also known as Mjölnir - was his key weapon. When Thor throws his hammer out to defeat an enemy, it always returns back to him, similar to the boomerang of the Indigenous Australians. However, Thor’s Hammer isn’t just a symbol of power and battle. It’s a symbol of protection and defense against wicked forces. In some Norse tales, Thor even uses his hammer to help heal and resurrect, causing it to also be known as a symbol of sacred healing and strength.
Tree of Life
We explored the beautiful Tree of Life symbol in a previous blog post, The Magic of Trees. This is another symbol that has its origins in several different cultures, from Norse legend to Islam. The Tree’s most obvious symbolism is that of nature and Mother Earth, but the meanings don’t stop there. In its depiction in Celtic artwork, the Tree’s branches rise high to the heavens, while its roots dig deep into the earth, symbolising the connection between heaven and earth. In Buddhist spirituality, the first Buddha achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, which is also sometimes referred to as a ‘tree of life.’ The Tree is also referenced in the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, symbolising knowledge. Fertility, interconnectedness, wisdom, enlightenment, stability - the Tree means many things to many different people.
The Ankh is an Ancient Egyptian symbol — a cross with a loop at the top instead of a straight line. The Ankh was actually a hieroglyphic symbol used to depict the concept of ‘life’. It was often featured in Egyptian artwork and sculpture being held in the hands of important deities. Some images show the ankh symbol being passed from the deity to the Pharaoh, showing the transference of life from the divine to the human. The Ancient Egyptians believed strongly in the afterlife, so the ‘ankh’ is more than merely a symbol of physical life—it signifies the complexity of existence, the beauty of life, spirituality, faith and much more.
These are just a few of the mystical symbols you'll find around Dragonspace. Whole books have been dedicated to the history behind these symbols, so this merely scratches the surface. And of course, symbols are deeply personal and come to take on new and unique meanings with every person who finds a connection to them. Do you have a particular symbol that you feel drawn to? Let us know in the comments.