Derived from the Latin word ‘Occultus’ meaning hidden, secret or clandestine, Occult refers to the knowledge of the unknown and the hidden. In its common usage, the occult is associated with knowledge of the paranormal and study of the higher spiritual reality that goes beyond logic or pure reason. As such, it stands opposed to science, which is the knowledge of the measurable.
Several religions and sects such as Wiccans and NeoPagans accept occultism (the study of occult practices) as integral to the mystical religious experience. These practices include magic, astrology, alchemy, divination, spiritualism, extra-sensory perception and more. Meanwhile, many other religions disapprove of occultism and associate it with the supernatural. Many mainstream religions include certain occult practices that are described more as esoteric. Mainstream Christianity has considered occult influences as heretical and resisted them, through divination and seeking blessings or intervention of angels has been deemed righteous by some esoteric branches of Christianity.
For the occultists, occult symbols play a very critical part in rituals and ceremonies, along with talismans and amulets. Occult symbols include a wide range of symbols related to Satanism, witchcraft, traditional magic, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, and particular mystical organizations or ideologies. Some occult symbols that have been in use since ages and are still popular among a number of modern magical orders, or occult circles and societies are given below.
|Inverted Pentagram: When the five-pointed star is inverted to show two points above, it is associated with Satanism, black magic, Masonry, and Wiccans. Its downward pointing represents earthly gratification. Inverted Pentagram symbolizes evil and contempt for the traditional spiritual values. The symbol is used in occult rituals and witchcraft for conjuring up the evil spirits. ||Reverse Cross: Also called the Cross of Peter or Upside Down Cross, the Reverse Cross is used by Satanists to show rejection and mockery of Jesus. The symbol signifies opposition to the Christian dogma. |
|Ankh: This is an Egyptian symbol of life. It is associated with reproduction, fertility rites, and building up of lust in a person. ||Baphomet: A demonic deity depicted as a man with goat’s legs and horned head, the Baphomet is representative of Satan. It is also known by the names of The Goat of Mendes, The Black Goat, and The Judas Goats. For ceremonial purposes, Baphomet is hung on the West wall over the altar. |
|All-seeing Eye: Used in divination and magic for casting spells curses and psychic control, the All-seeing Eye is a Masonic symbol that is regarded as the eye of Lucifer. It is believed that the person who can control it can control the world’s finances. ||Horned Hand (Mano Cornuto): Occultists use it as a sign of recognition. The Horned Hand is supposed to place a curse on the person it is pointed at. Alternately, many circles use the symbol to ward-off the evil eye. |
|Cross of Nero: Though the Cross of Nero came to be recognized as a peace sign in the 1960s, it originated as a symbol mocking the Christian Cross and representing the defeat of Christianity. The symbol shows a circle enclosing an inverted Cross that is broken at its anchor and denotes Nero’s belief of world peace being possible without Christianity. The symbol is also called the Dead Man’s Rune. ||Hexagram: The Hexagram is one of the oldest symbols used universally in ceremonial magic and occult practices. It is shaped as a six-pointed star and is made with two overlapping triangles, one of them inverted. The hexagram represents the divine union of the male and the female and is also seen as the combination of all the four elements of fire, air, water, and earth. It is known also as Seal of Solomon and the Jewish religion reveres it as the Star of David. |