Six Uncommon Magical Symbols or Items
Symbols from magical, occult, religious, spiritual, and mythological origins summarized for the curious.
Fancy yourself some cool symbols to satisfy an intellectual or mystical itch? Well, I hope you're ready for what's ahead. There are so many symbols out there that tickle our subconscious and reveal what and how our ancestors perceived the world and life's merciless circumstances.
The Aesclepius Wand
Don’t confuse this for the Caduceus because they’re quite different symbols associated with different Greek Gods, but they do have similar properties. This is considered the true symbol of medical practice. The wand itself is connected to the old method of trying to extract parasites by letting them wind around a stick then pulling them out of the body. The snake doesn’t symbolize a parasite, in this case, however. The serpent signifies healing and transformation from a mental and spiritual perspective. Aesclepius or Asclepius is the Greek god of healing and prophecy.
This symbol, the Caduceus, belongs to Hermes/Mercury and is often used as the symbol for medicine. Someone should tell western doctors that Aesclepius wants his credit for healing back. I'm sure he'd appreciate it.
Common in various indigenous cultures, such as Native Americans, Eskimos, Aborigines from Australia, and Africans, the bullroarer is a long piece of wood that is meant to be very powerful. It can summon thunder, hold the voices of spirits, and could also change the weather. They’re meant to make incredible sound when it’s swung over someone’s head. I don’t know who Jungle Jay is, but it seems he got one to work and knows how to make them. Listen for yourself. It is a pretty unnerving sound.
Chnoubis / Xnoubis
With the head of a lion and a body of a serpent, this creature was found on amulets for the sake of protection around the first century. This symbol of the creature was found on medical amulets to protect anyone wearing it from being poisoned. What is up with the serpent and medicine? As stated before, serpents were a sign of healing and enlightenment and are often demonized because of their link to Christian mythology's interpretation of the devil. Speaking of demons, Chnoubis is also associated with the demon/daemon Abraxas.
Abraxas had a position in heaven before his demotion, specifically dealing with the process of life, death, and resurrection. The Knights Templar took a fondness to him for a while, which is probably why Christian Gnostics took an interest as well especially when you breakdown the numerological significance of his name.
The Druze Star
Stars are a common symbol in many belief systems, though most commonly recognized as a pentagram from Pagan or Wicca traditions. This multicolored star belongs to the Druze, a belief system created in Western Asia and is considered a branch off of Shia Islam. This monotheistic faith has more than 600,000 followers in Syria and elsewhere. Each color represents a tenet or principle of their belief:
- Green: representing the Sun, the mind, and masculinity
- Red: representing the Moon, the soul, and femininity
- Yellow: representing Word, or the mediating communication between divinity and mankind
- Blue: representing willpower and possibility
- White: representing the union of will and the Word; manifestation
Since the Druze belief has such a universal view, it’s considered esoteric and gnostic to most. Not only does this belief support theophany and reincarnation, but it also supports full surrender to a Cosmic Mind so allegorical or prophetic teachings can be fully understood.
The Hand of Glory
In sixteenth century Europe, this was considered an essential tool for a thief who wanted to make sure they would successfully steal what they came for without any trouble. The Hand of Glory was reported to have quite a few abilities: make its owner invisible, make anyone else near it unconscious or paralyzed, and ward off malevolent spirits. It's suspected the flame that it can only be extinguished with milk. Although the Hand of Glory is a candle, it’s made out of the remnants of a corpse of a man executed through hanging, any leftover fat of the dead body, and the dead person’s hair could be used as the wick. The Petit Albert, a grimoire written by St. Albertus Magnus, and Compendium Maleficarum, a journal made for the sake of hunting witches by Francessco Maria Guazzo, provide instruction on how to make it and to protect yourself from it.
If you find this to be an interesting item, I have recently discovered that there is one that still exists. Please check out one of my favorite websites, ancient-origins.net, to read more about probably one of the last remaining Hands of Glory found in North Yorkshire, England.
Here’s another item made from the remains of the dead. The Kapala (in Sanskrit), or Thod Pa (Tibetan), is a decorated bowl made from a human skull often found in charnel ground. It’s a ritualistic item and its symbolic purpose can have multiple meanings, like representing righteousness conquering evil or to appease wrathful gods. It’s mostly seen as a place for offerings; even the “skull cup” itself is treated as sacred through decoration and presentation. If the skull came from a child who had already passed on, it’s seen as even more sacred since children represent innocence. The Kapala is a highly revered item that is treated in great respect to those who passed on and deities connected to the religious rites (such as types of Hinduism and Buddhism).
Thank you for reading.
I hope you found this article interesting. I address the items, their history, and the belief systems they’re connected to with respect and hope my readers will as well. This type of information is very interesting and reflects the human desire to better understand or connect to the abstract, uncontrollable forces in life. I’ll investigate more symbols soon. Thank you for reading.
Main source: The Illustrated Signs and Symbols Soucebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs by Adele Nozedar (2010).