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Home > Cross Symbolism

Cross Symbolism
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shepherdIn pagan times, crosses were associated with sun gods and the heavens. As such, they have been used for many centuries predating Christianity as powerful wards against evil spirits. There are a number of different types of crosses.

The cross was not considered a typically Christian symbol until the seventh century. (Early images of Jesus depicted him either as a lamb or carrying one - an echo of views of Hermes and Osiris as a "Good Shepherd".) To Christians, the cross has become a symbol of the redemption of the world's sins through the death of Jesus.

Where energy, in the form of contemplation, prayers and meditation, has been consistently focused on a particular symbol, it is thought that the symbol itself develops a powerful energy field. Many believe that nothing evil can withstand the power of the Christian cross. Victims of demonic possession and vampires were supposed to be repelled by its image and the Inquisitors wore crosses when interrogating alleged witches during the Burning Times.

latin cross

The Latin, or Passion Cross was originally rejected by Christians because it was a pagan symbol. Some earlier uses of this symbol was as a scepter of Apollo; with the phrase "Ptolemy the Savior"; and a sign of life to come in the Egyptian religon of Sarapis.

The New Testament sometimes refers to Jesus as being hanged on a tree, not a cross (Acts 5:30; 1 Peter 2:24), linking this imagery to tree-slain savior figures of Krishna, Marsyas, Odin, and Dodonian Zeus.

This version of the cross is not an inappropriate symbol for a church with a male-oriented structure, for in early societies it was a phallic symbol.

cross fourchee

A similar symbol in appearance is the Cross Fourchee. This design reflects Christian piety and was popular as a decorative cross in medieval heraldry. The design ties to the age-old trust in the pagan magic of the forked stick.

celtic cross

The Celtic Cross was originally a Hindu symbol of sexual union, kiakra. The cross as a phallic symbol within the circle as yoni. This cross was adopted by the Gypsies. This cross, as used by Christians, is often used as a grave marker.

Other symbolism of this cross relates to the four directions. East is rebirth, youth, Spring, and growth. West is knowledge, experience, Autumn, and guidance. South is vitality, vigor, Summer, and strength. North is wisdom, silence, winter, and death. The circle connects them in the cycle of life.

wotan cross

Wotan's Cross reflects similar symbolism, with the cross and circle as a symbol of cosmic union. The circle also stood for the earth horizon, with the four directions meeting at the center. It was also called the Sun Cross for the sun (cross) embraced by heaven (circle). The often repeated symbolism is that of a diety in the middle of a four-way heaven.

coptic cross

Another cross with sun imagery is the Coptic Cross. This was originally a sun symbol, with the heaven in the center supported by four pillars in each direction to uphold the sky. Coptic Christians later added the four nails to identify Christ with the heavenly diety, and to suggest the blood on the nails had spread to the four corners of the world.

cross potent

Crosses are often associated with sky or sun gods. The Cross Potent was a symbol of this in ancient Mesapotamia. The cross potent with a circle (similar to the Coptic Cross, below) was the sign of the Assyrian heaven-god Anu. This cross is also called the Windlass, a term linked with it in the Middle Ages.

cross pommee

Similar in appearance is the Cross Pommee. This cross represented the Assyrian god Asshur, who ruled time/seasons. He was pictured with the faces of a man, lion, eagle, and bull, his four totems. The cross with circles was later used on Jewish amulets.

greek cross

The Greek Cross was one of the original forms used by Christians. (The Latin cross was not in popular usage until the eighth and ninth centuries.) Before Christianity, the Greek cross was an emblem of Hecate as the Goddess of Crossroads. The vertical was male, the horizontal was female - making it a plus sign of one-plus-the-other.

cross patee

Cross Patee was popular in medieval heraldry. It was a combination of the Christian (Greek) cross and Wotan's. This cross, also known as Cross Formee, was often shown as the insignia of the god Frey.

maltese cross

A similar appearing cross is the Maltese Cross, originallly from the island of Malta, home of one of the world's oldest Goddess temples. This design directs attention to the center, possibly to indicate earth's geographical center, omphalos, and site of the Goddess's chief temple.


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