Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why the Triskelion should replace the Pentagram as the main symbol of Neo-Paganism

The pentagram has for sometime been used as a generic symbol for Neo-Paganism, just about any product intended for all Pagans will have a pentagram or a pentacle somewhere. Look at just about any modern tarot deck, I had a former friend that would go on a rant anytime I called the Earth suits disks or coins.
I do not believe I have to explain the symbolism of the pentagram to a reader but for the few non-Pagans that make up my readership the Pentagram is a five pointed the star that once represented the five wounds that Christians believe Jesus sufferend on the cross, it also appears in Taoism, the Baha'i Faith, Babylonian mytery traditions, Thelema, Satanism and a host of other faiths. A good article on the Pentagram can be found here: http://wicca.timerift.net/pentagram.shtml

A Pentagram


These days when one sees a pentagram one tends to think Wiccan, or at least a Wiccan-esque Paganism. That is Duotheism, triple Goddess, Horned God, Law of Three, Harm None and Wiccan styled rituals. For this reason I feel the Pentagram is not a good symbol for the whole of Paganism. As a large majority of Pagan faiths Druidry, Asatru, Kemeticism, Hellenism, Roman Paganism and the rest of the family do not share these features. Many such as ADF Druidry lacks even a believe in the five elements the arms of the Pentagram represent.

As such I feel a new symbol should be found and I believe the triskelion is a good choice to replace the pentagram as a symbol which all Neo-Pagans can in one way or another identifiy with.


One style of Triskelion

The symbol dates back to Neolithic times and can be found in virtually every culture in the world in some form or another. The spirals can have different meanings for different Pagans. I know it appears already in Germanic Paganism and Celtic Traditions, Druids can see the three realms represented in the spirals, Wiccas the Triple Goddess. Thus making it a symbol that is all things to all Pagans. Best of all no path claims the Triskelion thus as a universal Pagan symbol no would make the mistake of thinking Wiccans are the end all and be all of Paganism.

So what do you think reader? As Paganism hits the mainstream and other paths overtake Wicca as the most popular is it time we leave the Pentagram as just the symbol of one set of Paths and take the Triskelion which no path I know of claims as there symbol and make it the symbol of everyone?

14 comments:

  1. I think part of the beauty of our ways is that we aren't necessarily one big community. We are all individuals walking our own path with our gods. Do we really need a universal symbol? I don't think so. Still, symbols are handy. I like the pentacle but I ascribe my own meaning to it and don't care what others think about it. (:

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  2. I'm actually a big fan of this. Whenever I wear a pentagram I feel like I'm being "show-offy", like what you wear to shock your neighbors or parents to flaunt your non-conformity. I know it has deep meaning for some, but for me it has too many distractions associated with it for it to be meaningful to me spiritually. Again, just so I'm not misunderstood, I understand the meaning of the pentagram by those who wear it and respect their chosen symbol. It just feels uncomfortable on me.

    The Triskelion is much better and suits my purposes well. I identify with being pagan, but not any particular path. The Triskelion speaks to me as an ancient symbol of the triple aspect and of perpetual motion/change. And if the one I wear around my neck pops outside my shirt, I don't have to deal with trying to explain anything, because its meaning to me is not obvious to others.

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  3. I can see what you're saying, but I know right off many heathens at least would resist this idea. One reason being is that heathenry is highly individualistic and everyone has their own take and uses different symbols to represent themselves (if at all). Another reason is that actually it's the sunwheel that makes an appearance in ancient heathen art, rather than the triskelion, which is similar, but different. Unfortunately, the sunwheel can be risky to wear around because its mudded and bastardised use by the Nazis. The only triskele really to appear in heathen art is the interlocking horns, but that is already too different from the spiral version found in Celtic art.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

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  4. unfortunately several associations already use the Triskellion not the least is the Toyotomi clan ( they own Toyota and Tokyo )A universal symbol for paganism is a bad idea as paganism is not one homogeneous thing but several very very different paths. Each path should work at defining what it is and why it is distinct and valuable from the others. Then learn to work together for a greater good

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  5. Celtic Reconstructionists use the triskelion as their symbol (officially, I believe). I've always thought of it as specifically Celtic. I think some Celtic Christians use it to represent the Trinity.

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  7. I understand the desire of a universal symbol to represent the "Neo-Pagan Universe". I am Pagan, I know what that means in my heart, but it is not for me to decide what is in another's.

    With that PERSONAL feeling in mind - I think the idea of a Universal Symbol that does actually hold meanings in some traditions is an idea that may seem great at first - but could get some groups at odds with each other.

    If the need is there for a Universal Symbol, perhaps someone should do the research - find the one philosophical idea that all groups can get behind (outside of believing in our rights to worship the way we choose) and develop a symbol to represent that. A way to bring us closer together??? Just a thought...

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  8. The pentagram/pentacle has been a symbol of both Pagan(initially) and then Christian, now more back to Pagan again and should not be abandoned. It is our pagan heritage, just as the Rebel Flag is heritage to those of Southern roots. And it seems some group or person is *always* wanting to remove anything that has significant meaning to many that practive or believe in their own heritage rights.

    Personally this should stop and if you are so afraid of wering one because of what others think of you or the item you wear, then I would suggest not wearing or display such items.

    Myself, I am NOT going to let others dictate what I wear, how I wear it or when, if they don't like it, they just need to keep their mouth shut and move on, in the same way they would change a radio station or turn off their TV or radio becaue they don't like what's playing on it.

    Those that condemn and judge others by such motif, need to start paying attention to what they were taught in their belief, I was raised in a Southern Baptist religion and been in many others until I found my pagan roots, and Christians DO NOT many time believe in what they preach, as in their own bible states, DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS, yet they constantkly do this and even go so far as telling others because of their belief or heritage rituals and rights are going to hell for practicing such. So much for them practicing what they preach and their teachings of being tolerant.

    I would go back and haven't for well over 20 years now in a traditional Christian church for those very reasons, too much forcefulness of their belief on one that may not agree 100% with them, at least in the pagan circles I have become accustomed with, this DOES NOT happen and everyone accepts everyone openly and freely, no matter what or how theu practice their "craft" or "religion" and that IS how it should be.

    Lastly I feel if each group started having different symbols for their covens, groups or circle, then we would all start falling under the gang rivalry mentallity and could even bring disharmony among all groups of paganism.

    So I'm not for adding or taking away from what we currently have or utilize in our way of symbolism of our faith/practice.

    Blessed Be!

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  9. This: "I would go back and haven't for well over 20 years now in a traditional Christian church for those very reasons, "

    Should have read: "I would NOT go back and haven't for well over 20 years now in a traditional Christian church for those very reasons,"

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  10. Thanks for sharing,now I know the meaning of TRISKELION.

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  11. TRISKELION is the Swastika.

    The Origins of Celts and Druids:--

    http://www.hymla.com/index.php?/Readings/were-the-druids-yogis.html

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  12. Good grief, I think you folks ought to leave European history to us Europeans.

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  13. Just as politics is correctly stated to be far too important to leave only to politicians, Quasi zoid, ...

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