35 Pagan Symbols and the Meaning & Stories Behind Them

Pagan religions, cults and other such groups fascinated with the occult tend to have a very rich symbolical tradition. Below are the most popular and commonly seen such pagan symbol, alognside a short explanation of their meaning and history.

35 Pagan Symbols

1.     Pentagram 

A five-pointed star enclosed within a circle, with each point representing the elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and spirit. It is a symbol of protection, spiritual balance, and the interconnectedness of the natural world.

In ancient times, it was a symbol of protection and mysticism across cultures such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. 

Its origins trace back to ancient civilizations like Sumeria and Babylon, where it represented protection and cosmic order. In Greek philosophy, it symbolized the elements and harmony.

In the Middle Ages, it was associated with Christianity’s five wounds of Christ. During the Renaissance, it was embraced as a symbol of humanism.

2.     Dara Celtic Knot

The Dara Celtic Knot symbolizes strength, wisdom, and the oak tree in Celtic culture. Its name, “Dara,” is derived from the Irish word for “oak,” a sacred tree that represents endurance, knowledge, and, most importantly, the realization of one’s true potential.

Only one out of 10,000 acorns successfully grows into a mature oak tree, which symbolically makes the oak tree a symbol of realizing one’s true potential, even when confronted with life’s many hardships.

Borrowing from this, the Dara knot represents personal growth, inner strength, the wisdom acquired through many years of life, and triumph over all the challenges of life.

3.     Thor’s Hammer (Mjölnir) 

The Mjölnir symbol represents Thor’s hammer, the thunder god from Norse mythology, and signifies strength, protection, and divine power. 

Thor wielded Mjölnir in his wars against the Jotun giants, who in Norse mythology were personifications of the destructive aspects of nature: fire, earthquakes, cold, etc. 

Thus, Thor and Mjölnir functioned as symbols of creating order out of chaos and defense against adversity.

However, Mjölnir was also used during blessing ceremonies and fertility rituals. 

Because of its powerful symbolism, Mjölnir was commonly used as an amulet by the Norse Vikings to invoke Thor’s protection, might, and bravery, or to establish a connection between gods and humans. 

In modern times, it has become a prominent symbol of Norse paganism and spiritual heritage.

4.     Valknut

The Valknut is a mysterious Norse symbol made out of three interlocked triangles and is usually associated with the Norse supreme god Odin and, in particular, his role as a god of war and victory.

The Valknut has been found on ancient runestones, burial sites, and artifacts, indicating its connection to warrior culture and the belief in an honorable death in battle.

Through its connection to Odin, the Valknut is believed to represent the idea of slain warriors being chosen to enter Valhalla, the warrior’s afterlife. 

The exact meaning of the Valknut symbol remains debated, however, but it’s thought to symbolize concepts such as protection, strength, and victory.

5.     Triple Moon

The triple moon symbol, also known as the triple goddess symbol, represents the three stages of the lunar cycle: waxing, full, and waning. 

Associated with the cycles of life, the triple moon embodies the aspects of the goddess: maiden (youth and new beginnings), mother (fertility and nurturing), and crone (wisdom and transformation). 

This symbol holds particular importance in modern pagan and Wiccan traditions, signifying the sacred trinity of femininity, the lunar connection, and the eternal cycle of birth, life, and death.

6.     Horned God

Most commonly found in Wiccan traditions, the Horned God represents the masculine divine energy in nature. The Horned God’s origins are thought to be derived from the ancient Greek god Pan or the Celtic Gallo-Roman god Cernunnos. 

Whatever its history, the horned god is commonly depicted as a man with antlers or horns, or even an animal head.  This combination of man and beast symbolizes duality: a man’s rational and instinctive sides, light and dark, summer and winter, night and day.

In Wiccan tradition, the Horned God is the consort of the Triple Goddess and is the deity responsible for fertility and the changing of seasons.

7.     Bow and Arrow

In ancient times, the bow and arrow represented hunting and warfare prowess, embodying strength and precision. 

Mythologically, it often symbolized love and desire, as seen in the stories of Cupid and Eros. 

Another common theme of the bow and arrow symbol is precision and focus, as seen in stories of Greek  archer gods such as Apollo and Artemis.

In Native American cultures, the bow and arrow symbolized survival, protection, and the skill of the hunter. 

Today, the symbol retains its significance of focused intention, determination, and the pursuit of targets, both literal and metaphorical, while also evoking themes of balance and harmony.

8.     Triquetra 

The triquetra, an ancient symbol with Celtic origins, is a symbol constructed out of three interlocking loops. For this reason, it is also known as the Trinity Knot.

The triquetra is usually associated with the interconnectedness of earth, water, and sky. 

However, the triquetra was often used to symbolize any sort of trinity, such as the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother, and crone) or even the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Today, the triquetra generally symbolizes the harmony of interconnected forces.

9.     Yggdrasil

The World Tree in Norse mythology connects the nine realms of existence. It symbolizes the interconnectedness of all life and the universe’s structure.

The Yggdrasil symbol has its origins in Norse mythology and represents the World Tree, where it functions as a cosmic axis that connects all nine realms of existence. 

In Pagan symbolism, Yggdrasil represents the bridge between mankind and the divine and spiritual realms, since the World Tree was said to physically connect the world of mankind (Midgard) with those of the gods and spirits (Asgard, Alfheim, Jotunheim, and Niflheim).

10. Ankh

The ankh, a cross-like shape with a loop at the top, was one of the most important symbols in ancient Egyptian culture.

The ankh represents life, immortality, and divine power. For this reason, the ankh was usually depicted in the hands of gods (like Osiris and Hathor) and pharaohs, since it signified the connection to the afterlife and the eternal cycle. 

The top loop is believed to symbolize both the sun rising above the horizon and the union of male and female principles. 

In the mortal world, the ankh also served as an amulet for protection and a political symbol of power and authority.

11. Wheel of the Year 

The Wheel of the Year symbolizes the cycle of seasonal and spiritual changes in various pagan traditions. 

It consists of eight major sabbats, marking significant points in the solar year, such as solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days.

Each sabbat represents a particular symbolic theme, such as birth, growth, culmination, and rest. 

The Wheel of the Year has its origins in ancient pagan calendars, which tracked important days of the agricultural year.

Thus, the Wheel of the Year also represents the rhythms of the natural world and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

12. Green Man 

The Green Man is an ancient symbol that represents the spirit of nature and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. 

The Green Man is usually depicted as a face made of leaves, vines, or foliage.

Initially a pagan symbol, the Green Man was adopted in Christian art during the Late Medieval and Renaissance periods, where it represented man’s deep connection to nature and the mysteries of the natural world.

13. Cauldron of Cerridwen 

Cerridwen, an enchantress from Welsh mythology, possessed a cauldron that could brew a magical potion that granted inspiration, knowledge, and poetic abilities to whoever drank it. 

The cauldron and the act of brewing the potion symbolize the everyday process of acquiring wisdom, learning, and knowledge through hard work and effort.

The potion itself represents the mystical aspects of the Universe, and the process of transformation and spiritual growth that happens when one explores and studies the mysteries of the world. 

14. Algiz rune

The Algiz rune, also known as Elhaz (meaning elk) or the “Z-rune,” is one of the letters found in the Older Futhark runic alphabet, a system of writing that is even older than the Norse runes more people are familiar with.

This rune had multiple meanings, depending on the context in which it was used.

If the fingers were pointed up, the rune was a “life” symbol. When used as a life symbol, the Algiz rune was carved on weapons, shields, and armor as a talisman for victory and good luck, in the sense that “my life will not end here”. 

By contrast, when the fingers of the rune pointed downwards, the Algiz rune became a symbol of death, and was thus often used to mark tombstones or someone’s passing.

15. Labrys 

The Labrys is a double-headed axe whose symbolic meaning is strongly associated with the ancient Greek culture of the island state of Minos. 

In Minoan religion, the Labrys was used to symbolize the power of goddesses but never that of male gods. 

Starting from this point, the Labrys was associated with goddesses, priestesses, and a matriarchal society. 

Even today, modern paganism sees the Labrys as a symbol of female strength, wisdom, and empowerment.

16. Sun Cross 

The sun cross, also known as the solar cross or wheel cross, is one of the oldest symbols in human history, since the first sun crosses date from the prehistoric Neolithic age.

Furthermore, the sun cross, or variations of it, have been found in numerous cultures: Norse, Native American, ancient Egyptian, etc.

Across most of these cultures, the sun cross represents the sun, its life-giving energy, and, by extension, renewal, cosmic order, and the cycle of seasons. 

When worn as a pendant, the sun cross channels the Sun’s power of light, vitality, and strength.

17. Witch’s Knot 

The witch’s knot, also known as the witch’s charm or the magic knot, is a symbol whose origins can be traced back to medieval times, where it was used as a protective charm against malevolent magic. 

The knot’s intertwining design represents the binding of magical forces, and the “trapping” of negative energies or intentions. 

The With Knot emerged out of a long tradition of knot magic, a folkloric practice that believed the tying of knots could bind, release, or channel magical energies.

Modern pagan witches and magic users use the witch’s knot as a representation of safety, spellwork, and the connection between the material and spiritual worlds. 

18. Eye of Horus 

The Eye of Horus, also known as the Wedjat or udjat eye, is one of the most famous symbols from ancient Egyptian culture. It symbolizes protection, healing, and well being.

According to myth, Horus lost one of his eyes in a conflict with Seth but recovered it with the assistance of Thoth. Horus then gave this new eye to his father, Osiris, to sustain the god in his afterlife journey.

For this reason, the Eye of Horus was usually considered a funerary symbol, although it was common for it to appear even in household objects such as vases, murals, etc. 

 Today, the Eye of Horus is used as a symbol of spiritual insight, protection against negative forces, and a connection to the divine wisdom of the gods.

19. Crescent Moon 

The crescent moon is an ancient symbol and is usually associated with change, transition, and transformation since the moon itself constantly waxes and wanes across the night sky. 

In most pagan cultures, the moon was associated with female deities such as Artemis, Diana, or Isis, and for this reason, the crescent moon is considered even today to be a feminine symbol.

 If the crescent moon is depicted in its waxing period, it represents beginnings such as life, birth, or new adventures. If the crescent moon is in its waning period, it represents a symbol of the end times, of death, or the final days of a cycle.

20. Labyrinth 

The labyrinth symbolizes a winding path of spiritual and personal exploration. 

One of the best-known labyrinth stories is that of the Greek labyrinth that imprisoned the fearsome Minotaur. 

In this story, the labyrinth represents our own internal demons that threaten to destroy us unless we can successfully navigate and escape the challenges of the labyrinth.

In medieval Christianity, labyrinths were used to decorate the floors of cathedrals, serving as a substitute pilgrimage for those who couldn’t make physical journeys to holy sites. The labyrinth’s winding path symbolized the Christian’s spiritual journey and the search for inner truth.

Today, the labyrinth is a symbol often used in Paganism to represent meditation, contemplation, and personal transformation.

21. Ouroboros

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicted as a serpent or dragon eating its own tail and forming a circle. 

This circle represents the cyclical nature of existence—birth, death, and rebirth. It embodies the concept of eternal renewal, suggesting that life is an unending cycle.

In many cases, the Ouroboros is depicted with stripes of two opposing colors, most often black and white. This color scheme symbolizes duality, the unity of opposites such as creation and destruction, and how everything is interconnected.

22. Cornucopia 

The Cornucopia, also known as the “Horn of Plenty,” is an ancient symbol from Greek and Roman mythology that represented prosperity, abundant harvests, financial wealth, and more. 

In Greek art, the Cornucopia was depicted as a horn that produced an endless flow of food or drink.

This symbol was associated with many deities, both Greek and Roman, most commonly Hades, Demeter, or Fortuna.

23. Hecate’s Wheel 

Hecate’s Wheel, also known as the Strophalos of Hecate, is a symbol commonly used in modern Wiccan paganism but has its roots in ancient Greek mythology.

Hecate was the ancient Greek goddess of walls, borders, doorways, crossroads, and the separation of day and night. By extension, Hecate also represented the unknown and mysterious that exists “on the other side”.

Because Hecate was so strongly associated with the mysterious, she became the goddess of witchcraft, magic, sorcery, and rituals. 

It is for this reason that Hecate’s Wheel has become the pagan symbol of witchcraft, transformation, magic, and the mysteries of the night.

24. Athame

The athame is a ceremonial dagger and is used extensively in modern occult practices and Wiccan paganism. 

The athame is one of the four elemental tools and usually corresponds with fire (or sometimes air). The other three elemental tools are the wand, pentacle, and cup.

During pagan rituals, the athame is used to cast circles, invoke energies, direct psychic energies, and manipulate etheric fires. The athame also represents masculine divine energy and, by extension, the powers of transformation. 

The blade is usually double edged but may or may not be sharpened since the athame is used for rituals rather than actual cutting. 

25. Spiral Goddess

The Spiral Goddess symbol is a modern pagan symbol of feminine spirituality. 

The symbol features a female shaped figure with a spiral within her abdominal area and represents the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth, as well as the phases of the moon. 

It’s important to note that the symbol doesn’t represent a particular goddess but rather feminine energies in general. 

For this reason, the Spiral Goddess is a popular modern pagan symbol of female empowerment, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of all life. 

26. Fire Elemental Symbol

In alchemy, fire is symbolized by a simple triangle that points upward, which represents the flames that reach towards the sky.  

In spirituality, fire is associated with qualities like passion, transformation, creativity, and energy. As with air, water, and earth, fire is thought to be a fundamental building blocks of the universe.

Among modern occultists and magic practitioners, fire is an essential element since it is the one that transforms and combines all the others, and in this sense, it is similar to water.

However, fire is also the purifying element that cleanses imperfections and leaves only the essential behind.

27. Air Elemental Symbol 

The air element symbol is shaped as an upward-pointing triangle with a line through it. 

In alchemy and occult practices, Air embodies qualities such as intellect, communication, thought, and the realm of the mind.

28. Lugh’s Knot

Lugh’s Knot, also known as the Celtic Square Knot or the Knot of the Warrior, is a symbolic knot pattern said to represent the Celtic god Lugh. 

In Celtic mythology, Lugh was a deity of many skills and was revered as a warrior, craftsman, and skilled in many arts. 

For this reason, modern paganism views Lugh’s Knot as a symbol that represents strength, balance, and a person’s mastery of diverse talents and qualities.

29. Hagalaz Rune 

A runic symbol representing the hailstone and associated with destruction, transformation, and the forging of new beginnings.

The Hagalaz Rune originates from the first Germanic runic alphabet, the Elder Futhark, and represents the sound “H”. 

The Hagalaz begins the second Aett (group of eight runes), which in some traditions is said to be the Aett of Hel, the Norse goddess of death. 

In ancient runic practices, the Hagalaz Rune was associated with the chaotic power of nature and so symbolized that life is unpredictable and that severe challenges and difficulties can appear at any time.

Depending on how the Hagalaz rune is used and interpreted, it can embody the concepts of destruction and cataclysm, or it can be seen as the rune for new beginnings and transformations.  

30. Dagaz Rune 

The Dagaz Rune is the 23rd runic letter in the Germanic Elder Futhark alphabet and means “day” while its sound corresponds to the modern day letter “D”.

The Dagaz Rune’s shape resembles the letter “X,” which symbolizes a balance between opposites, light and dark, feminine and masculine, and also the dawning of a new day. 

Because it is the runic symbol of the Day, the Dagaz rune has come to represent the passing of night into day and, by extension, the ending of one phase and the beginning of another.

Thus, the Dagaz rune is a symbol of transformation, enlightenment, personal growth, and the overcoming of difficulties that held one back.

31. Awen

In the Welsh language, Awen is the word for “inspiration”, particularly artistic inspiration associated with artists, poets, writers, and musicians. 

In Celtic Welsh mythology, Awen becomes personified and represents the muse that inspires all artists with creative energies.

The symbol’s central element consists of three diverging rays, which can be interpreted in a number of ways. 

According to some druidic organizations, the rays represent the triple aspect of divinity, while other modern pagan beliefs believe the three rays represent various types of trinities such as: 1) land, sea, and sky; 2) body, mind, and spirit; or 3) love, wisdom, and truth. 

Regardless of the exact meaning of the rays, the Awen symbol is still seen today as a symbol of divine inspiration, granted by the gods to the artists of the world.

32. Hamsa Hand

The Hamsa Hand symbol, also known as the Hand of Fatima or Hand of Miriam, is a hand-shaped amulet that offers protection against the evil eye and negative energies and is often used in various pagan traditions.

The Hamsa Hand symbol originates from the ancient Mesopotamian culture, where it is thought she represented the protective powers of the goddesses Inana or Ishtar.

Over the millennia, the Hamsa Hand was lost and rediscovered multiple times, and with each rediscovery, it was integrated into a new religion. It is for this reason that the Hamsa Hand appears at times in both Christianity and Islam.

However, it retained its core symbolism and function as a spiritual protection amulet in nearly every religion.

There are slight variations to its meaning, however, depending on whether the fingers are closed or open or if they point upwards or downwards.

In any case, each of the five fingers symbolizes different aspects of protection and power, while the eye in the center wards off negative energies. 

33. Gordian Knot 

The Gordian Knot is a complex knot that symbolizes an unsolvable problem or situation, often seen as a challenge that requires creative and unconventional thinking to overcome.

The Gordian Knot symbol comes from the story of the legendary knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia in ancient Greece. It was famously unraveled by Alexander the Great through a single cut of his sword, and the phrase “cutting the Gordian Knot” now signifies solving a complex problem in a decisive manner. 

The symbol’s history and association with Alexander’s legendary act have made it a symbol for bold decision-making, problem-solving, and the triumph of human ingenuity.

34. Svefnthorn 

The Svefnthorn, also known as the “Sleep Thorn,” is a Norse runic magical symbol associated with sleep and dreams, used for protection during sleep and dreamwork. The Svefnthorn’s design varies, but it typically features multiple intersecting lines or triangles. 

In Norse tales such as the “Volsung Saga”, the Svefnthorn was associated with the ability to induce sleep or prevent nightmares. 

The symbol’s history is intertwined with ancient runic practices, where it was inscribed on objects or worn as a protective charm. 

In Norse culture, sleep was considered a vulnerable state, and the Svefnthorn symbol was believed to offer protection and tranquility during sleep, helping to shield the sleeper from malevolent spirits or influences. 

35. Oak and Holly King

The Oak and Holly King are an important Wiccan and pagan symbol that represent the cycle of the seasons and the changing of power throughout the year. 

The Oak King represents the waxing half of the year (spring and summer), meaning growth, vitality, and the triumph of light over darkness. 

Conversely, the Holly King, linked to the waning half of the year (fall and winter), embodies wisdom, rest, and the dominance of darkness. 

The Holly King and the Oak King are locked in an eternal cycle of battle and succession, representing the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth in the natural world. 


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  • A dictionary of symbols by Chevalier, Jean
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  • The Lesser Key of Solom
  • The Key of Solomon
  • The Kybalion by Three Initiates
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Atlas Mythica

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