A Short guide
From Crescents to Crosses
by Carl Teichrib
"Symbolism is the language of the Mysteries…By symbols men have ever sought to communicate to each other those thoughts which transcend the limitations of language…In a single figure a symbol may both reveal and conceal, while to the ignorant the figure remains inscrutable." — Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, p. 20.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, "symbol" can be defined as "a mark or character taken as the conventional sign of some object, idea, function, or process." The New Age movement and the occult–which, in many ways, are one and the same–have greatly employed the use of symbolism. I find it disturbing that while the historical and contemporary "marks" of occultism can be found throughout our modern culture, we no longer recognize their spiritual significance. However, just because the average person no longer knows the meaning of occult symbols, it in no way negates their significance. The fact remains that these symbols have never lost their meaning, and occultists today still recognize their power and influence.
This article is Part 2 in a multipart series on occult symbols.
Crescents: In occult symbolism, the crescent–or waxing moon–represents fertility. Often seen as an emblem on the heads of lunar deities, this symbol is directly linked to the lunar goddesses of Isis and Hathor (Egypt); Astarte (Phoenicia); Ishtar (Babylonia); Artemis, Hectate, and Selene (Greece); and Diana and Luna (Rome). According to Nevill Drury’s Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult, the Chinese view the moon as a feminine principle–the yin (yin and yang is a very popular cultural symbol today).
Besides the typical stand-alone crescent symbol, two combined forms can be seen in various uses today – the first is the star and crescent combination. This composite represents the relationship between the lunar and solar deities, with the star symbolically recognized as the masculine solar god. This form has traditionally been associated with Islam, and it’s no coincidence. Islam’s history reaches deep into the recesses of the ancient mystery traditions. One "western" group that uses the symbol as its official emblem is the "Shriners," a "service" group of higher degreed members of the Masonic Lodge. Not surprisingly, the Shriners complete name truly identifies its mystical Islamic overtones–Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. The figure below is a copy of their emblem.
The other crescent combination is that of the solar disk and waxing moon, which has essentially the same meaning as that of the star combination. The astrological sign of Taurus is a prime example of this disk-moon combination.
Crosses: The Christian cross (U) has traditionally been symbolic of Jesus Christ’s death–as it was the instrument used in his execution. But in the world of occultism, it has other meanings. Some occultists believe it represents the mystical sexual union of male and female generative powers. The Rosicrucian Order, a world wide occult society, has a single red rose hanging from the cross. To the Rosicrucian, this symbol represents evolution and karma. The single red American beauty rose also represents international socialism.
Another cross form often found in occult societies, and especially Rosicrucianism, is the Hermetic Rose Cross. This mystical symbol is laced with alchemical and Kabalistic meanings. The Hermetic Rose Cross shown above on the right is taken from the AMORC Rosicrucian Manual.
By far one of the oldest cross forms adapted to occult usage is that of the Tau. This magic talisman, a representation of regeneration and the dual generative power, historically has been part of Egyptian and Buddhist symbology. It is still used throughout the occult world, and can be found in a variety of secret western occult societies.
Cross types abound within the world of the occultism and historic mysticism–Teutonic crosses, Templar crosses, Maltese crosses, the Patriarchal and Papal cross (found in Roman Catholicism), the Greek cross, the Cross of Lorraine, and others. The "Peace Sign" is a type of cross. Satanists regard the symbol as representing a broken cross–the destruction of Christianity. The inverted Christian cross is also used in a similar fashion. And the Question Mark cross mockingly asks the question, "Did Jesus really die?"
As followers of Christ, the knowledge of the occult uses of the cross should alert us to the fact that not all things seem as they are. While Christians recognize that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, many others view it in contempt and hostility. Others use it as a type of magical tool and attribute occult meaning to its shape.
More than ever we need to hold fast to the words of Ephesians chapter six:
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." –Ephesians 6:12,13
Carl Teichrib is Director of Research at Hope For The World, the organization of best-selling author Gary Kah. To access Hope For The World’s top quality research newsletter, or other pertinent material, call 317-290-HOPE.