Wicca is a spiritual practice focused on the power of nature and celebration of moon phases, sun cycles, and elemental energy. Many Wiccans also use forms of magic for healing and ceremonial purposes, and while certain traditions are widely observed in the Wiccan community, the faith as a whole celebrates individuality and encourages adherents to practice Wicca in a way that works for them.
Although Wicca doesn’t have a centralized “church” or a strict set of rules and regulations, its use of symbols helps to unite all practitioners around a shared spiritual language. We’re diving into the meanings and uses of four prominent Wiccan symbols with the help of Mike Sexton, the creator of Bit O’Magick Monthly Wicca Box.
Pentagram and Pentacle
Perhaps the most widely-recognized symbols associated with Wicca are the pentacle and the pentagram. A pentagram is a five-pointed star, while the term “pentacle” refers to a disc or circle with the pentagram inscribed on or in it.
“The points of the star represent the elements of earth, air, water, fire, and spirit. In the case of the pentacle, the circle around it is a protective element [that] connects all of the [other] elements together,” Sexton explains. “This powerful symbol [is often used in] protective work and when placing wards around home and property. For example, I will draw a pentacle with my finger when placing protections on my doors, windows, and property, and I will even trace it on my dog when he's feeling under the weather. On the altar, a pentacle is often used to focus energy.”
Traditional Wiccan practices involve the worship of two deities, although some Wiccans object to the notion of “worship” and instead view their relationship with the divine as one of collaboration.
The first of these figures is the Triple Goddess, a force that takes on three forms much as the God of Christian doctrine includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In Wicca, the Goddess encapsulates the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, with each form representing both a phase of life and a phase of the moon. The Triple Moon symbol is a visual expression of the facets of the Goddess, made up of a circular “full moon” (which stands for the Mother) flanked on the left by a crescent moon shape (for the Maiden) and on the right by another crescent (the Crone).
“The Triple Moon is often used as a symbol of strength and a reminder that the Goddess is always there. That's why you often will find this symbol made into jewelry and tattoos,” Sexton notes.
The Horned God
While the Triple Moon is a symbol of the Goddess, the feminine Wiccan deity, a circle topped with an upturned crescent represents the Horned God, Wicca’s divine masculine figure. In her writings, celebrated Wiccan author Doreen Valiente refers to the Horned God as “the personification of the life force energy in animals and the wild.” The Horned God is aligned with the energy of the sun—just as the Goddess is connected to the moon—and the symbol stands for wild and sometimes unpredictable forces of nature that work with the power of the Triple Goddess to create balance and harmony.
Also known as a Trinity Knot, the triquetra is perhaps most famous for its appearances on pieces of jewelry (and tattoos!) inspired by Celtic mythology. Because modern-day Wicca often pays homage to ancient Celtic traditions of worship, this symbol has become an important part of the Wiccan visual language. The triquetra represents the “power of three” which is a central tenet of Wiccan belief and practices, including the Triple Goddess and the triad of earth, water, and fire. The triquetra has also been used to honor Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of battle, who plays a role in some Wiccan practices. The unbroken line used to draw the triquetra symbolizes solidarity in the context of Wiccan rituals and ceremonies.