Alternative Religious Symbols

A Guide to Religious Symbols Galleries

Symbols are a quick way to communicate often complex ideas. Religions, particularly esoteric ones, commonly employ a great amount of symbolism to represent their beliefs. Click on a subgroup name to view associated symbol galleries.

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Alchemy sulfur symbol
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Alchemy wasn't just a quest to transform lead into gold: it was a quest to transform base things into greater, more spiritual things, including the elevation of the soul. Alchemists coded their notes in a variety of personalized symbols. Here is a collection of common ones. More »

Descending most directly from Islam, which frequently discourages realistic images and emphasizes calligraphy and geometric patterns, the Baha'i Faith most commonly represents itself and basic beliefs through these same means, including the five-pointed star, nine-pointed star, ringstone emblem, and the greatest name. More »

Eye of Horus
Jeff Dahl

A collection of Egyptian symbols still in use today, including the symbols of Coptic Christianity, which drew from the iconography of ancient Egypt. More »

Symbol of Elemental Air
Catherine Beyer

The Greeks proposed the existence of five basic elements. Of these, four were the physical elements – fire, air, water and earth – of which the entire world is composed. Alchemists eventually associated four triangular symbols to represent these elements. In traditional Western occult theory, the elements are hierarchical - spirit, fire, air, water and earth – with the first elements being more spiritual and perfect and the last elements being more material and base. More »

Acute Heptagram Septagram
Catherine Beyer

Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings.  However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. More »

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Temple of the Jedi Order Symbol
Image Courtesy of Temple of the Jedi Order.

Modern Jedi follow a largely personalized religion. As such, there are no widely accepted symbols for the religion as a whole. However, some organizations within the movement adopt symbols that represent some of the basic tenets of their faith. More »

Occult principles are almost by definition impossible to directly explain with words. As such, occultists regularly employ graphic symbols as well as allegories to communicate beliefs to others. More »

Seal of The Sun
Catherine Beyer

Occultists associate a number of symbols with the planets. These include astrological symbols, which are still in common use today. They also include numerological magic squares, complex seals constructed for those squares, and sigils of the spirits and intelligences associated with each planet.

To see information organized by individual planets, please see: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon. More »

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Double Ouroboros
Uraltes Chymisches Werk von Abraham Eleazar, 18th century

The ouroboros is a snake or dragon (often described as a "serpent") eating its own tail. It is present in a variety of different cultures, going back as far as the ancient Egyptians. Today, it is most associated with Gnosticism, alchemy, and hermeticism. More »

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Eliphas Levi Pentagram
Eliphas Levi, 19th century

The pentagram, or five-pointed star, has been in existence for thousands of years. Over that time, it has had many meanings, uses, and depictions associated with it. More »

Official Raelian Symbol - Hexagram and Swastika
http://www.rael.org

The official symbol of the Raelian Movement, as well as an alternative symbol sometimes employed by Raelians, and a historic image which bears a similar symbol. More »

Unitarian Universalist Flaming Chalice
Catherine Noble Beyer/About.com

The most common symbol of Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a flaming chalice within two circles. This symbol and the components which make up the symbol can represent different ideas to different people. More »

Ogoun veve
Catherine Beyer

Each lwa, or spirit, in Vodou has its own set of symbols which are drawn in powder during ceremonies and then subsequently destroyed. Variations in different traditions have led in some cases to a multitude of images being associated with the same lwa. More »

Neopagan faiths such as Wicca are influenced by cultures that were largely illiterate and/or by occult beliefs that stress the value of symbology. As such, visual symbols are often an important part of a neopagan's spiritual path. Visit the Paganism / Wicca Guide Site for information on symbols associated with a variety of neopagan religions. More »

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Yin Yang

Yin Yang
Catherine Beyer

A symbol representing the unity of opposing forces, this Eastern symbol - and the philosophy behind it - has greatly influenced modern thought, particularly in new age, neo-pagan and occult circles.

Faravahar
Image courtesy of Hannah M.G. Shapero/pyracantha.com.

The Faravahar symbol is the most commonly associated symbol for Zoroastrianism. While its meaning has changed over the centuries, the image can still be found on ancient Persian structures. More »