Throughout the ages, various religions have been created and forgotten. A symbol of some sort was almost always created to express that religion. However, the passage of time has skewed the meaning of some of these symbols.
The Pentagram –
The first thing that probably comes to your mind when you think about the pentagram is a Satanic cult. However, only in the last hundred years or so have the Satanic cults used the pentagram. And the pentagram has to be inverted in order to symbolize Satan. Another religious organization that you may think of is the Wiccan religion. The Wiccan religion isn’t very old either, but it is meant to symbolize ancient paganism. Unlike Satanic cults, the pentagram is not inverted in the Wiccan faith.
In the past, the pentagram has belonged to many other religions. Some of these include Judaism, Paganism, and even early Christianity. Note earlier how I stated that the cross has to be inverted to symbolize Satan? Well it was also supposedly used by early Christians in the same way. I guess that’s what you call ironic.
The Swastika –
Hitler is the first thing to come to mind when you see a picture of a swastika. But guess what? The swastika is actually thousands of years old, and it is considered a holy symbol by many different religions. It is also the oldest known holy symbol. You’ll find the swastika in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, certain Native American faiths, and many others.
So if you ever visit a country like Thailand and see the swastika on a Buddhist temple, try not to be offended. Apparently, Hitler decided to steal this symbol, and use it for his nefarious purposes. While Hitler used the swastika to promote hate and genocide, the true meaning of the swastika is life and good luck. Understandably, very few people who know about Hitler will ever think of the swastika as a symbol of life and good luck. And who can blame them.
The Cross –
It also appears that Christians are not the first people to use a cross to depict their ideology. In fact, the cross has been used for thousands of years before Christ was supposedly born. And early Christians may have actually despised the cross because it symbolized executions. Instead of using the cross, Christians used the fish symbol to depict Jesus(many still do).
It wasn’t until around the fourth century AD that Christians started using the cross to symbolize their faith. This supposedly happened because of the conversion of a Roman emperor known as Constantine. After his conversion, Constantine outlawed crucifixions. Thus, the cross was eventually integrated into Christianity.
As for the other religions that used the cross, my favorite is the Egyptian religion. The Egyptian cross is actually a hieroglyphic symbol that roughly translated means life. The Egyptian cross is also known as the Ankh. It may have been used to symbolize the goddess Isis or other deities. No one is really certain. The cross may have also been used by early pagans to symbolize the four cardinal points(Air, Fire, Water; Earth).
Another deity that has ties to the cross is the Norse god Thor. Thor’s cross is actually an upside down hammer that is in the shape of a cross(no known Christian relation). And do you know what else symbolizes Thor? A certain day of the week that we like to call Thursday.
As you can see, time changes the meaning of symbols. What was evil in the past, may be seen as benevolent in the future or vice versa. So the next time you see a symbol and automatically think it’s heinous, do some research. You might be surprised.