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Cabletow (cable tow) The cabletow is an element of initiation introduced into the rites of Freemasonry in the early 18th century CE.  In the form of a rope hung from a candidate’s neck, the cable tow originally symbolised the penalty for breaking the Masonic oath.

Today, it symbolises an initiate’s humility, and their commitment to Masonic ideals.

Cadency Mark In heraldry, cadency is any systematic way to distinguish arms displayed by members of the family of the holder of a coat of arms, when those family members have not been granted arms in their own right.  Cadency is necessary in heraldic systems in which a given design may be owned by only one person at any time -- generally the head of the senior line of a particular family.  As arms may be used by sons or wives 'by courtesy' whilst their father or husband is still living, some form of differential may be required so as not to usurp those arms, known as the undifferenced or 'plain coat'.

Historically arms were only heritable by males and therefore cadency marks have no relevance to daughters, except in the modern era in Canadian and Irish heraldry.  These differences are formed by adding to the arms small and inconspicuous marks called brisures, similar to charges but smaller.  They are placed on the fess-point, or in-chief in the case of the label.

Brisures are generally exempt from the rule of tincture.  One of the best examples of usage from the mediaeval period is shown on the seven Beauchamp cadets in the stained-glass windows of St Mary's Church, Warwick.

Caduceus The Caduceus, a symbol of harmony and balance, is a winged staff entwined by twin serpents which has been found in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India.  It may originally have been a symbol of the sovereignty of the goddess Tanit, and has been used as an emblem of the goddess Ishtar and the Sumerian creator god Enki.

The most recognisable form is the Kerykeion, or Herald's Wand (shown above right), an emblem of authority carried by couriers to ensure safe passage, and most often associated with the Greek god Hermes and his Roman counterpart, Mercury.  The caduceus has often mistakenly been utilised as a symbol of the medical industry instead of the true symbol, the Wand of Asclepius (see left).

In the Hermetic Tradition, the Caduceus is a symbol of spiritual awakening, and has been likened to the twin Kundalini serpents of Hindu mysticism.

Cagliostro's Seal See Seal of Cagliostro.

Calumet See Peace Pipe.

Camargue Cross The Camargue is the largest Mediterranean delta after the Nile and is located where two branches of the Rhône River meet the sea.  To the north is the capital city of the Camargue, Arles -- to the south is the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the Mediterranean (literally, 'Marys of the Sea').  The local tradition is a holdover from twelfth century legends of the voyages of the three Marys of the New Testament-- Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary, sister of Lazarus, and Mary Magdalen.

The first Camargue Cross

In 1924, Marquis Folco de Baroncelli commissioned the artist Hermann Paul to design an emblem of the Camargue, the Camargue Cross.  It contains three separate emblems: an anchor, a heart, and a cross of three tridents.  The unusual shape of the upper cross is representative of the trident-shaped tool used by the Guardians, the ubiquitous bull-herders (cowboys) who make up a large part of Camargue's cultural legacy.  The anchor represents the fishermen of the region as well as hope; in fact, the anchor cross is also an early Christian symbol.  And to everyone in the world the Camargue Cross is a symbol of L O V E.

Camunian Rose The Camunian rose (Italian Rosa camuna) is the name given to a particular symbol represented among the rock carvings of Val Camonica (Brescia, Italy).  It consists of a meandering closed line that winds around nine cup marks.  It is engraved in the form symmetrical, asymmetrical or swastika.

There are many theories about its meaning -- Emmanuel Anati suggests that it might symbolise a complex religious concept, perhaps a solar symbol linked to the astral movement.  In Val Camonica this motif dates back to the Iron Age, particularly from the 7th to 1st centuries BCE.  There is only one doubtful case datable at the Final Bronze Age (1,100 BC).  These figures are placed mainly in the Middle Camonica Valley (Capo di Ponte, Foppe of Nadro, Sellero, Ceto and Paspardo), but numerous cases are in the Low Valley too (Darfo Boario Terme and Esine).

The motif has been deeply studied by Paola Farina, who created a corpus of all the 'camunian roses' known in Val Camonica: she counted 84 roses engraved on 27 rocks.  Three basic types have been determined:

  1. swastika type
  2. asymmetric-swastika type
  3. quadrilobate type
Regarding the interpretation, this is not easy for a symbol pertaining to a lost and past culture.  Paola Farina suggests that the 'Camunian rose' had originally a solar meaning, which then developed into a wider meaning of a positive power, to bring life and good luck.

The symbol is called 'rosa camuna' in Italian because it looks like a flower, but this name is a modern invention.  A stylised 'camunian rose' has become the symbol of the Lombardy Region.

Cancer In many cultures, it is believed there is a link between the position of the Sun, the Moon and other planets at the time of a person's birth.  This position gives individuals certain personality traits, as well as predicting events which are likely to occur in their life.

Cancer makes up one of the twelve 'houses' or signs of the astrological wheel.  Each of the twelve houses represents the position of the heavens at the time of a person's birth.  Besides their birth sign, e.g. Cancer, an element is attributed to a person at birth, either Earth, Fire, Water or Air:

Symbol: Crab
Dates: 20 June - 22 July
Constellation: Cancer
Zodiac Element: Water
Sign ruler: Moon
Detriment: Saturn
Exaltation: Jupiter

The Cancer symbol or glyph has several interpretations.  Some think the symbol represents breasts, believing the symbol depicts their nurturing qualities.  Others believe that the symbol represents a change in direction, whilst some believe it represents the claw of a crab.  It is thought that each one of the zodiac signs is representative of a particular part of the human body -- the zodiac symbol for Cancer relates to the stomach and chest.

Those born under the symbol of Cancer are considered to have the following personality traits: sensitive; quiet; restless; nervous; romantic; protective; imaginative; home loving; enjoy time with their family.

Candle The candle is an image of spiritual illumination and an important symbol in Christian ritual, representing the church, faith and Christ.

The phrase 'Bell, Book and Candle referred to a Latin Christian method of excommunication by anathema, imposed on a person who had committed an exceptionally grievous sin.  Evidently introduced by Pope Zachary (679 - 752 CE) around the middle of the 8th century, the rite was used by the Roman Catholic Church.  In current practice, a simple pronouncement is made to anathematise formally.

The ceremony was described in the Pontificale Romanum (The Roman Pontifical is the Latin Catholic liturgical book containing the rites performed by Bishops) up until the time of the Second Vatican Council.  Subsequent post-conciliar editions of the Pontificale omitted mention of any particular solemnities associated with excommunication, the ceremony for which involved a bishop and 12 priests with candles, with the formula being pronounced in some suitably conspicuous place.

Canterbury Cross The Canterbury Cross is one of the several crosses used to symbolise the Christian faith.  It is so called because it was designed after a Saxon brooch, dating from c. 850 CE that was found in 1867 in Canterbury, England.

The original cross is kept at the Canterbury Heritage Museum.  It is a bronze cruciform brooch, with triangular panels of silver, incised with a Triquetra and inlaid with niello (a black mixture, usually of sulphur, copper, silver, and lead, used as an inlay on engraved or etched metal, especially silver).  The cross features a small square in the centre, from which extend four arms, wider on the outside, so that the arms look like triangles, symbolising the Trinity.  The tips of the arms are arcs of a single Circle, giving the overall effect of a round wheel.

A stone cross is erected at Canterbury Cathedral and crosses are sold at the souvenir shop, which means the Canterbury Cross is familiar to all those who have made a pilgrimage to the city.  It is sometimes used as a symbol to represent the Anglican Communion.  For example, in 1932, a Canterbury Cross made up of pieces of stone from Canterbury was sent to each of the Anglican diocesan cathedrals of the world as a visible symbol of the communion with Canterbury.

Capricorn In many cultures, it is believed there is a link between the position of the Sun, the Moon and other planets at the time of a person's birth.  This position gives individuals certain personality traits, as well as predicting events which are likely to occur in their life.

Capricorn makes up one of the twelve 'houses' or signs of the astrological wheel.  Each of the twelve houses represents the position of the heavens at the time of a person's birth.  Besides their birth sign, e.g. Capricorn, an element is attributed to a person at birth, either Earth, Fire, Water or Air:

Symbol: Goat
Dates: 21 December – 19 January
Constellation: Capricornus
Zodiac Element: Earth
Sign ruler: Saturn
Detriment: Moon
Exaltation: Mars

The Capricorn symbol or glyph is thought to represent a sea goat with the 'V' representing the goat's beard.  Others believe the glyph to depict the goat's beard and a fish.  It is thought the symbol for Capricorn represents the intertwining of a fish tail with the horns of a goat.  Each one of the zodiac signs represents a particular part of the human body -- the zodiac symbol for Capricorn relates to the teeth and bones.

Those born under the symbol of Capricorn are considered to have the following personality traits: hard working; urge to succeed in life; tend to be resistant to change; cautious; ambitious; make great teachers and lecturers.

Carbonari The Carbonari (Italian for ‘charcoal makers’) was a secret society active in small covert cells across Italy from about 1800 to 1831 CE.  Although their goals usually had a patriotic basis, they lacked a clear immediate political agenda.  Nevertheless, they became a focus for those unhappy with the repressive political situation in Italy, particularly in the south of the country.  In the north of the country, other groups were more important.

Although their agendas varied, evidence suggests that despite regional variations, most of the membership agreed upon the creation of a liberal, unified Italy (Risorgimento).  Members of the Carbonari, and those influenced by them, took part in important events in the process of Italian unification especially the failed Revolution of 1820, and in the further development of Italian nationalism.

It is not clear from where they originated, but they first came to prominence in the Kingdom of Naples during the Napoleonic wars (1799 - 1815).  Some of the society's documents claimed that it had its origins in mediaeval France and that its forerunners were sponsored by Francis I of France during the 16th century although this claim cannot be verified.  Despite a surfeit of theories having been advanced as to the origins of the Carbonari, it seems the organisation most likely emerged as an offshoot of Freemasonry as part of the spread of liberal ideas during the French Revolution (1789 - 1799).

Cardinal Directions / Points The four cardinal directions or cardinal points are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W.  East and west are at right angles to north and south, with east being in the clockwise direction of rotation from north and west being directly opposite east.  Points between the cardinal directions form the points of the compass.  The intermediate (intercardinal or ordinal) directions are northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW).  The intermediate direction of every set of intercardinal and cardinal direction is called a secondary-intercardinal direction, the eight shortest points in the compass rose that is shown to the right (e.g., NNE, ENE, and ESE).

There is a traditional method by which an analogue watch can be used to locate north and south.  The Sun appears to move in the sky over a 24-hour period while the hour hand of a 12-hour clock dial takes twelve hours to complete one rotation.  In the northern hemisphere, if the watch is rotated so that the hour hand points toward the Sun, the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock will indicate south.  For this method to work in the southern hemisphere, the 12 is pointed toward the Sun and the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 o'clock will indicate north.  During daylight saving time, the same method can be employed using 1 o'clock instead of 12.  The difference between local time and zone time, the equation of time, and (near the tropics) the non-uniform change of the Sun's azimuth at different times of day limit the accuracy of this method.

Carolingian Cross The braided Carolingian Cross, or Cross of Triquetras, is a Latin Cross symbol formed by triquetras, associated with Emperor Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire, and named after the Carolingian dynasty, a Frankish noble family that can be traced back to the 7th century CE.

From the 3rd century, the Franks were a West Germanic tribe who lived north and east of the Lower Rhine River.  By the 5th century, their influence had spread into Roman territory and Gaul, which probably explains why their art has stylistic similarities with pre-Christian Celtic knotwork.

Cartouche In Egyptian Hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, which indicates that the text enclosed is a royal name.  They came into common use during the beginning of the 4th Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, but earlier examples date to the mid-2nd Dynasty on Cylinder Seals of Seth-Peribsen.

While the cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, it is sometimes horizontal if the name fits better, with a vertical line on the left.  The Ancient Egyptian word for it was Shenu, and it was essentially an expanded Shen ring.  Of the five royal titularies it was the prenomen, the throne name, and the Son of Ra titulary, the so-called nomen name given at birth, which was enclosed by a cartouche.

At times, amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs -- such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents.  Cartouches were formerly only worn by Pharaohs -- the oval surrounding their name was meant to protect them from evil spirits in life and after death.

The cartouche has now become a symbol representing good luck and protection from evil.  Egyptians believed that anyone who had their name recorded somewhere would not disappear after death, so a cartouche attached to a coffin satisfied this requirement.  There were, however, periods in Egyptian history when people refrained from inscribing these amulets with a name, for fear they might fall into somebody's hands conferring power over the bearer of the name.

Cat Cats, known in Ancient Egypt as the Mau, were sacred and important in that society.  As a wild, untamed species, cats were useful for limiting vermin in Egyptian crops and harvests, then through exposure to humans, they gradually became domesticated and learned to coexist with us.

The people in what would later be Upper and Lower Egypt had a religion centring around the worship of animals, including cats.  Many Egyptian deities were depicted as cats -- the goddess Mafdet was a lion-headed goddess whose cult was eventually replaced by the cat goddess Bast / Bastet.  Bast's image was to soften over time and she became the deity representing protection, fertility, and motherhood.

In Thailand, the 'Siamese' cat was the sacred temple cat.  With its keen senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch, the cat is a powerful hunter which is why it was accepted by man as a protector of the household where it gets rid of disease carrying rodents.  In Europe, the cat tends to be associated with witches and the occult, in particular the black cat, so it is seen as a symbol of superstition and bad luck, whereas for sailors it was a symbol of good luck.  During World War I it is estimated that up to 500,000 cats were dispatched to the British trenches where they killed rats and mice; some were also used as gas detectors as they could detect poisonous gas before humans could.

In tarot, cats often represent awareness.  This can mean either being aware or not being aware of something.  Cats also represent the way we perceive things.

Catherine Wheel See St Catherine's Wheel.

Cauldron The Cauldron originated in ancient Celtic Mythology, and is sometimes called the Cup or Cauldron of Cerridwen (an enchantress in Welsh mediaeval legend).  The ancient Celts used cauldrons for food and in ritual as an emblem of abundance and divine inspiration.

In Celtic Mythology and folklore, the cauldron provides infinite sustenance or artistic inspiration.  As a Wiccan ritual tool, the cauldron is mostly symbolic.  It is most often used to represent the elements of Fire or Water.  It is sometimes employed for scrying, for mixing herbs, for consecration, or to hold the ingredients for a spell, and is generally considered a feminine symbol.

Celtic Bull The Bull had a critical role in Druid sacrificial rituals, particularly the prophetic ones.  The symbol of the God Esus, this revered animal has held diverse significance in the Celtic world where it was considered the symbol of uncompromising, stubborn and strong will.  The Celts have also long associated the bull with sovereignty, wealth, status, abundance, virility and fertility.  Additionally, it represented kinship, ancestry and close ties with the land.

In ancient Ireland (Eire), a new High King’s crowning was always preceded by a ritualistic feast of bull.  For a Celtic clan or village, a good bull represented its prosperity and high prestige.

Celtic Cross The Celtic Cross originates from a pre-Christian variation of the Solar Cross, with examples dating back as far as 5000 BCE.  Its actual origins are uncertain, but it was known to be an early symbol of the 'Sun god' Taranis, whose attributes were a lightning bolt and a solar wheel.  The name Taranis derives from the Celtic, or possibly Indo-European root 'taran', meaning 'thunderer' or 'thunder'.  The association of Taranis with the Sun is known only from Caesar who described him as 'the Fire of the Skies', (the Sun), and the 'Fire of the Air', (lightning) and his voice 'thunder'.

Following the conversion to Christianity of the Celtic people, the Celtic Cross became an emblem of the Celtic Christian Church.  Irish legend tells us that the cross was introduced to Ireland by St Columba, which explains why it is sometimes referred to as Columba's Cross, or the Ionic Cross, after his monastery on the Isle of Iona.  See also Circle.

Celtic Knot Celtic knots are a variety of (mostly endless) knots and stylised graphical representations of knots used for decoration, adopted by the ancient Celts.  These knots are mostly known for their adaptation for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and manuscripts such as the 8th century CE Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

There is no evidence to indicate that a knot had any specific philosophical or religious significance beyond perhaps the most obvious, that being the intricacy capable in the work of humans, itself reflective of the intricacy of Natural forms.

Celtic Motherhood Knot The Celtic Motherhood Knot symbol, also known as the 'Celtic Mother's Knot', shows two hearts that are intertwined continuously in a knot such that the lines do not seem to have any openings.  It denotes a parent and a child in an embrace and has one heart placed lower than the other.  The children can be represented in the symbol by placing dots at any place inside or outside the knot, with one dot signifying one child.  The symbol is associated with the Madonna and Child and represents the deep, unbreakable, eternal and enduring bond of love shared by a mother and her children.

Celtic Mythology Celtic Mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts.  Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure.  Among the Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity, and the loss of their Celtic languages.  It is mostly through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that their mythology has been preserved.

The Celtic peoples who maintained either their political or linguistic identities (such as the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland, the Welsh in Wales, and the Celtic Britons of southern Great Britain and Brittany) left token remnants of their ancestral mythologies, which were put into written form during the Middle Ages.

Cerberus In Greek mythology, Cerberus, often called the 'Hound of Hades', is the monstrous multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving and the living from entering.  Cerberus was the offspring of the monsters Echidna and Typhon, and is usually described as having three heads, a serpent for a tail, and snakes protruding from parts of its body.  Cerberus is primarily known for its being captured by Heracles/Hercules, on the last of his twelve labours.

Ceres Ceres is known as the Roman corn goddess, eternal mother, sorrowing mother, grain mother and goddess of agriculture, grain, crops, initiation, civilisation, lawgiver and the love a mother bears for her child.  She is the protectress of women, motherhood, marriage.  She is the daughter of Saturn and Ops.

Ceres and her daughter Proserpine were the counterparts of the Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone.  Her worship involved fertility rites and rites for the dead, and her chief festival was the Cerealia.

Ceres is also the name of the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System and the largest asteroid.  It is a rock/ice body 950 km in diameter and the smallest identified dwarf planet.  It contains about one third of the mass of the asteroid belt.  Discovered on 1 January 1801 CE by Giuseppe Piazzi it was the first asteroid to be identified, though it was classified as a planet at the time.

Cernunnos Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the Horned God of Celtic polytheism.  Cernunnos was a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the Underworld.  The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st century CE 'Pillar of the Boatmen', but he appears all over Gaul, and among the Celtiberians.  Cernunnos is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carrying a purse filled with coin, often seated cross-legged, and is associated with animals.

Not much is known about this god from literary sources, and details relating to his name, his followers or his significance in Celtic religion are unknown.  Speculative interpretations identify him as a god of nature, life or fertility.

Cerridwen Cerridwen, sometimes spelt Ceridwen, was an enchantress in Welsh mediaeval legend.  Her husband was Tegid Foe, and together they lived near Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) in North Wales -- Bala is an historic market town in the Snowdonia National Park.  They were the parents of a hideous son, Morfran, and a beautiful daughter, Creirwy.

Mediaeval Welsh poetry refers to her as possessing the cauldron of poetic inspiration (Awen), and the Tale of Taliesin recounts her swallowing her servant Gwion Bach who is then reborn through her as the poet Taliesin.

Cerridwen is regarded by many modern Pagans as the Celtic goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration.  Her name is derived from the Celtic word ‘cerru’ which means ‘cauldron’, and like the Goddess herself, the cauldron symbolises the transformative power of magic, wisdom, rebirth and creative inspiration.

Ch'an Chu See JIn Chan.

Chai Chai is a Hebrew word that figures prominently in modern Jewish culture; the Hebrew letters of the word are often used as a visual symbol.  According to The Jewish Daily Forward, its use as an amulet originated in 18th century CE Eastern Europe.

Chai as a symbol goes back to mediaeval Spain, while letters as symbols in Jewish culture go back to the earliest Jewish roots; the Talmud states that the world was created from Hebrew letters which form verses of the Torah.  In mediaeval Kabbalah, Chai is the lowest (closest to the physical plane) emanation of God.

Two common Jewish names used since Talmudic times, are based on this symbol, Chaya feminine, Chayim masculine.  The Jewish toast (with alcoholic beverages such as wine) is l'chaim, which means 'to life' -- much as we say 'good health'.

Chakra Chakra means 'wheel' or 'Circle' and relates to any centre of the subtle body believed to be a psychic energy centre in the esoteric traditions of Indian religions.  The concept is found particularly in the tantric traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.  Chakras are conceived as an energy focal point, bodily functions or psychic node in the subtle body.

The Chakra theories are an elaborate part of the Kundalini system of Yoga.  These theories differ between the Indian religions, with esoteric Buddhist literature mentioning four Chakras, while esoteric Hindu texts state seven.  They are believed to be part of the subtle body, not the physical body, and connected by energy channels called Nadi.  In Kundalini Yoga, breathing exercises focus, in part, on mastering and channelling energy through the Chakras.

A centre of energy is located in the subtle body where the subtle nerve channels converge like the spokes of a wheel; six major chakras lie within the central channel.  When awakened, Kundalini shakti flows upwards from the base of the spine through these six centres to the seventh chakra, the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra.

The seven chakras are: 1 - Root (Muladhara), 2 - Sacral (Svadhishthana), 3 - Plexus (Manipura), 4 - Heart (Anaharta), 5 - Throat (Vishuddha), 6 - Third Eye (Ajna). 7 - Crown (Sahasrara):


Chalice The chalice is a ceremonial goblet associated in particular with the sacred wine of the Christian eucharist and the legend of the Holy Grail.  The ritual Chalice originated in the Catholic Mass, where wine is ritually transformed into the blood of Christ.  It is a tool used in Ceremonial/Ritual Magic and Wiccan ceremonies.  The Chalice relates to 'cups' in the Tarot deck, and the watery signs of the zodiac.

In magic, a magical weapon is any instrument used to bring about intentional change.  In practice, magical weapons are usually specific, consecrated items used within ceremonial ritual.  There is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes or does not constitute a magical weapon -- if a magician considers it to be a weapon, then a weapon it is.

However, there does exist a set of magical weapons with particular uses and symbolic meanings.  Some such common weapons/tools include the Dagger/Sword, Wand/Baton, Cup/Chalice, Paten/Pentacle/Disc, Holy Oil, Lamp and Bell.

See also Holy Grail.

Cherub / Cherubim When most people think of a Cherub they think of a little chubby baby-like creature with tiny wings who is rather cute and cuddly.  However, that is definitely not how they are described in the Bible!  Cherubs (the correct plural is Cherubim) are described in two books of the Bible, Genesis and Ezekiel.  In Genesis they guard the Garden of Eden following Adam and Eve's banishment from it, and are described as holding flaming swords.

The prophet Ezekiel had a vivid vision of heaven and the 'Throne Chariot of God' where he saw many angelic beings.  His description of the Cherubim is powerful -- almost frightening -- they are four vast, winged creatures, each bearing four faces: a lion, a bull, an eagle, and a human head -- clearly not your average cute little angels!

In Ceremonial Magic, the four Cherubim are the living energy of the Tetragrammaton, and rulers of the fixed signs of the zodiac.  Kabbalistically, the Order of Cherubim corresponds with the sphere of Chokmah.

Chi Rho See Labarum.

Chimaera The Chimaera has become one of the most renowned female monsters in Greek mythology.  An aura of mystery has always surrounded this creature -- Greek sailors considered it a very bad omen to see Chimaera as she usually appeared immediately before a disaster!

Like many mythological creatures, Chimaera displayed the features of several different animals.  Early Greek writers believed she possessed the head of a fire-breathing lion, a goat's head arose from her back, while her tail ended in the head of a serpent.  In many respects, the ferocious Chimaera combined several fearsome animal attributes embodying the strength of a lion, the intelligence of a goat and the cunning of a snake!

The Greeks disagreed sometimes about Chimaera's family background.  Homer wrote about her in his famous work of poetry, The Iliad, claiming a man named 'Amisodorus' had raised Chimaera.  He also reared several sons who later became great warriors.

However, according to Hesiod, a half-woman and half-monster named Echidna gave birth to Chimaera.  Echidna spent most of her time living alone in a cave.  She became the mate of another monster, Typhon, and together the two produced several of the most feared creatures in Greek mythology: Orthrus, a dog with two heads; Cerberus, a multi-headed dog; the Lernaean Hydra, a snake with multiple heads; and Chimaera.

Chiwara The Chiwara mask/headdress honours the mythical antelope that introduced agriculture to the Bambara (also Bamana or Ségou) people of Mali -- the Bambara Empire was a large West African state based at Ségou, now in Mali.

Chiwara masks are categorised in three ways: horizontal, vertical, or abstract.  In addition, Chiwara can be either male or female.  Female Chiwara masks are denoted by the presence of a baby antelope and straight horns, while male Chiwara masks have bent horns and a phallus.  The sex of a Chiwara mask is much clearer on horizontal and vertical masks while abstract masks tend to be difficult to classify.  The image to the left shows left to right: Abstract / Bougouni / Southern region style; Vertical/ Segu/ Northern region style; Horizontal / Bamako / Northern region style; and Abstract / Sikasso region style.

The Chiwara headdress is an important ritual implement worn in ritual dances, and always in male/female pairs, thus symbolising harmony between men and women.  It is believed to promote the abundance of the Bamana's staple crop, millet.

Chnoubis Chnoubis is a symbolic figure found in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Gnostic traditions with a variety of forms and appearances.  It is a composite figure having the head of a lion and the body of a serpent, usually with seven rays emanating from the head, sometimes, with the twelve zodiacal signs.

Chnoubis is an aspect of the Gnostic Demiurge, 'Yaldabaoth' (the name of the Demiurge or 'False God' created when Sophia -- one of the lesser aeons -- tried to emanate without her counterpart -- Christ), and is associated with Abraxas.

Images of Chnoubis are mostly found inscribed on Gnostic gems, amulets and small talismans made from semi-precious stone for protection against poison and disease, that date from the 1st century CE onwards.

Cho Ku Rei Cho Ku Rei is one of the first symbols used in Usui Reiki and essentially means 'Placing all the powers of the universe here'.  The Reiki power symbol works basically as a 'switch' that helps to instantly increase a Reiki practitioner's ability to channel the energies.  The main purpose of using it is to enhance the power of Reiki and draw the energy around and concentrate it on the required purpose.

The power symbol looks like a coil which can be drawn in both counter and spiral clockwise directions.  Some Reiki masters draw it counter clockwise when applied in areas or places where there is excess energy, but others believe that the Reiki energy always works for the highest good and there is no need for us to try to influence it by telling it what to do.

Christian Cross See Latin Cross.

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who serves as the focal point of the Christian faith.  It is the world's largest religion -- more than 2.4 billion followers or 33% of the global population are known to be Christians.  They make up a majority of the population in 158 countries and territories, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the saviour of humanity whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Christian theology is summarised in creeds such as the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed.  These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, and rose from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins.  The creeds further maintain that Jesus physically ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit (the Trinity), and that he will return to judge the living and the dead and grant eternal life to his followers.

His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as 'the gospel', meaning 'good news'.  The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus' life and teaching, four of which (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are considered canonical and included in the Christian Bible.  See also Latin Cross.

Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum cultivation began in Japan during the early 8th to late 12th centuries CE and gained popularity in the early 17th to late 19th century.  Many flower shapes, colours, and varieties were created and the way they were grown and shaped also developed -- and thus chrysanthemum culture flourished.

The Imperial Seal of Japan is a chrysanthemum and the institution of the monarchy is also called the Chrysanthemum Throne.  In China, the chrysanthemum is an emblem of Taoist perfection and autumnal tranquillity -- most likely because it continues to bloom well into winter.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) Mormonism is the principal branch of the Latter-day Saint movement begun by Joseph Smith (1805 - 1844 CE) in New York State during the 1820s.  After Smith's assassination in 1844, the Mormons moved to the Utah Territory, now the centre of Mormon cultural influence.  Today, most Mormons are understood to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).  They believe that Christ's church was restored through Joseph Smith and is guided by living prophets and apostles.  Mormons dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving their church, and many younger members choose to follow a full-time evangelising mission.

Due to their high birth rates and the great number of converts, the Mormon population has grown significantly in recent decades, from 3,090,953 in 1971 to 15,882,417 in 2017 based on the Annual Report, and a strong sense of unity has grown among them.  They tend to be very family oriented and have strong connections across generations, reflective of their belief that families can be sealed together beyond death.

They have a doctrine which bans alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other addictive substances; they also have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage and fidelity within marriage.  This is beside the fact that between 1852 and 1890 a minority of Mormons openly practiced plural marriage, a form of religious polygamy.  In 1862, the United States Congress passed an Anti-Bigamy Act which prohibited plural marriage in the territories, but it was not until 1890 that the church officially terminated the practice of polygamy.

Mormons identify themselves as Christians although some non-Mormons consider them to be non-Christian and some of their beliefs differ from mainstream Christianity.  Mormons believe in the Bible, as well as other books of scripture, such as the Book of Mormon1.  Returning to God requires following the example of Jesus Christ and accepting his atonement through ordinances such as baptism.  Central to Mormon faith is the belief that God speaks to his children and answers their prayers.

1 The Book of Mormon bears witness to Jesus Christ and confirms the truths found in the Holy Bible.  Far from undermining the Bible, the Book of Mormon supports its testimony of Jesus Christ.  One passage reads "the Book of Mormon shall establish the truth” of the Bible “and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Saviour of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.”

Church of Satan The Church of Satan was founded by Anton Szandor LaVey (1930 - 1997 CE) who was its High Priest until his death in 1997.  He wrote The Satanic Bible and several other books including The Compleat Witch.  Before the foundation of his 'Church', he had been building a reputation for himself by holding lectures on the occult to a selected circle of friends and associates.  One of them intimated that he should consider starting a new 'religion' based on his 'teachings'.  As a consequence, on Walpurgisnacht (30th April) 1966, he 'ritualistically' shaved his head and declared the founding of the Church of Satan, proclaiming 1966 as 'Year One, Anno Satanas' (the first year of the Age of Satan).

LaVey's teachings are based on individualism, self-indulgence, and an 'eye for an eye' morality, with influences from Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) and Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982), while its rituals and magic draw heavily from occultists such as Aleister Crowley.  They do not worship nor believe in the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan.  The word 'Satan' comes from the Hebrew word for adversary and originated from the Abrahamic faiths, being traditionally applied to an angel.  Church of Satan adherents see themselves as truth-seekers, adversaries and sceptics of the religious world around them.

The Church of Satan is now the most organised of the Satanic groups -- there are reputed to be more than 8000 members in San Francisco alone.

Church of Scientology The Church of Scientology was founded in February 1954 CE.  Scientology is a religion developed by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911 – 1986), which offers 'a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one's true spiritual nature and one's relationship to self, family, groups, mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being'.

Scientology addresses the spirit as opposed to the body or mind, and believes that man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.  It comprises a body of knowledge which extends from certain fundamental truths, prime among which are, man is an immortal spiritual being whose experience extends well beyond a single lifetime, and whose capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realised.

Scientology further holds man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.  It is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone.  On the contrary, a member discovers for himself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results.  The ultimate goal of Scientology is true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all.

Church of the Nazarene The Church of the Nazarene is an evangelical Christian denomination that emerged from the 19th-century CE in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, working in over 156 world areas with over 2.5 million members.  In the UK there are 90 churches organised into two districts, North and South.

The Nazarene Theological College is a partner institution of The University of Manchester offering degrees up to PhD.  Each local congregation of the Church of the Nazarene is a faith community, ready to greet you in Jesus' name, where you will discover opportunities not only to encounter Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, but to grow as a follower of Christ.

The global mission of the Church of the Nazarene since its beginnings has been "to respond to the Great Commission of Christ to 'go and make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19)".  In December 2006, this was expressed more succinctly as "to make Christlike disciples in the nations".  This frames the global mission of the denomination.  In 2009 the General Assembly indicated in its revision of Article XI of the Manual the means for accomplishing its mission: "making disciples through evangelism, education, showing compassion, working for justice, and bearing witness to the kingdom of God."

The denominational vision is: "to be a disciple-making church, an international community of faith, in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.

Cicada 3301 Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organisation which has posted a set of puzzles to possibly recruit codebreakers and/or linguists from the public on several occasions.  The first internet puzzle began on 4 January 2012 and ran for approximately one month.  A second round began one year later on 4 January 2013, and a third round, following the confirmation of a fresh clue posted on Twitter on 4 January 2014.

The stated intent was to recruit 'intelligent individuals' by presenting a series of puzzles which were to be solved.  No new puzzles were published in 2015 although a new clue was posted on Twitter on 5 January 2016.  In April 2017 a verified PGP-signed message was found: "Beware false paths.  Always verify PGP signature from 7A35090F."  That message explicitly denies the validity of any unsigned puzzle, as recently as April 2017.

The puzzles focused heavily on data security, cryptography, and steganography (the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video).   It has been called "the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age" and is listed as one of the 'top 5 eeriest, unsolved mysteries of the internet', and much speculation exists as to its function.  Many have speculated that the puzzles are a recruitment tool for the NSA, CIA, MI6, a 'Masonic conspiracy' or a cyber mercenary group.  Others have claimed Cicada 3301 is an alternate reality game.  However, no company or individual has taken credit for it or attempted to monetise it.

Cimaruta The cimaruta is an Italian folk charm, traditionally worn around the neck or hung above a child's bed to ward off the Evil Eye.  The amulet is normally made from silver and consists of several small charms supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck (some of which draw upon Christian symbolism), with each individual piece attached to what is supposed to represent a branch of rue -- the flowering medicinal herb for which the whole talisman is named, ‘cimaruta’ being a Neapolitan form of cima di ruta -- Italian for ‘sprig of rue’.

The component parts of the cimaruta, which are particularly associated with southern Italy, may differ by region.

Cipher Manuscripts See Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Circassian Neopaganism Adyghe Habze or Circassian Habze is the philosophy and worldview of the Adyghe people (known as Circassians in English), an ethnic group of North Pontic peoples native to historical Circassia (modern-day Russia's European federal subjects of Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, and Stavropol Krai).  The native philosophy was influenced by Hellenic Religion and philosophy.

The belief system takes its name from the Circassian epic Nart Sagas, a series of tales originating from the North Caucasus, originally orally transmitted, which has heavily contributed to the shaping of Adyghe values over the centuries.  Although historically influenced by Christianity and Islam, the period of the Soviet Union contributed to a severe weakening of religions in the area, especially among the Circassians.  During this time and after the fall of the Soviet regime, the revival of Habzist worldview was supported by Adyghe intellectuals as part of a rise in nationalism and cultural identity in the 1990s CE and more recently as a thwarting force against Wahhabism and other Islamic fundamentalism.

According to 2012 statistics, the movement has developed a following, especially in Karachay-Cherkessia (12%) and Kabardino-Balkaria (3%).  However, practitioners and advocates have faced radical Islamist persecution.  For example, on 29 December 2010, a prominent Kabard-Circassian ethnographer and Habze advocate, Arsen Tsipinov, was murdered by Islamist radical non-Circassians who had accused him of mushrik (idolatrous disbelief in Islamic monotheism) and months earlier threatened him and others they accused as idolaters and munafiqun ('hypocrites' who it is said are outwardly Muslims but secretly unsympathetic to the cause of Islam) to stop 'reviving' and diffusing the rituals of the original Circassian pre-Islamic faith.

Circle The Circle is an ancient universal symbol representing completeness, female power, the goddess, infinity and unity, as well as the Circle of Life.  Gnostic traditions link the unbroken Circle to the world serpent which forms itself into a Circle as it devours its own tail (see Ouroboros).

To Earth-centred religions as well as to many contemporary Pagans, it represents the feminine spirit or force, the cosmos, and a sacred space.

Traditionally, circles were believed by ritual magicians to form a protective barrier between themselves and whatever they summoned.  In modern times, practitioners generally cast magic circles to contain and concentrate the energy they raise during a ritual.  There are many published techniques for casting a circle, with many groups and individuals having their own unique methods.  However, the common feature of these practices is that a boundary is traced around the working area.  See also Triangle of Art.

Citipati In Tibetan Buddhism, the Citipati, or 'Lords of the Cemetery' as they are known are two mythological Buddhist ascetics who were so deep in their meditation they were caught unawares by a thief who beheaded them even before they knew they were dead!  As a symbol, the Citipati represent the eternal dance of death, and perfect awareness.

They are usually depicted as a male/female pair of intertwined skeletons caught up in an ecstatic dance.  The dance of the Citipati is commemorated twice annually in Tibet with ritual ceremonies.  The Citipati are invoked as 'wrathful deities', benevolent protectors who appear as fierce beings with a demonic appearance.

Claddagh Often seen as a decorative element in jewellery, this familiar symbol embodies several values that have long been key components of human culture.  The Claddagh takes its name from the place of its inception, a fishing village in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland.  The symbol in its current form is relatively new, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries CE, but it may have been based on the fede ring a similar motif popular among the ancient Romans.

The image of two hands clasping a heart has obvious connotations of love and fidelity and as such the Claddagh is often incorporated into the design of wedding rings.  The symbolism of the ring itself (protection and commitment) further enhances the impact of the Claddagh.  The symbol can also be used in a more informal context to show affection and devotion between friends.

Clermezine Clermeille See Veves.

Cochrane's Craft Cochrane's Craft, also known as Cochranianism, is a form of traditional witchcraft founded in 1951 CE by the English witch Robert Cochrane, who himself claimed to have been taught in the tradition by some of his elderly family members, a claim that is disputed by some historians such as Ronald Hutton and Leo Ruickbie.

Despite numerous practical and theological similarities to other forms of modern witchcraft, such as Gardnerian Wicca, Cochrane's Craft sets itself apart from other traditions in many notable ways, such as its emphasis on the pursuit of wisdom as the highest goal of witchcraft and Cochrane's insistence that witchcraft is not Pagan and, in fact, has no more in common with Paganism than does Kabbalah.

Columba's Cross See Celtic Cross.

Confraternity of the Rose Cross (CR+C) The Confraternity of the Rose Cross (CR+C) is a Rosicrucian organisation founded by former AMORC Imperator Gary L. Stewart (born 1953) in 1996 CE.  Stewart also founded the 'Order Militia Crucifera Evangelica' and the 'British Martinist Order'.

The CR+C is active in the USA, the UK, Brazil, Australia and several other countries, using the earliest version of the Rosicrucian Monographs as written by Harvey Spencer Lewis (1883 - 1939), the founder of AMORC, and which were issued by that Order between 1915 and 1939.

Imperator Stewart often includes commentaries and, on occasions, additional monographs written by himself.  According to Stewart, these earlier monographs preserve the unique philosophical and spiritual contributions of Harvey Spencer Lewis, many of which had been edited out of the AMORC monographs.

Confucianism Confucianism is often characterised as a system of social and ethical philosophy as opposed to a religion.  In fact, Confucianism is built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendent ideals of traditional Chinese society.  Its institutions were not a separate church, but those of society, family, school, and state; its priests were not separate liturgical specialists, but parents, teachers, and officials.  Confucianism was part of the Chinese social fabric and way of life, and to Confucians, everyday life was the arena of religion.

The founder of Confucianism was Master Kong (Confucius, 551 - 479 BCE) who did not intend to found a new religion, but to interpret and revive the unnamed religion of the Zhou dynasty, under which many people thought the ancient system of religious rule was bankrupt; why couldn't the gods prevent the social upheavals?  The burning issue of the day was, 'if it is not the ancestral and spirits of nature, what then is the basis of a stable, unified, and enduring social order?'

Confucius applied the term 'ritual' to actions beyond the formal sacrifices and religious ceremonies to include social rituals -- courtesies and accepted standards of behaviour, what we today call social values.  He saw these time-honoured and traditional rituals as the basis of human civilisation, and he felt that only a civilised society could have a stable, unified, and enduring social order.

Copiale Cipher See High Enlightened Oculist Order.

Copper Copper, other than being one of the seven metals of Alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron and tin) is one of the oldest known metals.  Copper metallurgy has flourished in different cultures, including the Middle Eastern, Asian, European, Central & South American and Native American.

Copper embodies the nurturing aspect of women and their youthfulness, and is thus associated with Venus.  Consequently, it is associated with the matters of love and lust, and symbolises characteristics like charisma, feminine beauty, artistic creativity, affection, caring and balance.  It is considered a healing metal that teaches about living a fulfilling life.  See also Alchemy.

Coptic Cross The form used in the Coptic Church and defined as the Coptic cross comprises two bold lines of equal length that intersect at the middle at right angles.  At each angle are three points, representing the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Altogether, the cross has 12 points symbolising the Apostles whose mission it was to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.

The Coptic cross is widely used in the Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean churches.  Many Copts have the cross tattooed as a sign of faith on the inside of their right arm at the wrist.  The cross in its modern and ancient forms is considered a sign of faith and pride to the Copts -- the Ethiopian Christians wear it as a symbol of faith.

In 1984, a Coptic Cross was given as a gift by the Coptic Orthodox Church and mounted on the top of the ‘All Africa Conference’ of Churches building, since the Coptic Church is considered to be the mother church in Africa.

Corn Dolly Creating a corn dolly is a tradition of the harvest season.  In ancient Europe it was customary to leave a portion of the grain in the field, which was twisted or tied into the shape of the symbol of a god or goddess.  At times, it was dressed in a man’s or woman’s clothes and kept in a cradle, or hung on a pole.

This effigy -- immortalised in Burns’ ballad of John Barleycorn -- was believed to contain the essence of the spirit of the grains -- a representation of the Sun god who would be burned and ‘reborn’ when spring returned.  At the end of the season (usually at the winter solstice), the bundle would be ritually sacrificed, burnt, or ploughed in to ensure the next year’s harvest.

Nowadays, the corn dolly is simply a craft tradition, each region specialising in its own particular design.

Cornicello / Corno The Cornicello or cornetto, Italian for 'little horn' or 'hornlet', sometimes abbreviated to corno, is an Italian amulet or talisman worn to protect against the Evil Eye (or malocchio) and bad luck in general, and, historically, to promote fertility and virility.  The amulet is also sometimes referred to as the Italian horn.

It consists of a twisted horn-shaped charm often made of gold, silver, plastic, bone, terracotta, or red coral.  Originally, cornicello resembled an animal's horn, to represent fertility, virility and strength.  The shape and colour of the red Cornicelli (plural) are reminiscent of a chili pepper.  A regionally popular amulet, Cornicelli are used primarily in Italy in the region of Campania, as well as Lazio, Marche, Abruzzo, Calabria, Basilicata, Lombardy, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and elsewhere among descendants of Italian immigrants.

Cornucopia The Cornucopia (horn of plenty), is a spiralling, woven basket overflowing with an abundance of produce, an ever-present symbol of harvest prosperity.  The Cornucopia dates back to an ancient tale of the Nymph Amalthea2, who, as a reward from the infant Zeus for a meal of Goat's milk, was given an enchanted goat's horn which gave whatever one wished for.

The Cornucopia became an ubiquitous symbol of fortune and plenty, and was associated with many goddesses, including Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune, and Ceres, the goddess of agriculture.

2 In Greek mythology, Amalthea or Amaltheia is the most-frequently mentioned foster mother of Zeus.

Cosmic Egg See Orphic Egg.

Covenant of the Goddess (COG) The Covenant of the Goddess (COG) began in 1975 CE when Wiccan elders of various traditions gathered to form an organisation for all Witchcraft practitioners.  At this meeting, they drafted a covenant and byelaws which were ratified by thirteen covens on the Summer Solstice of the same year.  It was founded with the aim of increasing co-operation among witches and to secure the legal protection enjoyed by members of other religions for witches and covens.  It was incorporated on Halloween (or Samhain) 1975, as a non-profit religious organisation in California.

The COG is a cross-traditional Wiccan group of solitary Wiccan practitioners, and more than one hundred affiliated covens.  Member covens generally focus theology and ritual around the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone), which is general practice within Wicca.  The COG operates largely by consensus and maintains strict autonomy for all members.

Cowrie Cowrie (also cowry) is the common name for a group of small to large sea snails.  The cowrie represents the vulva, the source of life whose shell was the most widespread natural amulet against sterility and the Evil Eye.  The ‘Golden Cowrie’ was an emblem of rank in Fiji and Tonga.

The term 'porcelain' derives from the old Italian term for the cowrie shell (porcellana) due to its similar translucent appearance.  Shells of certain species have been used extensively in jewellery, and for other decorative and ceremonial purposes -- cowrie necklaces were used in trade throughout the Pacific.

The cowrie was the shell most widely used worldwide as shell money.  It is most abundant in the Indian Ocean, and was collected in the Maldives, in Sri Lanka, along the Malabar coast of south western India, in Borneo and on other East Indian islands, as well as various parts of the African coast from Ras Hafun to Mozambique. Cowrie shell money was important in the trade networks of Africa, South Asia, and East Asia.

Crook / Crosier A bishop’s crook, crosier or pastoral staff is essentially a long and sturdy stick with a hook at one end, symbolising pastoral authority and guardianship over his flock.  The innovation of a hook facilitates the recovery of fallen animals/members of the flock by ensnaring them by the neck or leg.  For this reason, the crook has been used as a religious symbol of care (particularly in difficult circumstances).

The crook was an emblem of rulership in Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, and an attribute of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the Underworld, and several Greek gods.  It is also the emblem of the Apostles and some other Christian saints, and of Christ himself as the good shepherd.

Crook & Flail (Heka & Nekhakha) The shepherd's crook symbol in ancient Egyptian culture was the symbol of the state's power over its people.  The word 'Heka', which is also an epithet of Osiris, means 'to rule'.

In a similar way, the flail (Nekhakha) was considered the symbol of royal power.  Renowned Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson (born 1969 CE) suggested that the flail symbol represented a king's coercive power and control over his subjects.

Cross & Crown The Cross & Crown (a cross passing through a crown) is a Christian symbol used by various Christian denominations, particularly the Bible Student Movement3; it has also been used in heraldry.  The emblem is often interpreted as symbolising the reward in heaven (the crown) coming after the trials in this life (the cross) (James 1:12).

In addition to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christianity uses, the symbol also appears in the seal of the Church of Christ, Scientist, where it is surrounded by the words 'Heal the Sick, Cleanse the Lepers, Raise the Dead, Cast Out Demons', from the Gospel of Matthew, 10:8.  In this symbol, the crown stands for victory over death.

The symbol is also associated with Freemasonry, specifically the Knights Templar degree of the York Rite of Freemasonry when it is known as 'Knights Templar Blood-Red Passion Cross and Crown'.  The cross and crown symbol is often surrounded by the phrase 'In Hoc Signo Vinces', which is Latin for 'By this sign thou shalt conquer', a reference to the story of Constantine, who reportedly had a vision of a Chi Rho symbol, and a voice saying, "By this sign thou shalt conquer."

3 The Bible Student movement is the name adopted by a Millennialist Restorationist Christian movement that emerged from the teachings and ministry of Charles Taze Russell (1852 - 1916).

Cross Fitchy (Cross ftchée) The cross fitchy (from the French, “fixed”) originated as a cross with a pointed bottom, designed for use by traveling Crusaders, with a sharpened point that could be thrust into the ground.

A cross “fitchy” is any cross whose lower limb has been replaced with a long point.  The term derives from the French for “fixed (in the ground)”.  Because its shape resembles a sword, it became an apt symbol of the Crusader’s faith, and their willingness to use force in its cause.  Such crosses fitchy date from the earliest heraldry, as in the arms of de Vesci

Some modern texts use the term synonymously with “pointed”, and talk of a “cross fitchy at all limbs”; but this is a misunderstanding of the term, and should not be used.  Normally the upper limbs of a cross fitchy are also treated, in some other way (since they cannot readily be throughout); the bottom limb is typically somewhat longer than the other three, and comes to a tapering point.

Cross of Hermes See Hermetic Cross.

Cross of Lorraine See Baphomet.

Cross of Nero / Broken Cross The Broken Cross has been called Nero's Cross in recognition of Nero's attempt to suppress the rise of Christianity.  Although it seems illogical to connect a symbol of Christianity to people opposed to the religion, albeit inverted and broken, labelling this as Nero's Cross has found its way into reference books and no doubt will continue to mean different things to different people.

Enclosed in a Circle, the 'Broken Cross' has been the emblem of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) since 1958 CE and the symbol has become synonymous with 'Peace'.  But the Cross of Nero did not come to symbolise peace until the late 1960s or early 1970s when 'flower-power'4, created by the 'hippie movement', was at its height during The Cold War (a period of tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies from the end of WWII until approximately 1990).  The 'hippies' painted their individual forms of transport, old Volkswagen Dormobiles in particular, in bright colours and flowers, but more significantly with the peace symbol.  The Peace Sign (Cross of Nero) was often worn as a necklace and could be found as graffiti on walls throughout the country.

Since WWII, the Broken Cross has been associated with the Runic alphabet, in particular the Death Rune, when it was used by Adolf Hitler’s SS troops to represent ‘death’ or ‘died’ on documents and grave markers in place of the more conventional cross symbol normally used for such purposes..

4 Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War.

Cross of Satan See Satanic Cross.

Cross of St Andrew This symbol, a variant of the Greek Cross, is most often referred to as the Cross of St Andrew after the manner of that Saint's supposed crucifixion.  'The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew' (1607 CE) is a painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio (1571 - 1610).  It is now in the collection of the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art, which acquired it from the Arnaiz collection in Madrid in 1976, having been taken to Spain by the Spanish Viceroy of Naples in 1610.

The martyrdom of St Andrew was supposed to have taken place in Patras, Greece.  Bound to the cross with ropes, St Andrew is said to have survived for two days, preaching to the crowd and eventually converting them so that they demanded his release.  When the Roman Proconsul ordered him to be taken down, his men were struck by a 'miraculous paralysis', in answer to the saint's prayer that he be allowed to undergo martyrdom.

From the 17th century, Saint Andrew was shown on a diagonal cross, but Caravaggio would have been influenced by the 16th century belief that he was crucified on a normal Latin Cross.

The cross is also called a Saltire (or Saltaire) in heraldry.  It looks like a large letter ‘X’, and represents the initial of Christ, the Greek letter 'chi', in Christianity, and is the original Christian Cross, predating the Latin Cross by several hundred years.

Since St Andrew is the Patron saint of Scotland, his cross has become a symbol of that country, appearing on flags and other emblems.

Cross of St Peter The Cross of St Peter or 'Petrine Cross' is an inverted Latin Cross traditionally used as a Christian symbol, but in recent times also used as an anti-Christian symbol.  The origin of the symbol comes from the Catholic tradition that Simon Peter was crucified upside down.  The tradition first appears in The Martyrdom of Peter, a fragmented text found in, but possibly predating, the apocryphal Acts of Peter, which was written no later than 200 CE.  It is believed that Peter requested this form of crucifixion as he considered he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner in which Jesus died.  As such, some Catholics use this cross as a symbol of humility and unworthiness in comparison with Jesus.

According to Roman Catholicism, the pope is Peter's successor as Bishop of Rome.  Therefore, the Papacy is often represented by symbols that are also used to represent Peter, one example being the Keys of Heaven (St Peter) and another, the Petrine Cross.

By inverting the primary symbol of Christianity, the upside-down cross has become popular within anti-religion groups such as Satanism, and has appeared in many films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Rosemary's Baby, Exorcist: The Beginning, Ghost, The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity, Constantine, Devil, Phoonk, The Omen, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2.

See also Inverted Cross.

Crown A crown is a traditional form of head adornment, or hat, worn by monarchs as a symbol of their power and dignity, and is often, by extension, a symbol of the monarch's government or items endorsed by it.  The word itself is used, particularly in Commonwealth countries, as an abstract name for the monarchy itself, as distinct from the individual who inhabits it.

Crowns have been discovered in pre-historic times from Harayana, India; the precursor to the crown was the browband called the diadem, which had been worn by the Achaemenid Persian emperors.  It was adopted by Constantine I and was worn by all subsequent rulers of the later Roman Empire.

Numerous crowns of various forms were used in antiquity, such as the Hedjet, Deshret, Pschent (double crown) and Khepresh of Pharaonic Egypt.  The Pharaohs of Egypt also wore the diadem, which was associated with solar cults, an association which was not completely lost, as it was later revived under the Roman Emperor Augustus.  By the time of the Pharaoh Amenophis III (r.1390-1352bce), wearing a diadem clearly became a symbol of royalty.

The corona radiata, the "radiant crown" known best on the Statue of Liberty, and perhaps worn by the Helios that was the Colossus of Rhodes, was worn by Roman emperors as part of the cult of Sol Invictus prior to the Roman Empire's conversion to Christianity.  It was referred to as "the chaplet studded with sunbeams” by Lucian, about 180 CE.

Perhaps the oldest extant Christian crown in Europe is the Iron Crown of Lombardy, of Roman and Longobard antiquity, used by the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy.  Later again used to crown modern Kings of Napoleonic and Austrian Italy, and to represent united Italy after 1860.  Today, the crown is kept in the Cathedral of Monza.

Crown Chakra See Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra.

Crucible This is an alchemical symbol for transformation through dissolution, purification and union.  A crucible is a container that can withstand very high temperatures and is used for metal, glass, and pigment production as well as a number of modern laboratory processes.  While crucibles historically were usually made from clay, they can be made from any material that can withstand temperatures high enough to melt or otherwise alter its contents.

The refining of methods during the Mediaeval and Post Mediaeval periods led to the invention of the cupel which resembles a small egg cup.  It is made of ceramic or bone ash which was used to separate base metals from noble metals.  This process is known as cupellation, which started long before the Post Mediaeval period.  Another vessel used for the same process is a scorifier, a furnace in which sweepings containing waste gold or silver are burnt preparatory to extracting the gold and silver.

Crucified Bacchus This most unusual amulet seems to date from around the third century CE.  It is intended as a magical charm, and depicts a crucified figure of the Roman god of wine, Bacchus.  Above the figure we can see a crescent Moon, and seven stars, the meaning of which is unknown.

The symbol is unusual as it depicts a crucified figure other than Christ at a time when similar images of Jesus were rare.  See also Bacchus.

Crucifix See Christianity and Latin Cross.

Crux Dissimulata See Coptic Cross.

Cup See Chalice.

Cup of St John See Poisoned Cup.

Cupid See Eros.

Cypress In classical antiquity, the cypress was a symbol of mourning and in the modern era it remains the principal cemetery tree in both the Muslim world and Europe.  In the classical tradition, the cypress was associated with death and the underworld because it failed to regenerate when cut back too severely.

As with other conifers, due to their shape that points to the sky (heaven), cypress trees are often used as a symbol of immortality, elevation, hope and mourning, and is very often represented on sarcophagi.  As a hard and resistant wood, it was often used to carve idols and coffins.

It is one of the oldest classical mourning symbols used in Western and Eastern societies, and was known by the Greeks and the Romans as the 'mournful tree' (Romans would carry branches of cypress as a sign of respect, and bodies of the respected were placed upon cypress branches previous to the internment).  It is still very common to found cypress trees planted in both Christian and Muslim cemeteries to help ward off evil spirits.

It is thought that cypress was one of the woods used in Christ's crucifixion cross.

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