Protective magick is probably the most basic of all types of spellwork. If you don't feel safe and secure, it's difficult to enjoy any of the pleasures of life. Since the beginning of time, humans have been creating protective signs and symbols to ward off evil and bad luck.
Would you like to learn some protective glyphs to use in your spells and amulets? Today, we'll be taking a look at nine powerful protective symbols from the Western magickal tradition. These symbols come from diverse spiritual paths including Wiccan, Norse, Judaeo-Christian, Egyptian, and others.
Just as no two words have exactly the same meaning, each magickal symbol has a slightly different energy and function. Read on to find the perfect symbol for your protective workings.
Pentacle (or Pentagram)
The pentacle, or five-pointed star, is probably best-known as a symbol of the Wiccan religion. This symbol has been passed down to modern Witches through the tradition of ceremonial magick. Wiccans and Pagans wear it as symbol of faith, but it is also used as a protective glyph.
The pentacle's protective legacy probably began in medieval times. The five points were said to represent the five wounds of Christ. Early occultists saw the pentacle as a microcosm, or representation of the human being. The pentacle's affinity with the body makes it immensely useful to the human magician. Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" is the most famous representation of a man's shape drawn over the pentagram.
To contemporary Pagans, the five points of the pentagram stand for the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) and the "fifth element" of Spirit. Placing Spirit at the top is a reminder that Spirit inhabits and presides over all forms of matter. The circle surrounding the star evokes both infinity and the aura or energy field that surrounds the body.
The pentacle has diverse magickal uses, including protection. The pentacle is a powerful reminder of a world in balance. Witches draw pentagrams in the air to banish or consecrate sacred space. Pentagram amulets are a popular choice for warding the physical and energetic bodies.
The Solar Cross is an equal-armed cross, which may also be surmounted by a circle. It is one of the oldest spiritual symbols in existence, dating back to Stone Age carvings.
The Solar Cross represents the light and movement of the sun. The sun was extremely important to early humans, both for its life-giving energy and its predictable cycles of days and seasons. Many subsequent religious symbols (including the Christian cross) are related to this simplest of drawings. Many more mytho-spiritual concepts can be found therein: The Celtic-Pagan Wheel of the Year, the Wheel card of the Tarot, the classical Sun Chariot, and the Native American Four Winds are just a few.
As a protective symbol, the Solar Cross evokes the power of the Sun God or All-Father, as well as the guardians of the Four Directions. To meditate on the cross's intersection is a powerful centering exercise.
The Solar Cross represents both balance (at its center) and infinity (at its extremities). It it a symbol of eternity that embodies themes of birth, death, and rebirth. Use the Solar Cross as a centering and calming aid when under threat. As a solar symbol, it is used to banish negativity and cast out shadows.
Named for the Roman god of war, the planet Mars is big, red, and brutal. Astrologers and alchemists developed the Mars symbol as a shorthand for the planet. In magick, it stands for all things martial: Conflict, personal power, and virility.
Mars magick includes protection spells of the more aggressive variety. Mars brings its warrior energy to curses, hexes, banishing, and counter-magick. This is not a glyph for your "white light" or "live and let live" shielding magick. Evoke Mars when you want to stick it to someone who's bothering you (and make sure they think twice about doing it again).
This hand-shaped amulet is popular throughout the Middle East and Africa. Hamsas are worn as jewelry and hung over walls and windows. With its all-seeing eye in the center of the palm, the Hamsa is said to ward off the Evil Eye. The open right hand represents power and blessings.
In the Middle East, the Hamsa tradition is known by Jews and Muslims alike. However, the right hand of protection can be traced as far back as the Mesopotamian cult of Ishtar. Modern Witches sometimes say that the palm stands for protection, while the fingers represent the five blessings: Love, Money, Health, Wisdom, and Power.
There are many variations of the Hamsa symbol, from simple line drawings of the five fingers to the very elaborate and stylized versions. It is a very common practice to personalize the amulet with words and symbols of power. A custom Hamsa charm can be as specific as you want it to be. Or, use it as a general charm against ill luck, jealousy, and poverty.
Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus (or Eye of Ra) is one of the most enduring protective symbols in history. Featured in ancient Egyptian amulets and artwork, it symbolizes divine power. The All-Seeing Eye is said to protect anything it looks upon. The shapes within the Eye have links to sacred geometry and sacred mathematics.
Through the myths of Ra (the Sun God) the Eye represents eternal life and rebirth—hence its use in Egyptian tomb decorations. It is also popular as an amulet against evil-doers and ill-wishers.
The Triquetra (or Celtic Shield) is sometimes used as a protective symbol by Pagans and Celtic Christians. The three-cornered knot represents the Triple Goddess or Holy Trinity. As it has no beginning and no end, the interwoven knot stand for protection that cannot be broken. The circle is also a symbol of eternity.
A bindrune is a sigil composed of one or more archaic letters (runes). The bindrune combines the properties of each rune into a single symbol. Bindrunes may be created for any magickal purpose, but they are commonly used in protective charms.
The most effective bindrune is one that you assemble with intention, using your own understanding of and relationship with the runes. The bindrune's exact meaning will be known only to you. Afterward, the bindrune is worn as an amulet or incorporated into sigil magick.
The picture is an example of a protective bindrune incorporating the runes Ingwaz (harmony) and Isa (solitude). It is meant to confer a peaceful environment and inner strength upon the wearer. Also hidden within the bindrune are the shapes of Algiz (divine protection) and Othala (birthright), in case the two main runes are not enough for the job!
Hexagram of Solomon
The six-pointed star is an important esoteric and religious symbol. It is composed of two interlaced or interlocking triangles. Ceremonial magicians know it as the Hexagram of Solomon or Seal of Solomon.
Mystical interpretations of the hexagram are many, and depend upon who is viewing it. Western occultists see a fire (upright) triangle superimposed over a water (inverted triangle). This represents the spiritual fire of the aspirant reaching upwards towards heaven, while the fluid grace of God descends simultaneously. The interlocking triangles can be seen as a kind of shorthand for the Hermetic axiom, "As above, so below".
The symbol is named for the Biblical king Solomon, who was said to practice spirit evocation with the aid of a signet ring with a hexagram seal. Later, medieval occultists would seek to replicate Solomon's mastery over unruly spirits. The hexagram was said to represent the authority of God and to offer the wearer protection from evil. It is often inscribed with divine names and other symbols and words of power.
Sometimes the best magickal symbols are the simplest. There is no mistaking the meaning of the crossed spears. A simple line drawing easily conveys the message, "Do not pass." This type of sigil is often used within folk magick traditions, where a lack of formal literacy is no obstacle to crafting powerful spells. Drawings of axes, swords, hammers, and shields may also be deployed for power and protection.
Variations of the crossed spears motif appear in many cultures and time periods, from British heraldry to the national flag of Kenya. It is also one of the eight Witches' Runes. In divination, it signifies quarrels and conflict. In magick, the Crossed Spears emblem (and its cousins) are used to put up a psychic barrier or block the actions of an adversary.