domingo, 1 de abril de 2007

Adinkra symbols

Adinkra (sometimes, andinkra) symbols are small, symbolic pictures used to decorate colorful patterned cloth by fabric designers in Ghana. Designs are made by cutting patterns into pieces of calabash gourd, then stamping them on fabric with black ink made from iron oxide. The fabric is created in varied colors and patterns, and used in funerals, weddings, and other special occasions. Adinkra cloth is not used for everyday purposes because it cannot be washed.

The name Adinkra comes from the legendary King conquered by the Ashante people,who, according to legend, wore luxurious patterned fabrics. Adinkra means "goodbye," and the special cloth was reserved for funeral garments.

Adinkra fabric is now used for a variety of special occasions, and there are dozens of adinkra symbols used to impart a variety of meanings to the finished cloth. Many symbolize virtues, folk tales and proverbs, animals, and even historical events, and most are very old, having been passed down through generations of craftsmen.

Name: Osrane ne nsoroma (Ram's horns)
Meaning :Wisdom, learning, humility

Name: Kuntenkanten (arrogance, pride)
Meaning : Humility and modesty

Name: Nkontim (hair of the Queen's servant)
Meaning :Loyalty, Readiness to serve

sábado, 31 de março de 2007


The astrological glyph for the sun, and the alchemical symbol for Gold. This symbol originated in ancient Egypt as a symbol for the sun God Re.

The enso is an emblem of Zen Buddhism. A simple circle drawn with a single, broad brushstroke, it is a symbol of infinity, and represents the infinite void, the 'no-thing,' the perfect meditative state, and Satori (enlightenment.)


The spiral is probably the oldest symbol of human spirituality. It has been found scratched into rocks from thousands of years ago, on every continent in the world. The religious significance can only be guessed, but it has been found on tombs, and possibly has a connection with the sun- the sun makes a spiral shape every three months in its travels.

A triple spiral motif found on Celtic tombs is drawn unicursally (that is, in one continuous line), suggesting a cycle of rebirth or resurrection. (this hypothesis is bolstered by the fact that many of these appear to be deliberately placed where they catch the first rays of the sun on the solstice).

In modern times, the spiral is still spiritually significant. It is the symbol of spirit in Wicca, an emblem of the Goddess.

Vesica Pisces

In Pagan times, this glyph was associated with the Goddess Venus, and represented female genitalia. Early depictions of Christ depict him as an infant within the vesica (usually called a mandorla, meaning 'almond shaped.'), which represented the womb of Mary (and often, the coming together of heaven and earth in the body of jesus- part man, part god). As such, it is also a doorway or portal between worlds, and symbolizes the intersection between the heaven and the material plane. The shape of arches in gothic architecture is based on the vesica.

The shape of the vesica pisces is derived from the intersection of two circles, the Pythagorean "measure of the fish" that was a mystical symbol of the intersection of the world of the divine with the world of matter and the beginning of creation. To the Pythagoreans, the whole of creation was based on number, and by studying the properties of number, they believed one could achieve spiritual liberation. The vesica pisces was the symbol of the first manifestation, the dyad (reflection) that gives birth to the entire manifest universe. Within the vesica can be found the triangle, the tetrad, the square, the pentacle, and many more polygons, making the vesica a true symbolic womb.

The vesica pisces is the main part of the design that graces the cover of the Chalice Well at Glastonbury, designed in the nineteenth century by archaeologist Bligh Bond. Crafted of wrought iron and wood, it depicts the vesica pisces, a symbol of the divine feminine, and Excalibur, the sword of the legendary King Arthur, who is believed by some to be buried at Glastonbury.

The wellspring at Glastonbury is considered to be one of England's most Holy sites. The well itself dates back over two thousand years, and was sacred to both early Pagans and the Christians who later built an abbey on the site. Today, the well is a place of pilgrimage for Christians and Pagans alike, many of whom believe the red, iron rich water has healing and miraculous properties. The vesica Pisces theme is repeated in the shape of the pool at the base of the hill, where the water from the spring flows.

An old legend holds that after the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea travelled to England and hid the Holy Grail on the premises, accounting for the water's red hue. Modern Neopagans who use the site equate the waters with the menstruum of the Goddess.

Triquera, triqueta

The triquetra (often, triqueta) is a tripartate symbol composed of three interlocked vesica pisces, marking the intersection of three circles. It is most commonly a symbol of the Holy Trinity (Father, son, Holy spirit) used by the Celtic Christian Church, sometimes stylized as three interlaced fish.

The triqueta symbol predates Christianity and was likely a Celtic symbol of the Goddess, and in the North, a symbol of the god Odin. Although it is often asserted that the triquetra is a symbol of a tripartite goddess, no such goddess has been identified with the symbol. Similar symbols do occur in some Norse and Celtic goddess imagery, but most likely represents the divisions of the animal kingdom and the three domains of earth mentioned above. Triplicities were common symbols in Celtic myth and legend, one of the possible reasons Christian beliefs were so easily adopted by the Celtic people.
The triqueta makes an ideal Christian symbol. It is a perfect representation of the concept of "three in one" in Christian trinity beliefs, and incorporates another popular Christian symbol, the fish, in its original form of the vesica pisces. It is sometimes enclosed within a circle to emphasize the unity aspect.

In Wiccan and Neopagan belief, the triqueta symbolizes the triple aspected goddess (maid, mother, and crone). Some Christians have protested this "appropriation" of the symbol...however, ironically enough, the original Christian fish symbol was derived from an early symbol of venus, one representing female generative organs- making the triquetra perfectly appropriate symbol for a Goddess revival. The triquetra is also considered to represnt the triplicities of mind, body, and soul, as well as the three domains of earth according to Celtic legend- earth, sea, and sky.

The triquetra also appears on the television series Charmed, probably as a less threatening alternative to the pentacle (the preferred emblem of witches real and imaginary). In the show, it represents the "power of three, acting as one which in turn represents the three sisters.

The triquetra also appears on the motion picture Constantine as a charm used by a catholic priest to protect against demons.

The triskele, or triple spiral, or triskelion, a symbol closely related to the triquetra, is a tripartite symbol composed of three interlocked spirals. The spiral is an ancient Celtic symbol related to the sun, afterlife and reincarnation. The example above comes from the Neolithic "tomb" at Newgrange, where it is supposed by some to be a symbol of pregnancy (the sun describes a spiral in its movements every three months; a triple spiral represents nine months), an idea reinforced by the womb like nature of the structure. The symbol also suggests reincarnation- it is drawn in one continuous line, suggesting a continuous movement of time.

Triskeles are one of the most common elements of Celtic art; they are found in a variety of styles in both ancient and modern Celtic art, especially in relation to depictions of the Mother Goddess. They also evoke the Celtic concept of the domains of material existence- earth, water, and sky, and their interrelations.

The trinacria, a three legged design resembling a triskele, is a symbol of the Isle of Sicily. "Trincaria" means "triangular," and the three points represent the three capes of Sicily, also known as Trinacria in ancient times.

The Medusa in the center implies the protection of the Goddess Athena, the Patron Goddess of the Isle. (In early mythology, Medusa was the destructive aspect of Athena, later, a monster slain by the hero Perseus, who adorned Athena's shield.)


The Cross is one of the oldest religious symbols of all time, from the prehistoric solar cross (an equal armed cross), to the Cross adapted from Pagan cults for Christian use after the council of Nicaea. Cross symbols are among the oldest on earth, and are found in every culture. Crosses are almost invariably symbols of the sun, the sky, and the passage of time, and are linked with most solar deities.

The Solar cross is probably the most ancient spiritual symbol in the world, appearing in Asian, American, European, and Indian religious art from the dawn of history. Composed of a equal armed cross within a circle, it represents the solar calendar- the movements of the sun, marked by the solstices. Sometimes the equinoxes are marked as well, giving an eight armed wheel.

The Swastika or cross gammadion or fylfot cross, is also a form of Solar cross, emphasizing movement, with arms bent at right angles, suggesting a whirling or turning motion. Long before the symbol was co-opted as an emblem of Hitler's Nazi party, it was a sacred symbol to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religions, as well as in Norse, Basque, Baltic, and Celtic Paganism.

The Cross imissa or Greek cross is a very early form of the Christian cross. Often found in conjunction with the Ankh, the Greek cross predates the Latin cross and was not intended to represent the cross of the crucifixion, but instead, the four directions of the earth, representing the spread of the gospel, and the four platonic elements. The Greek cross was a popular floor plan for eastern churches at one time. This style of cross dates to ancient Babylon, where it was a symbol of the sun-god Shamash. It was also popular in pre and post Christian Celtic art.

The Ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol of life. Also known as an Ansata cross or crux ansata, this a visual representation of a sandal strap. The horizontal and vertical bars of the lower tau cross represent the feminine and masculine energy, respectively. This combination of male and female symbols (the cross and circle) in the ankh suggest fertility and creative power. The top loop also symbolises the sun on the horizon, and suggests reincarnation and rebirth. The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian writings about rebirth, and this symbolism was adopted by Coptic Christians, especially gnostic sects, to symbolize the resurrection of Christ and the heavenly marriage. The ankh was an earlier form of the cross than the later "latin" cross.

The Celtic cross or Ionic cross, has it's roots in a pre-Christian variation of the Solar cross. Examples of the Celtic cross date back as far as 5000 years BCE. Its origins are not known, but it was known to be an early symbol of the sun god Taranis. After the conversion of the Celtic people to Christianity, the Celtic Cross became an emblem of the Celtic Christian Church. Irish legend holds that the cross was introduced to Ireland by St. Columba, so it is sometimes referred to as Columba's cross, or the Ionic cross, after his monastery on the isle of Iona.

The most well known cross is the Latin cross or Christian Cross, which to Christians, represents the cross of Christ's crucifixion. When shown with the image of Christ, it is called a crucifix. The shape of a true Latin cross, when folded, creates a cube, an ancient symbol of earthly authority. The cross of Christianity was a later symbol of the faith, replacing the lamb, fish, alpha/omega, and phoenix as emblems. It was previously considered a pagan symbol, with several early church fathers objecting to its use.

Swastika (Fylfot Cross)

The Swastika is a type of solar cross, with arms bent at right angles, suggesting a whirling or turning motion. Long before the symbol was co-opted as an emblem of Hitler's Nazi party, it was a sacred symbol to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religions, as well as in Norse, Basque, Baltic, and Celtic Paganism. The name Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit language, from "su," meaning "good," and "vasti"," meaning "being" (together; well being). In India, it is used as a fertility and good luck charm.

The swastika is also known for its uses in heraldry as the tetraskelion, the fylfot cross (fylfot meaning 'four feet,' a term used in european heraldry), the cross gammadion (because it resembles four greek letter 'gammas.'), and the hakenkreutz (German, hooked cross).

The swastika is an archetypal, universal human religious symbol. It appears on every continent and is as old as humankind. A marker of the sun's travels, it can be seen on Pictish rock carvings, adorning ancient Greek pottery, and on ancient Norse weapons and implements. It was scratched on cave walls in France seven thousand years ago. A swastika marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures, and is often inciused on the soles of the feet of the Buddha in statuary. In the Jain religion, it is a symbol of the seventh Jina (Saint), the Tirthankara Suparsva. To Native Americans, the swastika is a symbol of the sun, the four directions, and the four seasons.

The right turning Indian swastika symbolizes the sun and positive energy, and is most commonly associated with the deity Ganesh, a God of prosperity and wealth. Some Indians regard an anti-clockwise swastika as an opposing, dark force- a symbol of the godess Kali. Together, the two can be regarded as symbolically similar to the Yin Yang symbol of Taoism, or the two Pillars of Kabbalah.

The swastika used in Buddhist art and scripture is known as a manji (whirlwind), and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. It is derived from the Hindu religious swastika, but it is not identical in meaning.

The Manji is made up of several elements- a vertical axis representing the joining of heaven and earth, a horizontal axis representing the connection of yin and yang, and the four arms, representing movement- the whirling force created by the interaction of these elements.

When facing left, it is the Omote (front facing) Manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the Ura (rear facing) Manji.

In Zen Buddhism, the Manji represents the ideal harmony between love and intellect.

sexta-feira, 30 de março de 2007

Celtic Shield Knots

While many of the ancient designs certainly had some spiritually significant meaning, these have been lost to the ages. The continual looping of the designs suggests themes of eternity and interconnectedness, and knots may have been made at one time to foil evil spirits. Interwoven figures of people and animals may have represented the interdependent nature of life-two or more knots laced together symbolize lovers, hunters and their prey, God and man, etc. Some knots were used as magical talismans for protection.

A general rule of thumb is: the shape of the design often determines the "meaning" of a knotwork design- triskele and trefoil shapes should be regarded as triskeles, bird, fish, and animal designs represent the attributes of the animal, etc. Circles represent unity or eternity, spirals reincarnation or cycles of life and rebirth, triangles and trefoils the threefold dominions of earth, sea, and sky. Squares or four-fold shapes are shield knots, symbols of protection from spirits or malevolent influence and usually have a fylfot as center. Interlaced animals and men usually represent relationships, or emphasize the interdependence of mankind and nature.

Golden spiral

In geometry, a golden spiral is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor b is related to φ, the golden ratio.

Specifically, a golden spiral gets wider by a factor of φ every quarter-turn it makes, which means it gets wider by a factor of φ4 (about 6.854) every full turn.

Approximate and true Golden Spirals. The green spiral is made from quarter-circles tangent to the interior of each square, while the red spiral is a Golden Spiral, a special type of logarithmic spiral. Overlapping portions appear yellow. The length of the side of a larger square to the next smaller square is in the golden ratio. (A Fibonacci spiral is not shown, but could be constructed from a similar "whirling rectangle diagram", in which the ratios of the rectangles were based on the terms in the Fibonacci series, rather than phi.)

Fibonacci number

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers form a sequence defined by the following recurrence relation:

That is, after two starting values, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The first Fibonacci numbers also denoted as Fn, for n = 0, 1, … , are:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025, 121393, 196418…

Sometimes this sequence is considered to start at F1 = 1, but it is more common to include F0 = 0. The Fibonacci numbers are named after Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci, although they had been described earlier in India.

A tiling with squares whose sides are successive Fibonacci numbers in length.

A Fibonacci spiral, created by drawing arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in the Fibonacci tiling shown above.