Categorie archief: religion

Triquetra

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Triquetra (IPA: [tɹaɪ’kwεtɹə]) is a word derived from the Latin tri- (“three”) and quetrus (“cornered”). Its original meaning was simply “triangle” and it has been used to refer to various three-cornered shapes. Nowadays, it has come to refer exclusively to a certain more complicated shape formed of three vesicae piscis, sometimes with an added circle in or around it. This widely recognized symbol has been used in for the past two centuries a sign of special things and persons that are threefold.

Germanic paganism

The triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

Celtic art

The triquetra is often found in Insular art, most notably metal work and in illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells. The fact that the triquetra very rarely stood alone in medieval Celtic has cast a reasonable doubt on its use as a symbol in context where it was used primarily as a space filler or ornament in much more complex compositions. But Celtic art lives on as both a living folk art tradition and through several revivals. This widely recognized knot has been used in for the past two centuries a sign of special things and persons that are threefold, such as Mother, Daughter and Grandmother – Past, Present and Future -and especially the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It can also mean Self, brother, and sister. 

Christian use

The symbol was later used by Christians as a symbol of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This appropriation was particularly easy because the triquetra conveniently incorporated three shapes that could be interpreted as Christian Ιχθυς symbols.

A common representation of the symbol is with a circle that goes through the three interconnected loops of the Triquetra. The circle emphasizes the unity of the whole combination of the three elements.

Neopaganism

Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures.

Germanic Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins. Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans use the triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea and Sky), or as a symbol of one of the specific triple Goddesses, for example, The Morrígan.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some New Agers to symbolize either the Wiccan triple goddess, the interconnected parts of our existence (Mind, Body, and Soul), or many other concepts that seem to fit into this idea of a unity.

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Tree of life

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The concept of a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related has been used in science, religion, philosophy, mythology and other areas. A tree of life is variously, a) a mystical concept alluding to the interconnectedness of all life on our planet, b) a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense, and c) a motif in various world theologies, mythologies and philosophies.Various trees of life are recounted in folklore, culture and fiction, often relating to immortality or fertility. They had their origin in religious symbolism.

picture: A Tree of Life, in the form of ten interconnected nodes, is an important part of the Kabbalah. As such, it resembles the ten Sephirot.

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Mandorla

 

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Mandorla is a Vesica Piscis shaped aureola which surrounds the figures of Christ and the Virgin Mary in traditional Christian art. It is especially used to frame the figure of Christ in Majesty in early medieval and Romanesque art, as well as Byzantine art of the same periods. The term refers to the almond like shape: “mandorla” means almond nut in Italian. In iconsof the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos. These mandorla will often be painted in several concentric patterns of color which grow darker as they come close to the center. This is in keeping with the church’s use ofApophatic theology, as described by Dionysius the Areopagite and others. As holiness increases, there is no way to depict its brightness, except by darkness.

The symbol is also used in non-Christian contexts. In various religions the almond seed has been associated with divine virgin birth. For instance the virgin nymph Nana miraculously conceived of Attis by putting a ripe almond in her bosom.In a famous romanesque fresco of Christ in Glory at Sant Climent de Taüll the inscription “Ego Sum Lux Mundi” is incorporated in the Mandorla design.

 

The tympanum at Conques has Christ, with one of those beautiful gestures carved in romanesque sculpture, indicate the angels at his feet bearing candlesticks. Six surrounding stars, resembling blossoming flowers, indicate the known planets including the moon. Here the symbolism implies Christ as the Sun. 

In one special case, at Cervon (Nièvre), Christ is seated surrounded by eight stars, resembling blossoming flowers. At Conques the flowers are six-petalled. At Cervon, where the almond motif is repeated in the rim of the mandorla, they are five-petalled, as are almond flowers -the first flowers to appear at the end of winter, even before the leaves of the almond tree. Here one is tempted to seek for reference in the symbolism of the nine branched Chanukkiyah candelabrum. It should be remembered that in the XII century a great school of Judaic thought radiated from Narbonne, coinciding with the origins of theKabbalah. Furthermore, at Cervon the eight star/flower only is six petalled: the Root of David, the Morningstar, mentioned at the close of Book of Revelation (22:16)  ( In one of the oldest manuscripts of the complete Hebrew Bible, the Leningrad Codex, one finds the Star of David imbedded in an octagon )

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In the symbolism of Hildegarde von Bingen the mandorla refers to the Cosmos.

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Wreath

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wreath is a ring made of flowers, leaves and sometimes fruits that can be used as an ornament, hanging on a wall or door, or resting on a table. A small wreath can be also worn on the head as a form of headdress.

 

Wreaths are usually made from evergreens as a symbol for the strength of life, with these plants overcoming even the harshest winters. Such wreaths often use Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and can be categorized as laurel wreaths. Other components of a wreath can be pine, holly or yew, symbolizing immortality, and cedar, symbolizing strength and healing. The Greek god Apollo is often associated with wreaths, and was a god of life and health. This inspired the Greek to use the symbol as crowns of victory at the Pythian Games, a forerunner to today’s Olympic Games. The circularity of wreaths can be used to symbolize eternity or immortality (see Crown of Immortality).

In Northern Europe, wreaths made of branches of conifer trees (especially firs) are commonly used as a symbol of remembrance of the deceased. For that purpose, such wreaths are often left at graves at burial (and sometimes, significant anniversaries thereof), or in cases of burial-at-sea, left to float at the sea.

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symbol of the horned god

 

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The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in the neopagan religion of Wicca. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion’s duotheistic system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess.

The term ‘Horned God’ itself predates Wicca, and is a 20th century syncretic term for a horned or antlered anthropomorphic god with pseudohistorical origins, who, according to Margaret Murray’s 1921 The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, was the deity worshipped by a pan-European witchcraft-based cult, and was demonised into the form of the Devil by the Christian Church. Horned and antlered figures appear in various religions and cultures, both ancient and modern, however the suggestion made by Murray that many or all of these represent a single pancultural deity is widely denied by contemporary historians.

The Horned God has been analysed in several psychological theories, and it has also become a recurrent theme in fantasy literature since the 20th Century.

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Thabal Chongba

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Thabal Chongba is a popular Manipuri folk dance associated with the festival of Yaoshang. The literal meaning of Thabal is ‘moonlight’ and Chongba means ‘dance’, thus ‘dancing in the moonlight’. Traditionally conservative Manipuri parents did not allow their daughters to go out and meet any young men without their consent. Thabal Chongba therefore provided the only chance for girls to meet and talk to boys. In earlier times, this dance was performed in the moonlight accompanied by folk songs. The music is rhythmic beating of drums accompanied by other instruments. It is performed in every locality on all the five days of the festival. As soon as the moon rises over the hills the flute, the drums and the cymbals starts pouring out music. The boys and girls in a circle clutch each others hands with rhythms of music slow and fast, high and low, up and down. If the number is great they may form two or three rows so that everybody and anybody can participate in the dance. Of its special interest in the dance of legs and of the mind by the side of girl on the part of the males and also by the side of youth on the part of the females and hand in hand dancing. They wear no make-up and special costumes.

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Rota fortunae (wheel of fortune)

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The Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a concept in medieval and ancient philosophy referring to the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna, who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel – some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls.

 

The concept arose in antiquity; it was used by Cicero. The Wheel originally belonged to the Roman goddess Fortuna. Fortuna eventually became Christianized: the Roman philosopher Boethius (d. 524) was a major source for the medieval view of the Wheel, writing about it in his Consolatio Philosophiae.

I know how Fortune is ever most friendly and alluring to those whom she strives to deceive, until she overwhelms them with grief beyond bearing, by deserting them when least expected … Are you trying to stay the force of her turning wheel? Ah! dull-witted mortal, if Fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer Fortune. ~ Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy 

The Wheel of Fortune card in a Tarot pack connects it with the wheel mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel (10:9-13). However, exactly how much relation the Biblical passage has to the actual evolution of the concept is unclear: medieval writers made little reference to it in that context.

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