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Solar Cross

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Solar Cross

Because of its association with the Sun itself, this symbol is typically connected to the element of Fire.

Image © Patti Wigington 2012; Licensed to About.com

The Solar Cross symbol is a variation on the popular four-armed cross. It represents not only the sun, but also the cyclical nature of the four seasons and the four classical elements. It is often used as an astrological representation of earth. The most famous variation of the solar cross is the swastika, which was originally found in both Hindu and Native American symbolism. In Ray Buckland's book, Signs, Symbols and Omens, it is mentioned that the solar cross is sometimes referred to as Wotan's cross. Typically, it is portrayed with a circle in the center of the cross-arms, but not always. There are a number of variations on the four-armed cross.

Carvings of this ancient symbol have been found in Bronze-age burial urns dating back as far as 1400 b.c.e. Although it's been used in many cultures, the cross eventually became identified with Christianity. It does seem to appear fairly regularly in crop circles as well, particularly those that show up in fields in the British Isles. A similar version appears as the Brighid's Cross, found all over the Irish Celtic lands.

The concept of sun worship is one nearly as old as mankind itself. In societies that were primarily agricultural, and depended on the sun for life and sustenance, it is no surprise that the sun became deified. In North America, the tribes of the Great Plains saw the sun as a manifestation of the Great Spirit. For centuries, the Sun Dance has been performed as a way to not only honor the sun, but also to bring the dancers visions. Traditionally, the Sun Dance was performed by young warriors.

Because of its association with the Sun itself, this symbol is typically connected to the element of Fire. You can use it in ritual workings honoring the sun or the power, heat and energy of flames. Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire can destroy, yet it also creates, and represents the fertility and masculinity of the God. Use this symbol in rituals that involve casting away the old, and rebirthing the new, or for celebrations of the solstices at Yule and Litha.

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