Moon Symbols: Certain Symbols have been associated with the Moon and Moon deities for thousands of years. Many symbols recur in diverse cultures with no contact with each other. Ancient spiritual leaders knew how to communicate with the collective unconscious, which is the storehouse of all knowledge, and hear the deities’ voices which speak there.
Using these symbols in meditation, ritual, or spell-working may intensify your connections with the archetypal powers of the Moon. Examine the entries carefully and decide what is appropriate for the situation, be it simple meditation of a full-blown ritual. For instance, I have no trouble identifying with Cats, but have never been able to decide on how to use Bats.
Ambrosia: The feminine mysteries of the menstrual cycle; the re-creative power of menstrual blood. Called soma among the Hindus, red claret of the faeries, and wise blood.
Bat: A creature of frequent association with the Moon and darkness. In China, bats were symbols of good fortune and happiness; in Europe, a companion creature of the Goddess Hel. Christians made the bat evil and demonic in order to disengage people from the Goddess.
Blood: The words “blessing” and “blood” are related. Red has always been considered the color of life. It is also the color of the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess, indicative of Her fruitfulness through menstruation and birth. Smudging and staining the hands and feet with henna was practiced by followers of Hecate, Anath, and many Hindu Goddesses. Altars and people were consecrated by sprinkling with blood in these ancient times. Today, objects and people are sprinkled with salted water.
Boat: The Moon was called the Boat of Light by the Babylonians. Egyptians depicted the Crescent Moon with the horns turned upward either as part of the lunar deities headdress or carved sky-boats, such as the ones pictured in the temple of Isis.
Bull: Originally the lunar symbol of the Great Mother with the horns representing the Crescent Moon, the bull later came to represent the Sun Gods. However, it was often still connected with a Moon Goddess such as Cybele or Attis.
Cat: Mau: The Egyptian word for Cat. To the Egyptians especially, the cat was a Moon creature, and sacred to such Goddesses as Isis, Bast, Artemis, Diana, and Freyja. When Diana became known as Queen of Witches in the Middle Ages, the cat was associated with Witchcraft and Goddess worship.
Circle: The circle was symbolic of the Moon long before being seized by the Sun Gods. In Scotland, the Orkney Islands are still called Temples of the Moon. The ancient Greek divinatory tool known as Hecate’s Circle was a gold sphere with a sapphire in its center, and was hung on a thong of oxhide.
Color: Primary Moon deity colors are white, red, or black, depending on Moon phase. The Hindu Goddess Kali and many European Triple Goddesses specifically used these colors to designate their various aspects: white – maiden; red – mother; black – crone.
Cow: Feminine symbol of both Moon and the Earth. Egyptian Moon Goddesses connected with the cow were Isis, Hathor, Neith, amongst others.
Crescent: The New Moon; marking the change from the Dark Moon, it is the very first sliver of Moon. Old European designs portray the lunar cycle by a right crescent, a circle, and a left crescent. At times, the circle was replaced with a large snake coil. Semicircles also symbolized the crescent, as did bull horns. U-shaped marks not only represented crescents, but were also combined with dots to symbolize owls – Moon birds. The croissant, or any crescent-shaped
cake is sacred to Moon deities.
Crow: This bird was frequently associated with the Dark Moon Goddesses such as the Morrigan, due to its black color.
Crystal: This stone most often represents the Full Moon and its divinatory powers.
Dew, Rain: Many cultures associate these forms of condensation with the Moon. The early dew after a Full Moon is said to heal and improve beauty if rubbed into the skin. Certain phases and signs of the Moon are purported to be conducive to rain.
Dogs: Canines have long been associated with Moon deities, especially Crescent New Moon Goddesses. Managarmr (Moondog) was the mightiest of all dog-wolf supernatural beings according to a Norse story.
Dragon: Dragons are primarily associated with solar eclipses, but are also associated with the Moon and lunar eclipses. The idea of dragons and eclipses was held in China, Northern Asia, Finland, Lithuania, North Africa, and Persia. Legend dictates that dragons often fly about in the moonlight.
Eye: Often associated with the Moon, especially in ancient Egypt. Many little Eye Goddesses have been found in Mediterranean and European sites.
Fan: Among the ancient Asiatic and Oriental cultures, the fan represented the phases of the Moon.
Fish: Some cultures symbolized the Moon with a fish instead of a snake. Some Moon Goddesses were depicted with fish-tails, akin to mermaids.
Frog: Many times a lunar symbol; sometimes called a toad. Hekat the frog Goddess was connected with birth in ancient Egypt.
Grotto, Garden: It was common to worship a Moon Goddess or God in a grotto or garden. These sacred spaces usually contained a Moon tree such as an olive, a sacred stone, or a spring, or all of these.
Groves: Groves of trees were often sacred to the Moon Mother, especially if they held springs, pools, or lakes. Ceremonies of drawing water and pouring it were part of her rituals. If a grove contained a grotto where water came directly out of a rock, it was especially sacred.
Hare or Rabbit: Many cultures around the world, including Tibet, China, Africa, Ceylon, and some Native Americans, said that a hare lived on the Moon along with the ruling Moon deity. Especially associated with lunar Goddesses.
Horns: Bull or cows horns have always been connected with the Moon and Moon deities. Cattle and bison horns have been recovered that have thirteen notches carved into them; the Great Goddess of Laussel is such an example. These notches represent the thirteen Moon months of a seasonal year. The Greek Hera was also called Keroessa (“Horned One”) in her aspect of Io, the Moon Cow.
Horseshoe: A crescent Moon symbol and also a yonic emblem.
Hounds, Dogs: Packs of hounds, such as Alani of Diana, represent the dangerous energies of the Moon.
Labrys, Double Axe: A Goddess and Moon symbol, said to have been one of the weapons preferred by the Amazons. A thunderbolt was said to have been given in this shape to the Amazons by Hera. In Crete and at Delphi, both originally Goddess centers, the labyrs was a ceremonial scepter.
Lamp: The Moon is called by many the lamp of the night. Their close connection with the Moon’s light is demonstrated by the additional titles attached to Goddess names such as Juno Lucina , and Diana Lucifera.
Mirror, round: The Moon is called the heavenly mirror in Central Asia and many other parts of the world. The mirror is a Goddess symbol sometimes called a soul-carrier or soul-catcher. Some cultures believed that the souls of the dead went to the Moon to await reincarnation.
Moonstone: A feldspar gemstone with a white, cloudy form. It is said to contain the image of the Moon. The Hindus said it was formed from the congealing of the Moon’s rays. Pope Leo X (1475-1521 CE) was said to own a moonstone that waxed and waned in brilliance with the Moon. The stone is said to cure nervousness and bring luck to the owner.
Old Man, Old Woman: The markings on the Moon surface are often called the Old Man or Old Woman in the Moon. Some cultures such as the Asians, Mayans, or Aztecs, called these markings the hare, frog, or toad.
Owl: A night hunter possessing large eyes, the owl has long been associated with the Moon. The Egyptians considered the owl a symbol of death, night, and cold. To the Greeks, however, it was an emblem of wisdom and the Goddess Athena. Its staring eyes connected it with the Eye Goddesses, Lilith, Minerva, Blodeuwedd, Anath, and Mari, among others. The owl has long been associated with the Moon, wisdom, sacred lunary mysteries, and initiations.
Ox: In Greece and Rome, this animal was seen as a lunar animal.
Pomegranate: Due to its blood-red juice and its many chambers and seeds, the pomegranate is symbolic of blood, the Dark Moon deities, and the land of the Dea.
Pillar, Cone: The earliest representation of the Moon; sometimes this stone was a meteorite. Often it was grouped with a circular stone which represented the Full Moon. Some pyramids fall into this category.
Raven: A black bird associated with the Dark Moon Goddesses such as the Morrigan and Rhiannon.
Scythe, Sickle: A symbol of the Crescent Moon. Used by the Amazons and women who worshipped Moon Goddesses, particularly Crone deities. Even the Druids used a Moon-shaped sickle for their sacred ceremonies.
Semicircle: The semicircle represents the Crescent Moon in symbology.
Shell: A symbol of the Great Mother and related to the Moon.
Silver: This metal has long been regarded as the Moon’s metal. Silver was used for divinatory cups.
Snake: As a Goddess symbol, the snake is the same as the spiral when it is coiled. Each turn of the coil marks a day in the lunar calendar. Zigzag lines represent snakes. Serpents were associated with the Dark Moon because they were considered related to the Underworld. Some Dark Moon Goddesses were depicted with snakes as hair. There are pictures showing Cybele offering a cup to a snake. In the mythology of Mexico are tales of the woman serpent (Moon) who is devoured by the Sun, a description of an eclipse or the phases of the Moon.
Soma: A sacred liquid connected with the Moon. In India it was called soma; the Persians knew it as haoma, and the Celts as red claret. See Blood. The Chinese Goddess Ch’ang-O drank this sacred liquid, then fled to live on the Moon.
Sow: The white sow has been associated with Moon deities from the Celtic lands to the Mediterranean. It was connected with Astarte, Cerridwen, Demeter, Freyja, and the Buddhist Marici.
Spiral: The spiral, whichever way it turned, represented an aspect of the Great Goddess, and also the Moon. The upward and downward spiraling, or in and out, can be compared with the waxing and waning of the Moon. The Greek Crane Dance, probably originally performed in Crete by the bull-dancers, was danced around a horned altar which was part of the labyrinth. Spirals appear on some ancient Goddess statues, primarily replacing what would be eyes.
Toad: Some cultures saw a toad, instead of a hare, in the Moon. In some parts of Asia, Africa, and North America, the toad is a symbol of the Moon and fertility.
Tree: Frequently a tree, called a Moon tree, was an emblem of the Moon. Many Assyrian pictures portray this. Sometimes, it is more like a maypole with ribbons hanging from it rather than an actual tree. Often the Moon tree was guarded by animals.
Triple Symbols: Many groups of triple symbols represent the three phases of the Moon. Hecate Triformis is an example of the Triple Moon Goddess, as is the Celtic Morrigu. The tripod, triangle, and trident are all connected directly with the three phases of the Moon Goddesses, or with Gods who are consorts of these Goddesses.
Wishing Well: There is an Icelandic charm of this name which has four Crescent Moons as dippers about its edge. The Moon has long been associated with water and the granting of wishes or prayers. Several Goddesses, such as the Greek Demeter and the Celtic Brigit, had sacred Moon wells where rituals, large and small, were held for the granting of desires.
Wheel: Though the wheel has most often been a Sun symbol, there were occasions when it represented the Moon. Arianrhod’s Silver Wheel or Oar Wheel is really the Moon.
Willow: A Moon tree sacred to such Dark Moon Goddesses as Hecate, Circe, and Persephone. The willow (helice) gave its name to the Helicon, abode of the nine muses, the orgiastic abode of the Moon Goddess.
Wings: Long before the Persians adopted the winged disk as a symbol of their Sun God, the Moon Goddess was shown with wings. Sometimes the Moon itself, whether Crescent or Full, was pictured with wings. Certain birds, such as doves and pigeons, were associated with the Moon.
Wolf: Many Gods and Goddesses who had connections with the Moon, also had the wolf as their symbol. The wolf howls as the Moon, as do dogs; they hunt and frolic by moonlight. The Moon priestesses of many cultures were adept at astral traveling and shape shifting, both talents usually practiced at night. They also practiced rituals, dancing and singing, outdoors under the Moon. A Roman festival, the Lupercalia, was in honor of the wolf Goddess Lupa or Feronia. The
Norse believed that the giant wolf Hati dogs the courses of the Moon, and in the final days will eat this celestial body.
Yin and Yang: This Chinese symbol represents the joined powers of the male and female, positive and negative; in other words, a cyclical alternation of duality. At one point in ancient Chinese history, this design symbolized the phases of the Moon, the light and dark cycles. Much of the ancient world spoke of the Two Ladies or Two Mistresses of the Moon.