A World Turned Upside Down: The Inversion of Sacred Symbols

The values held by our modern society can be said to be a complete reversal of those held by preceding cultures rooted in spiritual truths. The accelerating contempt for tradition has led the masses to believe ancient wisdom and its myths to be mere foolishness, that only the world of the senses is real, there is nothing which lies beyond; or, if it be conceded that higher realms do indeed exist, they are of minor importance, earthly life takes precedence now, let us leave death to worry about the hereafter.

In every spiritual tradition, symbols were implemented in initiatic practices to act as a bridge between this world and the world unseen. The realm beyond, incapable of being expressed in ordinary language, was represented through the use of symbols. These sacred symbols acted as supports which could transport an initiate into higher realms of being, while simultaneously acting as conduits to channel Divine Knowledge unto to the realm of manifested existence, following the hermetic adage ‘As above, so below’.

In recent times, however, this ancient wisdom has been denied and rejected, now considered to be nothing but superstitions of the past, inapplicable to our ‘advanced’ modern civilization. Nevertheless, remnants of this knowledge of the power behind sacred symbols has survived, but not without corrupt distortions and misuse of the teachings.

The slow decay of spiritual practices over the centuries has given way to the anti-traditional movement of our times, a movement which rejects both tradition and the spiritual principles it represents in cultures throughout the world. Most people today remain unconscious of their anti-traditional mentality, which has been instilled through generations of cultural conditioning, having been raised to understand their materialistic, unspiritual worldview to be ‘just the way things are’ in terms of everyday reality. Even those who consider themselves religious hardly act any differently from all the rest; once Sunday prayers are finished, the return to secular, ‘ordinary’ life resumes.

There are others, however, who play a conscious role in the destruction of spirituality, humans who assist in manifesting malefic forces into the corporeal realm in which we reside. Ancient knowledge that has survived into the present age is now being distorted and inverted to suit the intentions of the few ‘Elite’ of the anti-traditional movement, who seek to break all ties humanity once had to the higher realms, effectively destroying any defense we might have had against the impending breach of the lower realms into our world. Evil, whether in its brute, unconscious form, or in its manifestation through pernicious, intelligent beings, has subtly spread into our realm. Humans who have acted either knowingly or unconsciously have participated in the reversal of symbols and the inverted direction human activity is taking. ‘As below, so above’; the gates of the underworld are opened, as all hell prepares to break loose.

Before undertaking the current study of symbols, a note must be made concerning the topic of evil. Many today do not believe in such a concept, either due to conditioning by materialist scientific views on the one hand, or by watered-down New Age teachings on the other, which suggest that if we are all One, then evil is only an illusion. This last point is a common misconception. The unmanifested Divine realm remains situated above duality, transcending all concepts of positive/negative, good/evil; the Infinite reduces all existence to metaphysical Zero. We, on the other hand, reside in the manifested physical realm, the world of relativity, individuality, and division, where the forces of good and evil have very real effects on our lives. In other words, angels and demons are just as real, or unreal, as ourselves.

Holding the concept of duality in mind, it must be understood that all symbols hold both a benefic and a malefic character, depending on the intention, or charge, of the image. Having no original tradition of its own, Evil must use pre-existing spiritual systems and invert the practice to achieve its subversive ends.

The symbols to be analyzed here presently are instantly recognizable, if not notorious in character. What were once held to be the most sacred of symbols have now been twisted into icons of evil, and the frequency of which we are exposed to such images is staggering, along with the implications of such mass propagation of inverted tradition.

The Swastika

Appearing in a wide variety of traditional cultures throughout the world, the swastika is one of the most ancient Divine symbols, used by traditions in East Asia, India, Ancient Greece, Celtic societies, and even Native American tribes. In the Middle Ages, the swastika even appeared in Christian symbology and can still be found within some Carmelite and Cistercian order churches in Europe.

The swastika derives its meaning from a related symbol, that of the solar disc. The symbol of the sun, composed of a single dot within a circle, refers to not only the astrological body but also the Divine Source of Life itself. The Center represents the Divine Principle of pure Being, from which all manifested creation derives its existence. The realms furthest from the Principle reside on the outer circumference, while the more spiritual realms are located in close proximity to the Center. From the Center on out we find the formless Causal realm, then the dreamlike Subtle (Astral) realm, followed by the Physical realm, and finally, the lower, infra-human levels of the Underworld, being the furthest from the Divine Principle.

The solar sign is often divided into four sections, forming the sign of the solar wheel, which can represent the four periods of the day, the four phases of the moon, the four seasons, the four directions, even the four ages of humanity. The Center also represents the union of opposites, as the polarized ends of each spoke of the wheel are brought into balance in the center.
The swastika is a variation of the solar wheel in that the four sections of the circumference are bent into arms to show movement. Contrary to popular believe, the direction of the arms’ rotation does not change the symbol’s meaning, as both orientations have been used in spiritual traditions. The symbol of the swastika depicts how all existence revolves around the timeless Center of Being.

As René Guénon explains:

‘The fixity of the Center is the image of eternity, where all things are present in perfect simultaneity. The circumference can only turn around a fixed center; similarly, change, which is not sufficient unto itself, necessarily supposes a principle which is outside change; this is the ‘unmoved mover’ of Aristotle, which is again represented by the Center…[T]he Center communicates movement to all things, and, since movement represents life, the swastika becomes thereby a symbol of life, or, more exactly, the vivifying role of the Principle in relation to the cosmic order.’ (Symbols of Sacred Science, 1962)

A symbol that was traditionally considered to embody the very Principle of Life has now taken on the complete inverse in meaning, as the general public in the modern West now associates the swastika solely with the atrocities committed by the Third Reich. Consequently, the swastika now embodies the anti-spiritual concepts of tyranny, war, and mass genocide.

The Nazi regime heavily relied on knowledge of the occult in order to rise to power. This is an often overlooked characteristic found in those who gain power so swiftly and effectively with little resistance in their path. To effectively alter the course of events in the physical world, it is necessary to appeal to the forces that have a direct influence over this world, that is, the powers of either good or evil which belong to the nonphysical realms. It is likely for this reason that the Nazis chose such a powerful spiritual symbol to emblemize their rising global empire. As a result, the malefic aspect of the symbol’s dual nature was accessed, and the swastika became an icon of death.

The Pentagram

Like the swastika, the sign of the pentagram has been used by many traditional cultures and is perceived with an equally negative connotation in modern culture. The pentagram has been found in the traditions of Taoism, Ayurveda, the Ancient Greek Pythagoreans, and medieval Christianity.

Christianity used the pentagram as a sign of the five senses and a symbol of health. It also portrayed the five wounds of Christ and was therefore used as a protective symbol against evil.

The ancient Pythagoreans used the pentagram as a sign of health as well, and the five points referred to the five elements of creation, with ether (or spirit) vivifying and ruling over the other four elements of fire, earth, water and air.

However, during the emerging interest in occult magic in 19th century Europe, the occultist Eliphas Lévi propounded that an inverted pentagram with two points facing upwards was a sign of evil. Whatever his intentions for propagating such a concept, the negative connotations of the pentagram spread, and ultimately the symbol in both its upright and inverted forms became associated with evil in Western mentality.

It is only recently that Wiccan and Neo-Pagan groups readapted the original meaning of the pentagram; however, the association the symbol has with evil gives the impression that many newcomers join these groups out of a sense of rebellion for their own Christian roots, giving a sort of ‘edginess’ to their newfound magical practices. Even if these groups’ aims are expressly peaceful, nature-oriented practices, the modern influence of negative associations one has of the pentagram and magical practices in general stills remains. Despite all good intentions, the likely outcome is that these groups are likely to attract some members who are either consciously or unconsciously attracted to the idea of black magic, an idea that is hardly dispelled by Wicca’s sole ethical code of ‘an it harm none, do what ye will’, a doctrine echoing the creed of Aleister Crowley’s ‘Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’

All Neo-Pagan groups aside, the practice of black magic has been gaining popularity in recent decades, hidden from the public eye. The inversion of the once sacred symbol of the pentagram is just another indication of the chaotic times we live in, as a symbol that was once used to invoke health is now feared by the general population. More discomforting, however, is that this symbol, once used to ward of evil, is now implemented in its very evocation.

The All-Seeing Eye

The Eye of Providence, or the All-Seeing Eye, is a symbol found in both Christian and Masonic traditions, which carries a meaning similar to that of the solar symbol discussed above and bears similarities to the Egyptian Eye of Horus. Generally depicted as a single eye centrally placed inside an upright triangle, the image reveals the Divine Creator as the Center of all Being, whose omniscience reaches through all realms of existence. If the triangle is inverted, Divine Providence is depicted as descending from Heaven unto manifested creation.

‘The upright triangle relates properly to the Principle; but when it is inverted by reflection in manifestation, the gaze of the eye contained therein appears in a way to be directed ‘downward’, that is, from the Principle toward manifestation itself, and besides its general sense of ‘omnipresence’ it takes on more clearly the special sense of ‘Providence’. If, on the other hand, this reflection is envisaged more particularly within the human being, it must be noted that the form of the inverted triangle is none other than the geometric schema of the heart; the eye in its center is then properly the ‘eye of the heart’…’ (Guénon, Symbols of Sacred Science, 1962)

Taken on the microcosmic level, the All-Seeing Eye represents the seat of intuitional intelligence of the heart. It can also represent the Third Eye, which grants access to knowledge of the Eternal, that is, the timeless present moment, which holds all past and future events simultaneously.

It is likely that early Masonic interpretations of this symbol were more or less in accordance with the esoteric Christian understanding. However, the tradition of Freemasonry eventually fell into modern corruption, as true initiates came to be replaced by certain members of the aristocracy, who usurped the tradition and implemented its symbols without a deeper understanding of the Mysteries.

Modern distortions stemming from the growing ideology of the English ‘Enlightenment’ of the time quickly changed the esoteric quality of the Masonic tradition, as rational Deism came to reject reverence for the supernatural and mystical intuition. Instead, the Deists embraced logical reasoning as the supreme faculty for the attainment of knowledge in the newly established ‘Age of Reason’, a movement which essentially severed any connection with higher realities, as religion became subject to redefinition by profane modern science, an essentially materialist view which denies, or formally ignores, the existence of the nonphysical.

This new form of Deistic Freemasonry was eventually established in the New World. Thomas Jefferson, one of several Deists among the United States’ Masonic-influenced founding fathers, stated in a letter to John Adams,

‘To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.’ (1820)
This statement adequately summarizes the anti-traditional mentality that America was founded upon. Belief in the supernatural, miracles, and Divine Providence was declared to be ‘heresy’ and ‘atheism’; inversely, the belief in the material realm as the one reality was deemed noble. To the Deists, God, the Supreme Architect, could only be known through His works, that is, by observing and studying the natural world, i.e. applying reason through the scientific analysis of the material realm. Even the concept of God was reduced to a mere abstraction, as Deists proclaimed belief in the existence of a Supreme Being simply because they found adequate logical reason to do so and were unwilling to take their anti-religious stance to the extreme of atheism.

Harboring resentment toward the priestly ruling class of organized institutions, the founding fathers built ‘the wall of separation between church and State’, granting mere tolerance to religion as the world’s first secular society was established. Many of the ideals found in the Declaration of Independence were inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s encounters with the Iroquois Nation, with its admirable demonstration of a self-governing people. However, only the outward aspect of this traditional culture was borrowed, while disregarding the spiritual principles upon which the Native Americans’ very way of life was centered. Despite the inspiring example set by the Iroquois, General George Washington ordered their villages burnt to the ground, disregarding their partial alliance in the war against the British, just one of many occurrences of the mass killings Native tribes were subjected to, all in the name of American ‘liberty’.

Many prefer to forget the atrocities committed against the Native people of the Americas (whose population of 40 million was nearly equivalent to that of Western Europe at the time of the first settlers) and tend to believe the United States to have been founded upon ‘spiritual’ values, but a closer examination of these ideals is needed.

Even though the laws set by the Constitution protect individual rights, founding a nation upon the creed of ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ simply reduces all human activity to aspirations contained within the material realm, thereby denying any recognition of supra-human truths and adherence to higher principles. Taking the solar symbol discussed above into consideration, it is as if the outer ring of the solar wheel divorced itself from the Divine Center, the physical realm proclaiming to be sufficient unto itself, an act that brings to mind the spirit of Lucifer rebelling from Heaven.

Essentially, the empirical studies of science were consecrated as being the only path to knowledge, thus binding modern civilization to the realm of matter in a new age of humanism, in which the Divine Principle as represented by the Eye of Providence was rejected, replaced by a different conception of godhood.

The image of the All-Seeing Eye remained in use, however, and the founding fathers combined the symbol with that of an unfinished pyramid and the inscription of Annuit Coeptis, ‘Providence favors our undertakings’ to compose the Great Seal of the United States.

To those who followed the Age of Reason’s faith in logic, enlightenment was considered to be the acquisition and synthesis of knowledge collected from scientific research. In this sense, a being does not undergo inner transformation to attain transcendent enlightenment, as understood in the East; instead, Western enlightenment is tantamount to the endless toil of discovery and ‘progress’. Thus, the image of God as portrayed on the Great Seal became the emblem for endless Becoming, rather than the traditional embodiment of pure Being.

The sight of the unfinished pyramid placed beneath the distorted image of Divinity brings to mind the tower of Babel, as humanity seeks to attain godhood through its own ambitions.

The pyramid is constructed by the workings of the nation’s people, massed together into a collective body, as exemplified by the obverse side of the Great Seal’s motto E pluribus unum, ‘Out of many, one’. All individuals are assimilated into the collective melting pot, with the Great Work of humanity as the final goal.

Many today despair at the corrupt condition America has fallen into, viewing the early years of the country as the halcyon days of the nation, in which local communities governed and provided for themselves. But what many fail to see is that the seeds of the centrally-controlled corporatist political machine that America has become today were planted at the very inception of the country. Secularism and the myth of progress gave way to uncompromising scientific ‘advances’ in industry, and the consequent efficiency of production gave rise to a utilitarian, consumerist society, which erupted from the United States and continues to infect the rest of the world to this day.

The Great Seal not only degraded the once sacred Eye of Providence into an emblem of collective utilitarianism and humanistic progress, however. As the character of the United States continues to degenerate, so too does the meaning of the Great Seal which represents such a global empire.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a 32nd degree mason, opted to print the Great Seal on the one-dollar bill under the influence of fellow mason Henry Wallace in 1934, coinciding with the dictatorial New Deal. Since then, the ‘big government’ practices of the United States have ceaselessly expanded, and the All-Seeing Eye has gained a new association, that of the all-powerful, all-seeing surveillance of the Leviathan State.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s image of the Eye of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings demonstrates how a traditionally sacred image of Divinity can just as fittingly depict the inverse, evil nature of the symbol: the ever watchful Eye of Sauron represents not benevolent omniscience, but rather nefarious surveillance and control.

As the global-encompassing dominance of the modern, anti-traditional civilization continues to spread its influence, one is left to speculate on the intentions behind those who implemented such a powerful symbol as the All-Seeing Eye as a national, monetary, and now corporate emblem (see Vigilant Citizen’s article 'Pyramid and All-Seeing Eye: Their Occult Meaning and Use in Corporate Logos'). Is this simply an unconscious manifestation of malefic forces? Or is it possible that, like the Nazi regime, there are those who secretly use the inverted charge of powerful sacred symbols as a means to gain dominance over the unsuspecting public?

The Perpetual Carnival

A common element found in traditional cultures around the world is that of the carnival. Allowing for an annual time of disorder among a society offered the opportunity for chaotic forces to manifest and to be regularly dispersed. One example is the Feast of Fools in Europe, in which religious customs were mocked and social roles were reversed. The temporary allowance for the mockery of traditions and the expression of negative characteristics of the people typically ensured a return to thriving social order once the festivities ended and routine life resumed.

Guénon explains:

‘[I]t is, in short, a matter of somehow ‘channeling’ these tendencies and rendering them as inoffensive as possible, by giving them an opportunity to manifest themselves, but only during very brief periods and in very set circumstances, and by assigning this manifestation narrow limits which it is not allowed to overstep. If it were not so, these same tendencies, for lack of the minimum satisfaction required by the present state of humanity, would be at risk of exploding, so to speak, and spreading their effects to the whole of existence, collectively as well as individually, causing a disorder far more serious than that which is produced only during some few days especially reserved for that purpose…’ (Symbols of Sacred Science, 1962).

As desecration of religious traditions has now become commonplace in modern pop culture, there is no longer any use for an annual time of disorder, as chaos has been unleashed on society at large. The clearest sign of the subversive nature of modern society is the shameless proliferation of inverted sacred symbols. It must be recalled that the image itself need not be altered for the inversion to take place; the distortion lies in the intention behind the symbol’s use, and as we have seen in this discussion, there are plenty of examples of perverse modern usage.

Recently, there has been some discussion over the use of occult symbols in the media and corporate logos, suggesting a conspiracy of the ‘Elite’ manipulating the masses. While the work exposing such malevolent use of symbols is important, the sacred side of esoteric symbolism must never be forgotten. To declare all occult imagery as being evil is not only seeing one half of the issue, it is fueling the negative connotations and further destroying any sacred meaning with which humans associate these powerful symbols.

Guénon warns of the satanic ‘counter-initiation’ presently at work within modern society, which seeks to destroy all traditional notions of the sacred:

‘[T]he cleverest and most dangerous subversion is not the one that betrays itself by too obvious singularities easily noticed by anyone, but it is the one that deforms the meaning of symbols or reverses their import while making no change in their outward appearance. But the most diabolical trick of all is perhaps that which consists in attributing to the orthodox symbolism itself, as it exists in truly traditional organizations and more especially in initiatic organizations (the latter being specially liable to attack in this case), the inverted interpretation that is specifically characteristic of the ‘counter-initiation’; and the ‘counter-initiation’ does not fail to take advantage of this method of promoting confusions and uncertainties when it can derive some profit from them. This is really the whole secret of certain campaigns, very significant in view of the character of the present period, conducted either against esoterism in general or against any one initiatic form in particular, with the unconscious help of people who would be very astonished, and even appalled, if they could become aware of the use that is being made of them; unfortunately however it sometimes so happens that people who imagine that they are fighting the devil, whatever their particular notion of the devil may be, are thus turned, without the least suspicion of the fact on their part, into his best servants!’ (The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, 1945)
Perhaps all this talk of evil brings many to scoff at such ramblings and superstitions. But it is worth considering: if malevolent forces do indeed exist and have direct influence over our feelings and thoughts, then would propagating ideas of the absurdity of its existence not be evil’s greatest strategy? Those who refuse to admit to this possibility put themselves at risk, as they disregard any measure of protection and remain susceptible to malefic persuasion. We are given many clues to the hidden forces at work, and a good place to start is by observing the corrupted nature sacred symbols have become.


Daniel said...


great post!

Inner Peace 1979 said...

I had a little harder time reading this article, which doesn't make it any less relevant.
In fact, this series of articles seems to be building up into the genesis of an altogether vitally important book ^^!

Great job!

Patrick Garretson said...

As a neo-Pagan, I think your coverage of our community is off the mark. "Black magic" is not a major part of what we do or in our circles. And by and large I don't find people reacting negatively to the pentagram when I have it displayed prominently.
I think you also should look a little deeper look at what we consider to be the most evil symbol, one that started out in persecution and torture- namely THE CROSS of Christianity. It represents a tool of public persecution and torture that a prophet was nailed to by the establishment! And has been used throughout history as a weapon of domination and enslavement (either mental or physical).
Symbols ultimately serve one primary purpose, to focalize energy/power. What is done under the name of them is really up to the people.

Christian Mom said...

I understand very little about the practices of a neo-pagan. There are people who practice black magic and will deny that they practice black magic or worse lack to understand they practice the dark arts. There are people who do respond negative to the pentagram. There is someone who will always respond negatively to something and everything somewhere. Using my faith which is Christianity to support your idea of evil is outright insulting and uneducated in nature. I understand Patrick Garretson wrote this in March of 2013. Yet I found the need to respond. There are cultural Christians and there are disciples and apostles of Christ. Depending on a Christians interpretation and use of our Holy Scripture, an interpretation of scripture will always be used by somebody negatively. The symbolic meaning of our cross never represents persecution or enslavement. It represents salvation, freedom and free will. No matter a person's individual Christian practice we all agree all around the world on what the cross represents. It is the promise of man's salvation and the New Good News from God. God has sent his only begotten son to take away the sins of the world granting each individual the freedom to choose peace and reconciliation with God. Upon a person accepting Jesus they accept the peace, love, and promise of being a Christian reconciled with God. We need only say the word and we shall be healed. Biblical scholars will all agree that translates into the original sin of man being forgiven by God. The cross is therefore around the world accept by Christians as symbol of Christian salvation. It is never used as just a weapon. It is a promise against evil and a representation of God authority here on earth. God has given every man free will. That makes the world a very imperfect place in which to live. So, only men enslave men whether it be mental or physical. Instead of attacking the Christian faith and judging Christianity I would have liked one to better clarify the representation of the symbols belonging to the neo-pagan faith in which this person felt the story had gotten wrong.

Unknown said...

i want the concept of illuminati triangle upside down in easy fucking words.. as i listen to the neighbourhood and jesse in the band has the tattoo on his neck, probs the illuminati triangle upside down. the hell does that mean?

Phlash said...

Nailed it! Great article! Your awake and alive! unlike the majority. Keep up it.

EnmanuelPhoenix said...

I think the all-seeing eye is about the elements of reality. In indian yantras the outer squarish shape is the earth element, the circle is water, the triangle is fire. The eye can simbolize the subtler elements air/ether/sound.

Jacob Yisrael said...

Enmanuel, no its not. It's the 3rd eye, which represents also in a singular letter "i=9" 9 is used in many things that symbol wise projects the truth, what this "All Seeing Eye" which truly shouldn't be opened by just everyone is what shows you things once it's open.The one its truly meant for is NOT your ordinary individual. The 9 also represents the month of September "Virgo but also Venus, more numerically as Venus but Virgo "virgin" for the zodiac sign and of course what you should ponder for a moment..."born of a virgin" hmmm. well if you happen to look at the analemma and look right in the center of it you will see. The analemma is an "8" and along with the use for navigate and time, its also the zygote and mobius strip. The "X" you see used in so many things resides in the center of the et. it has multiple meanings, but its about cosmic energy that is expelled from Spica, the twin cosmic egg shaped stars that reside in Virgo "the maiden" hence "made in" comes from, its about creation. At a moment in time the energy that flowed between both of these twin eggs was at its peak exploded in an intergalactic orgasm that you can call the "big bang" and bam came the gushers of asteroids, meteors, comets and all the life with it of various forms. well with that came all the elements of nature which one is aether not ether in some form its also ester lol...but there is much more out there to read up on that can clarify things much easier by understanding 9's importance...

Justin Wales said...

Jacob Yisrael, I suggest you research geometry a bit more thoroughly before dismissing someone's knowledge on the subject so readily. Symbols don't always have one single meaning as you suggest, many symbols can be interpreted in various ways. Some say certain symbols are too complex to fully understand, they represent concepts beyond human comprehension.

EnmanuelPhoenix is correct in his analysis that a square represents Earth and a triangle represents fire. I've not heard of a circle representing water, but it could be. I have, however, heard that a circle can represent the heavens or the spiritual element. I appreciate his comments in which he reduced a symbol down to fundamental shapes and explained the meaning of those shapes.

Many ancient symbols are designed with geometry, based on a universal language of numbers. Music is based entirely off numbers as well, and it has become its own universal language. Therefore, symbols can have direct representation of numbers, music, and other concepts as well.

One interesting book on the subject is called "Quadrivium" by the publishing company Wooden Books.

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