Feb 27, 2013

Magick of basic geometric shapes

In this article I’ll be discussing some basic symbolism behind circle, square and triangle , as well as their  practical  use in spiritual work and magick.  Are those not basic geometry stuff ? Yes and no, for they are both older, and carry more value, than   their “geometric doppelganger” images. These are the patterns present in nature probably since creation, shapes  that came to be cornerstones of, other , more complex shapes.  Circles, Squares and Triangles form cubes, pyramids , spheres, and so much more.  They unite the vertexes, while constraining and limiting the space within, which in magickal sense then becomes  transcending area. One that surpasses physical limitations, and interacts with  more planes of existence at once.  They make one of the first ideograms , as well as pictograms in some cases ( for example  circle representing  the sun ).


It would be presumptuous and  plainly, silly of me, or anyone else   for that matter, to  say that they  can explain the nature of the circle completely, and all the meaning it encompasses. For they are, much like the Circle itself, limitless in a way.

Circle is a well known shape, and  possibly one of the oldest ideograms, which had been, along with  spirals, engraved and carve into stones, bones and cave walls during Paleolithic era [1]  Circle  is without beginning and end, and thus represents wholeness, absolute, perfection,  sky, cosmos, eternity.  It’s all-inclusive and it illustrates the infinite nature of things  on various planes. 

Each circle may be seen as sacred, but certain places, all over the globe are considered to be   powerful thresholds of magickal energy, and are more often than not circular. Such as Stonehenge, and various stone circles across the England, Ireland and Scotland, Germany, Italy  and other  places. Some of them are ancestral heritage and places were the ancient powers reemerge.

Circle  symbolizes the path which Sun takes across the  sky   during the year- time, and also symbolizes the Sun itself , or the Full Moon. The circle is ideogram of Sun in astrology, and gold , sun and sometimes soul in Alchemy. Medicine wheel of Native American Indians is essentially a circle, and according to some beliefs of Native American people ,  spiritual forces  that come into this world ( physical plane ) act and spread in circles.

 In fact according to some sources , among Native American’s circle is believed to  be an embodiment of spiritual energy [2]  It’s also symbolic of repetitive time cycles, hence being base for the clock/s . In China it is representative of the Heavens. In Christianity Circle is a symbol of wholeness, Sanctity ( Halo ) and eternal life. Sometimes also symbolizes chastity and innocence, in Christian art.  Concentric circles in Christianity represent hierarchies of kind ( such as angelic hierarchies ), or like in Dante’s Inferno,  hierarchy in organization ( the 9 circles of He*l ) .

It also stresses the symbols and images that are drawn within, and beacons the focus of both the observer  or  desired force, for example in magick. Talismans, often limited with a circle are a fine example  of utilization of it’s beaconing and focusing power, so is the opening of the circle, of the Ceremonial (  High, also Higher ) magick. 

Also Circles are symbols or unity and equality. Images of people sitting around some kind of fire, or flame in circle or  Arthurian Round table come in mind, as illustrative examples of  this quality.  A circle of  equals , If You will J  Crown is a circle  that represents the perfection of the ring and the  continuous loop.  Crown of Thorns originally mocking crown, had become a symbol of sacrifice and consecration.

It may be combined with other symbols , lines, it can be “full” , or “empty”, or two or more circles can c cross or interlace,  and depending on this may have additional meanings. Some examples are given bellow:

·         Circle halved with a line ( horizontally ) that extends beyond it’s perimeters ( both ends exceed circle diameter ),  is an old ideogram found  on pictures carved into Stones in the middle of Sahara. In modern interpretation may mean: open(ed)

·         Circle halved with a line ( “diagonally” )   that extends beyond it’s perimeters ( both ends exceed circle’s diameter  ), is a symbol for a Greek letter Phi, and represents a diameter of the circle.

·         Circle crossed with Equal Armed Cross that extends beyond it’s perimeters ( both ends exceed  circle’s  diameter   ) is  an alchemical symbol  of/for oil or wax. In music it means : repeat

·         Circle halved with  horizontal line, inside the circle’s perimeter only, not crossing the border, represents Greek letter theta , and Sun in early Chinese calligraphic writings

·         Circle  “hanging” , or touching a vertical line,  in Ancient Greek was a sign for Aphrodite, in Alchemy representing nighttime

·         Circle with a Cross inscribed inside, inside the circle’s perimeter only, not crossing the border, or circumference ,   represents Earth, and/or union of four elements in which case is known as Cross of Elements. Also a symbol of Fiat  brand

·         Three Circles crossing and forming a Triqutrea In the centre , represents The Holy Trinity in Christian Art. In occultism, the symbols is belied to possess  protective and enchanting   qualities

·         Double ( one smaller, and inside  other, forming thus a relatively narrow ring )  or   a “ringed “ circle is a symbol of charisma in Buddhism , and Halo in Christianity. In Talismanic magick it’s a common motif, where the words ( text ) or symbols are inscribed in  the ring appearing betwing the two circles

·         Five fold Circle  is Celtic symbol created by interlacing five circles, equidistantly, thus forming a Quatretra in the centre, around which a Circle is drawn, and it  represents the union of the four elements with the central element which is the Spirit element [3]

·         Circle crossed  with a “diagonal” Cross, inside it’s perimeter only, not crossing the border, is  a symbol of some neutralizing quality. If it has small circles touching the circle boundary  on four spots where the Cross arms end, it’s a seal of Jupiter.

These are just  few examples to illustrate the complexity of the Circle symbolism there are  many more, that could on their own fill pages of a large book , hence can not be discussed here more  thoroughly and comprehensively

In occultism, as mentioned above Circle has protective, and sometimes compelling and restrictive powers, as well as power to tie two or more planes of existence. Technically speaking, when a practitioner  opens a circle they create a direct column of energy , that causes ethereal and physical plane to collide in  the  very perimeter/ area, [4] hence create  something like “sacred space” or sacred circle.  The benefit of such work is that  this perimeter is strictly limited and hence influence during the ritual is channeled somewhat faster and more precise, although not more effective than any spell/ritual done without a circle.  Furthermore, if the spell is desired to take swift effect on physical plane, affecting more targets at once ( living and/or  inanimate ) ritual in circles can be less proficient in terms of result. 

The really important role of the ritual circle is protection. In Higher or Cemremonial magick , circle is actually required, for without it the practitioner would easily fall prey to attack of the spirits they invoke, particularly  if they are of malevolent nature.  Hence the circle represents the boundary  that evil can not pass, nor can spread it’s hazardous effect in area limited by    it,  and this is why the summoner/conjurer  remains in the circle’s perimeter.

 The Square

According to Plato , alongside the circle,  square represents beauty and perfection, and for Pythagoreans, the square represented soul.  For  the Ancient Egyptian’s   it was an “emblem “ of success. In Islam square is the  shape used to represent human heart, because the faible human heart is susceptible to four influences, being : human, Celestial, Divine and Infernal, while the heart of prophets in Islamic artwork, was  depicted as triangle, for it was believed to be immune of the last influence listed.  In abstract sense  squares  are symbolic of physical plane and existence, stability, foundation, immutability, home, often represents the Earth, and sometimes the Cosmos.

As opposed to the infinity of the Circles and spirals, Squares come with limitations, which can   even be seen from   not-so-positive perspective, hence the phrase “blocked”.  The limiting and constricting power though, really refers to secluded, separated or isolated spaces, such as camps, altars,   temples or castles. Squares  also represent basic blueprints, or cornerstones, building blocks, and that is very justifying of their association with   stability and foundations.

Squares also represent:

·         The four elements,  four seasons four quarters/corners / cardinal directions

·         Four phases of human life

·         Four basic cosmic elements ( Suns, Moons, Planets, Stars )

·         May represent four Archangels ( Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel )

Combined with lines, inscribed into other symbols such as circle, or combined with them squares get additional meanings, for example:

·         Square inside circle, touching the rim in four cardinal points, which also make  corners ( vertexes ) of the square is a Chinese symbol representing Earth temple, frequently seen in Baying. In occultism , a common pattern in magickal grimoires in talismanic arts

·         Square divided pn quarters with a  cross , inscribed in it, whose line do not exceed the perimeter of the square ( inscribed in the square ) is a Chinese symbol, ideogram  for field, ground or area

·         Square with  containing a dot in the centre ( where the diagonals cross  ) is a Chinese ideogram  representing village. In meteorology the same symbols represents damp soil, and in Alchemy  urine

·         Double square, somewhat smaller square drawn inside and parallel to the larger ( much like double circle or concentric circles ) is s modern symbol indicating need for restraining, incarceration, captivation, guard , or may indicate the same.

Furthermore,  equal - sided  rhomb can be considered  another form of square, if the diagonales are  equa l,   for the differences regarding the spiritual uses of the two are minute and neglectable, If there are any worth of mentioning, at all.  Eye of fire, an old German/Nordic symbol , is example of such,  being  essentially an rhomb divided on quarters with one vertical and one horizontal line. 

Square can be combined with another symbol , to form a new one, which would bear  different meaning. Sometimes the two symbols may merge, and as a  good example we have octagon, which many feel  is sort of “hybrid” between  the square and the circle.

In magick and occultism square is  used in money conjurations ( see example later in the text ), legal matters , home and consequently harmony, as well as  limiting someone, although for such, a block, as a 3D structure, that combines 6 squares is used.

In magick also prominent are palindrome squares consisting of numbers , or letters, that give equal sum or word in rows and lines. Such example is Sator square , or for example  various planetary squares called kameas , for example that of Saturn, I used in Freezer spell, in another article.


The triangle is  particularly sacred symbol in Religion,  magick,  and  alchemy. It makes either a base or sides of a pyramid, but is essential for building one nevertheless.  It’s meaning and symbolism may, though vary depending on the position of the triangle’s apex, or  the length of the edges  ,  and consequently the angles. Equilateral Triangle is a symbol of The Most Holy Trinity in the Christianity, and If it contains an eye in the centre, it’s called “The Eye of Providence” and in such ( exact ) form is purely a Christian symbol that holds no negative connotations of or in itself . Regardless of what some silly and misinformed people with paranoid tendencies will say/claim.  More on this particular symbol , hopefully on another occasion. In Islamic artwork triangle is used to depict the heart of the Saints and/or prophets, as well as human(s) consciousness , and  the principle  of harmony.

Tribe “Pueblo” from Southwestern States, see upward pointing Triangle as  a symbol  of Sacred mountain, whereas the downward pointing one represents clouds. [5] In general occult thought , upward pointed triangle represents male principle, element of fire and success.  With it’s  point upwards,  symbolically aspireing  to reach the Heavens, it’s  also the symbol of ambition.

Also , it’s  connected to arrowheads , as they are triangles themselves and thus  represents  spiritual journeys and  spiritual searching.

In a way “opposed” to it , is the downward pointing triangle,  associated with the female principle, water, introspection, meditation and drawing something inward.

Another special  geometrical, or rather, image for is that formed by ten dots that are arranged  in four  rows ,  each having one less dot than the previous, hence the  last row having four and the first only one dot.  

This image is called  Tetractys or Triad, and it was sacred to the  Phytagoreans  which can be noted by it’s appearance in certain  their prayer and oath , referred to as “Mystic Tetrad” in these [6]

Similar figure, is found in   Kabala,  where instead the dots, which represented the four first numbers, thus giving the summation of ten ( unity of a higher order, for Pythagoreans , also called the Dekad )  , letters of Tetragrammaton were used. Some  occult authors claim that the units ( monad, dyad, triad, tetrad ) are associated with the  four top spheres of Tree of Life yet such claim is very  loose and debatable.  The Tetractys  arrangement had even spawned  a specific  Tarot card spreading method.

In occultism, certain magick words such as Oknotinos, for example were “waved” into charms, by writing them in a form of decreasing, or growing triangle ( starting with word, ending with single letter or otherwise ) depending on the purpose. The Oknotinos charm ( see example latter  ) is used to decrease the fewer.

Akin to the circle and the square,   triangle too gains 

Even more symbolic meanings and attributes , If and when combined with lines, dots or other figures. Or even when merged with them, or oneself. Let’s go through few examples:

·         Equilateral Triangle pointed upwards represents the element of fire

·         Equilateral Triangle pointed downwards represents the element of water

·         Equilateral Triangle pointed  upwards crossed with a line that exceeds the perimeter of it is a  symbol of Air

·         Equilateral  sided Triangle pointed downwards  crossed with a line that exceeds the perimeter of it is a  symbol of  Earth

·         Triangle with one 90’ angle  ( a and a dot  near the very angle, is an old apothecary symbol for lead ( metal )

·         A triangle, whose base halves a circle ( whose diameter is approximately 1/3  of the triangle ‘s base length  ) is a Alchemical symbol of Salty water

·         Triangle with all sides of different length  and one 90’ angle ( a is not equal to the b nor c, “right triangle”  ) is s classic Pythagorean   triangle emblem

·         Equilateral , downward pointed triangles with altitudes meeting in orthocenter , but not expanding  from it to the edges is called “Eye of the Dragon” or “Dragon’s eye” and  is an old Germanic  ( and Nordic ) ideogram representing danger

Hexagram or the Star of David, symbol of Judaic faith, as well as prominent occult symbol,   can be formed by combining the  upward and downward pointing triangle.  If inscribed into circle, it’s s symbol for alchemy, or a magickal pentacle for invocation, evocation, banishment, exorcism  and protection.
Money symbol spell
Draw the  square symbol given at right in sand, near the sea. Place Your palms over it and say:

"I only seek that what I need, 
some prosperity, send my way
Spirits and Sea hear my plead
send me some money,  my debts to pay"
You can use Your own words or power . As the  waves wash awa y the symbol, the spell is done. Prefferably done when the Moon waxes.

Triangular  charm healing spell

When the Moon is on the last day of waning cycle,  day before it shall start to wax again, do the following;
On 4 pieces of paper , preferably old, but clean , or that thorn up from a brown grocery paper bag, write the word: morbus in decreasing triangle fashion, meaning start with the whole word, then remove one letter in each row, starting from the last one
As You write it down say: "Morbus ( ego ) occidam tibi !"

Burn one paper saying: "Illness, may the fire consume You" , drop another in the river or sea ( or even flush down the toilet If nothing else is available ) saying: "Illness may the water drown You", shred the third and release it in the winds ( or from some high place, such as top of the building, mountain etc. but try and plan to do this when there is some wind ) saying: "Illness may the winds blow and scatter You away" , and bury the final piece saying: "Illness, may the Earth decompose You"

On the first night of the waxing phase of the Moon ( New Moon ) take a single white or natural beeswax candle, place it atop of piece of paper on which You have written "sanitas" in growing Triangle fashion, starting with  one letter and finishing with the whole word ( s, as, tas, itas,...Sanitas ) , dress the candle with some healing oil If You have any, then light the candle and say:

Dei ego precor
Morbus evanescit,
Dolorem sistit
Sanitas restituendus sit.

When the candle burns all the way down, take the charm and the wax remaining and bury it all in Your yard,  in a  flower pot,  with  some long lasting plant , or in the forest. Under an Olive, Oak or Pine tree would be most suited If possible.

Hope You find this little bit of info  on symbolism and  and the practical application of same in magick   interesting   and helpful too

Many Blessings, lot of luv, Shadow  :)

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself , should You wish to use any part of it elswhere  online, You may,  but add credits  Shadow of Shadow's magick  place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post
[1] According to “Illustrated Encyclopedia of  signs and symbols” by Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey 
[2] As stated on this wonderful and informational website :   http://www.whats-your-sign.com/circle-symbol-meaning.html
[3] According to, and for more information; http://www.whats-your-sign.com/five-fold-celtic-meanings.html
[4] According to Western Occult though,  discussed in works of Israel Regardie, as well as Franz  Bardo n
[5] According to the source listed under [1]
[6] According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetractys where both  the prayer and the oath are listed, for the reader’s convenience
IMAGE CREDITS: All the artwork and images is/are created by myself


Frater H:.T:. said...

I'm a relatively new reader of your blog so firstly I'd like to say that as an Occultist/Theurgist (For want of a better term) that has been studying and practicing Magick (again for want of a better term) in The Western Mystery Tradition for well over 10 years...I'm very impressed with the depth of your knowledge you display in your articles with their eclectic mix of "Universal Truths" from across so many cultures and philosophies.
I'm not sure how exactly you refer to yourself but to me you embody the true spirit of Gnostic thought.
But I digress (I do that often)...As a follow Seeker After The Light and Keeper Of The Keys To The Garden Of Pomegranates I'd like to extend my hand and offer you any assistance you may require in expanding the readership or scope of your Blog.

Shadow said...

Thank You so kindly, I am very humbled by Your words, as well as with the mere fact someone like You finds my scribbles worth of reading.
More so, when they need grammar and spell-check editing, for due to overly strong intent to post and chronic lack of time, I make mistakes, which are a "turn down" for most people.
I like Gnosticism, High ( Ceremonial magick ) and Hoodoo, but I do believe every path, and spiritual or even philosophy system has something to offer, bits and parts of the greater puzzle :)
I'll certainly have Your offer in mind :) and thank You once again. Many Blessings !