magickal symbolism of the thistle

Thistle is a flowering plant that you don’t see a lot of in magickal workings, maybe because its not as flashy as the rose, or as straightforward as some of the well-known herbs.

But, if you think about it, the thistle is the perfect element for protection, love, and strength spells.

This prickly flower, its leaves and stalk covered in biting spines, is topped with a beautiful bloom beloved by bees and butterflies, as well as Aphrodite herself, and even attributed to the love of the Virgin Mary.

In some earlier Christian mythology of Europe, the thistle was seen as a ‘gift of the devil’ due to its thorns and its general recognition as a weed by many farmers. Despite its difficulty in removing from crop or pasture-land, thistle is also the national flower of Scotland.

However, its symbolism is as a flower that is barbed or prickly, but underneath all that has a soft, kind heart. I don’t know about you, but that speaks to me. What it says really is ‘If you can withstand my outer armor, you can experience my inner warmth and love.’ That’s the most Cancer thing I’ve ever heard lol.

Thistles are also considered protective and cleansing, so consider using them in your spells or workings that involve those, as well.

Here is a summary of thistle’s correspondences:

  • Element: Fire
  • Zodiac: Sagittarius (I would, however, argue that it has many properties of Cancer, and you would not be wrong in using it in this way if you intuitively sense this)
  • protection, love, cleansing, banishing, passion, romance, strength
  • healing ancestral trauma or working with ancestors, particularly the roots
  • plant them in a bee/butterfly garden (just beware, they can quickly take it over and are difficult to control as well as painful to try to remove)

planetary correspondences 101

Alright, so this is another topic on which there are entire volumes of work that have been written, so I will not attempt to replicate those many books into a blog post.

However, this should be a great primer on which you can start to build your familiarity with the planets and how they correspond to concepts, days, times, colors, and Zodiac signs. In astrological planetary correspondence, the sun and moon are considered planets for the sake of continuity of terminology, even though they are a star and a moon, respectively, in astronomical terms.

Let’s get started:

The Sun

Characteristics: creative, inspirational, masculine, courageous, abundance, warmth, star, noble, stimulating, lion, tiger, hawk, Sphinx, yellow flowers, saffron, gold (metal), Apollo, Ra, Helios, Sol, Vishnu, Bastet, Hathor, Baal, Freyr, Isis, Kali Ma, Shakti, Eos, Amun, Sekhmet, Surya, Aine

Colors: yellow, gold

Zodiac: Leo

Elements: Air

Days/Times: Sunday; the 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd hours of the day, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

The Moon:

Characteristics: intuitive, passionate, changing/cyclical, beauty, glamour, dreams, prophecies, tides, oceans, cleansing, releasing, dark, illuminating, cats, bats, owls, ravens, purple flowers, jasmine, silver (metal), moonstone, fertility, birth, feminine, manifesting, imagination, Artemis, Selene, Luna, Hekate, Diana, Shiva, Bastet, Astarte, Cerridwen, Hathor, Ishtar, Lilith, the Morrigan, Yemaya, Chang’e, Thoth, Mani, Hina

Colors: silver, blue, lavender, black,

Zodiac: Cancer

Elements: Air

Days/Times: Monday; hours 4, 11, and 18 of the day, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Mercury:

Characteristics: communication, travel, masculine, intelligence, thought, education, learning, intellectual, Sphynx, pigeons, sandalwood, lavender, mercury/quicksilver (metal), carnelian, messages, messengers, wings, Hermes, Anubis, Ganesha, Thoth (Djehuti), Seshat, Maat, Odin, business, commerce, coin purse, winged sandals

Colors: yellow, orange

Zodiac: Gemini and Virgo

Elements: Water

Days/Times: Wednesday; Hours 3, 10, 17, and 24, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Venus:

Characteristics: luck, love, relationships, money, affection, friendships, beauty, art, music, dance, sensuality, sexuality, growth, passion, cats, bees, Elder tree/flowers, copper (metal), green gemstones, green crystals, creativity, inspiration, Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Isis, Astarte, Lakshmi, Hathor, Bastet, Freya, Asherah, Branwen, Brigid, Corn Maiden, Cupid, Hestia

Colors: Green, some greenish-blues, turquoise

Zodiac: Taurus, Libra

Elements: Fire

Days/Times: Friday; Hours 2, 9, 16, and 23, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Mars:

Characteristics: energetic, enthusiastic, hot, courage, war, strength, protection, power, masculine, engineering, metalworking, blacksmith, iron, free speech, shield, sword, spear, helmet, ram, wolf, serpent, dragons blood (incense), spices (those with capsaicin, especially), iron (metal), rubies, red agate, red jasper, warriors, soldiers, Aries, Mars, Vulcan, Durga, Horus, Sekhmet, Maris, Badb, Medb, Thor, Tyr,

Colors: Red, orange

Zodiac: Aries

Elements: Fire

Days/Times: Tuesday; Hours 7, 14, and 21, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Saturn:

Characteristics: serious, lofty, rules, authority, brooding, transformation, renewing, mystical, bats, nightshade, myrrh, lead (metal), Hera, Kronos, Juno, Saturn, Ishtar, Parvati, Kali, Shiva, Brahma, Net, Ptah, Osiris, Set, Aegir, Saturnalia/Yule

Colors: gray, reddish gray, reddish brown

Zodiac: Capricorn

Elements: Earth

Days/Times: Saturday; Hours 5, 12, and 19, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Jupiter:

Characteristics: expansive, growth, acquisition, optimism, leadership, prosperity, good will, humor, health, power, personal development, spontaneity, oak, crown, trident, the sea/ocean, thunderbolt, 4, majestic, bull, centaur, eagle, cedar, olive tree, cloves, tin (metal), blue gemstones and crystals, Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Jupiter,Marduk, Minerva, Indra, Sarasvati, Maat, Hapi, Amun-Ra, Enlil, Thor, the Winter King,

Colors: blue, royal blue, light blue, white

Zodiac: Sagittarius

Elements: Water

Days/Times: Thursday; Hours 6, 13, and 20, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Uranus:

Characteristics: rebellion, revolution, outside-the-box, eccentric, unusual, surprises, science, invention, upheaval, breakthroughs, genius, quirky, innovative, generational culture, wake-up calls, beneficial disruption, speak up/speak out, Uranus, Caelus, Pan, Varuna, titanium (metal), quartz, cloves, nutmeg

Colors: Magenta

Zodiac: Aquarius

Elements: Water

Days/Times: Wednesday; Hour 22, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Neptune:

Characteristics: dreams, dreaming, intuition, imagination, psychic, mystic, spirituality, mercy, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, empathy, Njord, Poseidon, Neptune, seaweed, kelp, shells, abalone, seahorse, horse, bulls

Colors: Sea green, aquamarine, turquoise

Zodiac: Pisces

Elements: Water

Days/Times: Friday; Hour 11, based on the exact time of sunrise as 00:00

Pluto:

Characteristics: transformation, reinvention, death, rebirth, afterlife, underworld, truth-seeking, Ereshkigal, Thanatos, Janos, the Morrigan, Nepthys, Hades, Hel, Osiris, Persephone, pyrite (metal/mineral), black opal, black crystals, black flowers, poisonous plants

Colors: black

Zodiac: Scorpio

Elements:

Days/Times: Monday; Saturday; Pluto is associated with the number zero. This can be interpreted as either 00:00 on the clock (as in, the exact time of midnight), or as 00:00 relative to the sunrise, meaning the exact moment of sunrise as the beginning of the 24 hours of that calendar day

goddess spotlight: Hel

Hel (sometimes also spelled Hela, or proto-Germanic Halja) is the Norse goddess of the underworld and death that comes to those who do not die in battle.

Her dominion is called Helheim, but the underworld she rules over was once called Hel, but that name was later bestowed upon the goddess who would become its queen.

Hel is the daughter of Loki, the trickster god of the Norse pantheon. She was also said to be the sister of Fenrir, the huge wolf who was prophesied to kill Odin, and Jormungandr, the great serpent which fought Thor and will eventually kill him during Ragnarok. She was given the realm of Hel(heim) to rule over when Fenrir and Jormungandr were cast below by Odin.

Hel is associated with another large, dark hound-like beast, Garmr, the hellhound.

Hel is depicted as a duality of either a half live/half dead woman, half blue/half flesh-colored woman, or a half white/half black being. There is an extreme lack of mythology that clarifies the role she played in veneration or worship of the Norse deities, and how she may have been honored or worked with by Norse pagans.

There is some information that points to her being a patroness of Norse shamans, as she was responsible for thinning the veil between the world of the living and the dead, and would act as that guide into the other realms.

Those that work with Hel in modern times may choose to work with her in the aspect of their shadow work or to explore and accept their own inner darkness, or may also approach her similar to working with the Hindu goddess Kali, to whom she later had some synchratization after the Viking era had ended and more significant trade was occurring between European cultures and those of the Asia.

Correspondences of Hel

Colors: black, gray, red, blue,

Animals: wolf, hound, crows

Rune: Hagalaz

Other associations: an all-seeing eye of truth, ice, death, judgment, aging, darkness, illness, crones, shamans, spirits/the spirit world, Earth element

magick you can do on Mondays

Another in my series of when magickal timing matters: Monday. What types of magick are best to perform on a Monday, regardless of moon phase or time of year?

Planetary Correspondence to Mondays

The moon is the planet associated or corresponding to Monday on the calendar. The moon’s energy is calm, beautiful, passionate, and ever-changing.

Monday is also most closely associated with the element Air, which relates to thought, intellect, and memory. The moon is also associated with dreams and psychic abilities, so these can be combined to do powerful workings involving the mind and intuition.

It is the 1st day of the week (in the traditional calendar format which began the week on Monday), so is associated with the number 1 numerology.

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Deities Associated with Mondays

This list will not include every single deity associated with the Moon, but if there are deities you work with which are not on this list, but that are associated with the moon, Monday would also be a fine day to honor them.

Deities with associations or correspondences to Monday include:

  • Artemis (Greek)
  • Diana (Roman)
  • Hecate (Greek)
  • Selene (Greek)
  • Luna (Roman)
  • Tivs (Etruscan)
  • Sin (Babylonian)
  • Varuna (Hindu)
  • Shiva (Hindu)
  • Mani (Norse)
  • Taueret (Egyptian)

Other Magickal Associations with Monday

  • Colors: Blue, White, Silver, Gray
  • Zodiac: Cancer
  • Good for fertility spells
  • Health spells related to the menstrual cycle or women’s health problems
  • Spells for emotions of any kind, particularly letting go of negative emotions and trauma, and emotional healing
  • Spells or work for compassion
  • All things psychic, medium, and divination-related, as these are powered by the moon and intuition
  • Spells for purification, peace, and clarity
  • Jasmine and sandalwood
  • Moonstone
  • Opal
  • Selenite

a candle spell for courage

This is an easy candle spell (most candle spells are) for courage in any situation.

Whether you want to ask for a promotion, go skydiving for the first time, or move across the country to a totally new place, courage is something that we sometimes struggle with, because of self-doubt, and our inner voice that talks us out of things we truly want.

What You Will Need:

  • At least one, but up to 3 of these dried herbs, about 1-2 Tbsp worth: fennel, borage, thyme, rosemary, st johns wort, nettle
  • Olive oil, about 1/2 tsp
  • a red candle and something to light it with

What You Will Do:

  1. Start out by cleansing yourself and your space however works best for you.
  2. Gather all your items into one location and cast a circle if you wish.
  3. Holding the candle in both hands, center and ground yourself, then meditate as long as you need to visualize what kind of courage, when and how you will need it and use it, and what you need the outcome of the courageous actions to produce.
  4. Transfer all of that visual intent and will to the candle energetically. Once it feels ‘full’, rub the outside of it in the olive oil.
  5. Roll the candle in the herbs to coat the outside of it as thoroughly as possible.
  6. Place it in a stable base or candle holder and light it. As you light it, remember your intent and why you need this courage. Say out loud:

Brave is my heart

Brave is my mind

I have the courage to act

and the courage to win

by this flame I call my courage up

as my will be done

7. Let the candle burn down all the way. If you have to leave and cannot monitor it, snuff it out, then re-light when you return and ensure it burns safely.

a quick guide to drying herbs and flowers

It’s getting to be about that time of year to start harvesting and cutting the plants from your garden, or perhaps you’re wild foraging things to take home and use.

First things first, always use either a plant identification manual or get trained in plant identification before harvesting plants that you will be consuming in any way. There are some plants out there which are poisonous to people and/or animals.

Drying Flowers

When we cut flowers for the purposes of drying them, we usually want them to retain their color, aroma, and botanical/medicinal/magickal properties.

Cut the stems to no shorter than 6 inches in length. Tie the flowers in a bunch or hang them individually. They should hang upside down. Don’t dry them where they will be exposed to sunlight. A dark, dry room is the best, such as a basement or interior windowless room.

Flowers usually need to dry for about 3 weeks.

Drying Herbs

Herbs may require some additional work on your part. Depending on the moisture content, you may be able to air dry them, but if they have a higher moisture content like those in the mint family (including basil, spearmint, and lemon balm, as well as garlic or chives), you will do best to dry in an oven or dehydrator.

Herbs are best cut in the early morning, as that is when their essential oils are most potent in their leaves.

To air dry, bundle a few stems worth together and tie with string, floss, or twine. Hang them upside down in a dry area away from light. Herbs with lower moisture content will dry faster than flowers, and can take just a week, but possibly two, to fully dry out. Some sources recommend placing a paper bag over them as they dry. I find this is optional.

To oven dry or dehydrate, set your oven for low heat (~150F) and leave the door open. The herbs can be placed on a cookie sheet and you’ll let them sit in the open oven for a few hours (usually not more than 4). Dehydrators work much more quickly and you may only need 1-2 hrs on a medium heat setting. Check them about every 30 min to see how much the leaves crumble. If they crumble very easily, they are done.

Drying Other Plants

This is kind of the catchall category for other stuff you might harvest or forage that you want to dry and use. It might include tree leaves, weeds of various kinds, or shrubs (the non-fruit parts).

Depending on whether you want them to retain their vibrant hues of greens or other colors, either place them in sunlight (this will dry them faster, but fade the color) or away from sunlight (they won’t fade as much).

If you want your leaves flat for whatever reason, press them in between pages of a book. This method will take a week or more. You may need to check on them from time to time to make sure they are drying out appropriately.

You can also dry these through the same methods as flowers or herbs, mentioned above, but due to the wide variety of plant types and moisture content, plan to check on them semi-often to ensure they are drying out.

goddess spotlight: hina

Hina is the moon goddess of Hawai’i, however this goddess name appears in many other Polynesian beliefs, and she is represented in a number of different manifestations or aspects of the goddess. She has two faces, symbolizing the duality of our existence. Night and day, light and dark, above and below, and so forth.

She is seen as the divine feminine generative force, in nature and the cosmos. She, therefore, takes on the role of the mother goddess to all other goddesses in Hawai’ian spiritual beliefs.

Hina travels via the pathway of rainbows, but is a strong moon goddess, with associations to monthly cycles, femininity, death and rebirth.

At one point, her myths also incorporate her role as an ocean goddess. She is also depicted as either the wife, the mother, or the sister of the god Maui.

Overall, Hina represents the strong feminine personification, as a headstrong goddess who lives by her own will.

Correspondences of Hina

Colors: the rainbow

Planet: Moon

Other: butterflies, communication between men and women, creativity, art, artists, beauty, coconut shells, fertility, portals/liminal spaces, happiness, magick, nature, night, moonlight, protection, rebirth, transformation, divine feminine, the ocean, seashells, eels

9 magickal alphabets

I love linguistics and the way language morphs and changes over time as peoples carry it from one location to another, mixing and adding new words and ideas.

We can see a little of this in alphabets and how they share commonalities, but also in how they differ.

And alphabets that are commonly used for magick or occult practices share some of those same characteristics, especially those that once (or still) functioned as linguistic alphabets, such as Greek, Hebrew, and Runes.

So here’s a quick run down (in no particular order) of what alternative alphabets are out there that you might encounter in your occult or witchcraft studies or practices:

Hieroglyphs

This is arguably one of the oldest alphabets or systems of writing documented that has been used in spiritual, occult, or magickal writing, dating back to at least 4000 B.C.E. Hieroglyphs were the formal and intricate writing system used by the Ancient Egyptians until sometime around 600 C.E., at which point all traces of Pagan spiritual or religious writings and references were abolished, banned, or suppressed in that region, and they were essentially lost until later in the 1800s when discovered by archaeologists.

Ogham

The origins of ogham (also can be spelled ogam) are unknown, but it appeared in the Celtic world first on stone markers such as memorials, burial stones, and stones at crossroads. It is a script based on trees in the Celtic world and each of the original 20 symbols represents a letter or sound, but also a type of tree. Ogham can also be used as a divinatory method, similar to Runes.

Ogham is often referred to as the ‘oracle of the trees’ and as an artistic script its quite beautiful. Legend tells of its creation by Ogma, the Celtic god, and one of the legendary Tuatha De Danaan. Part of the divinatory element of the ogham symbols is knowing what characteristics and correspondences are possessed by each tree, but also the folklore associated with that tree. Ogham, when read as divinatory symbols, can be read upright or reversed, similar to other systems like Runes or cartomancy.

For instance, Ailm represents the pine or fir tree, which is a tree of ecstasy and elation. This is a symbol of letting joy and elation lead you through an experience. Adopt a sense of wonder, as you’ll be struck by many realizations. The pine varieties are all evergreen, bringing their color to even the coldest winters. They pre-date most other trees in the Celtic region, as they are part of an ancient group of conifers. Pines are revered as protectors, mystical, enduring, and even terrifying in their size and breadth.

Hebrew

Long used by occultists due to its use in some of the earliest writings in mysticism, such as the Qabbalah, Hebrew has even earlier origins dating to possibly even before the 10th century B.C.E. Those forms of Early Hebrew vary significantly from what became the more commonly used Hebrew script around the first or second century C.E. Modern Hebrew alphabet was influenced on the Early Hebrew alphabet, but is more closely connected to Aramaic, which it eventually replaced as a dominant form of writing.

Hebrew is a worthwhile alphabet system to learn and understand if you follow Qabbalistic writings or practices, as well as if you want to be able to read some of the original Judeo-Christian writings and not rely on the (heavily mistranslated) Christian bible. It also comes in handy when working with any of the deities, angels, or demons which have Solomonic seals or sigils.

Greek

The Greek alphabet, originally derived from the Phoenician alphabet, has been around since about as long as the Hebrew alphabet, dating to around the 9th century B.C.E. Greek differs from all other ancient alphabets due to its inclusion of letters representing vowel sounds, which none of the other older alphabets did.

Greek also spawned Latin, which is the alphabet used by most Western societies, or those who speak/write any language based on any of the Indo-European languages such as English, French, Spanish, German, and Gaelic. Greek was also the first alphabet to denote upper- and lower-case letters.

Prior to the Roman conquest of most of Europe and part of the British Isles, Greek was the dominant alphabet used to write pretty much everything, but especially religious texts. There are original versions of the Hebrew texts and what would eventually become the New Testament books of the Bible written in Greek, as well as many other mystical writings, especially concerning the Greek and Egyptian pantheons of deities. If you want to be able to read these in their original context, Greek may be worth your while to learn.

Runic

Runes date back to ancient Germanic tribes and practices, estimated to appear around the 1st century B.C.E. and lasting for another 800-1000 years until the Latinization of language occurred across the region as Rome gradually conquered peoples and converted their linguistic and spiritual practices to those of the Romans.

The type of runes most commonly used today for divination is the Elder Futhark runes, however, at various points in history, multiple runic alphabets existed due to a lack of homogeneity among the broad lands covered by Germanic tribes and peoples. Other runes systems that were common were the Anglo-Saxon (Futhorc) and the Younger Futhark varieties. There are still some traditions that use those other two runes systems for divination.

Similar to the Ogham script, each rune represents a letter or sound, but also represents a spirit of a concept. They can be read upright or reversed, and even the way that you can read the bones, position of where they land when throwing them lends further interpretation.

Astrological and Planetary Symbols

I bet you didn’t immediately consider that the astrological and planetary symbols are an alphabet unto themselves, but they are! Think about how many people’s IG profile reads something like this: ♋︎☀︎♏︎☽♋︎⇑♑︎⇓ ? Well, I basically just described myself in detail for you with a set of symbols.

The astrological and planetary symbols used in the western astrological system date back to codices in the Byzantine period. These were symbols assigned to represent celestial planets (which includes the Sun and Moon, even though from an astronomy perspective stars and moons are distinctly different from the label ‘planet’).

The system we use today was solidified in Greece sometime before or just at the beginning of the Renaissance period. These were, and still are, commonly used to note the positions of the planets upon the zodiac at specific time points relating to a notable event or during a particular ritual or magickal working. Many old grimoires and Book of Shadows will have these notations letting the reader know under what astrological conditions something occurred, in case one wanted to correlate specific occurrences or outcomes to that.

Angelic/Celestial

This alphabet was created by H. Cornelius Agrippa, specifically for occult use. He based the Celestial alphabet on the Hebrew and Greek alphabets, hence why it may look familiar to you, even if you’ve never read it before.

Agrippa used this alphabet primarily to communicate with angels and higher beings, an application that is still in use today. Another element that may seem familiar to you is that the symbols are based on star constellation patterns.

Theban/Honorian

The Theban alphabet is also attributed to Agrippa, even though there is no documentation definitively proving its origins or creator. It was used mostly by occultists and witches to disguise the content in their Book of Shadows or grimoires before it was safe to be publicly ‘out’ about being an occult practitioner.

Theban is still commonly used by many occultists and witches today, even though there is less need to hide these aspects of our lives in the Western world, many of us still face prejudice and bias in our communities or families who are not open-minded or do not share our beliefs or an open tolerance for beliefs that differ from their own.

Theban script is still taught in many Wicca 101 type of books for that reason, as many witches still use it, having learned it as a new witch a long time ago, and, therefore, you may encounter a mentor or teacher who wants you to learn it simply because its something they use to communicate.

Enochian

Enochian script or alphabet was created or recorded by John Dee and Edward Kelley. They allegedly wrote it and recorded it from visions and work in which they invoked or commanded spirits. It is important to note that it is not derived or written by the same source as the famous biblical text the Book of Enoch, but it is related in that Dee and Kelley developed the script in order to uncover the secrets they felt the Book of Enoch was hiding from all but the most astute readers.

John Dee’s journals stated that the Enochian alphabet and script was the language God created for man to speak with God, and also which was used to create the world and all of its inhabitants and contents. Enochian waas later discovered and began to be used in the late 19th century by members of the Golden Dawn.

There are lots of other alphabets that have been used in magickal or occult practice at various points, so this list is not completely exhaustive, but the ones I left out are more obscure and used by a more limited number of people, and, therefore, not as likely to be encountered frequently by occult practitioners in the modern era.

magickal properties of serpentine

Serpentine is a dark or olive green (but can also be various shades of brown) mineral with black veins that make it look like snake skin, or reptile skin or scales. Some specimens of serpentine are mistaken for jade, as it can look similar, particularly if it does not contain much or any black.

If you’re interested in using serpentine in your magickal or spiritual practice, here are some ways you can work with it:

Correspondences of Serpentine

This stone is associated mainly with the element earth, but could also be air. Due to its deep beautiful green, however, it is more closely associated with earth. It is also referred to as ‘new jade’.

For that reason, it is an excellent stone for grounding before, during, or after meditation or energy work.

This mineral is also associated with Kundalini energy and can be used during meditative exercises to awaken or work on opening and balancing the chakras, as well as leaving you open to spiritual downloads from higher self or the collective.

Here are some other associations of serpentine:

  • meditation
  • spiritual insight
  • chakra clearing
  • crown chakra opening
  • memory of past lives
  • opening to understanding of faerie realm
  • physical healing
  • adjusting/accepting change
  • healing emotional trauma
  • prosperity and finances
  • a stone for healers
  • to assist environmentalists
  • longevity
  • aura insulation against harmful energy
  • healing the heart, including heart chakra

symbolism of the goat

There are few other creatures of the natural world that have been maligned in spiritual and religious symbolism as much as the goat. Poor goats, right?

Apart from spending way more time than I’d like to admit watching screaming goats videos on Youtube (you’re welcome), goats are quite awesome. They are nature’s tenacious, intelligent, and industrious little cloven-footed buddies.

They keep plant life controlled, they produce an alternative to cow milk (goat milk is delicious, if you haven’t tried it), and they’re super playful and friendly. They also provide meat, fleece, and skin to cultures who raise them and care for them.

Wild mountain goats are able to clamber up nearly sheer rock faces, thousands of feet above the ground, almost effortlessly and without fear. Goats in pastures use creative escape plans to free themselves. Goats seize opportunities.

But let’s walk it back a bit to what the goat symbolizes from a magickal or spiritual perspective.

History of Goat Symbolism

Goat legends abound in Pagan religions, which is likely part of the reason why they were later to be associated with ‘the devil’ in Judeo-Christian symbology.

Zeus was suckled by the goat Amalthea. Thor’s chariot is drawn by two goats (who can be cooked and eaten, and then rise again the next morning anew).

Goats were traditionally associated with fertility and virility, thanks to the impassioned and persistent nature of a rutting billy goat. This might also be why their image was darkened by the church, because sexy sexy goats might spread the wrong message?

Anyway, the Greek god Pan was a well-known goat-god, half man/half goat and connected to fertility, sensuality, sexual pleasure, and lust. At some point after the establishment of the Catholic church, the image of Pan was given red skin, menacing black horns, and glowing red eyes and became the symbol of evil.

Aphrodite was also shown riding a goat as her favorite mount.

Satyrs were half man/half goat figures who played music and enjoyed revelry and pleasure. Goats were associated with Dionysus, to whom they were traditionally sacrificed.

The practice of ‘scapegoating’ in Judaic lore (and this appears to perhaps also have been practiced in some other early Middle Eastern sects that were not specifically Jewish, but I can’t find good sources to confirm) involved a village or family group designating one goat each year to bear the sins, shame, negative thoughts, and so forth of each individual.

The people of the village or group would each walk up and touch the goat, symbolically transferring their sins and bad deeds/thoughts to the goat. Once the goat was full of their negativity and sins, it would be set free to wander off into the desert, carrying their sins and misdeeds away with it. In other words, being their scapegoat, and accepting whatever punishment or judgment would be issued for those sins.

And then we get to the point in which the goat literally became associated with the biblical Satan.

The goat head is now used to symbolize the reversed pentagram, such as on the seal of The Satanic Temple (they’re a rad group, I highly recommend you read their tenets), and is also part of the symbolism of Baphomet, who the Templars were accused of praying to or worshipping after they confessed during torture, and who was then subsequently established as a heathen or pagan idol.

However, scholars now largely agree that the name Baphomet was an Old French bastardization of the name Muhammad (Mahomet) and that there was not a separate entity named Baphomet associated with the Christian devil.

Otherwise, prior to those recorded confessions in the early 1300s, the name did not appear in any records, and was certainly not associated with goats.

Duality of Goats vs Sheep

From an organized Judeo-Christian religion perspective, sheep were the good followers, who stayed in the pasture and didn’t stray. They didn’t attempt to escape or find excitement. They did as they were told and just ate their pasture grass and were happy being told by the shepherd and sheepdog that this was their life and it would always be this way.

How many religious passages, songs, and hymns refer to ‘the flock,’ ‘pastures/pastoral,’ ‘fleece,’ and so forth? Sheep were divine, or associated with following the divine and being ‘good.’

The goat on the other hand, questioned. The goat knew that just outside that fence there was excitement, adventure, and juicy she-goats to get feisty with. The world is the goat’s oyster. The goat is down for a challenge and whatever pleasures it can find.

The goat pursued its urges, never regretted, and achieved heightened experiences.

And this, my friends, is where a large amount of the ruining of the goat’s reputation and image came from by the church as it systematically wiped out or suppressed Pagan traditions and belief systems.

The message was pretty clear: don’t think for yourself, don’t question, and don’t even think about kinky mating!

What Messages Does the Goat Bring Us?

If you feel particularly connected to the imagery, character, or spirit of the goat, or are seeing a lot of goat imagery popping up lately, here are some things to consider:

  • What barriers hold you in? Are they really there, or are they self-created? Is it time to leap the fence and explore?
  • You may need to explore sexuality and pleasure, but conversely, just like a reversed tarot card, if you’re already doing a lot of sexual exploration, this symbol might signal unconsciously compelled sexual compulsions or an unhealthy lust for power
  • Are you following blindly without questioning? Perhaps its time to re-assess something in your life and take ownership of your trajectory
  • Goats can also symbolize energetic pursuit of a want or need. Is there something lacking that you can apply more energy to in order to manifest it?

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