Visual Images: Emblems


 Emblems Page 2

Emblems: Keys to decoding meaning in Occult Art

Emblems can be the keys to decoding meaning in works of
art. They can be of particular importance in occult works of
the seventeenth century. Below are some emblems such
as animals, fire, and scales, which, when featured in a work
of art, may signify the presence or representation of
witches, witchcraft, or other supernatural forces.

Emblems: Animals-Cauldrons








 Animals: There are many animals which represent the
presence of demons, witches, and supernatural beings. Ancient Animals

Apes: Apes and monkeys were not native to Europe. They were seen as something foreign and misunderstood. The suspicion of these unknown creatures led them to be thought of as witch's familiars. Ancient Apes

Birds: Birds, black birds in particular, were often featured circling or perched around witches. Ancient Birds

Cats: Cats have historically been considered familiars of witches and the idea of the cat as the witch's companion still existes today. Ancient Cats

Dogs: Dogs, black dogs in particular, were considered to be partners with the devil. The devil sometimes appeared to people in the form of a dog.

Ancient Dogs

Frogs: Frogs stay up at night and reside in swampy damp areas. Frogs and toads are still thought of as magical little creatures. Ancient Frogs

Goats: "Devil worship is Devil worship in the sabbat scenes.
The witch kisses, fondles or prays to a demon who is more
than likely a male goat"(Davis, 101)

Ancient Goats

Lions: Lions envoked fear in many peopple, sometimes due to their sheer size, and threatening call. Ancient Lions

Lizards: Lizards are small creatures that tend to hide under rocks and pieces of wood. Perhaps it is their mysteriousness that made people think they were the companions of underworld creatures.

Ancient Lizards

Snakes:" ...shown consorting with demons and holding snakes
in their hands."(Davis, 83)

Ancient Snakes

   Brooms and Magic Sticks: The magic stick was used for sorcery as well as transportation. From historical images witches and wizards have always either carried or ridden on a type of magic stick, pitchfork, or broom.
   Cauldrons: When one pictures a witch what id she doing? Is she casting spells or making special potions? Witches had to have something to make their special potions and brews. The large black cauldron is often pictured in sabbat scenes.
   Circles: The circle is commonly found in images featuring witches and witchcraft. Witches often gathered in circles and performed their majic. Many paintings and prints of witches show them making circles with their magic sticks, or standing within the magic circles.



This page authored by Theresa J. Biagiarelli