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The Cross: Ancient Variations
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Secret Symbols

When one thinks of "Christian symbols", one probably thinks immediately of of the cross, the sacred heart, the tree of life, the IHS symbol and the Jesus fish. But what are the true origins of these symbols, and did they ever carry any other meaning? You'll probably be surprised to learn their roots may not be as tightly linked to Jesus as they are protrayed. The Star of David on the other hand, is a very widely-recognized Jewish symbol; however, its religious significance has spanned the likes of Rastafarianism, Ritual Magick, Hinduism, and yes, even Christianity. In addition, many symbols associated with Christianity figure prominently in art, where they hold unique significance, and as such, have over the years lead to the development of Christian art symbols.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are a variety of lesser-known, although no less significant, ancient symbols. These symbols have many speculative meanings - with many considering them to be secret manifestations of societies wishing to maintain a low profile while still promulgating their beliefs. Their origins and meanings have been linked to such clandestine organizations as the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. Such symbols include: the chevron, pentacle and even the skull and bones. Even the cross has been to shown to have ancient variations that put into question its current usage.

Indeed, these symbols have been found in a variety of intriguing contexts. The chevron, for example, has been linked to Leonardo da Vinci's student, Pontormo, whose painting of the "other last supper" has sparked interest due to its peculiar use of what appears to be the all seeing eye. The skull and bones for its part, also has a very rich and dynamic history. Beyond its popular link to the pirates, the skull and bones actually comprised ancient ritual worship, with ossuaries and tombs linked to their history.

Indeed, the symbol of the skull and bones has a particularly interesting past, with its links to the Knights Templar, Jesus' crucifixion, and secret societies in general.

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