Alternative Religions: Most Popular Articles
In Western society, the triangle most often has highly Christian meanings when used in a religious context. Because the Christian God is a trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost united in a single godhead – he is commonly represented by a triangle. As a three-sided polygon, the triangle represents the number three, which is meaningful to many groups. As such, triangles and other symbols made of three parts may be used to present such concepts as past, present, and future or spirit, mind and body. . Page 3.
An introduction to Rastafari, including basic beliefs and practices.
The cross is most well known in its Christian context as a symbol of sacrifice and salvation in reference to Jesus's death by crucifixion upon a cross. However, the cross has numerous other religious meanings as well, most of which have to do with being groups of four, corresponding to the four points on the cross. Page 4.
Circles commonly represent unity, wholeness, and infinity. Without beginning or end, without sides or corners, the circle is also associated with the number one.
While the Church of Satan encourages individuality and the gratification of desires, it does not suggest that all actions are acceptable. The Nine Satanic Sins, published by Anton LaVey in 1987, target nine characteristics Satanists should avoid.
Deism is not a specific religion but rather a particular perspective on the nature of God. Deists believe that a creator god does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place he retreated, having no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it.
The twelve zodiac signs were divided up among the four elements as early as the Renaissance, with three signs associated with each element. However, early associations were by no means consistent. Different sources could provide wildly different groupings.
The Greeks proposed the existence of five basic elements. Of these, four were the physical elements – fire, air, water and earth – of which the entire world is composed. Alchemists eventually associated four triangular symbols to represent these elements. In traditional Western occult theory, the elements are hierarchical - spirit, fire, air, water and earth – with the first elements being more spiritual and perfect and the last elements being more material and base.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Anton LaVey compiled
The Eye of Horus symbol originates in Egypt but appears in a variety of more modern contexts, particularly within neopagan, new age, and occult circles.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here we address the square. Page 5.
These statements are the opening words of the Satanic Bible, published in 1969 and written by Anton LaVey. They are basic principles guiding LaVeyan Satanists.
Spirals are less often found in established iconographies, but they nevertheless have a long history dating back to neolithic times that influence the way people way see spirals in religious and spiritual contexts today.
Vodou (Also spelled Vodoun, Voodoo, and several other variants) is a syncretic religion combining Roman Catholicism and native African religion, particularly the religion of the Dahomey region of Africa (the modern day nation of Benin). It is primarily found in Haiti, New Orleans, and other locations within the Caribbean.
While Luciferians and Satanists both employ terms commonly associated with the Devil, they are not the same. Learn the similarities and differences between the two groups, as well as what they generally believe.
A quick guide to symbols associated with a variety of alternative religions, organized by religious group. The collection includes symbols from the Baha'i Faith, Zoroastrianism, the occult, Vodou (or Voodoo) and alchemy.
Vodou religious practices commonly include appealing to the lwa, or spirits, and inviting them to temporarily take possession of human bodies. Vodou symbols known as veves are employed when appealing to the lwa, with each lwa having its own veve.
Seven-pointed stars are known as heptagrams or septagrams. There are two different configurations for heptagrams, the acute heptagram, shown here, and the obtuse heptagram. In addition, the heptagon – a seven-sided polygon – can also represent the same things as a heptagram. Page 7.
The five-pointed star, also commonly called a pentagram, has been in use for thousands of years by a variety of cultures. Most uses of the pentagram in Western society today descend from Western occult traditions. Page 6.
LaVeyan Satanism allegorically employs the names of dozens of demonic beings. Out of all those names, four are considered the most important of demons, the crown princes of Hell. They are Satan, Lucifer, Belial and Leviathan. These four figures correspond to the four cardinal points and the four elements, creating a Satanic framework for a common occult practice.
The Jedi Code is a basic set of beliefs held in common by most modern Jedi. While based on works of fiction, followers find practical and spiritual meaning in its words.
The smoking of ganja (marijuana) and the wearing of dreadlocks are two of the most known things about Rastas. But why do they do it? Each of these actions has specific meaning and purpose within the Rastafari Movement.
The ankh symbol originated in Egypt more than 4000 years ago. At the very least, it referenced life, particularly eternal life, although it appears in many contexts and may have additional meanings. Besides being an artistic symbol, the ankh also appears in Egyptian hieroglyphs, where it also means eternal life.
Learn about how to seek membership in Satanic organizations as well whether membership is even necessary for seekers.
The following list discusses the "Infernal Names" of the Satanic Bible of LaVeyan Satanism that have
While the swastika is almost entirely associated in the West today with the Nazis, the symbol actually has a long history across the globe representing concepts very different from those given by the Nazis.
The Peoples Temple is one of the most well known suicide cults, killing over 900 people in Jonestown in 1978. But before it became a symbol of religion gone wrong, it was a charitable organization that provided for the poor and embraced the disenfranchised.
An introduction to LaVeyan Satanism, including basic beliefs and practices.
Xenu is considered by many critics to be Scientology's dirty little secret. Scientologists are reticent to publicly discuss or even acknowledge the existence of Xenu. Learn about Scientology's vision of creation and how Xenu affected human development.
Seven-pointed stars are known as heptagrams or septagrams. There are two different configurations for heptagrams, the obtuse heptagram, shown here, and the acute heptagram. In addition, the heptagon – a seven-sided polygon – can also represent the same things as a heptagram. Page 8.
An introduction to Jedi Religion or Jediism, including basic beliefs and practices.
Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world, Vilokan. Rituals begin with a prayer to Legba to open those gates so that participants can gain access to the other lwas. Legba is also strongly associated with the sun and is seen as a life-giver, transferring the power of Bondye to the material world and all that lives within it. This further strengthens his role as the bridge between realms. Page 7.
Satan appears within multiple belief systems. Unfortunately, there is a common presumption that all of these Satanic figures must indeed be the same being, despite the fact that each religion has its own very unique perspective and description of him.
The unicursal hexagram is a specific form of the six pointed star that does not require the pen to be lifted from the paper. It is most commonly associated with the religion of Thelema. Page 11.
Shinto, roughly meaning "the way of the gods," is the traditional religion of Japan. It centers upon
The hexagram has possessed a variety of meanings over the last several thousand years. It shows up in Hindu artwork, occult works, Kabbalistic sources, and it is the modern symbol of the Jewish faith. There are two forms of the hexagram. The first is of two interlocking triangles. The second is a unicursal figure.
An overview on the types of Satanism and Luciferianism, including links to more information on these different forms.
The Eye of Providence is a realistic eye depicted within a triangle, cloud, or burst of light and represents divine presence or approval. It has appeared in many different locations over the centuries, from the stained glass of churches to the seals of various cities to the Great Seal of the United States.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Rumor, conspiracy
The heptagram can represent the seven days of the week. In Judeo-Christian context, it can therefore be a symbol of completion, as the universe was wholly created within the seven-day week. In addition, the each day of the week is associated with one of the planets. . Page 9.
The six pointed star, the hexagram, has shown up in multiple cultures over thousands of years, bearing a variety of different meanings. Most commonly associated today with Judaism, it certainly has other applications and meanings. Page 10.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Page 12.
One of the central complaints of Scientology critics is the vast amount of money required for auditing procedures. How much money is really on the line, and is it money well spent?
Marijuana, commonly known as ganja among Rastas, is illegal in most countries, including the US. However, as an important part of the Rastafari religion, is ganja smoking protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom?
Octagrams – eight pointed stars – show up in a variety of different cultures, and modern users of the symbol borrow liberally from these sources.
Religions generally focus on one of two things, orthodoxy (correct belief) or orthopraxy (correct behavior). While both are frequently present, one is usually considered more important than the other, leading to very different ways different people can approach religion.
Deciphering Eliphas Levi's Baphomet of Mendes, a popular 19th century occult image still used by a variety of occult traditions today.
The Eye of Horus is an ancient symbol originating in Egypt. However, in modern times it has evolved into a similar symbol set within a triangle. Page 6.
The Baphomet Pentagram is the official, copyrighted symbol of the Church of Satan. While similar images existed previous to the Church, which didn't form until 1966, this precise image is of relatively new construction. It is featured here with the Church's permission. Page 2.
These concepts widely held among modern Jedi, although their expect presentations varies from source to source. These teachings address such things as nature of the Force, the Jedi worldview, and ethical behavior.
LaVeyan Satanists accept no beliefs in an afterlife. Each person comes into existence at birth and disappears at death. The period in-between – one lifetime – is the sum total of existence. Life is therefore something to be enjoyed to its fullest. Satanists are encouraged to embrace whatever it is that they enjoy, living full, sensual, self-indulgent lives.
Opponents of the Church of Scientology commonly label it as a dangerous cult. Let's see how it actually stacks up.
The history of Lucifer is a complicated one. The Biblical use of the word has created associations with Satan that were not originally intended. As such, Satanists and Luciferians are separate practices and see their respective figures differently.
Tarot readings are a form of divination giving insight into the influences surrounding person or issue. The skill is seem by some as entirely personal, while others view it as a reflection of a universal consciousness or directed by particular gods or spirits.
Use of the term cult can be highly complicated and problematic. Dictionary.com, for example, gives eight definitions of cult used as a noun.
19th century occultist Eliphas Levi constructed this pentagram. It is commonly interpreted as a symbol of mankind, as many pentagrams are. However, it is a symbol of many things that unite in the existence of mankind, as is evidence by the variety of additional symbols involved. Page 3.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here we address the enneagram. Page 13.
Zoroastrians strive for purity in their lives, and death is considered the one of the ultimate corrupting influences.
Ceremonial occult systems traditionally depend on systems of correspondences: collections of items that are all associated in some way with the desired goal. While the types of correspondences are nearly endless, associations between elements, seasons, time of day, elements, moon phases and directions have become fairly standardized in the West, and are frequently the basis for additional correspondences. Page 8.
Occult and religious paths are sometimes divided into two categories: the left-hand and right-hand paths. The left-hand path is about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner, downplaying the need for intercession by any high power (although they may believe a higher power exists). Satanism, Luciferianism and Thelema are all considered left-hand paths.
The pentagram has represented many diverse meanings over the centuries. Since at least the Renaissance, one of its associations is with the five elements. Traditionally, there is a hierarchy among the elements ranging from the most spiritual and rarefied to the least spiritual and most material. This hierarchy determines the placement of elements around the pentagram. Page 7.
The Native American Church is a fusion of traditional Native American beliefs and Christianity. Central to its practices is the use of the drug peyote, which comes from a particular cactus plant.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here, the Baha'i use a particular form of nine-pointed star. Page 14.
The orishas are the gods of Santeria. here we discuss Orunla, Osain, Oshun, Oya and Yemaya.
Religions can be broken down into a number of broad categories based on general purposes and views of divinity. Here is a brief overview of some of these categories and how they are used in other articles on the Alternative Religion Guide Site.
The concept of human sacrifice is one of the more abhorrent facets of religion in the minds of most of us. Historically, minority groups have been repeatedly accused of it. Today, it is a common rumor about Satanism. Not only is that concept totally false, multiple aspects of Satanic teaching are completely contrary to the notion of human sacrifice.
An introduction to the Raelian Movement, including basic beliefs and practices.
Gnosticism refers to a very wide range of beliefs that is more a collection of beliefs than a relgion. There are two basic components, gnosis and dualism.
Syncretism is the process of combining multiple beliefs into one system. Sometimes the result is a completely new religion. Sometimes the result is one religion embracing new ideas or practices from another religion or the surrounding culture. All religions experience some degree of syncretism, but some religions intrinsically depend upon it for its foundational beliefs.
The Freemasons are a fraternal order dating back at least four centuries and have likely roots in medieval mason guilds. Questions abound today as to what exactly Freemasons do, believe, and expect from members, thanks in part to hoaxes, gossip, misunderstanding and a distrust of anything that offers even the notion of secrecy.
Jedi Religion is a very non-dogmatic, non-organized religion. As such, there are few if any rules that can be expected to be followed by all believers. However, this also allows for wisdom to be put forth by members of the community for believers to study, accept or reject as they see fit.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here we depict a decagram. Page 15.
The triquetra shows up in a variety of different contexts, many of which re largely unconnected. What do various groups associated with this three-pointed symbol?
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here we discuss the dodekagon, the polygon version of the dodekagram, a 12-sided star. Page 17.
Monotheistic deities tend to much more closely resemble each other than do polytheistic deities, precisely because of the nature of monotheism requires they gods to be grand and all-encompassing. Many monotheists even accept that their monotheistic deity is the same deity that is being worshiped by monotheists of different religions.
Ogoun was originally associated with fire, blacksmithing and metalworking. His focus has transformed over the years to include power, warriors, and politics. He particularly likes the machete, which is a common offering in preparation of a possession, and machetes are sometimes featured in his veves. Page 3.
Golden Dawn direction: Above, Below, Within Golden Dawn color: Violet, Orange, White The element of spirit
Damballah-Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake. His veves reflect this aspect of him. When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. Page 2.
An introduction to Zoroastrianism, including basic beliefs and practices.
Magicians can use a variety of methods for producing energy for their workings. Sex is one such method, and the result is commonly referred to as sex magic.
The history and meaning of the Faravahar symbol, incorporating a human figure emerging from within a winged disk, now associated with Zoroastrianism as well as Persian culture.
in a culture that primarily does not believe in magic, all magical beliefs are frequently grouped into a single pile and treated as if all followed a single coherent system, had the same goals, and attracted the same people. In fact, there's a wide variety of different magical practices in existence, and there can be some fundamental differences between them.
Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context. Here we discuss the 12-sided dodekagram. Page 16.
The orishas are the gods of Santeria, an African Diaspora religion that developed among the slaves of Cuba.
Air is the element of intelligence, creativity, and beginnings. Largely intangible and without permanent form, air is an active, masculine element, superior to the more material elements of water and earth. . Page 2.
Water is the element of emotion and the unconscious, as opposed to the conscious intellectualism of air. Water is one of two elements that have a physical existence that can interact with all of the physical senses. Water is still considered less material (and thus superior) to earth because possesses more motion and activity than earth. . Page 3.
Fire is traditionally seen as the most rarefied and spiritual of the physical elements because of its masculine properties (which were superior to female properties), it's lack of physical existence, its production of light, and it's transformative power when it comes in contact with more physical material.
Theistic Satanism encompasses a variety of related beliefs honoring a figure addresses as Satan or associated with Satan. In contrast to LaVeyan Satanism, which is atheistic and considers Satan merely a symbol for what their faith encourages, theistic Satanists view Satan as an actual being. Theistic Satanism is largely a development of the 20th century.
For many people, the word occult is practically synonymous with Satanism. Not only is that a relatively recent phenomena, but it's not grounded in any fact. While Satanists do often participate in occult practices, they are a tiny fraction of occultists. Learn how this misleading connection developed.
In classical elemental systems, each element has two qualities, and it shares each quality with one other element. Each element is either warm or cold, and this corresponds with a male or female gender. This is a strongly dichotomous system, where male qualities are things like light, warmth and activity, and female qualities are dark, cold, passive and receptive. . Page 6.
Symbols commonly associated with occult beliefs, particularly Western occult beliefs. Occult principles are almost by definition impossible to directly explain with words. As such, occultists regularly employ graphic symbols as well as allegory to communicate beliefs to others.
Earth is the element of stability, groundedness, fertility, materiality, potential and stillness. Earth can also be an element of beginnings and endings, or death and rebirth, as life comes from the ground and then decomposes back into earth after death. Page 4.
Followers of Santeria honor a variety of beings known as orishas. Here we discuss Aganyu, Babalu-Aye, Chango and Eleggua.
The tetragrammaton is the four-letter name of God, considered by many to be too holy to verbally pronounce. It is commonly used to represent God in occult illustrations. Page 3.
The Kabbalah Centre has popularized the concept of the 72 Names of God, each of which consist of three Hebrew letters. Believers sometimes wear specific names of God on their persons to gain the influence of whatever qualities are associated with that name. Other groups attribute the 72 names to angels and, less often, to demons. Together, the 72 names reveal the Shemhamforash, a 216-letter name of God.
Agwe is a Voodoo water spirit, and is of particular interest to seafaring people such as fishermen. As such, his veve represents a boat. When he arrives in possession of a performer, he is met with wet sponges and towels to keep him cool and moist while on land during the ceremony. Care has to be taken to keep the possessed from jumping into the water, which is where Agwe prefers to be.
The Rosy Cross or Rose Cross, a complex symbol used by a variety of modern occult groups to represent a vast and complex array of meanings.
An overview of Scientology beliefs concerning what happens to us after we die and how they commonly reflect these beliefs through funeral services.
In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square. Page 4.
Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world. Rituals begin with a prayer to Legba to open those gates so that participants can gain access to the other lwas. The veves of these other lwas are often drawn intersecting the branches of Legba's veve to represent this. Page 8.
Some people, when speaking of magic, divide its uses into two categories: white magic and black magic. The definition of these terms, however, is highly subjective, varying from location to location, across time periods, and even person to person. Essentially, white magic is magic that the speaker considers to be acceptable magic, while black magic is that which is unacceptable, and the limits of acceptable and unacceptable are defined by culture. Plenty of magicians avoid using either term because of their subjectivity.
The Tree of Life, called the Etz Chaim in Hebrew, is a common visual depiction of the ten sephirot of Kabbalah. Each sephirot represents an attribute of God through which he manifests his will. The Tree of Life does not represent a single, cleanly definable system. It can be applied to the formation and existence of both the physical world and metaphysical worlds, as well as to one's own soul, state of being, or understanding. . Page 10.
Damballah-Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake. His veves reflect this aspect of him. When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. Page 6.
Occultists associate a number of symbols with the planets. These include astrological symbols, which are still in common use today. They also include numerological magic squares, complex seals constructed for those squares, and sigils of the spirits and intelligences associated with each planet.
One ultimately joins a religion because they believe in that religion. That religion may certainly also be seen as able to help believers get through life. However, religions such as Satanism are often seen as quick cheats through life - a position serious Satanists absolutely reject. Here are some bad reasons to get involved in Satanism.
For many, the term "Satanism" brings to mind many unpleasant thoughts and images. Urban legends are full
A complete list of religions across the world that involve animal sacrifice would be impossible to compile, as it is still a part of a variety of indigenous practices. Here is a brief overview of some of the minority cultures found in the West that still perform animal sacrifices.
Gran Bwa means "big tree" and he is the master of the forests of Vilokan , the island that is home to
Western alchemy is highly allegorical, often describing spiritual processes in terms of chemical reactions and processes. The most central elements in western alchemy are mercury, sulfur, and salt.
The following is a partial list of paths within the Western Occult Tradition. Many occultists follow practices involving aspects of multiple paths. This makes generalizing about the occult extremely difficult and is the reason I find it more helpful to describe individual occult paths.
Thelema is a complicated set of magical, mystical and religious beliefs formed in the 20th century by Aleister Crowley. Thelemites might be anything from atheists to polytheists, viewing the involved beings as actual entities or primal archetypes. Today it is embraced by a variety of occult groups including the Ordo Templis Orientis (O.T.O.) and Argenteum Astrum (A:.A:.), the Order of the Silver Star.
In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square.
Explore the basic principles behind the Scientology practice of auditing, including why members participate, expected results of the practice, and external criticisms of it.
In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square. Page 7.
An introduction to the Baha'i Faith, including basic beliefs and practices.
According to the Raelian church, the Elohim are a human-like alien race that created life through scientific processes on Earth. They are not gods, nor are they to be treated as such. The Elohim created humanity as an equal, just as their creators once created them as equals. Through this process, intelligent life continues to develop throughout the galaxy.
While Egyptian pagan religion died out 2000 years ago, the use of its symbols have remained, showing up in a wide variety of contexts, including modern paganism, Coptic Christianity, and fiction, particularly supernatural fiction. Page 13.
In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square. Page 2.
In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square.
Ancient Persian symbol associated with important personages now commonly viewed as a symbol of Zoroastrianism. It depicts a figure surrounded by the light of glory and is used by some as a representation of the human soul. Page 2.
The Order of the Luciferian Sword put together its summary of what it means to be a Luciferian.
The Sigillum Dei Aemeth, or Seal of the Truth of God, is most widely known through the writings and artifacts of John Dee, a 16th century occultist and astrologer in the court of Elizabeth I. While the sigil does appear in older texts of which Dee was probably familiar, he was not happy with them and ultimately gained guidance from angels to construct his version.
Stanislas de Guaita first published this pentagram in La Clef de la Magie Noire in 1897. It is the first known appearance of the pentagram and goat-head combination and is the primary influence on the Baphomet Pentagram, the official symbol of the modern Church of Satan. Page 4.
Squaring the circle commonly means doing the impossible. The idea of squaring the circle has been a mathematical puzzle for thousands of years. It is also used in alchemical illustrations.
The Jedi Creed is a basic set of beliefs held in common by many modern Jedi. While based on works of fiction, followers find practical and spiritual meaning in its words.
Ital cooking is a healthy approach to food that evolved out of the Rastafari Movement. It rejects a variety of things considered impure or unhealthy including preservatives and artificial flavorings. Many also avoid oils and meat, focusing on fruits and vegetables.
It is sometimes difficult to understand how one practices a non-organized religion. Deism has no specific rituals precisely because none are necessary. How, then, is one actively a deist? How can deism influence a person's life?
In Vodou, Bondye is the highest principle in the universe and is responsible for both the universal order and human activity. He is the wholeness of the human community and is the origin of all life, which ultimately belongs to him.
The Satanic Panic was a time period roughly covering the 1980s when many people became growingly concerned about Satanic conspiracies spreading throughout the United States. People were particularly fearful that Satanists were targeting children both physically and psychologically, and they warned that unwary souls might fall under the sway of Satanic influences if they did not remain vigilant.
The pentagram, or five-pointed star, has been in existence for thousands of years. Over that time, it has had many meanings, uses, and depictions associated with it.
Ogoun was originally associated with fire, blacksmithing and metalworking. His focus has transformed over the years to include power, warriors, and politics. He particularly likes the machete, which is a common offering in preparation of a possession, and machetes are sometimes featured in his veves. Page 4.
In New World Vodoun, the spirits (or lwa) with whom believers interact are divided into three main families, Rada, Petro, and Ghede. Lwa can be viewed as forces of nature, but they also have personalities and personal mythologies.
Every year, Baha'is celebrate the anniversary of Baha'u'llah's first public acknowledgment of his divine mission during the festival of Ridvan. This is one of two Great Festivals determined by Baha'u'llah.
While Rastafari is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, it developed largely as a racial movement among the blacks of Jamaica which looked to Africa and Ethiopia as the Promised Land. As such, the texts commonly embraced by Rastas look to Ethiopian culture and other Afrocentric works.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >As new religious
Modern Coptic crosses often bear little resemblance to older ones, but there was a time when Coptic crosses obviously drew upon the imagery of the Egyptian ankh symbol, and some Coptic groups continue to employ ankhs among their symbolism today.
Today's New Age movement has risen to prominence over approximately the last 40 years. However, the term itself has 19th century antecedents, most notably its use within Theosophy, which teaches many beliefs held in common with today's New Agers. The New Age is commonly understood to be the astrological Age of Aquarius.
A highly controversial figure in his own time, Aleister Crowley is now considered highly influential in occult circles. Besides being held as a prophet within the religion of Thelema, his numerous writings on magic and religion are still widely read.
The Sigillum Dei Aemeth, or Seal of the Truth of God, is most widely known through the writings and artifacts of John Dee, a 16th century occultist and astrologer in the court of Elizabeth I. While the sigil does appear in older texts of which Dee was probably familiar, he was not happy with them and ultimately gained guidance from angels to construct his version. Page 9.
Santeria is an African Diaspora religion centered in Cuba. It recognizes a collection of deities known as orishas with whom human beings can interact. Santeria has gained notoriety for its practice of animal sacrifice, which provides blood to the orishas. Developed by slaves of Catholic masters, Santeria also commonly equates its orishas with Catholic saints, and believers in Santeria might also attend Catholic mass.
In alchemy, the Red King and White Queen are allegorically brought together in the great work to produce a united whole. Here is an explanation of an illustration of the King and Queen according to The Rosarium Philosophorum, or the Rosay of the Philosophers.
Luciferianism is a very individualistic approach to religion. Here are examples of two individual Luciferians' beliefs concerning Lucifer.
Addressing the modern connections between Satanism and Halloween in popular culture, which is largely divorced from the historical Halloween and its connections with Catholicism and folklore.
As shapes becomes more complex, we see them used less often and in more specific contexts. Here we mention the enneagram (9-sided), decagram (10-sided), endekagram (11-sided), and dodekagram (12-sided).
The highly unpopular Westboro Baptist Church is sometimes labeled as a cult. Is that a reasonable description of this extreme Christian sect?
Zoroastrians celebrate a variety of holidays. Some of them celebrate points in time such as Naw-Ruz, which is their new year or celebrate solar events such as the winter solstice. Other holidays are dedicated to particular spirits or mark historic events, notably the death of their founder, Zoroaster.
Taboos are a basic part of culture. Not nearly all are religious in nature, but there are also a fair number that do exist within the culture's religious context.
An introduction to Scientology, including basic beliefs and practices.