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Cross - a Symbol of Symbols


Cross is also called a symbol of symbols. However, it is mostly known by this name among Christian people. Cross is made of 2 crossed lines. Since ancient times cross has been using as a religious and protective symbol in almost any world culture. For example, the Scandinavians represented the hammer of Thor, their god of war and storm, in the form of T-type cross; it symbolized storm, thunder, hurricane and rain. Cross is also found in the cultures of India, Assyria and Persia.

American Indians had their own meaning of a cross. In their culture it symbolized either a human, or four parts of the world and four winds. According to the book “Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols” by J. S. Cooper, the northern end of a cross symbolized northern wind – the most powerful and all-triumphant; it also meant head and intelligence. The southern end symbolized southern wind – fire, emotions, and also burning and melting. The eastern one symbolized eastern wind – heart, the source of life and love. Finally, the western end symbolized mild western wind from the ghost country – the breath of death and an adventure to obscurity that waits for everyone.

For alchemists cross was a symbol of four elements – air, earth, fire and water. There are also such interpretations of the cross symbol as “health”, “fertility”, “life”, “immortality”, “the union of earth and heaven”, “of spirit and substance”, “of the sun and stars”. But it the first place this is a symbol of Christ, of his crucifixion and glory, and, thus, a symbol of Christianity and Christian church. This is the most famous and most widespread meaning of a cross. Wherever Christianity became firmly established as religion, cross was not only an inalienable part of the church tradition, but also the main symbol of art, architecture, and many other areas, including flags and heraldry (over 400 different forms of cross are found here).




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