Supernatural Symbolism

The TV show Supernatural is significantly focused on the fighting of demons and, more and more often, angels.  As such, they use a wide variety of symbols that at least look like they are legit magical symbols.  Some of them are, many of them aren’t, and others history-influenced, but not actually historical.

For the most goofy use of  a symbol, you can read about it here: Occult in Popular Culture

Protection Tattoo - Supernatural - Pentagram

Protection Tattoo. Source: SupernaturalWiki

Protection Tattoo

In Supernatural

These are tattooed onto the main characters, Sam and Dean, so that demons cannot possess them.

Normally

Pentagrams have meant lots of lots of things over history.  Today, they are most commonly associated with the union of five elements (which is irrelevant here), and protection.  So the symbol at least makes sense in the fictional scenario.

Read more: Gallery of pentagrams and their meanings through the ages

The fireburst was created for the show.  However, people have since starting tattooing it on themselves and working it into jewelry.

Aquarian Star, Sign of the Men of Letters.

Aquarian Star, Sign of the Men of Letters. Source: SupernaturalWiki

Aquarian Star

In Supernatural

The symbol of the Men of Letters, a secret organization that gathered information about the supernatural which they would then feed to hunters.

Normally

In real life it’s generally called the unicursal hexagram.  It was created by the 19th century Hermentic Order of the Golden Dawn and was made famous by Aleister Crowley.  The more common form of a hexagram is two overlapping triangles and is sometimes known as the Star of David.  It is the union of opposites, particularly the spiritual and material.  Having a symbol that can be traced without repositioning the pen (as is the case with this symbol) is often valuable in occult practices.

Azazel Sigil

Sigil of Azazel, Source: SupernaturalWiki

Seal of Azazel

In Supernatural

The symbol is used in a summoning ritual.

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Normally

Most directly it is the seal of the planet Saturn, which would be used to attract the influences of Saturn.  However, it is also used in conjunction with Azazel, a fallen Angel.

I confess I thought this one’s connection with Azazel was total BS until I started looking things up.

Devil's Trap

Devil’s Trap -The Grand Pentacle Source: Supernaturalwiki.com

Devil’s Trap

In Supernatural

The symbol is used to trap demons.  Once a demon gets inside one of these things, which can be on either the floor or the ceiling, it cannot pass the out circle.

Normally

It’s called the Grand Pentacle and comes from the Key of Solomon.  The Key of Solomon is all about summoning and binding demons, so this gets darn close.  To be clear, it was about both summoning and binding.  No one was pledging themselves to demons.

The Sigil of Ameth is very similar is design and was used by John Dee to summon (although not trap) angels.

More Devil’s Traps

In Supernatural

The Supernatural version is on the left.  As a Devil’s Trap, it’s purpose as the same as the above, but it is much easier to create.  Sam and Dean normally spray-paint these on the floor.

Normally

These are bullshit, so far as I can tell, although it is clearly inspired by the Pentagram of Solomon (at right), found in the Key of Solomon.  The squiggles in the version on the left are just squiggles.

Enochian Runes

In Supernatural

Ward against angels, who periodically are more trouble than help.  Angels are dicks.

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Normally

Enochian is a language revealed by John Dee in the Renaissance via his seances with angels.  I honestly originally thought they just scribbled shapes, but upon further examination, they really did use Enochian letters.

What does it say?  Depends who you ask.  Some people have picked out phrases, while others say it’s mostly a collection of random letters.

Sigil of Lucifer

Sigil of Lucifer

Sigil of Lucifer

In Supernatural

This symbol is part of the Enochian runes on Sam and Dean’s ribs.

Normally

The image originates in the sixteenth century Italian Grimoirium Verum or “Grimoire of Truth,” and it is used to invoke Lucifer as the lightbringer.  Because of the common custom of equating Lucifer with Satan, it is also known as the Seal of Satan.

Supernatural considers Lucifer an angel, albeit a fallen one, rather than a demon.  This is the common occult idea of Lucifer.  Thus, he is commonly not equated with Satan by people who use it (other than Satanists, although their idea of Satan is more like Lucifer than the Christian version of Satan).

Angel Ward

Angel Ward

Angel Wards

In Supernatural

These are used to trap angels or create a barrier in order to keep them out of a location.

Normally

These things are complete nonsense, so far as I can tell.

More Angel Wards

Angel Wards

Angel Wards

Still nonsense, and I get the sense that the artist has been watching Full Metal Alchemist.

Castiel’s Arrival

We first see the angel Castiel in a room covered in symbols.  Many of those symbols are real, but their placement here is completely random.  Someone just found a bunch of symbols and starting painting.

Castiel's Appearance

Castiel’s Appearance

Zoso

Zoso

Zoso

In Supernatural

This image comes from the first season, which I haven’t seen in a very long time.  I believe it was used to summon a demon, but don’t quote me on it.

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Normally

This symbol is most known for appearing on the fourth Led Zepplin album.

The original symbol can be found in the 1557 alchemical grimoire Ars Magica Arteficii, and is based on the Zodiac – although the greater meaning of the sigil remains obscure. – Daily Grail

As such, I suspect its use was random.

18 comments

  • Ron Ainsworth

    Great work

  • Angel banishing symbol – just an idea: try to put that symbol in the middle into a magic square (I still wonder which one, though). I think that it’s a word…
    And good job by the way.

  • Zach

    They actually have an episode about dumb movie producer’s using real symbols. Which is why I think you will find most are close but not quite the real deal.

    • is that the one where Sam and Dean jump into the real world (and Misha Collins plays total fanboy)? I missed that particular reference.

      A lot of TV shows and movies use real symbols randomly. I don’t have an opinion on it one way or the other, outside of it sometimes results in really funny contexts…such as the summoning by pie chart. (http://blog.cnbeyer.com/tv-and-movies/occult-in-popular-culture/)

      Once Upona Time recently used Theban in the background of the room where the witches of Oz met, but I can’t find a pic of it. The trailer for the TV show Constantine paints a symbol on the floor (what is with symbols on the floor?) which has Futhark runes around the edges which spell absolute nothing. I was kind of hoping for something funny thrown in.

  • Mike

    Zoso has various names but most commonly Zozo. Zozo is a demon. Check out the zozo phenomenon 😉

    • Zach

      Most people refrain from using Z’s actual name as it is believed to summon him and/or bring bad luck. Just an FYI. Some people might find you using his name unsettling, and it could lead to negative consequences for you yourself.

  • Lannah

    Of course most of it isn’t real and has nothing to do with historical facts. Who cares. It’s my favorite show.

  • I’d be more apt to believe the Zoso symbol to be real if I seen it on a Rodney Dio Album cover. Course I never cold stand Dio so maybe it’s on there LOL

  • Please, can you do the same kind of analysis for the symbol The Mark of Cain that we can see in season 9 and 10 ?

    • Will

      I did a bit of research about that, they totally invented the mark. In fact, the mark of Cain is mentioned in the bible, as something God gave him so no one would kill Cain. The mark was supposed to kill everyone who tried to finish his life because he was cursed for murdering his brother. Cain was afraid that whoever might see him cuold decide he was better dead because he was cursed and he asked God for a protection. The mark is truly a symbol of a curse, as said in Supernatural. The problem is that there are no documents that show the “real” shape of this mark, so, depending on people’s beliefs it would be a symbol or another. Some racist people even say is colored skin, but this is just a nonsense xD although you can find a lot more interpretations.

  • Catherine

    Thank you so much! I was curious about the signs.

  • Justin

    Protection Tattoo…I found this that has the flames like the protection tattoo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christogram

  • starlord

    would this work in real life

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