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.

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.

Supernatural ribs with enochian runes
SupernaturalWiki

Enochian Runes

In Supernatural

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

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.

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.

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