Important Addendum! Please read!
This particular symbol has been around for a very long time. Since the Bronze Age. As the case with many symbols, their meaning morphs over the centuries. Different cultures adopt symbols and apply their own meaning to them. This can present a great variety of meanings.
I’ll give you an example. I got an email from someone arguing the validity of this icon as a Celtic symbol for purity. She claimed this same symbol is a common brand for modern female sex slaves, as in, consensual master/slave ownership and possession relationships. She gave me the link to TSR (The Slave Registry, if you can believe that), in which this symbol is shown to represent a female submissive (mistress, sex-captive).
This illustrates the point I’ve been making for years: Symbols are subjective. They change in meaning according to what culture, what era, and by whom they are held.
So, in order to defend or deny this symbol as an icon for female bondage, we have to ask the question: Who initiated it as such? When was it initiated with this meaning? What’s the era and culture surrounding this facet of meaning?
Well, The Slave Registry claims to have been in business since the year 2000. I’ve asked how they logically derived this symbol to mean female bondage, and have been given no answer. As far as the culture is concerned…um, well, a culture of sexual dominants and submissives? I don’t even know how to interpret or research this culture, and frankly, I would rather not even go there.
Here’s my point: This symbol is ancient, with its first debut in human culture over 4,000 years ago to denote a sun cross – an ancient reference to the sacredness of solar energy and the procession of seasons (the 4 branches representing the 2 solstices and 2 equinoxes – marks on the ancient wheel of time of mammoth import). The symbol has also been seen on pre-Columbian rock carvings.
The person who emailed me also accused me of fabricating this symbol, making it up. Wrong. This symbol has been alive and kicking in the real world for a very long time. Although, I did draw associations between the Celtic idea of the circle and the equal-armed cross (commonly known as the Ailm sign in the Ogham) to substantiate themes of purity.
However, I made it very clear that these connections are conjecture. Other than the Ogham, the Celts left us no written language to explain their symbolic meanings. Hypothesizing and intuiting is everyone’s responsibility when mining symbol meanings – especially when understanding a meaning that belongs to an ancient group of people whose ways are shrouded in mystery due to insubstantial documentation of their history left in their wake.
I find it interesting the woman who emailed me this information about this symbol being a representation of female sex slavery only included an image of the symbol – she neglected to include a history or the process of how the TSR (The Slavery Register) came to dub this symbol as the meaning they ascribe to it. How did TSR derive this symbol to mean what it does in their slave culture? As mentioned, I’ve submitted an inquiry, but have received no response.