One of the oldest amulets in the world, predating
Christianity by many centuries. In the commonest
form of a cross, all four arms are of equal length
rather than in a T-shape. Crosses have been associated
with sun deities and the heavens, and in ancient times
they may have represented divine protection and prosperity.
Crosses also are represented by the Y-shaped Tree
of Life, the world-axis placed in the center of the universe,
the bridge between the earth and the cosmos, the
physical and the spiritual.
In Christianity, the cross transcends the status of amulet
to become symbolic of the religion and of the suffering
of Christ’s crucifixion; yet, it still retains aspects of an
amulet, protecting against the forces of evil. Even before
the crucifixion of Christ, the cross was a weapon against
the dark forces. According to legend, when Lucifer declared
war upon God in an attempt to usurp his power,
his army scattered God’s angels twice. God sent to his angels
a Cross of Light on which were inscribed the names
of the Trinity. Upon seeing this cross, Lucifer’s forces lost
strength and were driven into hell.
Early Christians made the sign of the cross for divine
protection and as a means of identification to each other.
In the fourth century, Christ’s wooden cross was allegedly
found in excavations in Jerusalem by Empress Helena,
mother of Constantine I. It is said that Helena found three
buried crosses at the site of the crucifixion but did not
know which belonged to Christ. She tested all three with
the corpse of a man. Two crosses had no effect upon the
body, but the third caused it to come to life. Helena sent
part of the cross to Constantine, who sent a portion to
Rome, where it is still preserved in the Vatican. The rest
of the cross Helena reburied. Bits of the cross that were
fashioned into amulets became highly prized.
As the Church grew in power, so did its symbol, the
cross. According to belief, nothing unholy can stand up
to its presence. The cross, and the sign of the cross, will
help exorcise demons and devils (see exorcism), ward
off incubi and succubi, prevent bewitchment of man and
beast, protect crops from being blasted by witches (see
blasting), and force vampires to flee. During the Inquisition,
inquisitors wore crosses or made the sign of the
cross while in the presence of accused witches, in order
to ward off any evil spells they might cast. People crossed
themselves routinely, before the smallest task, just in case
an evil presence was near
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Categories: Paganism and Witchcraft
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