This article is the third in a four part series. The other three articles in this series are The Elements, The Circle and the Centre. In these four articles the groundwork is layed for a great deal of other material in this section of the site.
When talking about the symbol of the cross the first to come to mind is probably the Christian cross, but the symbol is much older than that. The ankh, the swastika, the various cross shapes in Celtic and nordic lore are all variations on the same theme.
Many of the equal-armed crosses and similar shapes seem to be connected to the four elements or the four directions. The Latin cross, with the bottom arm longer than the others, shows similarities to fertility symbols from older cultures, depicting the male genitalia.
Although the figure of Christ has many aspects that are unique, the idea of a god being sacrificed or sacrificing himself for the sake of humanity or the world as we know it occurs in many religions. Think, for instance, of Wotan hanging from the World Oak.
Suffering and self-sacrifice are not goals in themselves, but they are essential parts of any spiritual path. Suffering, illness and our inevitable physical death are realities we need to come to terms with in order to grow as human beings.
The cross, as we'll examine it here, is made up of two pairs of elements, Earth and Fire, and Water and Air. These two pairs of elements stand for the times of crisis that we may encounter in our lives.
Earth and fire
Water and air (to be added)
On this page Transitional HTML 4.01 and CSS 1 are used. If you're seeing this text you either have CSS switched off in your browser, or you're using a browser that can't handle CSS. If you're using an older browser version, you might want to consider upgrading.