Back in the days when the world was young, various beliefs had absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with superstition. And with the exception of the Jews everyone was a pagan. Each society had their own names for their gods and goddesses - those who they believed ruled various aspects of life. For those people nothing occurred without the gods having a hand in it. If there was a drought then the god or goddess who ruled the rain must be angry at you for some reason. If you had a baby then the god or goddess of live and fertility was pleased with you. Many animals were sacrificed in the name of the gods.
While the world today is a much more enlightened place there are still groups of people who cling to the old way. Long forgotten are the Druids, Norse gods, and the mythology of Egypt, Greece, and Rome; except for brief studies in a classroom that are soon forgotten.
But in some ways the old way have never left us. People still fear that which they do not understand. The ancient ways of the Wicca who worship the goddess of mother nature have often been persecuted and are always misunderstood. All too frequently the terms pagan, witch, and Wiccan are thought to be interchangeable. This is not so. But the old ways die hard, if at all.
The 12 signs and symbols of the zodiac all stem from pagan symbols. Thought by some as devil worship or pagan, millions of people simply cannot start the day without first having read their horoscope in the paper.
In the last century the knowledge of the world has exploded; but before that it was possible for a learned person to know all there is to know. Before science was a science men believed that there were four elements air, earth, water, and fire. Today the symbols used to indicate these four elements are thought to be pagan symbols. These four element symbols are used today by those people who practice Wicca.
Other symbols widely used today that are of pagan origin include the dagger which is a symbol for the male. The cup or chalice represents the feminine. The five pointed star has been used for numerous connotations; for the Wicca the star signifies an integration of the body and spirit to become one.
For centuries people have tried to tie members of Wicca to witchcraft and not is a favourable manner. As a result, the picture of a wicked old crone wearing a pointed hat and riding a broom seen at Halloween is the image often portrayed as the witch. The broom symbol is used in Wicca, but not as a mode of transportation or any other negative connotation; but as a symbol for cleanliness as in sweeping away the bad things to cleanse the body and spirit.
No symbol is exclusive to any one group or people. What means one thing - good or bad - to one group can mean its exact opposite to another group of people. There is no such thing as a pagan symbol. There are; however, symbols that are used by various groups of people who participate in what are called pagan rituals. For example, the symbol ^ means one thing to an editor. It is also used to indicate rank on military uniforms, and it is the symbol for male in some pagan groups. Obviously the military is not a bunch of pagans looking to cast evil spells and pillage the town. Symbols like beauty are in the eye of the beholder.