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Taliban The Taliban refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement based in Afghanistan where it is currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad).  It emerged in 1994 CE as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and largely consisted of students (talib) from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools, and who had fought during the Soviet-Afghan War.  Under the leadership of Mohammed Omar, the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, seizing power from the Mujahideen warlords.

From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over about three quarters of Afghanistan where it enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law.  The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was established in 1996 and the Afghan capital was transferred to Kandahar.  It held control over most of the country until it was overthrown by the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001.  At its peak, formal diplomatic recognition of the Taliban's government was acknowledged by only three nations, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.  The organisation later regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which resulted in the brutal treatment of many female Afghans.  During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied United Nations (UN) food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a scorched earth policy, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes.  According to the UN, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010 and 80% in 2011 and 2012.

The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and military are widely alleged by the international community and the Afghan government to have provided support to the Taliban during their founding and time in power, and of continuing to support them during the insurgency, although the Pakistani government states that it dropped all support for the group after the September 11 attacks.




Tamil Tigers See Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.



Tanit Tanit was the Phoenician and Carthaginian goddess of the Moon who is also known as Tannou or Tinnit.  The goddess was invoked for the protection and fertility of the city of Carthage.

The symbol of Tanit is very unique and stylised in the manner of a human body.  It shows a Circle on top of a triangle separated by a horizontal line which has upturned vertical bars on both of its ends.  The Circle is considered to be representative of the full Moon.




Taoism Taoism, also known as Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasises living in harmony with the Tao (literally 'Way', also Romanised as Dao).  The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists.  Taoism differs from Confucianism in that rigid rituals and social order are not emphasised.  Taoist ethics vary depending upon the particular school, but in general tend to emphasise 'Wu Wei' (effortless action), naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity, and the 'Three Treasures': compassion, frugality, and humility.

The roots of Taoism go back to at least the 4th century BCE.  Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yin yang (Naturalists), and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the Yi king, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behaviour in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature.  The 'Legalist' Shen Buhai (354 to 337 BCE) may also have been a major influence, expounding a real-politick of Wu Wei.  The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is widely considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the later writings of Zhuangzi.




Tau Cross The Tau Cross is a form of the Christian Cross, named after the Greek letter it resembles.  It is also known variously as St Anthony's Cross and the Old Testament Cross, amongst others -- St Anthony of Egypt bore a cross in the form of a tau on his cloak.

The Tau Cross is most commonly used in reference to the Franciscan Order and St Francis of Assisi, who adopted it as his personal coat of arms after hearing Pope Innocent III (1161 - 1216 CE) talk about the Tau symbol.  It is now used as a symbol of the Franciscan Order.




Taurus In many cultures, it is believed there is a link between the position of the Sun, the Moon and other planets at the time of a person's birth.  This position gives individuals certain personality traits, as well as predicting events which are likely to occur in their life.

Taurus makes up one of the twelve 'houses' or signs of the astrological wheel.  Each of the twelve houses represents the position of the heavens at the time of a person’s birth.  Besides their birth sign, e.g. Taurus, an element is attributed to a person at birth, either Earth, Fire, Water or Air:

Symbol: Bull
Dates: 19 April - 20 May
Constellation: Taurus
Zodiac Element: Earth
Sign ruler: Venus
Detriment: Mars
Exaltation: Moon

The Taurus symbol or glyph represents the bulls head and horns.  It is believed that each one of the zodiac signs represents a particular part of the human body -- the zodiac symbol for Taurus relates to the throat and neck.

Those born under the zodiac symbol of Taurus are considered to have the following personality traits: stubborn; loyal; generous; practical; reliable; have an appreciation of beauty; tendency to eat and drink too much.




Tefnut Tefnut is a goddess of moisture, moist air, dew and rain in Ancient Egyptian religion.  She is a daughter of the solar god Atum-Ra and married to her brother, Shu.  She is the mother of Nut, (the sky) and Geb, (the Earth).  Tefnut's grandchildren were Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and in some versions, Horus the Elder (Haroeris).  She was also a great grandmother of Horus the Younger (Harseisis).

There are a number of variants to the myth of the creation of Tefnut and her twin brother Shu.  Nevertheless, in all versions, Tefnut is the product of parthenogenesis, and all involve some variety of bodily fluid.

Alongside her father, brother, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, she is a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis.  See also Atum.




Temple of Set In 1975 CE, Michael Aquino (born 1946) and certain members of the priesthood of the Church of Satan left that Church to establish The Temple of Set, which was incorporated in California in that same year as a non-profit making church.  They left because of 'administrative and philosophical disagreements' with its founder, Anton Szandor LaVey (1930 - 1997).  Michael Aquino's claim for leaving was because he was disgusted with the amount of corruption within the Church of Satan.  The Temple of Set is an initiatory occult society claiming to be the world's leading religious organisation devoted to the Left-Hand Path, professing Setian philosophy and magical practice.  Set is the Egyptian god of chaos, evil, drought, thunder, storm, and destruction, embodying the principle of hostility, even outright evil.  Varying degrees of expertise, experience, and understanding of metaphysics (a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of the world) are recognised among members.  There are six levels or degrees of initiation, with Setians identifying their members by their degree.

The Temple of Set has never stated or confirmed its membership numbers.  It maintains strict selective membership policies, proof being that fewer than half of all its applicants are accepted for membership within the two-year recognition period.  The Temple's membership does, however, have a large turnover rate; most members (who pay an annual membership fee of about US$80.00) leave for a wide variety of reasons, only a minority remaining with the Temple for more than a decade.

The Temple’s philosophy can be summed up as enlightened individualism, i.e. the enhancement and improvement of an individual by personal education, experiment, and initiation, a different and distinctive process being required for each individual.  This is referred to by the Egyptian god Khepri, symbolised by the Scarab Beetle, significant of personal rebirth and immortality within the Temple of Set.  The term is deemed central to Setian philosophy and practice, having been introduced at the founding of the Temple.




Tetractys The tetractys is a triangular figure composed of the first ten points arranged in the shape of a pyramid.  It was devised by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras as a symbol of the Cosmos.  It is composed of the integers one to ten, aligned in four rows (tetractys means 'fourfold').

It was so sacred to the Pythagoreans that it formed the basis of their oath: "By that pure, holy, four-lettered name on high, nature's eternal fountain and supply, the parent of all souls that living be, by him, with faith find oath, I swear to thee."

The dots represent numbers, and their descent symbolises the order of creation of the known universe, and the increasing complexity of its manifestation.  The four lower numbers represent the four elements; the upper, the monad, or first principle.

The tetractys and its mysteries influenced the early Kabbalists who devised a similar form to expound upon the Tetragrammaton (the four-lettered name of God in Hebrew scripture).  The Kabbalistic Tree of Life, with its spheres of emanation, is derived from the tetractys.




Tetragrammaton According to the Hebrew scriptures, the four-letter Tetragrammaton is supposed to be the true name of their God.  Its pronunciation is considered to have great power, and is never spoken aloud, except for once a year in the inner sanctuary of the Temple during Yom Kippur (the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishrei), regarded as the 'Sabbath of Sabbaths').

The Tetragrammaton is central to the doctrines of both the Jewish and Kabbalistic traditions, where it is equivalent to the four worlds of creation, the four elements, the four archangels, and the four cardinal directions.




Teutonic Order The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly known as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order founded as a military order c. 1190 CE in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Teutonic Order was originally formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals.  Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, having a small voluntary and mercenary military membership, serving as a crusading military order for the protection of Christians in the Holy Land and the Baltics during the Middle Ages.

Although a purely religious Order since 1929, it still confers limited honorary knighthoods.  The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order, a Protestant chivalric order, is descended from the same mediaeval military order and it too continues to award knighthoods and perform charitable work.

The Grand Master (Hochmeister) is the holder of the supreme office of the Teutonic Order.  This rank is equivalent to the Grand Master of other military orders and the superior general in non-military Roman Catholic religious orders.  The present incumbent since 2000 is Bruno Platter (born 1944) -- his seal is shown to the left.

See also Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar.




Theban Alphabet Theban was introduced to Wicca by its founder, Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884 - 1964 CE), as a result of which the Theban alphabet is used almost exclusively by Wiccans as a substitution cipher to protect magical writings from prying eyes.

Although it is sometimes referred to as the Runes of Honorius, Theban is not a runic alphabet.  It first appeared in print in 1531 in Henry Cornelius Agrippa's (1486 - 1535) Third Book of Occult Philosophy, where it was ascribed to the legendary magus 'Honorius of Thebes' -- a possibly mythical character from the Middle Ages.




Thelema Thelema is basically a spiritual philosophy derived from Western esotericism which began in the early 1900s CE.  Although it is often regarded as a religion, it is also referred to as a philosophy.  The fundamental principle of Thelema is ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will’.

Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947), an English writer, mystic, and ceremonial magician believed he was the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a spiritual experience he and his first wife, Rose, underwent in Cairo, Egypt in 1904.  According to Crowley, a ‘non-corporeal’ or ‘praeterhuman’ being called 'Aiwass' made contact with him and dictated a text known as The Book of the Law or Liber AL vel Legis, which outlined the principles of Thelema.

The Thelemic pantheon includes a number of deities, primarily three adapted from ancient Egyptian religion, the speakers of The Book of the Law: Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit.  Thelema is founded upon the idea that the 20th century marked the beginning of the Aeon of Horus, in which a new ethical code would be followed; ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’.  This statement indicates that adherents, known as Thelemites, should seek out and follow their own true path in life, known as their 'True Will'.

For much more information relating to Thelema visit The Religion/Philosophy of Thelema.




Theosophical Society The original Theosophical Society was an organisation founded in New York City in 1875 CE by Helena Petrovna Hahn -- better known as Madame Blavatsky -- (1831 - 1891), Henry Steel Olcott (1832 - 1907), William Quan Judge (1851 - 1896) and others, to advance the spiritual doctrines and altruistic living known as 'Theosophy'.  Its initial objective was the investigation, study and explanation of mediumistic phenomena.

After moving to India, Olcott and Blavatsky began to study Eastern religions which were then included in the Society's agenda.  Helena Blavatsky died in 1891, and although the Society's leaders seemed to work together amicably enough, it did not last.  William Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant (1847 - 1933), author of the society, of forging letters from the Mahatmas, causing him to end his association with them in 1895 and take most of the Society's American section with him.

The faction led by Olcott and Besant is now based in India and known as the 'Theosophical Society - Adyar', while that led by Judge is known simply as the 'Theosophical Society', but often with the clarifying statement, 'International Headquarters, Pasadena, California'.  A third organisation, the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT, split from the Theosophical Society in 1909, and various small splinter groups began to form, including the Palmers Green Theosophical Lodge under the leadership of Thomas Ernst Neumark-Jones (1841 - 1912).  He published an unsuccessful occultist journal Kayfabe which was largely funded by his lodge.

While all three of these organisations can trace their history back to the founding of the original Theosophical Society, it should be said that the original society ceased to exist after the 1895 break-up.




Thor's Hammer See Mjölnir.



Thoth The god of wisdom, writing and magic, Thoth was most often portrayed as an ibis or baboon-headed man, both animals being sacred to him.  His chief temple was located in the city of Khmun, later called Hermopolis Magna during the Greco-Roman era.

Thoth played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology, such as maintaining the universe and being one of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat, which sailed across the sky on a daily basis and travelled through the Underworld each night to reappear in the east the next morning.

He was the scribe of the Underworld who recorded the verdict on the deceased in the Hall of Ma'at, maintained the library of the gods, authored the spells in The Book of the Dead and wrote The Book of Thoth (containing the secrets of the universe).  The ancient Egyptians believed that Thoth gave them the gift of hieroglyphic writing.  Thoth also played an important part in many ancient Egyptian myths, acting as an arbiter between the forces of good and evil.




Throne of Isis This image represents the throne headdress and namesake of the Egyptian goddess Isis.  The name Isis is the Greek derivative of the Egyptian name Aset, (or Auset), meaning throne or seat of authority.  To the ancient Egyptians, Isis was the embodiment of the Earth, and divine right to rule was by her authority.

Osiris reborn is often depicted as an infant on the lap of Isis, where she is the literal personification of a throne -- a theme carried on in Christian art centuries after the Egyptian religion died out -- how many images do we see of the infant Jesus on Mary's lap?




Thule Society The Thule Society (Thule-Gesellschaft) was founded on 17 August 1918 CE by Rudolf von Sebottendorff (1875 - 1945), a very wealthy leading occult author, under its original name of 'Studiengruppe für Germanisches Altertum' (Study Group for German Antiquity).  It soon began to distribute anti-republican and anti-Semitic propaganda, then in 1918 Sebottendorff purchased the Münchener Beobachter (The Münich Observer), a weekly newspaper which he quickly transformed into the Thule Society's official and often anti-Semitic publication.  This was to become the Völkischer Beobachter (The People's Observer).

Although he became the Grand Master of the Bavarian Order little has actually been written about him other than that he was a Turkish citizen who claimed to have been adopted -- he was certainly familiar with Sufi and Islamic literature.  Some biographers have written that his real name was Adam Alfred Rudolf Glauer (or Blauer) who occasionally used another alias, Erwin Torre, and that he was also involved in the violent Bavarian political scene as well as in various attempts to market a prototype armoured vehicle or tank.

The Thule Society was part of the Völkisch Movement in Germany in the early 20th century.  Like many other groups, it sought to find an ethnic and historical identity for Germany, which had only been united since 1871.  The Society is speculated to be closely connected to the 'Germanenorden' secret society the 'Order of Teutons' (1912).  Members from the top ranks of the Nazi Party such as Rudolf Hess and Alfred Rosenberg were included, although Adolf Hitler was not a member.  Even so, he received support from the group, and one of its members, Dietrich Eckart, actually coached him on his public speaking skills (Hitler later dedicated Mein Kampf to Eckart).  A primary focus of Thule-Gesellschaft was a claim concerning the origins of the 'Aryan race'.

The society was named after 'Ultima Thule' (translated from Latin into 'most distant Thule') mentioned by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic poem Aeneid.  Greco-Roman geographers have located 'Thule' as a land in the far north and generally understood to mean Scandinavia.  It is said by Nazi mystics to be the capital of ancient Hyperborea, which places Ultima Thule in the extreme north near Greenland or Iceland.

Thulists believed in the 'hollow Earth' theory, often reporting on Tibetan myths of openings into the Earth, and they had a desire to prove that the Aryan race came from a lost continent, perhaps Atlantis, as one of their goals.  There is even a theory that Adolf Hitler ordered a research journey by Admiral Dönitz of the German submarine fleet to find just such an opening in Antarctica.  During the Nuremberg Trials, Dönitz spoke of "an invisible fortification, in the midst of the eternal ice."

See also Teutonic Order.




Thyrsus A staff or spear tipped with an ornament like a pine cone, associated with Bacchus and Dionysus and their followers, the Satyrs and Maenads, is a symbol of prosperity, fertility, hedonism, and pleasure/enjoyment in general.  It has been suggested that this was specifically a fertility phallus, with the fennel representing the shaft of the penis and the pine cone representing the ‘seed’ issuing forth.  The thyrsus was tossed in the Bacchanalia.

In Greek religion, the staff was carried by the votaries of Dionysus.  Euripides wrote that honey dripped from the thyrsus staves that the Bacchic maenads carried.  The thyrsus was a sacred instrument at religious rituals and fêtes.

The fabulous history of Bacchus relates that he converted the thyrsi carried by himself and his followers into dangerous weapons by concealing an iron point in the head of leaves.  Hence his thyrsus is called ‘a spear enveloped in vine-leaves’, and its point was thought to incite madness.




Ti Jean See Veves.



Tilaka A Bindi or Tilaka (Tilaka simply means red) is a symbol drawn with clay, ashes (vihuti), or sandalwood on the area in the centre of the forehead (in the location of the Ajna Chakra), as a mark of devotion to the Hindu deities.  The Tilaka has a different design depending upon which deity it honours -- for example, a Tilaka of three stripes and a dot is known as a Tripundra (or tiryak pundra), and denotes a Shaivite, or follower of Shiva.  A 'U' shaped mark surrounding a Bindu (dot) denotes a follower of Krishna.

In Hinduism, the Tilaka is a mark usually worn on the forehead, sometimes on other parts of the body such as the neck, hand or chest.  A Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis, for rites of passage or for special religious occasions only, depending upon regional customs.




Tin Tin is one of the seven metals of Alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron and tin).  The symbol for tin is also used to represent the planet Jupiter in astrology.

The first alloy used on a large scale was bronze, made from tin and copper, from as early as 3000 BCE.  After 600 BCE, pure metallic tin was produced.  Pewter, which is an alloy of 85-90% tin with the remainder commonly consisting of Copper, Antimony, and Lead, was used for flatware from the Bronze Age until the 20th century CE.  In modern times, tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin/lead soft solders, which are typically 60% or more tin.




Tiratana Vandana / Triratna The Tiratana Vandana is a Buddhist emblem symbolising the three jewels, or 'refuges' of Buddhism.  The symbolism is most likely drawn from the Vedic Trisula, which has similar interpretations.

The 'Three Refuges' are: the Buddha; the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha); and the Sangha (the community of believers), as well as additional layers of symbolism, such as the three virtues of the Buddha: wisdom, purity, compassion plus the three parts of the Pali Canon, or Tripitaka ('three collections', the earliest Buddhist canon), which includes the Vinaya, guidelines for behaviour, Sutra, discourses and stories of the Buddha, and Abhidharma, Metaphysical teachings.




Tomoe This symbol is universal on Buddhist and Shinto temples all over Japan.  Its name is Tomoe, meaning turning or circular, referring to the motion of the Earth.  It is similar to the Yin yang symbol, and has a similar meaning, representing the play of forces in the cosmos.  Visually, the Tomoe is comprised of interlocked flames (or magatama) resembling tadpoles.

The most common Tomoe emblem has three flames (triple, or 'mitsu' tomoe), but one, two, or four are not uncommon.  A mitsu-tomoe reflects the threefold division of Shinto cosmology, and is said to represent the Earth, the heavens, and humankind.  It is often associated with the Shinto war deity Hachiman.  A tomoe-mon is a Tomoe used as a kamon, or family crest, a device similar to a coat of arms.




Torii Gate The gate to a Shinto shrine (Jinja), the Torii, designates holy ground.  As Shinto is a religion of worship of nature spirits, or Kami, most Shinto shrines are located outdoors.  The Gate marks the boundary between the physical and spiritual worlds, and is often the only indication that one is entering a shrine.

The Torii is traditionally made in three pieces, three being a sacred number of the Kami.  When entering a shrine, a visitor will clap their hands three times, and bow three times to summon the spirits before offerings are made or rituals performed.




Tree of Life The concept of a Tree of Life is a widespread myth or archetype in the world's mythologies, related to the concept of a sacred tree more generally, and thus in religious and philosophical tradition.

The expression 'Tree of Life' was used as a metaphor for the phylogenetic or evolutionary tree of common descent in the evolutionary sense in a famous passage by Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882).

The Tree of Knowledge, connecting heaven and the Underworld, and the Tree of Life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree.

Examples of the Tree of Life in various religions are:

Ancient Egypt - To the Ancient Egyptians, the Tree of Life represented the hierarchical chain of events that brought everything into existence.
Ancient Iran - In Persian mythology, the Gaokerena world tree is a large, sacred Haoma tree which bears all seeds.
Ancient Mesopotamia - The Assyrian Tree of Life was represented by a series of nodes and criss-crossing lines.
Baha’i Faith - The concept of the Tree of Life appears in the writings of the Baha'i Faith, where it can refer to the Manifestation of God, a great teacher who appears to humanity from age to age.
Buddhism - The Bo tree, also called Bodhi tree, according to Buddhist tradition, is the pipal (Ficus religiosa) under which the Buddha sat when he attained Enlightenment.
Christianity - In Catholic Christianity, the Tree of Life represents the immaculate state of humanity free from corruption and Original Sin before the Fall.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - The Tree of Life appears in the Book of Mormon in a revelation to Lehi.
Islam - The 'Tree of Immortality' is the tree of life motif as it appears in the Quran.
Jewish sources - Etz Chaim, Hebrew for Tree of life, is a common term used in Judaism.
Kabbalah - Jewish mysticism depicts the Tree of Life in the form of ten interconnected nodes, as the central symbol of the Kabbalah.  It comprises the ten Sephiroth powers in the Divine realm.
Norse Mythology - Yggdrasil is the Norse World Ash, the giant mythological Tree that holds together the Nine Worlds or realms of existence guarded by the serpent Jormungandr. Taoism - A Taoist story tells of a tree that produces a peach of immortality every three thousand years, and anyone who eats the fruit receives immortality.




Triangle of Art The Triangle of Art comes from the grimoire tradition of magic.  It is the protected space outside the magic Circle, into which spirits are compelled to appear in Solomonic Ritual Magic.  The usual form is of a triangle, circumscribed with various words of power, containing an inner, blackened circle.

The purpose of the triangle is to contain the manifested entity.  The central circle is usually inscribed with the sigil (seal) of the spirit to be evoked.  The Triangle of Art first appeared in the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Goetia, where its function was to constrain and force evil spirits to manifest.




Trident A trident is a three-pronged spear used for spear fishing and, historically, as a polearm.  The trident is the weapon of Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea in classical mythology. In Hindu mythology it is the weapon of Shiva when it is known as a Trisula.

In Greek, Roman, and Hindu mythology, the trident is said to have power of control over the ocean.  In Hindu legends and stories Shiva uses this sacred weapon to fight off negativity in the form of evil villains.  The trident is also said to represent three gunas mentioned in Indian vedic philosophy namely sattvika, rajasika, and tamasika.

In Greek mythology, Poseidon used his trident to create water sources in Greece.  As well as being the god of the sea, Poseidon was also known as the ‘Earth Shaker’ because when he struck the earth in anger he caused mighty earthquakes, and he used his trident to stir up tidal waves, tsunamis and sea storms.  In Roman mythology, Neptune also used a trident to create new bodies of water and cause earthquakes.  A good example can be seen in Gian Bernini's Neptune and Triton1.

In religious Taoism, the trident represents the Taoist Trinity, the ‘Three Pure Ones’.  In Taoist rituals, a trident bell is used to invite the presence of deities and summon spirits, as the trident signifies the highest authority of Heaven.

1 Neptune and Triton is an early sculpture by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and was carved in marble c. 1622–1623.




Trinity One of the first symbols used to represent the Trinity was the triangle.  The three equal sides forming one complete whole captures some of what it means to be three in one.  The triangle is also an extremely strong shape used in construction -- think of the Eiffel Tower!  Balance and stability in the Godhead was conveyed by the triangle on one side, and the eternal nature of the Trinity was demonstrated by the connection between each side of the triangle.

It is related to the symbol of the fish (Vesica Piscis) used by the early -- and often persecuted Christians -- to identify themselves as belonging to Jesus Christ.  Apparently, the word 'fish' in Greek is a combination of the first letters of His name: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.  Like many Christian symbols, the same shape has also been used by various Pagan religions throughout history.  See also Triquetra.




Triple Crescent See Triple Goddess.



Triple Goddess There are several styles of the Lunar Triple Goddess symbol, representing the three aspects of the Moon (waxing, waning, and full) and three ages of womankind (mother, maiden, crone), as well as the lady, or goddess, the feminine polarity of the universe.

The Triple Goddess has been adopted by many Neopagans as one of their primary deities.  In common Neopagan usage the three female figures are frequently described as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, each of which symbolises both a separate stage in the female life cycle and a phase of the Moon, and often rules one of the realms of Earth, Underworld, and the heavens.  These may or may not be perceived as aspects of a greater single divinity.

The goddess of Wicca's duo-theistic theology is sometimes portrayed as the Triple Goddess, her masculine consort being the Horned God.  See also Hecate.




Tripundra The Tripundra is a prominent Hindu symbol used by Shaivites (the devotees of Lord Shiva).  A Tripundra is typically a Tilaka, with three horizontal lines made from bhasma (a calcined preparation in which the gem or metal is converted into ash) applied on the forehead.  It may have a red dot or Bindu superimposed in the centre.  Some Shaivites also draw the three ash strips of Tripundra on the sides of their arms.

The Tripundra represents the three godly forces of creation, sustenance and destruction through the three lines, while the ash symbolises purification and the burning away of anava (the ego), maya (illusions) and karma (actions/deeds).  The dot is symbolic of the rise or quickening of spiritual insight.




Triquetra The Triquetra (sometimes Triqueta) is a tripartite symbol composed of three interlocked fishes (Vesica Piscis), marking the intersection of three Circles.  It is a symbol of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) used by the Celtic Christian Church.

The Triquetra symbol predates Christianity and was most likely a Celtic symbol of the goddess, and in the North, a symbol of the god Odin.  The symbol (with or without a circle) has been found on Runestones in Scandinavia, in ancient goddess-oriented Pagan groups, in Celtic manuscripts, and on early Germanic coins.

It is associated with several mythical gods and goddesses and has been used as a protective charm by Wiccans.  Although associated with these mythical gods and goddesses, these most likely represent the divisions of the animal kingdom and the three domains of Earth, for although it is often asserted that the Triquetra is a symbol of a tripartite goddess, no such goddess has been identified with the symbol.

Sometimes the symbol is reversed -- pointing down rather than up.  The three points may also be round rather than pointed.




Trisula Trisula means 'trident'.  The Trisula (or, trishula) is the three-pronged sacred weapon of the Hindu deity Shiva.  In a general sense, the Trisula represents the deity in his three aspects of Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer.

The symbolism of the Trisula is similar to that of the Buddhist Triratna2; its three prongs represent the various triplicities in Shaivism (Shiva worship), including the three principles of pasa (Lordship, the divinity of Shiva), pasu (man's base animal nature), and pasa (bondage, including illusion and karmic debt) central to Shaivite doctrine.  The three also represents the three shaktis (powers): will, action, and wisdom, and the three main nadis (energy channels) ida, pingala, and shushumna, which allow Kundalini energy to travel through the Chakras.  In Buddhism, the Trisula is usually found atop the Dharma Chakra, rather than a lance, and has the same meaning as the Triratna.  See also Tiratana Vandana.

2 The Triratna Buddhist Order and Community is a worldwide movement of people who try to engage with the Buddha’s teachings in the conditions of the modern world.




Troll Cross In Sweden and Norway, a 'trollkors' or Troll Cross is a bent piece of iron worn as an amulet to ward off malevolent magic, and as a protection against trolls and elves.

Although commonly thought of as a part of Swedish folklore, it was first created as an item of jewellery sometime in the late 1990s CE.  It was claimed to have been copied from a protective Rune but this has not been verified, although it does bear some resemblance to the Othala rune in the Elder Futhark.




Troth Formerly known as the Ring of Troth, Troth is an American-based international heathen3 organisation founded on 20 December 1987 CE (Mothers' Night) by two former Asatru Free Assembly members, Stephen Edred Flowers, known as Edred Thorsson (born 1953), and James Chisholm who remains associated with the organisation.  Troth is recognised as a non-profit corporation in the state of Texas and recognised by the state of New York as a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious organisation.

The leadership of Thorsson and Chisholm became controversial due to their association with the Satanist organisation the Temple of Set.  Troth defines itself as a church of Germanic Heathenry open to all, the forms of the religion being training clergy, promoting cooperation and community, and providing information and educational publications as objectives.  Its Mission Statement refers to the ancient virtues of ‘Boldness, Truth, Honour, Self-Rule, Hospitality, Industry, Self-Reliance, Steadfastness, Equality, Strength, Wisdom, Generosity, and Family Responsibility’.  Thorsson intended the original Ring of Troth to be based on scholarship and provide priests trained to high academic standards.  While few members have achieved graduate degrees as he envisaged, the organisation has been a prominent source of scholarly information within heathenry.

Troth is prominent in the non-racialist, inclusive branch of modern-day heathenry.  Its statement of purpose and bylaws refer to ‘non-discriminatory groups and individuals’ and specify that “Discrimination based on criteria such as race, gender, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation shall not be practiced by The Troth, its programs, departments, officers, or any affiliated group, whether in membership decisions or the conduct of any of its activities.”

Troth publishes a quarterly journal called Idunna, an annual Old Heathen's Almanac, and a handbook called Our Troth.  See also Asatru.

3 The term ‘heathen’ was often used as an insult by Christians against people who didn’t worship their god.  Christians tend to confuse Atheism, Paganism and Heathenism.  Atheism is a lack of belief in any gods and Paganism is an umbrella term for many polytheistic non-Abrahamic religions.  Heathenry falls into neither category, its practitioners modelling their faith on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of Iron Age and Early Mediaeval Europe.




Tyet / Tiet Resembling an Ankh with bent arms, the Tyet, or 'Girdle of Isis', is found mainly in Egyptian funerary murals.  It most likely represents the flow of menstrual blood from the womb of the goddess, and its magical properties.  The garments of Egyptian gods are frequently depicted with belts in such a configuration.  The power of the Tyet is described in a spell in the Papyrus of Ani:

The blood of Isis, the spells of Isis, the magical words of Isis shall keep this great (or shining) one strong, and shall protect him from whosoever would harm him or do to him such things as he abominateth.

The knot resembles an ancient charm for menstrual cramps, which involved insertion of a knotted cloth to stanch bleeding.  The Tyet is also known as the 'Buckle or Girdle of Isis'.




Typhonian Animal See Set Animal.



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