Two questions we occasionally get are: "Where can I get a spirit board like the one on the television series Charmed?" and "What does that sign in the middle of the board mean?" For your spirit board you want to go to our list of Currently Manufactured Talking Boards where we review the Spirit Board reproduction from Sota Toys. As for the symbol, follow along, and we'll tell you what we've found out about it.
It is the Triquetra (try-KWET-ra, Latin for "three cornered"). Fans of the TV show know that the symbol represents the "power of three." The "power of three" is the combined magical power of the Halliwell sisters, three "good" witches who live together in San Francisco. Each week the sisters combine their powers to save the world from evil supernatural creatures and other assorted creepy crawlies. They also find time to juggle interesting relationship problems with boyfriends who either know too much or too little about the witch business. On top of it all, the sisters manage to support themselves working at their respective jobs since good witches don't use their powers for personal gain, or so the show tells us. They have to go to work like everyone else. The Triquetra is on the cover on the "Book of Shadows," a powerful spell book, and on the Spirit Board, the prop department's idea of what a talking board looks like. The Halliwells might be surprised to learn that the Triquetra also appears on the Christian Bible, New King James Version, in real life. It may come as no surprise too, that there are some angry Christians out there who feel that the witches have stolen their symbol. Real life Wiccans claim that they had it first. Makes for an interesting situation, to say the least.
So what's the real story behind this symbol? We'll answer that to the best of our ability and if we leave something out, be sure to write. We aim for accuracy at the Museum of Talking Boards. Here are the two current viewpoints (aside from the television version) of what the Triquetra symbolizes:
The Triquetra represents the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The unbroken circle represents eternity. The interwoven nature of the symbol denotes the indivisibility and equality of the Holy Trinity. It symbolizes that the Holy Spirit is three beings of power, honor, and glory but is indivisibly one God.
The Triquetra represents the threefold nature of the Goddess as virgin, mother and crone.
It symbolizes life, death, and rebirth and the three forces of nature: earth, air, and water. The inner three circles represent the female element and fertility.
Many cultures and religions consider the number three to be holy or divine. The symbol of three interlocking circles (right), has been found on 5000 year old Indian religious statuary. We see lots and lots of threes if we just look around. The Triquetra symbol itself dates as early as the eighth century on carved stones in northern Europe. A Norse rune known as the Odin Knot or Val Knot resembles it almost exactly. But who had it first, the pagans or the Christians? To know for sure, we would have to find a Triquetra that positively pre-dates Christianity. Since this hasn't happened yet, we're in a bit of a pickle. Maybe it originated with the pagans or maybe with the Christians. Maybe it's one of those universal signs like the cross and the triangle that pop up in cultures irrespective of one another. The pagans have a few points in their favor, however. We can speculate knowing what we do of similar signs. The early Christians freely "appropriated" many pagan symbols, rituals, and holidays and took them as their own. The Mandorla (left), the Christians' sacred almond, was originally a pagan feminine symbol signifying fertility. The Christians changed it to one representing virginity and purity. It is pictured in early Christian art as the almond-shaped halo of Christ. So it's quite probable that the early Christians adopted the Triquetra, an interlocking triple Mandorla, also. In the final analysis, maybe the origin isn't nearly as important as its meaning to the group, or the individual. So whether you're pagan, Christian, or simply a fan of the television show "Charmed," you may believe what you want to believe. So can we. We believe that it would make a mighty fine planchette (right).
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