What Does the Upside-Down Cross Mean?
The upside-down cross is seen by many as satanic, or associated with the occult. It is a very common symbol used in jewelry, in tattoos, tapestries, and even in popular horror movies of today. But does the inverted cross really mean you’re anti-Christ? Does it really symbolize satanism and the devil?
The answer to this question depends on the context of its use. In Christianity, the upside-down cross is actually the Cross of St. Peter. In popular culture, however, it has taken on a completely different meaning. Let’s discuss what this symbol means in Christianity, and what it means in popular culture.
What the Upside-Down Cross Means in Christianity
Contrary to popular belief, the upside-down cross is actually revered in Christianity. It is the symbol of Saint Peter, one of the most respected and honorable figures in Christianity.
An apostle of Jesus Christ, Saint Peter was the early Church’s first Pope, and he was a martyr. Upon his crucifixion under the reign of Emperor Nero, Peter asked the Romans to invert the cross as he did not feel worthy of having the same manner of death of Jesus Christ. The inverted cross, or the Petrine Cross, actually symbolizes humility and unworthiness in Christianity, due to the way Saint Peter was executed.
When you see an upside-down cross in churches, it depicts the symbol of Saint Peter.
This symbol is also associated with the Papacy of the Catholic Church. The Church believes that the Pope is a direct descendant of Saint Peter, and thus, the papacy is inherently given the Petrine Cross as his symbol. It was Pope John Paul II who reintroduced the symbol when a carved inverted cross appeared on his Papal chair.
What the Upside-Down Cross Means in Popular Culture
Most people don’t know the association of the inverted cross to Saint Peter, and thus, several subcultures have used the symbol as a direct defiance of Jesus Christ.
The Church of Satan, which was established in 1966, allows its members to use any symbol to reflect their beliefs, and one of the most popular symbols is the inverted cross. There is a certain logic that by physically inverting a symbol, there is a notion that you are inverting its meaning as well. Thus, Satanists have used the upside-down cross to express their rejection of Christ.
However, it is important to note that an upside-down cross is not the official symbol of The Chruch of Satan, but the Sigil of Baphomet is.
The upside-down cross was also popularized by subcultures such as punks and metalheads, who would use the symbol in their clothing, jewelry, and tattoos. Many punk rock and metal bands in the ’70s began using the inverted cross to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Audiences and fans the world over followed suit, and have made the inverted cross a symbol of rebellion and rejection.
The symbol is also often depicted in horror movies, such as in the films The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, and Rosemary’s Baby, often used for shock value to symbolize demonic activity.
So what is the true meaning of the inverted cross? The answer is found in the context, which is how it is used.
In Christianity, it is a symbol of humility, unworthiness, and that of Saint Peter. In popular culture, it can mean defiance of the status quo, a direct rejection of Christianity, and it could also mean you are a fan of certain metal or punk band.