Many symbols were transformed and associated with several different meanings as time passed. Today, we will be examining one of them, the upside down cross.
What does it mean? When did it originate and how did it come to be a satanic symbol? The answers to all these questions and more is here in this article. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the inverted cross of Saint Peter, its meaning, origin and uses.
What Is An Upside Down Cross?
Also known as the Petrine cross, inverted cross and St. Peter’s cross, the upside down cross is the inverted version of the Latin cross, the most prominent symbol of Christianity.
The Upside Down Cross Origin
While many people think that the upside down cross is a symbol for satanism and/or anti-Christian sentiments, this most definitely is not the case or was not the case, we should say.
The inverted cross emerged as a symbol of Saint Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, who is also known as Peter the Apostle, Simeon, Simon and Simon Peter and Cephas and who was the first Bishop of Rome, that is to say, the first Pope.
According to several written records by Christian theologians and scholars like Origen of Alexandria (Origen Adamantius) and Eusebius of Caesarea (in his work titled Ecclesiastical History, 325 A.D.), when he was about to be crucified on the orders of the Roman Emperor Nero, Saint Peter asked to be hung upside down.
It is widely believed that Saint Peter made this request as he did not consider himself worthy of being crucified in the same way with Jesus Christ, the Savior. That is how the symbol became the cross of Saint Peter.
The Upside Down Cross Symbolism
As it represents the love and respect shown to Jesus Christ by St. Peter in such a humble way, the inverted cross is considered as a symbol of humility by Catholic people.
You can also see an upside down cross on the back of the Pope’s chair. The Petrine cross is one of the several symbols of papacy and it is considered to represent the fact that the Pope is the successor of Saint Peter (as he was the first Pope) according to Catholic tradition.
This was the only meaning behind the upside down cross until the beginning of the 19th century. After that, it became a symbol of anti-Christianity sentiments and even satanism.
The Inverted Cross Representing Anti-Christianity Sentiments And Satanism
Thanks to several movies and TV series, the inverted cross became a popular symbol of satanism in today’s pop culture.
That being said, the first use of the inverted cross as an occult symbol probably dates back to the beginning of the 19th century.
Some sources suggest that the first person to use the inverted cross was Eugene Vintras a Christian revivalist who was the leader of two orders (the Eliate Church of Carmel and the Work of Mercy) and who claimed that he was the reincarnation of the Prophet Elijah.
It is said that Vintras performed demonic rituals and did sexually perverted acts like holding Black Masses in the nude for which he was condemned by the Pope and was tried (although he was imprisoned for five years only for a fraud charge)
Vintras wore robes with Petrine crosses on them. According to the famous French author, poet, occultist and esotericist Eliphas Levi, this was representative of Vintras’s satanic inclinations.
Thereafter, the upside down cross became more and more of an occult symbol as the time passed.
Starting with the 1960s, the symbol was featured in horror films to represent Satan and the anti-Christ and we can say that this pop culture tradition is still being carried on today.
The Conjuring franchise, The Amityville Horror, Rosemary’s Baby and Paranormal Activity are just some of the examples that come to mind.
Now, the upside down cross is used by satanists to identify themselves and represent their faith. One could even say that most people will know it to be a symbol of Satan rather than a symbol of the Catholic church and God.
On a side note, the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey states on their website that while their followers should feel free to use the inverted cross as a satanic symbol, their official symbol is the Sigil of Baphomet.
Some heavy metal, death metal and black metal bands used the symbol on their album covers or relevant artwork as their music was based on anti-Christian themes.
This wraps up our post on the upside down cross, its meaning, symbolism, origin and transformation/adaptation over time. If you would like to read more on satanic symbols please click here.
If you are interested to know more about the occult symbols, here is our extensive article.
Or if you want to read our piece on all the different variations of the cross, check it out here. Thanks for reading with us.