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Religion Library: Scientology

Symbolism

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

The church of Scientology has from its beginning created symbols to represent major aspects of its life and a set of insignia to designate various personnel within the church.Of the symbols, the triangular representation of the Greek letter "delta" is possibly the oldest.This symbol of Dianetics, four horizontal green strips arranged as an equilateral triangle, was initially used in 1950 and continues in use to the present.

By far the most visible symbol of the church is an eight-pointed cross that resembles a Latin cross with a light ray protruding between each arm.The church sees this cross as an eight-armed symbol, with each arm representing one of the eight basic dynamics through which Scientologists organize their experience of the world.The eight dynamics designate ever-enlarging realms with which a person interacts in order to survive -- self, creativity (sexuality), social groups, humanity, life, the universe, the spiritual realm, and infinity.The symbol, which appears to have been developed from an old Spanish cross Hubbard ran across in Phoenix, Arizona in the early 1950s, is found on the cover of many Scientology books and is displayed prominently on all church buildings.One version of the Scientology cross has become the official insignia of Scientology ministers while another variation has been developed as the ministers' medallion.Scientology ministers may wear one of these to identify their status.

Equally ubiquitous, but less familiar to those outside the church, is the official symbol for Scientology, a stylized "S" intertwined with two triangles.The two triangles stand for two basic concepts in Scientology, the ARC triangle (Affinity + Reality + Communication = Understanding) and the KRC triangle (Knowledge, Responsibility, and Control). Scientologists are introduced to these concepts very early in their work as they begin to explore their mental processes.The symbol is found throughout Scientology, and may be combined with other elements to create different insignias.The symbol is, for example, stamped on the silver bracelet that is worn by people who have attained the state of Clear.

The Sea Organization, the organization originally created to deliver the Operating Thetan (OT) Levels to members and that currently manages the church at the highest levels, is symbolized by a laurel wreath that surrounds a five-pointed star.The star represents the spirit, and the laurel wreath of victory represents the many personal wins continually experienced by the individual Sea Org member.

The fifth important symbol of Scientology was developed for the Operating Thetan. An oval with the letter "T" within it, the arms of the "T" touching the inner edge of the O, the Operating Thetan symbol resembles both the Greek letter "theta" and the Egyptian scarab.Those engaged in the OT Levels may wear the OT symbol as jewelry, and those who have completed OT IV may add a laurel wreath around the thetan symbol.Those who have attained OT VIII may wear a gold bracelet with a Thetan symbol and laurel wreath.

 

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