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Labarum The labarum is a military standard which displays the Chi Rho symbol, a Christian symbol consisting of the intersection of the capital Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P), which are the first two letters of 'Christ' in Greek (XPIΣTOΣ, Christos).  It was first used by Constantine the Great (272 - 337 CE), a Roman Emperor of Illyrian-Greek origin.  Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolise the crucifixion of Christ.

Ancient sources draw an unambiguous distinction between the two terms 'labarum' and 'Chi-Rho', even though later usage sometimes regards the two as synonyms.  The name labarum was applied both to the original standard used by Constantine the Great and to the many standards produced in imitation of it within the antique world, and subsequently.

Labrys The word 'Labrys' is Minoan in origin and stems from the same root as the Latin Labus, or lips.  The Labrys is a double headed ritual axe found in ancient Minoan depictions of the Mother Goddess, where its symbolism is related to the Labyrinth.

Similar symbols appear on Norse, African, and Greek religious objects, where it is most often a feminine symbol, probably of lunar origin.  Use of the Labrys has been documented on mediaeval charms designed to attract women.  Today, it is often used as a sign of identity and solidarity among lesbians.

Labyrinth The labyrinth is a structure or pattern as enigmatic as its symbolism, capable of many twists of meaning.  Labyrinths are found in many ancient cultures, and almost always have spiritual significance.  Nearly identical labyrinth patterns are found in Neolithic art, on native American petroglyphs, and even in ancient Vedic sites.  Ancient Minoan labyrinths were associated with the cult of the Mother Goddess, and were possibly used in initiatory rituals.

Labyrinths survived into mediaeval times, where they were often laid on the floors of cathedrals where they were used as a sort of miniature pilgrimage -- often, these 'pilgrims' travelled the path on their knees while praying continuously.  Labyrinths have seen a mini revival and are common today in churches and Neopagan sanctuaries.

Lamp A lamp represents spirit, truth, intelligence and life itself, which are all symbolic qualities associated with light.

In magic, a magical weapon is any instrument used to bring about intentional change.  In practice, magical weapons are usually specific, consecrated items used within ceremonial ritual.  There is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes or does not constitute a magical weapon -- if a magician considers it to be a weapon, then a weapon it is.

However, there does exist a set of magical weapons with particular uses and symbolic meanings.  Some such common weapons/tools include the Dagger/Sword, Wand/Baton, Cup/Chalice, Paten/Pentacle/Disc, Holy Oil, Lamp and Bell.

Latin Cross / Christian Cross The Latin Cross or Christian Cross was a later symbol of the faith, replacing the lamb and fish as emblems.  However, several early church fathers objected to its use as a Christian symbol -- after all, it had been a Pagan symbol long before the foundation of the Christian Church.

Christianity is the world's largest religion -- more than 2.4 billion followers or 33% of the global population are known to be Christians -- and as a result the most well-known of crosses is probably the Latin Cross, which to Christians represents the cross of Christ's crucifixion.  If the cross has a figure of Christ affixed to it, it is termed a 'Crucifix' and the figure is often referred to as the corpus (Latin for 'body').

Latvian Mythology Latvian mythology is a set of Pagan beliefs of the Latvian people reconstructed from written evidence and folklore materials.  Christianity only arrived in Latvia in 11th Century CE -- it was enforced completely by crusaders in the 13th century.  Latvians, therefore, were one of the last peoples in Europe to convert to Christianity, but even after it became the official religion in Latvia, the elements of Paganism remained active even until the 18th century.

Latvians managed to retain their Pagan practices and myths which are very well known to this day.  Many grand Latvian intellectuals like Krišijanis Barons (1825 - 1923) recorded the old Latvian folk songs and sayings.  Today Latvian mythic folklore is studied by such famous people as Doc Janina Kursite, now a deputy of Saeima and ex-president of Latvia Vaira-Vike Freiberga.  Latvian mythology is a complex matter to discuss.

Lauburu The Lauburu or Basque Cross is a traditional Basque Swastika with four comma-shaped heads.  Today, it is a symbol of the Basque Country of Northern Spain and the unity of the Basque people.  It is also associated with Celtic peoples, most notably Galicians and Asturians.  It can be constructed using a pair of compasses and a straightedge, beginning with the formation of a square template; each head can be drawn from a neighbouring vertex of this template with two compass settings, with one radius half the length of the other.

Historians and authorities have attempted to apply allegorical meaning to the ancient symbol.  Some say it signifies the 'four heads or regions' of the Basque Country, although the Lauburu does not appear in any of the seven coats of arms that have been combined in the arms of that region: Higher and Lower Navarre, Gipuzkoa, Biscay, Álava, Labourd, and Soule.

The Basque intellectual Imanol Mujica liked to say that the heads signify spirit, life, consciousness, and form, but it is generally used as a symbol of prosperity.

Laurel A laurel wreath is a symbol of victory and honour.  It is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel, an aromatic broadleaf evergreen, or later from spineless butcher's broom or cherry laurel.  Whereas ancient laurel wreaths are most often depicted as a horseshoe shape, modern versions are usually complete rings.

In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head.  In ancient Greece wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics, and in poetic meets.  In Rome they were symbols of martial victory crowning a successful commander during his triumph.

In Christianity, a laurel wreath can symbolise the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the triumph of humanity.  In some cultures, laurel branches are substituted with palm branches to remember the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  The laurel is also seen as a symbol of peace: a victory that signals the end to a conflict or competition.

The expression ‘resting on one's laurels’ refers to someone relying entirely on long-past successes for continued fame or recognition, whereas to ‘look to one's laurels’ means to be careful of losing rank to competition.

LDS Church See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Lead Lead is the first and oldest of the seven metals of Alchemy (gold, silver, mercury, copper, lead, iron and tin), i.e. the base metal and thus a metaphor for humanity at its most primitive level of spiritual development.  The alchemical symbol for lead is also used to represent the planet Saturn in astrology.

Lead is a chemical element that is assigned the symbol Pb (from the Latin plumbum) and the atomic number 82.  It is a heavy metal that is denser than most common materials.  It is also soft and malleable, and has a relatively low melting point.

When freshly cut, lead is bluish-white, which tarnishes to a dull grey colour when exposed to air.  Lead's atomic number of 82 is the highest of any stable element and concludes three major decay chains of heavier elements.

Legba See Veves.

Lehi Lehi (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), often known derogatively as the Stern Gang, was a Zionist paramilitary organisation founded by Avraham Stern (1907 - 1942) in Mandatory Palestine.  Its avowed aim was to evict the British authorities from Palestine by resorting to force, allowing unrestricted immigration of Jews and the formation of a Jewish state, a ‘new totalitarian Hebrew republic’.  It was initially called the National Military Organisation in Israel when founded in August 1940 but was renamed Lehi one month later.

Lehi split from the Irgun (a Zionist paramilitary organisation that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948) in 1940 in order to continue fighting the British during World War II.  Lehi initially sought an alliance with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, offering to fight alongside them against the British in return for the transfer of all Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine.  Believing that Nazi Germany was a lesser enemy of the Jews than Britain, Lehi twice attempted to form an alliance with the Nazis.  During World War II, it declared that it would establish a Jewish state based upon ‘nationalist and totalitarian principles’.  However, after Stern's death in 1942, the new leadership of Lehi began to move it towards support for Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.  Then in 1944, Lehi officially declared its support for National Bolshevism.  It said its National Bolshevism involved an amalgamation of left-wing and right-wing political elements -- Stern said Lehi incorporated elements of both the left and the right -- however this change was unpopular and Lehi began to lose support as a consequence.

Lehi and the Irgun were jointly responsible for the massacre in Deir Yassin1.  Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, British Minister Resident in the Middle East, and made many other attacks on the British in Palestine.  On 29 May 1948, the government of Israel, having inducted its activist members into the Israel Defence Forces, formally disbanded Lehi, though some of its members carried out one more terrorist act, the assassination of Folke Bernadotte some months later.  After the assassination, the new Israeli government declared Lehi a terrorist organisation, arresting and convicting some 200 members.  Just before the first Israeli elections, a general amnesty to Lehi members was granted by the government, on 14 February 1949.  In 1980, Israel instituted a military decoration, an ‘award for activity in the struggle for the establishment of Israel’, the Lehi ribbon.  Former Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir became Prime Minister of Israel in 1983.

1The Deir Yassin massacre took place on 9 April 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi attacked Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village of roughly 600 people near Jerusalem.  The assault occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine.

Lemniscate See Infinity.

Lenglensou See Veves.

Leo 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.

Leo 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. Leo, an element is attributed to a person at birth, either Earth, Fire, Water or Air:

Symbol: Lion
Dates: 22 July – 22 August
Constellation: Leo
Zodiac Element: Fire
Sign ruler: Sun
Detriment: Saturn
Exaltation: None

The Leo symbol or glyph represents the mane of a lion, but some believe the symbol represents the energy of a snake.  It is believed that each one of the zodiac signs represents a particular part of the human body -- the zodiac symbol for Leo relates to the heart.

Those born under the symbol of Leo are considered to have the following personality traits: strong personality; dramatic; loyal; warm; friendly; generous; good leaders.

Leviathan Cross See Satanic Cross.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, commonly known as the LTTE or even more so as the Tamil Tigers, was a Tamil militant organisation based in north-eastern Sri Lanka.  It was founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran (1954 - 2009), and waged a rebellion against the government to create an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for the Tamil people.  This campaign led to the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009 when the LTTE was eventually defeated with the financial and strategic help of China.

Victory over the Tigers was declared by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (born 1945) on 16 May 2009, with the LTTE admitting defeat the next day.  The founder, Prabhakaran, was killed by government forces on 19 May 2009.  Human rights groups criticised the nature of the victory, which included the internment of Tamil civilians in concentration camps with little or no access to outside agencies.

Liberty GB Liberty Great Britain or Liberty GB was a far-righ British nationalist political party that described itself as counter-jihad.  It was registered with the Electoral Commission by Paul Weston and George Whale on 5 March 2013.  Its three candidates in the 2014 European Parliament election in the South East England constituency received 2,414 votes (0.11%).  Paul Weston dissolved the party in November 2017, choosing instead to back Anne Marie Waters' new party, For Britain.

Weston is a former member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and was that party's candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster at the 2010 general election.  He left UKIP over what he described as its failure to address issues related to Islam in Britain, and took over the British Freedom Party (BFP) from Peter Mullins.  That party formed an alliance with the far-right English Defence League.  Weston left the BFP in 2013.  He has predicted that within 20 years there will be a war in Britain between the white working class and immigrants.  He is married to a Romanian, and claims to have been a deep sea diver, a pilot in Africa and a property developer in the Czech Republic.

Liberty GB was anti-immigration, anti-fundamentalist Islam and traditionalist.  The group's Facebook page described it as 'patriotic counter-jihad party for Christian civilisation, Western rights and freedoms, British culture, animal welfare and capitalism'.

Libra 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.

Libra 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. Libra, an element is attributed to a person at birth, either Earth, Fire, Water or Air:

Symbol: Scales
Dates: 22 September – 23 October
Constellation: Libra
Zodiac Element: Air
Sign ruler: Venus
Detriment: Mars
Exaltation: Saturn

The Libra symbol or glyph represents an equal sign and a setting Sun.  It is believed that each one of the zodiac signs represents a particular part of the human body -- the zodiac symbol for Libra relates to the kidneys and liver.

Those born under the symbol of Libra are considered to have the following personality traits: diplomatic; charming; fearless; artistic; peacemakers; excellent judgement; do not like arguments, thrive on harmony; justice and fairness are important.

Lion of Judah In the Rastafarian religion, the Lion of Judah is an emblem of Ras Tafari, otherwise known as former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.  According to Rastafarian belief, Selassie was the Messiah, the second coming of Christ referenced in the Book of Revelation:

"the hair of whose head was like wool whose feet were like unto burning brass".

Taken from the heraldic symbol of the biblical Tribe of Judah (from which it is believed Selassie is descended), the lion represents the emperor as the 'King of Kings', to Rastafarians as the lion is King; representing the lineage of the King from the Tribes of Israel.  The emblem was once worn by the Emperor as a signet.

The standard carried in the lion's mouth is the flag of Ethiopia, the crown of the Emperor.

Lithuanian Religion / Romuva Romuva is a contemporary continuation of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the ancient religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianisation in 1387 CE.  Romuva claims to continue the living Baltic Pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs.  It is a polytheistic Pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and has elements of ancestor worship.

Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practicing traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas or hymns and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.  The community was organised and led by the kriviu krivaitis (high priest) Jonas Trinkunas (1939 - 2014) until his death in 2014.

Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, the United States, and England.  There are also followers in Norway, for whom a formal congregation is being organised.  Baltic Pagan faiths have believers in other nations, including Dievturiba in Latvia.  According to the 2001 census, there were 1,270 people of Baltic faith in Lithuania -- that number jumped to 5,118 in the 2011 census.

Loa Loa are the spirits of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo, but unlike saints or angels they are not simply prayed to -- they are served.  They are distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, songs, dances, ritual symbols (Veves), and special modes of service.  Contrary to popular belief, Loa are not deities in and of themselves; they are intermediaries for, and dependent upon, a distant Bondye (good god).  See also Veves.

Loco See Veves.

Loki In Norse mythology, Loki was a cunning trickster who had the ability to change his shape and sex.  Although his father was the giant Fárbauti, he was included among the Aesir (a tribe of gods).  Loki was represented as the companion of the great gods Odin and Thor, helping them with his clever plans but sometimes causing embarrassment and difficulty for them and himself.  He also appeared as the enemy of the gods, entering their banquet uninvited and demanding their drink.

He was the principal cause of the death of the god Balder, so as a punishment, Loki was bound to a rock (by the entrails of one or more of his sons, according to some sources), thus in many ways resembling the Greek figures Prometheus and Tantalus.  Also, like Prometheus, Loki is considered a god of Fire.

With the female giant Angerboda, Loki produced the progeny Hel, the goddess of death; Jormungandr, the serpent that surrounds the world; and Fenrir, the wolf.  Loki is also credited with giving birth to Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse.

Loki's status in pre-Christian Scandinavia remains somewhat obscure.  The mediaeval sources from which much of what is known of Loki came provide no evidence of a cult, unlike for other Norse deities, and the name Loki does not appear in place names.

Los Zetas Los Zetas, Spanish for ‘The Zs’, is a Mexican criminal syndicate regarded as the most dangerous of the country's drug cartels.  While primarily concerned with drug trafficking, the cartel also runs profitable sex trafficking and gun running rackets.  The origins of Los Zetas date back to the late 1990s, when commandos of the Mexican Army deserted their ranks and began working as the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel.  In February 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organisation, rivalling the Gulf Cartel.

Los Zetas engages in violent tactics such as beheadings, torture, and indiscriminate murder.  It was at one stage Mexico's largest drug cartel in terms of geographical presence, overtaking their rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel.  Los Zetas also operates through protection rackets, assassinations, extortion, kidnappings and other activities.  The organisation is based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, directly across the border from Laredo, Texas.

In recent times, Los Zetas has become fragmented and seen its influence diminish.  As of December 2016, the Los Zetas Group Bravo (Groupo Bravo) and Zetas Vieja Escuela (Old School Zetas) formed an alliance with the Gulf Cartel against Cartel Del Noreste (Cartel of the Northeast).

Lotus Padme The Lotus is one of the eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism.  An eight petaled lotus used in Buddhist mandalas represents cosmic harmony, a thousand petaled lotus, spiritual illumination.  A bud symbolises potential.  The well-known Buddhist mantra, 'Om Mane Padme', refers to 'the jewel in the lotus', the spark of enlightenment present in every living being.

The lotus symbol in Buddhism is of course drawn from thousands of years of use in Vedic religion, where it symbolises purity, illumination, and unfolding potential.  As in Egyptian symbolism, the lotus is seen to rise from a tiny seed in the mud to unfold into a beautiful bloom as it reaches the sunlit surface, making it a natural emblem of growth and transformation.  The Thousand Petaled Lotus is the emblem of the highest spiritual attainment, the opening of the crown Chakra at the top of the head that occurs when Kundalini energy moves through the purified chakras.

The lotus in both Hinduism and Buddhism serves as the seat of wisdom for gods and illuminated beings.  The lotus in Buddhism has numerous aspects according to its colour and the number of its petals.  An eight petaled lotus represents the Ashtamangala, or the eight Auspicious Symbols which embody the eight principles of the Dharma(sacred law).  A white lotus symbolises purity and spiritual perfection, a red lotus, passion and love.  A blue lotus bud is an emblem of intelligence and communication, while a pink lotus is the emblem of transcendence.  The earliest prayer beads were made from the dried seeds of the lotus.  See also Nile Lotus.

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