28 Spiritual Symbols You NEED To Know & Their Meaning
Spiritual symbols are everywhere in our world! In fact, they’re so pervasive, it’s almost hard to distinguish- and know- about them all. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you.
Hamsa is the Hebrew word meaning “five”, and is represented with a palm-shaped amulet and an eye in the middle of the palm. Used by many societies throughout history, its purpose is to ward off negative energy and the “evil eye”, a malicious stare that’s said to cause unluckiness, illness, or even death. Many religions have used this symbol for their own purposes, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Popular indeed!
2) The Flower of Life
This spiritual symbol could be considered king in sacred geometry! Said to contain all the patterns of creation in it, the Flower of Life is possibly the most ancient symbol on this list, used since the time of the Sumerians (the first civilization in the world). Composed of seven overlapping, evenly spaced circles, the figure forms a flower-like pattern that’s structured like a hexagon. The Egyptians, Romans, Celtic Christians, and even Leonardo da Vinci all believed there was something very special about this symbol.
3) Yin Yang
Used extensively in Chinese teachings, this symbol represents the harmony of the universe. All duality- no matter how dark or light, masculine or feminine- provides needed balance. It’s said that balance between these two opposing forces brings the most harmony to an individual’s life.
Often misunderstood and sometimes labelled as “satanic”, the pentagram symbolizes the qualities of man. The top point represents spirit, while the other points represent the four elements. Wiccans heavily use this symbol in sacred ceremonies to remind themselves of the nature of humankind.
5) Dharma Wheel
The Wheel of Dharma, or the “Wheel of Law”, is the Buddhist spiritual symbol for teachings of the path of Nirvana. Each spoke represents a step in Buddha’s Eightfold Path. Interestingly, it’s older than Buddhism itself, dating back to 2500 B.C.
CHECK IT OUT: Tibetan Book of the Dead
6) Star of David
It’s almost impossible to be alive today and not have seen The Star of David! Most people believe it symbolizes the shield King David used in battle. However, there is another theory about this popular hexagon: the representation of 6 directions in space. Up, down, east, west, north, south, and most importantly, center (as in mankind’s spiritual center). There are many other interpretations of the symbol, with some claiming it represents sacred geometry.
Om is the mother of all mantras, and the primordial sound by which the universe was created. Used in Hinduism since its inception, Om could be considered the primary spiritual symbol of that great religion. It’s said that deep meditation naturally brings this sound to the forefront, enveloping the practitioner in a universal glow.
8) Christian Fish
The fish of Christianity was used in the early days of the religion as a secret way to tell others they followed the teachings of Christ. So why the fish? Several prominent stories of the apostles were off fishing, with Jesus telling them “I will make you fishers of men”. Interestingly, it originally came from the Pagan religion and represented fertility, birth, and the natural force of women.
9) Eye of Horus
Used in ancient Egypt, the Eye of Horus was often used as an amulet to give safety, health, and wisdom to the wearer. The story goes that the god Horus (the god of the sun and the moon) lost his eye during battle, at which point it was restored by the god Thoth. This eye was the moon, which seemingly disappears during its cycle.
10) Lotus Flower
Used in various eastern religions, the lotus is widely regarded as a representation of enlightenment. This beautiful flower rises from the sludge of muddy waters, which reinforces the concept of resurrection. This is the ultimate trajectory of humanity and shows that any trial can be overcome through perseverance.
The mandala symbol shows up in many cultures including Buddhism and Hinduism. These intricate patterns can be seen to represent the journeys of self-discovery we all must take as we move toward a spiritual awakening. The presence of many layers can be a metaphor for all the layers we need to sift through to get to the core. Buddhist Monks sometimes make mandalas in the sand to represent how time and the material elements of this life shift through the fingers and our journey beyond these borders and into the immaterial.
12) The Dreamcatcher
The dreamcatcher is often associated with Native American culture but can also be seen in Viking and Celtic histories too. A hoop with a woven web and feathers – the dreamcatcher is designed to filter bad dreams and protect the sleeper’s well-being. Working as a spider’s web, the dreamcatcher catches the negative energy and bad dreams while allowing the good to pass through.
The chakras refer to the 7 energy points on our body that start at the very base of the spine and reach up to the crown of our head. These energy points are linked to different parts of the body, and different perspectives, and are represented by different colors. These chakras create a channel for energy to flow and when one is out of sync or blocked, it can knock our inner ecosystem off balance. When all chakras are open, we are able to reach our full potential.
14) Earth Medicine Wheel
The earth medicine wheel is a Native American symbol and represents the four elements on earth. It is also used to denote ideas of harmony and to channel inner vision and spiritual awareness too. Each of the four areas represents the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual.
15) The Tree of Life
The tree of life is a beautiful and multifaceted spiritual symbol. Depicted by a tree with its roots running deep and its branches reaching the sky, this symbol links the earth to the heavens and also represents our life path. Born from seed, taking root, and extending our pathways and branches to reach higher, the tree of life is about love and wisdom and coming into full bloom.
The peace sign has been in flux across the years, but the modern peace sign is the one that may be more recognizable. It was a sign designed for the campaign for nuclear disarmament back in the late 1950s. With three lines stashed within a circle, this sign has become a symbol of a world of love instead of weapons.
The cross is recognized as being globally synonymous with Christianity. It represents the cross on which Jesus was crucified and therefore has become a spiritual symbol of sacrifice. As Jesus died for the sins of mankind, the cross is used as a reminder of that choice.
18) Zen Circle
Also known as the Enso, this sacred circle is an important symbol in Zen Buddhism. Drawn using a single brushstroke and not quite making a complete circle, it is designed to help the mind let go and to create something in a single stroke without changes or modifications – it is imperfect perfection. It also symbolizes the circle of life, strength, and connection.
A symbol of Ancient Egypt, the Ankh is believed to represent eternal life. Looking like a cross with a handle on top, it is also believed to represent the Nile and how water brings regeneration and life. Gods and Pharaohs are often shown to be carrying an Ankh and it can be seen on tombs and art relating to this time period.
The Sikh symbol of the Khanda is made up of four weapons. The four weapons include the shape of three swords and represent the double-edged sword and a belief in God. The Chakkar circle represents God without a beginning or end and the two Kirpans (crossed swords) represent spiritual and political powers.
The Bagua is an important symbol in astrology, astronomy, feng shui, and other all-encompassing spiritual and earthly practices. The Bagua is made up of eight symbols or eight trigrams (each with three broken or unbroken lines to represent yin and yang energy). The Bagua is an energy map that is often used in feng shui practice as the aim is to create balance using the Bagua as a guide.
The divine symbol of Hermes and closely related to Greek and Egyptian mythology, the Caduceus is represented by two snakes entwining a staff. It represents kundalini energy with each snake representing the masculine and the feminine within that. The staff can represent our life force, and as the kundalini energy rises and gifts us new energy, our wings can expand and carry us to higher places.
23) Gayatri Yantra
The Gayatri Yantra is a symbol of absolute truth and divine knowledge. Made up of geometric symbols that represent the lotus, the circle, the six-pointed star, and the mantra and universal vibration of the OM sound, this intricate symbol also pays homage to the energy of the supreme being of Gayatri. Having this symbol in your home can clear our negative energy, help with focus, and enhance peace and wisdom.
24) Sri Yantra
From the Shri Vidya school of Hinduism, the Sri Yantra is made up of nine triangles all interlocking. The four triangles that point upwards represent Shiva and the four downwards triangles represent Shakti and at the center of it all sits the Bindu. This symbol can be used for meditation, sharpening focus, and cleansing the mind.
25) Triple Spiral
Also known as the Triskele, the triple spiral is believed to be one of the oldest spiritual symbols out there. This motif of three spirals interlocking and connecting has its roots in Irish Celtic history but is also found in the Hellenistic period too. It is believed to represent the cycle of birth, life, and death along with paying homage to the maiden, the mother, and the wise woman.
26) Endless Knot
The endless knot is one of the eight auspicious symbols and is connected to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is considered to be a symbol of enlightenment and peace and it has no beginning and no end. It is also believed to represent the endless compassion of the Buddha and the endless cycle of life.
27) The Evil Eye
The evil eye reaches back to the 6th century and shows up in a spectrum of cultures and religions including Greek, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism too. The evil eye can be used as a protective force and it’s believed that having it on your person can deflect negative energy.
28) Yin Yang, the balance of forces
The yin and yang symbol can be traced back to third-century china or even before. This well-known symbol depicts a circle split into two parts of light and dark and each part with a smaller seed of the other contained within it. Yin and yang represent the power and importance of balancing opposing forces. It’s the dark and the light, the push and the pull, and the feminine and masculine all caught in one. It is a reminder of balance and the natural harmony that exists in nature.
How will you choose your spiritual symbol?
Finding the right spiritual symbols for yourself to use as a talisman, amulet, or even just a guiding star for your spiritual practice is really a personal choice. Perhaps you are drawn to the meaning of a certain sacred symbol or maybe the shape and aesthetics speak to you. Whatever way you pick – there is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is harnessing intuition and trying to garner a cultural and spiritual understanding of the symbol so that you can do it justice.
Which is the most powerful symbol?
There are many powerful spiritual symbols but some of the most recognizable and influential can include the yin and yang symbol, the ankh, the hamsa, the cross, and the flower of life.
What is a symbol for spiritual growth?
Lots of symbols have a message of spiritual growth, but one of the most recognized signs is the tree of life. Starting as a seed and growing into something full of wisdom and with many branches, the tree of life is a symbol of strength and the attainment of knowledge on your life journey.
What is a symbol of strength?
The lion is often considered to be one of the mainstay symbols of strength and authority but there are many more. The Hamsa is also considered a symbol of strength as is the lotus flower which blooms in beauty regardless of the mud and mire surrounding it.
What is a symbol for peace?
The modern symbol for peace is the circle with three lines also known as the CND symbol (used for the campaign for nuclear disarmament). Globally, the dove is also recognized as a symbol of peace.
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