Symbols are more than just a way to signify an alliance or a person’s coolness. Symbols go back to the early days of man – used to convey the unconveyable. Symbols are the outer things that speak of our inner experiences, whether spiritual, superstitious, our thoughts, or feelings. And 29 Spiritual Symbols that I’ll mention in this article, are still being used now and in more ways than ever to relay what there aren’t words for.
Let’s dive in!
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Why Are Symbols So Powerful?
The inner-world is one that anybody can experience but not many can explain. Some do a better job at it than others. But at the end of the day, our inner experience is really one that’s unexplainable with our spoken languages.
Symbols can also be an effective way to control others without their knowing. Just think of unhealthy products that are marketed to us but people still buy anyways.
We all know what the symbols for popular fast food, junk food, alcohol, and tobacco companies look like.
In a way, we can look at all imagery as symbolic of something inside of us. It is all truly a reflection. This is why symbols with spiritual significance are a main stay and not just a consumer trend.
Below we’ll take a look through spiritual symbols that have stuck with us through the centuries and still serve us in powerful ways today.
Spiritual Symbols For Creation
- Om (Aum) – The Om is believed by ancient Hindus and Yogi’s to be the symbol of all creation.
In ancient Vedic literature, “Om” is said to be the first sound ever, the sound and its reverberation being what created the cosmos. Nowadays, the Om symbol has become popular with modern yoga practitioners in Western cultures.
- Flower Of Life – The flower of life is the most important image in sacred geometry.
Not only significant in sacred geometry, but the flower of life is also found in religions and traditions all over the world.
The flower of life consists of one large circle with overlapping circles inside of it that forms its entirety. It’s believed that the flower of life represents space and time and contains in it all creation.
The Flower Of Life symbol has inspired artists, architects, and spiritual seekers throughout time.
- The Tree Of Life – The tree of life is an image sacred to ancient Celtic culture, also a symbol that spans cultures and is found all over the world.
The tree of life, to many, represents the cycle of birth-life-death. It is also known to be a connection to the four elements of earth, wind, air, and fire – connected to all things in creation.
- The Caduceus – The Caduceus symbol is most famous in medicine and healthcare. It is the staff with the snake wrapped around it, seen on the side of ambulances.
While The Caduceus symbol can be found all over the world, it was originally the symbol for Hermes and used to represent the life-force.
This powerful symbol has also become associated with Kundalini awakenings – the energy (the snake) wrapping its way up the spine (the staff) is symbolic of this spiritual occurrence.
- The Ankh – The Ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol that looks like a cross.
Similar to the Om Symbol, The Ankh was used in Egyptian hieroglyphs the signify “life” itself.
- The Pentagram – First an ancient Greek symbol, The Pentagram has been adopted by many beliefs – most notably, Pagans, to symbolize the five elements of earth, air, water, fire, and spirit.
The Jewish faith uses the Star of David, a similar symbol, to convey “truth”.
- The Spiral – This is one of the oldest symbols known to man.
The spiral is seen throughout the world as representing the patterns of the universe. It represents growth, change, and evolution and life-force.
- The Snake – The snake is one symbol that will have different psychological effects on people depending on their culture.
But in many ancient cultures that pre-date Christianity, the snake was used to represent the life-force.
You can also read my article about the biblical meaning of green snakes.
- The Cross – The cross is most known for its association with Christianity where it symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus but also of Christianity itself.
The cross symbol predates Christianity and can be found all over the world used to represent many things.
It can be said though that the cross’s four points represent the four elements, such as the case with the ancient Greek cross and the Celtic cross which symbolizes self, nature, wisdom, and God.
Spiritual Symbols For Spiritual Enlightenment
- The Lotus Flower – The Lotus Flower is popular across the globe, but none hold it in such high regard than the cultures of Asia – in particular, the Buddhist faith.
The Lotus Flower represents spiritual enlightenment.
- The Buddha – Another powerful symbol for Buddhists is the symbol of the Buddha. Statues of The Buddha are held in high regard among Buddhist devotees across Asia. For some, it’s to pay homage to the historical Buddha. But for others, it’s that plus more.
The Buddha translates to “The Awakened One”. Many believe the symbol of the Buddha points to the awakened one in ourselves. In Zen Buddhism, to bow to the Buddha is to bow to the Buddha in ourselves.
- The Enso – The Enso is a popular image found in Japan and widely used by Zen Buddhists.
The word Enso means circle. A good name for the image, which is also a circle. But not just any circle, the Enso looks like it was painted with a brush, seen in its imperfection and the way it trails off at the end.
The Japanese and Zen Buddhists use The Enso to symbolize many things, but none so important than for the universe, which is, according to them empty – the void.
The Enso symbolizes enlightenment as well, that comes with realizing the inherent emptiness of all things. The Enso symbol represents the emptiness of the enlightened mind.
- The Dharma Wheel – Another popular Buddhist symbol for enlightenment, The Dharma Wheel is an 8-spoked wheel that looks a bit like a steering wheel on a ship.
The 8-spokes are representative of the Buddha “8-Fold Path” which if followed, one can achieve enlightenment.
Spiritual Symbols for Protection
- The Hamsa – In Arabic culture, The Hamsa symbol is believed to protect those who wear it.
The Hamsa symbol is a hand – a palm and five fingers. In Arabic, the word “Hamsa” translates to “five”.
Inside of the palm and five fingers are geometric patterns with an eye in the center.
- The Eye Of Horus – The Eye Of Horus or “The All-Seeing Eye” has come to be known as a symbol with hidden occult meaning.
Many associate the symbol with the “Illuminati” and other secret societies.
Whether that’s true or not, The Eye Of Horus has been around since ancient Egypt where it was used as protection.
Spiritual Symbols For Balance
- Yin Yang – The most popular symbol for balance – the dualities of life – is none other than the ancient Chinese Yin Yang symbol.
Widely used by Taoist to symbolize Harmony, the Yin Yang symbol provides an important reminder that there are two sides to everything, and to live in balance is necessary to have a happy, fruitful life.
- The Medicine Wheel – The medicine wheels come from Native American culture and represent the 4 elements, but also the harmony and balanced living with them.
The medicine wheel is a circle with one verticle and one horizontal line running through its center like a target.
- The Infinity Symbol – While this symbol may be best known for what it means literally, which is “Infinity” – no beginning, no end – making it a symbol fit to represent creation. The infinity symbol also means balance to some cultures, pre-dating its mathematical representation discovered in the 1600s.
In ancient India and Tibet, The Infinity symbol, which looks like the letter 8, represents the perfect balance between masculine and feminine, the yin and the yang.
For this reason, The Infinity symbol could also be used for love.
Spiritual Symbols For Love
- The Heart – Universally known to signify love, The Heart has become the most popular way of doing this.
It’s commonly used to represent universal love, but more commonly romantic love.
- The Rose – Roses are a great way to convey your love to somebody. Not only because of all of their sensory pleasantries that make them a great romantic gift, but they also point to something much deeper in our psyches.
Roses are associated in ancient Greek mythology with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
- Swans – Swans symbolize love and have done so since ancient times. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was also symbolized by a swan.
This could be because swans mate for life. Love is most commonly seen portrayed by swans in their 2 swan form – with their necks intertwined in the shape of a heart.
- Doves – Doves are a powerful image in Christian symbolism, mostly known to represent a “spiritual messenger”. But dove also symbolizes love, mostly divine love and more-so the love of Christ.
Doves, like swans, also mate for life and therefore they’ve become a popular symbol for marriage and close relationships.
- The Apple – Depending on who you ask, the apple symbol can be good or bad.
In many cultures like Christianity, the apple has come to be known as a symbol of temptation and desire. This same meaning has been giving to the apple in other cultures as well – the darker, more dangerous side of love.
But in Chinese culture, the apple represents “adoration” for somebody.
- Cupid – Cupid, the cute little winged guy clothed in a robe, flying around and shooting his arrows of love at people and making them fall in love with the first person that they draw eyes upon.
Cupid is a popular image during Valentine’s day, just like the heart. Cupid dates back to ancient Rome, where he was known as the son of Venus, the goddess of love.
- The Maple Leaf – In Japan and China, the heart-shaped red maple leaf is used to symbolize love.
- Namaste – Namaste may be better known as uttered words but it’s also connected with the Om symbol, or symbolized as two palms together as if in prayer.
This signifies love but not of the romantic type. Namaste’s meaning is “the divine in me honors the divine in you”. The gesture, symbol, and word are used to signify a universal love for one another.
Spiritual Symbols For Power
- The Lion – The lion may be the most powerful symbol ever. When you see the lion imagery you know exactly what this is trying to say – power, will, strength, and dominance.
- The Lightning Bolt – It’s no question that lightning is powerful. It strikes, seemingly out of nowhere, causing destruction wherever it hits. And then just like that, it’s gone.
The lightning bolt has been associated with ancient mythological Gods in Greece, Rome, and the famously the Norse God Thor.
- The Eagle – From culture to culture, the eagle has been used to signify power for ages.
Most popularly, the eagle is a symbol for America and it’s power, freedom, and courage. But pre-dating that even, the eagle was seen all over ancient European myth where it was linked to god’s to symbolize their power.
Spiritual Symbols For Just About Anything
No matter what it is that you are trying to say through symbols, you’re sure to find the right spiritual symbols for just about any purpose.
The symbol that you use to relay a message will be dictated by how that image is received in your culture. A good way to understand this is to notice the thoughts and feelings of the image that are stirred up within yourself.
Above are the most common 29 Spiritual symbols that you are bound to come across while searching for ways to send messages that you just can’t find the words for.