The idea of spiritual symbols has existed long before humanity could read or write, possibly even before we had the ability to speak and communicate with one another in an effective manner. Cave paintings dating back earlier than any known civilization show symbols, drawings, and early attempts to turn thoughts and ideas into a pictorial representation. To understand some of the most powerful and significant spiritual symbols, we’re going to explore those that have been passed down from ancient societies and cultures.
Types of Spiritual symbols and meanings
When we discuss symbols, it’s important to understand that the same symbol can carry a different meaning to different people. The most infamous examples of this would be the swastika. This geometric shape, which resembles a type of cross, is known throughout the world as being the symbol of the Nazi party. However, spirit symbols are often adapted by others, as is the case with this one. The symbol itself dates back to at least 3,000BCE in the Indus Valley region.
In Sanskrit, one of the earliest languages, ‘swastika’ translates roughly as meaning “a component of well-being or happiness”. It’s used within Hindu cultures as well, wherein one direction it represents the sun and in the other direction, the night. This symbol even has connections to Norse, Roman, and Greek mythology where it can be found in association with Thor, Jupiter, and Zeus. This is just one example of how spiritual symbols and meanings can change or be adapted in completely different ways from their original function.
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What is the universal symbol for God?
So, as we discuss some of the important spiritual symbols that have been passed down to us, it’s important to remember that the meanings can varyWe’re going to start off with what can be considered one of the single most significant spirit symbols that exist in the world today.
One question many people ask themselves when looking at symbolism is, what is the universal symbol for God? Is there a single symbol that can represent any God within any faith at any point in time?
The truth is that there have been countless symbols for God within every civilization, empire, and religion. However, one symbol stands out as being simplistic enough to represent a higher being: the circle.
It may sound rather simple, perhaps too simple, but the circle represents everything, and through everything, it highlights that creation itself is the result of a higher being. It doesn’t matter what your faith is, there has to be a moment of creation. It could be the 7 days of creation, the big bang, or something else entirely, but where there was once nothing, there is now something; a whole and therefore a circle.
Different spiritual symbols do exist for more specific examples of God though. For example, the triquetra has been adapted by Christianity to represent the three states of God: the father, the son, and the holy spirit.
Earlier uses for this symbol can be found in Norse and Celtic societies/faiths where the three loops represent states of life or aspects of being i.e. life, death, and rebirth or the body, the mind, and the soul. Versions of this symbol also exist in Ancient Greek and Roman cultures as well.
What is the spiritual meaning of a spiral?
The triquetra is an excellent example as it embodies the concept of God, life, and being, but it also comes in different forms. In some versions, we find that the three extensions are made up of spirals rather than loops. What is the spiritual meaning of a spiral?
We discussed the idea of a circle representing God, but a spiral is a version of a circle, in a way. Rather than attaching back to itself, it grows out further and further. As such, a symbol can represent growth or an increase in understanding.
It can also indicate the idea of a cycle and of returning to where you started but with newfound knowledge and experience. Overall, we can consider the spiral to represent the evolution of all things: God, the universe, and the soul.
What is the symbol of enlightenment?
The idea of becoming enlightened is perhaps most prominent within Eastern belief systems, such as Hinduism or Buddhism. It’s the idea of reaching a state whereby you understand who you are, the nature of the universe, and your place in it.
It’s a delicate balance between rationalism and empathy, whereby one lets go of the ego and the self in order to work towards the betterment of mankind. So, what is the symbol of enlightenment?
Much in the same way that there isn’t really a universal symbol for God, there are also multiple spiritual symbols that represent enlightenment. As Buddhism and Hinduism are focused on the idea of reaching an enlightened state, it makes sense that we find the most spiritual symbols for this level within these faiths.
Two examples are particularly prominent. First, we have the OM or Aum symbol. The general idea behind this symbol is the noise it makes when you pronounce it. ‘OMMM’ is believed to resonate with the fabric of the universe due to the fact that during the moment of creation, all consciousness became concentrated within this single sound.
In a similar manner to the triquetra, this symbol also represents creation, preservation, and destruction/liberation.
Another example would be the lotus flower. As far as spiritual symbols go, this is one of the most widely known. A lotus starts off in the mud. This is where its roots are located. The stem grows up through the waters, which represent our journey through the experience. The flower then blossoms in the sun, which represents enlightenment.
What is a symbol for healing?
When it comes to spiritual symbols, some of the most sought after are those related to healing. So, what is a symbol of healing? Some of the more prominent symbols include the Asclepius Wand, which depicts a single serpent wrapping around a pole.
This is a symbol of the medical profession but is often mistaken for the Caduceus wand of Hermes which is actually a symbol for commerce.
However, if you’re looking for a simple, yet powerful ancient symbol, then Egypt has the answers. The Eye of Horus is a powerful symbol, and although associated more with knowledge and consciousness, it does represent healing as well. A more obvious example would be the Ankh.
This is quite literally a symbol of regeneration and has been passed down to us from Ancient Egypt.