Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Top 10 Ancient Religious Symbols and Their Meanings

By Trang Nguyen Apr 1, 2024

10 Faravahar: The Winged Symbol of the Soul in Zoroastrianism

The Faravahar – Today’s Symbol #20

Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest religions, represents its beliefs and principles through the distinctive Faravahar emblem. A man with beard and wings extended out is seen in the figure.

Believed to represent the fravashi, or human soul, this ancient Persian sign shows the inherent duality of good and evil. The ring that encircles the figure’s waist symbolizes the central principle of personal responsibility and free will in Zoroastrianism. While the upward arm represents spiritual aspirations, the downward arm represents earthly worries.

With its combination of human, eagle, and celestial characteristics, the Faravahar symbolizes the duality of humanity and its capacity to rise via positive actions, words, and ideas. The moral code of Zoroastrianism and the eternal inner struggle between light and dark are symbolized by this enduring image.

9 The Ankh: The Symbol of Eternal Life

The Ancient Egyptian Sign of Power, the Ankh

The ankh was a sign of eternal life in ancient Egypt. Its distinctive form, like a cross with a loop on top, stands for the key that opens the gates of heaven. Many Egyptian gods and pharaohs were seen holding the ankh, a sacred object connected with numerous deities.

As a sign of everlasting life and immortality, the ankh is among the most famous hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt. This emblem frequently featured on the hands of both divine beings and mortals in Egyptian art. Strategically placed in tombs, the ankh emblem nourished and energized the souls as they passed on to the afterlife.

Invoking divine favor and kingship might be achieved through the use of the ankh, which symbolizes wisdom and understanding. The ancient Egyptians believed that placing an ankh in a tomb, an offering, or a temple ceremony would bring good health, wealth, and endless life. The fascinating spiritual beliefs of ancient Egyptians about death and rebirth are marked by this renowned emblem.

8 The Norse Symbol of Protection and Blessing: Thor’s Hammer

Just What Was Thor’s Hammer Good For? Jewelry made of Mjölnir

Mjölnir was a symbol of the Norse god Thor utilized in Viking art and rituals for more than two thousand years before it appeared in Marvel films. Thor, the mighty hammer of Asgard, was symbolized by Mjölnir. These pendants were worn for protection, blessings, and consecration.

The Norse legend holds that the enormous hammer of Thor could only be lifted and used by those deserving of his abilities. The Vikings would wear amulets depicting Thor’s Hammer or even have them carved into gravestones as a way to ask for the god’s protection. When Christianity spread to Scandinavia, the Mjölnir pendant became a symbol of nonviolent resistance.

The emblem has recently seen a renaissance in favor with neo-pagan faiths like Asatru, who worship Norse deities. The power of Mjölnir is still an important symbol of Norse heritage, principles, and ancestral beliefs for those who follow it.

7 The Wiccan Symbol of the Pentacle

Arguments in Favor of The Pentacle

In Wicca and other pagan traditions, the five-pointed star encased in a circle is known as the pentacle. For more than eight thousand years, it has served as a mysterious emblem. The five elements—spirit—are symbolized by it, together with the four others (earth, air, fire, and water). Protectiveness, equilibrium, and the interdependence of all things in nature are all represented by the pentacle.

As a magical tool, the pentacle can be worn as jewelry or displayed on Wiccan altars to call upon heavenly powers during rituals. As a means of entering mystical worlds, its circular bounds offer practitioners a sense of psychic security. For Wiccans, this ancient sign serves as a compass in their quests for the supernatural, whether worn as an amulet or used in spellcraft.

6 Omphalos Stone: The Greek Myth of the World’s Nose

The Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi | Apollo’s Oracle | Omphalos | the Rock of the Sibyl in a 4K resolution

The omphalos stone, a mysterious yet potent relic, stood at the same spot where the ancient Greeks believed to be the center of the cosmos. The omphalos, meaning “navel” in Greek, was said to have been a sacred stone that Zeus had to swallow when he was born, but Cronus was handed it instead.

Afterwards, it was staged at the Apollonian temple at Delphi, marking the location where the legendary Python was slain. The twisted net adorning the stone came to represent Apollo’s divinity and Delphi’s function as the omphalos, or world navel, connecting the celestial and terrestrial realms.

This chasm might be crossed, according to the fabled Oracle of Delphi, by sitting on the omphalos stone and breathing in holy smoke. Despite its obscurity, the omphalos stone is a fascinating symbol of the mythological importance the ancient Greeks placed on Delphi and the oracles as a bridge between humans and the gods.

5 Awen: A Druidic Icon Called Upon by the Divine

Celtic Mythology and the Fascinating Awen Symbol – SymbolSage

An obscure symbol of the Druid quest for knowledge, the awen has been around for more than two thousand five hundred years. Its three rays represent the harmony between the masculine and feminine aspects of the natural world.

While reciting incantations for divine direction, ancient Celtic Druids evoked this triskelion symbol. Their belief in awen—the mystical wellspring of insight, creativity, and poetic eloquence—was reflected in the emblem. The awen was a Celtic emblem that, according to Druidic belief, opened doors to greater insight into the mysteries of life and enhanced creative abilities. For those who grasped their significance, its beams were believed to call upon heavenly illumination.

The awen emblem is still used by modern Druid organizations to call upon the ethereal knowledge and wisdom of their ancestors. As a token of good fortune, it is worn on jewelry and ritual implements. An evocative symbol of the human quest for significance and unity with powers beyond our understanding, this emblem has stood the test of time.

4 Khanda: A Sikh Symbol of Divine Power

The Khanda – Today’s Symbol #37

The khanda is a visual emblem that includes four emblematic Sikh images: a circle, a chakkar, kirpan daggers, and a double-edged sword. They stand for the principles and values upheld by Sikhism as a whole.

It is said that the inner circle represents the unity of God. Spiritual and temporal harmony are symbolized by the two blades. Spiritual justice is symbolized by the right kirpan, while temporal justice is represented by the left. The chakkar, a defensive spinning weapon representing infinity and the Sikh resolve to oppose injustice, is situated at the heart of the emblem.

The khanda is a spiritual emblem that Sikh flags and temples display. It was first created in the 17th century by Guru Gobind Singh, a prominent Sikh leader. Its parts show how achieving enlightenment on the inside necessitates doing one’s part to promote justice on the outside. An individual’s introduction into the Sikh faith is signified by wearing or exhibiting this insignia.

3 The Eye of Horus, a symbol of Egyptian safety

The Eye of Horus: What Does It Mean? (Robert Seifer)

The ancient Egyptians saw the Eye of Horus as a sign of divine power, healing, and protection. It is commonly linked to Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky and all-seeing vision. They say that if you look into the Eye of Horus, it will protect you from harm and bring you wealth and success.

Legend has it that in a battle between the gods Set and Horus, the falcon deity, the left eye was ripped out, but miraculously put back on. This story goes all the way back to 3000 BC. Because of this, the Eye came to symbolize both protection and healing in ancient Egyptian culture. It was believed that the Eye, whether featured in amulets or commemorative inscriptions, would protect the bearer from harm in the hereafter. Bowls and other items decorated with it were thought to evoke the healing power of the god’s resurrection.

The Eye of Horus served as a conduit between the divine and mortals, with various portions of the sign standing for the senses. For the ancient Egyptians, safeguarding their senses meant ensuring the survival of their culture. In keeping with its long tradition of protection, the Eye continues to be a symbol in magical writings and jewelry as a plea for safety.

2 A Celtic Symbol of Life: The Triskelion

The Old Triskelion and Its Mysterious Symbolism

Among the most common Celtic symbols is the triskelion, a design consisting of three spirals. The rebirth, life, and death cycles are encapsulated in it. As with the three epochs of life—the past, the present, and the future—it stands for the three domains of earth, water, and sky. This emblem represents the ever-changing essence of the soul as well as its capacity for progress and development.

Celtic societies frequently carved the triskelion—a symbol with three bent legs spreading from a central point—into stone monuments, weapons, and objects. This design dates back more than 3,500 years. Some contemporary Celtic revival movements even hold the emblem in high esteem.

1 Japanese Sacred Entrance: The Torii Gate

Torii: An Anthology of Japanese Doorways

At the foot of the Torii Gate stands a revered Shinto temple. It’s a long-standing emblem in Japan that heralds the passage from the secular to the sacred. They wash away negativity and safeguard the shrine grounds, which serves a symbolic and practical purpose.

The crossbeam connecting two vertical pillars symbolizes the boundary between this world and the next, and it invites worshippers to approach with reverence. Decorative flourishes, curving or straight rooflines, and numerous stories are hallmarks of the more elaborate forms. But they all point sightseers in the direction of the inner shrine, which is where Shinto spirits, or kami, are channeled.

In Japanese culture, torii gates are iconic landmarks that invite people to commune with the kami, or sacred spirits. Shinto believers have long adored these celestial beings for the visually arresting portals they provide to the spiritual realms.

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