Close this search box.

21 Powerful Symbols of Life and What They Mean

Since ancient times, people have been using various symbols, words, and signs to represent the concept of life. Where language can’t express some mind, the tongue is stop and symbol start.

Symbols are the language of the soul, said Carl Gustav Jung, or the meeting point of the waking and dreaming minds, as said Joseph Campbell.

Here’s a look at some of the most common symbols of life.

21. The Tree of Life

The Tree of life is a widespread archetype common to many religions, mythologies, and folktales. The tree of life is a common idea in cultures throughout the world.

It represents, at times, the source of life, a force that connects all lives, or the cycle of life and death itself.

This symbol also represents balance and harmony in all worlds, connecting heaven, earth, and the underworld.

The ancient Mesopotamians believed that the Tree of Life connected the underworld, the earth, and the heavens, symbolizing eternal life and divine wisdom.

They used this symbol in religious ceremonies and art to represent the interconnectedness of all living beings.

What is the tree of life in the Bible?


20. The Ankh

The ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol which symbolizes the many aspects of life, including physical life, eternal life, immortality, death, and reincarnation.
The symbol is a teardrop-shaped hoop with a cross connected directly below it, to represent the sun making its path upward and over the horizon.
It also represents water, air, and the sun.
The ancient Egyptians used the ankh as a powerful symbol of life, immortality, and rebirth.
They often depicted their gods holding an ankh, signifying their power to bestow life upon the deceased in the afterlife.
“The ankh, or key of life, the Egyptian cross, which has a loop for its upper extremity, instead of being crossed, was the emblem of life, and was worn by the Egyptians as an amulet, as the crucix is now by Christians.” – Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

19. The Ouroboros

Ouroboros is a gnostic and alchemical symbol that expresses the unity of all things, material and spiritual, which never disappear but perpetually change form in an eternal cycle of destruction and re-creation.

In psychology, the Ouroboros has been adopted by Carl Jung and other analysts as a symbol of the process of individuation, the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the self to achieve wholeness and balance.

“The Ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow. This ‘feed-back’ process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the Ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself.” – Carl Jung.

18. The Yin and Yang

Two complementary principles of Chinese philosophy: Yin is negative, dark, and feminine, Yang positive, bright, and masculine.

Their interaction is thought to maintain the harmony of the universe and to influence everything within it.

Yin is characterized as negative, passive, and feminine. It represents the energy of the Earth and moon. It is often described as receptive, dark, cool, soft, still, and contemplative.

Yang is portrayed as positive, active, and masculine.

Yin and yang are present in everyone, and when balanced, they promote peace and harmony in a romantic relationship.

A couple with balanced yin and yang energy listens and supports each other equally, ebbing and flowing from these roles depending on their needs.

17. The Pentacle

A pentacle (also spelled and pronounced as pantacle in Thelema, following Aleister Crowley, though that spelling ultimately derived from Éliphas Lévi) is a talisman that is used in magical evocation, and is usually made of parchment, paper, cloth, or metal (although it can be of other materials), upon which a magical.
A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit.
It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates.


“The pentacle is a powerful symbol of protection, warding off negative energies and influences, and is often used in magical practices to invoke the elements and the forces of nature.” – Scott Cunningham, author of “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner”

16. The Hamsa

The Hamsa, or the Hand of Fatima, is a universal symbolic hand which represents protection in both Jewish and Islamic cultures.

Relating to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed (the founder of Islam), and Miriam, the sister of Moses, this symbol directly correlates back to various religions and cultures.

It’s believed to protect against the evil eye and and all negative energies.

It also represents luck, guidance, feminine power, and faith, among other meanings.

“The hamsa is a universal sign of protection, power, and strength, and is believed to ward off evil and negative energies, and to bring good fortune, health, and happiness.” – Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, spiritual leader and founder of the New Seminary

15. The Lotus Flower

The Lotus Flower

The ancient Egyptians believed lotuses had the ability to resurrect the deceased, as seen in Book of the Dead transformation spells. Each flower color also has its own symbolism.
For Buddhist practitioners, a white lotus symbolizes purity, whereas a yellow lotus is associated with spiritual ascension.
The lotus flower is a symbol in Eastern traditions.
It also represents human suffering, overcoming life’s challenges, and personal growth to a place of spiritual enlightenment, rebirth, or self-regeneration.
“The lotus flower is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, self-regeneration, and rebirth, and is often associated with the Buddha and the teachings of Buddhism.” – Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, author, and peacebuilder

14. The Triskelion

It is believed to represent a tale of forward motion to reach understanding.
However, this is thought not to be the only meaning, as it is also believed to represent three Celtic worlds; the spiritual world, the present world and the celestial world.
The Triskele symbolizes infinity and connection in Greek mythology, while the Vikings’ Three interlocked drinking horns is an important symbol.


13. The Spiral

The Spiral

The spiral is a sacred symbol representing the journey and change of life as it unfolds, taking a labyrinth-like passage that leads to the source. The spiral symbol can represent the consciousness of nature beginning from its center expanding outwardly and connectivity with the divine.

It is the one of the primary symbols of Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, used to represent a variety of triplicities in cosmology and theology; it is also a favored symbol due to its association with the god Manannán mac Lir.

“The spiral is a symbol of growth, evolution, and expansion, representing the cyclical nature of life and the journey of the soul through time and space.” – Joseph Campbell, mythologist, writer, and lecturer

12. The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross’ construction features a traditional cross accentuated with a circle around the intersection of the arms and stem. Subject to many different interpretations, the Celtic Cross is said to be a representation of knowledge, strength and compassion to manage life’s ups and downs.
Given that the Celtic cross can be traced back to the 9th century, it can be said that the Celtic cross was originally a Catholic symbol, since Catholicism was the extent of mainstream Christianity before the Protestant schism some 600 years later.
The most popular and commonly agreed upon origin story of the Celtic Cross credits its creation to St. Patrick.
He is the patron saint of Ireland, as he played a vital role in bringing Christianity to the land and converting locals to spread the faith across the country.

“The Celtic cross is a powerful symbol of faith, unity, and transcendence, combining the Christian cross with the circular motif of the Celtic tradition, and representing the intersection of the divine and the earthly realms.” – John Matthews, author and expert on Celtic spirituality and mythology

11. The Fleur-de-Lis

Fleur-de-lis is the stylized depiction of the lily flower. The name itself derives from ancient Greek λείριον > Latin lilium > French lis.
Lily has always been the symbol of fertility and purity, and in Christianity it symbolizes the Immaculate Conception.
French settlers who founded La Nouvelle Orléans in 1718, in honor of the Kings ancient ties to Orléans, flew a fleur de lys flag, and the fleur became an early symbol of New Orleans.
It symbolizes both the French religious influence and history of St. Louis (and thus, of the church), and the purity of the worship that the Trinity practice within their community.
It was derived from the flower that traditionally grows in the area around the city: Iris Fiorentina.


“The fleur-de-lis is a symbol of royalty, power, and purity, and has been associated with the French monarchy, the Catholic Church, and the city of New Orleans.” – Michel Pastoureau, French historian and author specializing in the history of symbols and colors


10. The Skull

At times, the skull is used as a symbol of toughness. Skulls have had many meanings and uses through Societies around the world and time.
Traditionally, the skull represents death, evil, fear and mortality; but it can also symbolize the complete opposite: protection, power and gratitude toward life.
In Buddhism, It represents an important Buddhist concept of emptiness. This means that whatever we feel, and experience has no inherent nature by itself, but we attach a meaning to it.


“The skull is a symbol of mortality, impermanence, and the transience of life, reminding us to cherish each moment and to live fully and authentically.” – Robert Greene, author of “The 48 Laws of Power” and “Mastery”

9. The Infinity Symbol

The Infinity Symbol

The infinity symbol (∞) is a mathematical symbol representing the concept of infinity. This symbol is also called a lemniscate, after the lemniscate curves of a similar shape studied in algebraic geometry, or “lazy eight”, in the terminology of livestock branding.
This sign implies that something will last forever.
Many people put infinity symbols on their wedding bands to signify that never-ending love. Others use it to represent the faith they have in God, as the symbol is not specific to one religion.


8. The Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus is the powerful symbol that originated in Ancient Egypt and represents healing and knowledge and is a symbol of protection from evil.
The Eye of Horus originated from the Egyptian god Horus (also known as Heru, Hor, Har, and Her), who was the god of the Sky.
This symbol has an astonishing connection between neuroanatomical structure and function.


7. The Scarab

Like the dung beetle’s revolving ball, the scarab became a symbol of birth, life, death, and resurrection.

The Mummy’s scarabs aren’t real, but they are based on real animals.

When The Mummy (streaming now on Peacock) hit theaters in 1999, audiences were gifted the raw energy of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz on a sweaty, supernatural adventure together


6. The Butterfly

The Butterfly

Native Americans have considered butterflies as symbols of transformation, hope, and rebirth. Their life cycle – from caterpillar to cocoon, and then to a stunning butterfly – is a metaphorical journey that many of us can relate to in our own lives.
In Chinese culture, the symbolism of butterflies evokes the qualities of freedom, earthly beauty, love, and the human soul.
They have inspired humans for millennia with their delicate nature and the immense power they possess.
In psychology, it represents hope and new beginnings.

5. The Phoenix

The phoenix bird symbolizes immortality, resurrection and life after death, and in ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, it is associated with the sun god.
According to the Greeks, the bird lives in Arabia, near a cool well.
Within Christianity, the Pheonix has become a symbol of Christ’s resurrection, eternal life, and the triumph of good over evil.
In the late Roman Empire, this sign symbolized the Eternal City.


4. The Om Symbol

Significance of Om in Hinduism. Om is often referred to as the prime symbol of Hinduism and is said to be the primordial sound from which the universe was created.
The three syllables A-U-M are said to represent the trinity of the three major gods: Brahma (the creator) Vishnu (the preserver).
It is a sacred sound considered by many ancient philosophical texts to be the sound of the universe, encompassing all other sounds within it.
In Sanskrit, om is called Pranava, which means to hum, and is considered an unlimited or eternal sound.

3. The Swastika

The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Eurasia, as early as 7000 years ago, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky.

The word “swastika” has Sanskrit roots and means “the mark of well-being.”

It has been used in prayers of the Rig Veda, the oldest of Hindu scriptures. In Buddhism, the symbol is known as “manji” and signifies the Buddha’s footsteps. It is used to mark the location of Buddhist temples.

In Japan, the swastika has represented benevolence and good fortune.

The Swastika is revered for bringing power (Shakti) to the house, symbolizing the essence of life on earth, and encapsulating the essence of Indian culture and civilization.

In 1920 Adolf Hitler adopted the swastika as a German national symbol and as the central element in the party flag of the National Socialist.

Since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious of hate symbols, anti-Semitism and white supremacy for most of the world outside of Asia.

Its display is prohibited in Germany and some other countries, leading some right-wing extremists to devise variants or alternatives to the swastika that would evoke a similar effect. In the United States, the swastika is overwhelmingly viewed as a hate symbol.

2. The Star of David

The Star of David

What Does the Star of David Symbolize? In a general sense, the Star of David has come to be a symbol of the nation and identity of the Jewish people.

However, there are a number of symbolic interpretations of the six-pointed Star of David: The two overlapping triangles represent the relationship between man and God.

The term Magen David, which in Jewish liturgy signifies God as the protector (shield) of David, gained currency among medieval Jewish mystics, who attached magical powers to King David’s shield just as earlier (non-Jewish) magical traditions had referred to the five-pointed star as the “seal of Solomon.”


1. The Tao Symbol

The Tao (or Dao) is hard to define but is sometimes understood as the way of the universe. Taoism teaches that all living creatures ought to live in a state of harmony with the universe, and the energy found in it. Ch’i, or qi, is the energy present in and guiding everything in the universe.

Westerners who study Taoism are sometimes surprised to discover that Taoists venerate gods, as there doesn’t seem to be a place for deities in Taoist thinking.

Taoism does not have a God in the way that the Abrahamic religions do.

There is no omnipotent being beyond the cosmos, who created and controls the universe.

Taoists believe that good actions will mean a better life for their soul so Taoists follow rules and guides for living.

They are not allowed to tell lies, steal, commit adultery, commit murder or drink alcohol. They also have a list of good deeds to further guide they way they live.

“The yin and yang symbol represents the concept that everything in the universe is interconnected and interdependent, and that nothing exists in isolation.” – Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism


In this article, we have explored 21 powerful symbols of life, delving into their origins, meanings, and cultural significance.

From the Tree of Life to the Tao Symbol, these ancient and universal icons represent various aspects of existence, including creation, growth, balance, transformation, and the eternal cycle of life and death.

The rich history and diverse meanings behind these symbols are very ancient and interesting, so we can gain valuable knowledge of the human spiritual experience.