Religious symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts,
artwork, events, or natural phenomena, by a religion. Religions view
religious texts, rituals, and works of art as symbols of compelling
ideas or ideals. Symbols help create a resonant mythos expressing the
moral values of the society or the teachings of the religion, foster
solidarity among adherents, and bring adherents closer to their object
The study of religious
symbolism is either universalist, as a
component of comparative religion and mythology, or in localized scope,
within the confines of a religion's limits and boundaries.
Here are some of the most
popular religious symbols from our
the Artist -
Weiztman and Ka
pentacles and pentagrams are among the most
widely used religious symbols. They have been used in many eras and by
many cultures and religions of the world: by ancient Pagans, ancient
Israelites, Christians, magicians, Wiccans and others.
the Happy Man) is a secular icon and the
official symbol of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU),
a world body for Humanism, and has been adopted by many Humanist
organisations and individuals worldwide. Its origin was a competition
organised in 1965 by the British Humanist Association to find a symbol
for itself. The winning design was created by Denis Barrington.
represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially
in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal
return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as
The sun cross, or more commonly known as the sun
wheel, a cross
inside a circle, is a common symbol in artifacts of Prehistoric Europe,
particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods.
triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked
spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol with three
protrusions and a threefold rotational symmetry. A triskelion is the
symbol of Brittany, as well as the Isle of Man and Sicily (where it is
On virtually every stupa
(Buddhist shrine) in Nepal, there are
giant pairs of eyes staring out from the four sides of the main tower.
These are Buddha
Eyes (otherwise known as Wisdom Eyes),
and they look out in the four directions to symbolize the omniscience
(all-seeing) of a Buddha.
is an image of an upside down pentagram, the pentagram also appears
with the star right side up. A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed
star drawn with five straight strokes. Pentagrams were used
symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a
symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by
Christians and the Star of David by Jews. The pentagram has magical
associations, and many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry
incorporating the symbol. Christians once more commonly used the
pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus. The pentagram has
associations with Freemasonry and is also utilized by a number of other
A symbol popularly used as representing Slavic
more specifically the panentheism advocated by the RPK, is known as
"Hands of God".
appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other
at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the
deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead
person's mummy; this is thought to symbolize the act of conception.
Additionally, an ankh was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet,
either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean
"strength" and "health". Mirrors of beaten metal were also often made
in the shape of an ankh, either for decorative reasons or to symbolize
a perceived view into another world.
The ankh was almost
never drawn in silver; as a
sun-symbol, the Egyptians almost invariably crafted important examples
of it (for tombs or other purposes) from the metal they most associated
with the sun, gold. A similar metal such as copper, burnished to a high
sheen, was also sometimes used.
The Sacred Chao is a symbol used by Discordians to
the interrelatedness of order and disorder.The Sacred Chao symbolizes
absolutely everything anyone need ever know about absolutely anything,
and more! It even symbolizes everything not worth knowing, depicted by
the empty space surrounding the Hodge-Podge.
The image of the angel Moroni blowing a trumpet is
commonly used as
an unofficial symbol of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. Moroni appears on the cover of some editions of the Book of
Mormon, and statues of the angel stand atop many LDS temples, most
statues facing eastward.
The symbol, often referred to as the patriarchal
appeared in the Byzantine Empire in large numbers in the 9th century.
In the Byzantine Empire of the 9th century, the double cross was not a
religious, but a political symbol used by Byzantine clerks and
missionaries. One of the modern interpretations of the double cross is
that it represents Slovakia as an heir and guardian of Christian
tradition, brought to the region by St. Cyril and St. Methodius, two
missionaries from the Byzantine Empire.
seen as a representation of the instrument of the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of
Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a
usually three-dimensional representation of Jesus' body) and to the
more general family of cross symbols.
sign, represented in its simplest form
by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both
East and West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very
remote period of human civilization. It is supposed to have been used
not just for its ornamental value, but also with religious significance.
The Christian Cross comes in many different forms.
While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless
coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly
associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and
continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain and the Grand Duke
of Luxembourg, members of the House of Bourbon. It remains an enduring
symbol of France that appears on French postage stamps, although it has
never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. According
to French historian Georges Duby, the three leaves represent the
medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought and those
From ancient times the lotus has been a divine
symbol in Asian
traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and
Hindus revere it
with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi
often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation
of Vishnu as Padmanabha, a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma on
Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored
lotus. Often used as an example of divine beauty, Vishnu is often
described as the Lotus-Eyed One. Its unfolding petals suggest the
expansion of the soul.
The most commonly used symbol connected to the number
is the nine-pointed star; there is no particular design of the
nine-pointed star that is used more often than others.
The symbol of the Ayyavazhi is a lotus carrying a
flame-shaped white 'Namam'. The lotus represents the 1,008-petalled
Sahasrara and the Namam represents the Aanma Jyothi or atman, sometimes
translated as "soul" or "self".
Winged Heart or Tughra Inayati
The symbol of Universal Sufism is the
Tughra Inayati or the "Winged Heart".
The winged heart is
an old Sufi symbol, and was chosen
by Inayat Khan as the seal of the 'Sufi Order of the West' at its
founding in 1910. The original rendering of this winged heart
calligraphy was presented to Vilayat Inayat Khan on the occasion of his
The shape of the
tughra symbolises that the heart
desires heaven. The crescent in the heart suggests the responsiveness
and potential of the heart.
unicursal hexagram is a hexagram or
six-pointed star that can be traced or drawn unicursally, in one
continuous line rather than by two overlaid triangles. The hexagram can
also be depicted inside a circle with the points touching it.
It is used in the
Greek and Hindu mythologies as a
symbol of dedication to the divine rulers.
Ying Yang Symbol
In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin
yang, normally referred to
in the West as (yin and yang) is used to describe how polar or
seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the
natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites
thus only exist in relation to each other. The concept lies at the
origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy,
as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine,
and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and
exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (tai chi), and qigong (Chi
Kung) and of I Ching divination. Many natural dualities - e.g. dark and
light, female and male, low and high, cold and hot - are thought of as
manifestations of yin and yang (respectively).
A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly
the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks
the transition from the profane to the sacred.
In the symbol the sword to the left represents truth,
sword to the right represents the willingness to fight for what is
right- dharma (religion). The circle in the middle means that there is
only one God, never beginning and never ending.
Khanda represents knowledge of God, the
Chakkar represents the eternal nature of God and oneness of humanity,
the two swords represent Miri (political sovereignty) and Piri
eight-pointed star was used as a symbol of
Tartessos, an ancient civilization based in Andalusia. As the region
was ruled by Islamic dynasties for eight centuries, this may suggest a
possible origin of the Rub el Hizb.The symbol is used as a marker for
the end of a chapter in Arabic calligraphy.
The star and crescent appear in combination in finds
from in and around ancient Israel. It has been associated with the
Moabites (14th or early 13th – 6th century BC), as the symbol
symbols appear on what are thought to be Moabite name seals. During the
19th century, it represented the Ottoman Empire, figuring on the
Ottoman flag from 1793. The Ottoman flag of 1844 continues to be in use
as the flag of the Republic of Turkey.
Aum or Om
Aum (Om) is the most sacred of Hindu symbols that is considered representative of both the manifest and hidden aspects of the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent God. It is symbolic of several significant triads – the 3 worlds (earth, heaven and atmosphere); the 3 holy Vedic scriptures (Yajur, Sama and Rig); the 3 main Hindu Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Shiva).
Om is also considered to be the most sacred of sounds that is the root from which the universe and entire existence arose and that holds everything together. It is a mystical mantra that is chanted at the start and end of all Hindu prayers, meditations and rituals.
Alpha and Omega
The combination of two Greek letters, Alpha and Omega makes a powerful Christian symbol that represents the eternal existence of God. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, while omega is the last one. Therefore, together they symbolize that God is the beginning as well as the end. The use of Alpha and Omega symbol of eternity has been traced to early Christianity and the symbol has been found in the ancient Roman catacombs.
The Alpha and Omega are sometimes combined with other Christian symbols such as the Cross and Chi-rho.