People have always looked to symbols for hope. From the dove carrying the olive branch to Noah after many days at sea to the Celtic Triquetra. People have used these symbols in jewelry, amulets, and more to feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves; something that inspires hope. Here are some hope symbols from different parts of the world.
Symbol of hope, wishing
Butterflies were believed to be messengers to the gods in Native American culture. They would deliver a wish to the gods on their wings. These wishes were associated with hope for something that is not easily attainable. If someone catches the elusive butterfly and whispers their wish into the butterfly’s ear and then lets the butterfly go, they will be granted their wish. Because they released the captive butterfly their wish would be granted.
8 Pointed Star
Symbol of hope and balance.
This is a symbol consisting of an eight-pointed star with a circle in the center. The star itself is surrounded by a circle. The number eight is important in Native American culture. It is related to balance. The outer circle symbolizes protection. The star’s points line up to the four cardinal points and their connection to the equinox and solstice points. This symbol was referred to as Star Knowledge and was used to mark events to come based on celestial alignments. This symbol provided hope for the future.
Symbol of safety, prosperity, gentleness, shelter
Deer represent safety, prosperity, gentleness, and shelter to Native Americans. Deer could be hunted and provide food, blankets, and clothing to keep the Native Americans safe during the winter. Deer are also gentle and loving.
Celtic Hope Symbols
Symbol of faith, hope, unity, eternity.
The triquetra first appeared in The Book of Kells from the ninth century. It is a symbol of unity and hope. The three interlocking ovals have come to represent different trinities. Some believe that they represent the past, present, and future; the earth, sky, and sea; life, death, and rebirth, and more. The triquetra symbolizes the unity of the three parts. It is also a symbol of eternity.
Symbol of hope, harmony
The Awen is a symbol consisting of three rays of light leading up to three points of light. The rays and points are enclosed in three circles. The rays of light have different meanings. Some believe that the rays of light represented love, wisdom, and truth. Others believed that the rays represented nature, knowledge, and truth; mind, body, and spirit; land, sea, and sky; and more. The outer rings represent creation and the timeless nature of the different trinities.
Symbol of hope, faith, and prosperity.
The shamrock is a trinity symbol that has come to represent hope, faith, and love. It is a symbol of the holy trinity. It is used as a charm for bringing good luck as it’s leaves always stand up when a storm is approaching as a warning to people. Shamrocks grow in abundance in Ireland and because of that, they have been associated with prosperity.
Celtic Tree of Life
Symbol of hope, wisdom, and healing.
The Celtic tree of life symbol is usually an oak tree depicted with roots surrounding it. The Celts believed that trees were a bridge that connects the lower and upper realms of being. They believed a tree could convey a message to the gods. Trees were also believed to have the power of healing.
Symbol of hope and peace.
The Easter Lily symbol is in remembrance of those who died during the 1916 Easter Rising. Irish nationalists rose against the British during the 1916 Easter Rising. The Easter Rising helped to eventually bring about Ireland’s independence from Britain. The Easter lily is a sign of hope and peace in the future.
Hindu Symbols of Hope
Symbol of hope, prosperity, and nurture.
The cow is a sacred animal in India. It is associated with the Goddess as it provides nourishment and life-giving milk. Cows represent the Ahimsa principle where people should do no injury to other living beings. The cow is gentle and has a docile nature so it represents this principle.
Symbol of hope, prosperity, good luck, and protection.
The peacock is the national bird of India. Peacocks were believed to be created from the feather of Garuda who carried Lord Vishnu. The peacock is identified with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lord Krishna wears a peacock feather on his crown. Peacocks are associated with protection and were used to guard houses in India.
Symbol of hope and victory
The Dhvaja is a symbol of a victory flag. Originally the Dhvaja was a military standard from ancient Indian warfare. The Dhvaja bore the insignia of its champion. In Buddhism, the Dhavaja symbolizes the Buddha’s victory over death, fear, and ignorance.
Greek Hope Symbols
Symbol of plenty and hope.
The cornucopia symbol was originally from ancient Greece. The god Zeus was nourished with a goat’s horn as a baby. Demeter, the goddess of the harvest was represented with a cornucopia. Fortuna, the goddess of fortune’s symbol was a cornucopia. Eirene, the goddess of spring was often depicted carrying a cornucopia. The cornucopia or horn of plenty represents a good harvest and hope for nourishment.
Symbol of prosperity, victory, rejuvenation, strength, and hope.
Poseidon and Athena wanted to have control of Athens so Zeus proposed a contest. Poseidon used his trident to make saltwater well. Athena created the olive tree that bore fruit. The Athenians chose the olive tree so it represents prosperity and hope. In ancient Greece, the winner of the Olympics was crowned with an olive branch wreath. This symbolized victory. In the fifth century, King Xerxes burnt down Athens. Shortly afterward the olive trees began to regrow. This symbolizes hope and rejuvenation in ancient Greece. Hercules used the wood from an olive tree to defeat the Cithaeron lion. This is why the olive tree is associated with strength.
Hope Symbols in Christianity
Symbol of hope and steadfastness.
In ancient times, the anchor was a symbol of safety. Christ is the anchor of Christianity and he preached hope to people. According to the Epistle to the Hebrews “Hope . . . is an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Hebrews 6:19-20). The anchor holds Christians steady to the hope of eternal salvation.
Symbol of peace and hope.
A dove carrying an olive branch is a symbol of peace and hope. After Noah was in the ark for a while it stopped raining and he sent a dove out to see if there was any dry land nearby. The dove returned with an olive branch. This signifies the hope for mankind after the flood. The dove was also seen descending upon Jesus during his baptism. That dove signifies peace.
Hope Symbolism in Judaism
Symbol of light and hope.
The original menorah had seven branches, one for each day of creation. It was an everlasting light in the temple of Judea. The temple was desecrated but a small group of people kept the menorah light going. According to legend, one day’s worth of oil lasted eight days. Several years later they were able to take back the temple and keep the menorah lit again. Menorahs now have nine branches, one for each of the eight days the oil lasted and one to light the rest.
Symbol of prosperity, freedom, and hope.
The grapevine was carried through the desert during the flight from Egypt. When the Jewish people made it to the Holy Land they planted the vine and it prospered and grew. An abundance of wine signifies prosperity. During Passover, four glasses of wine are consumed. These four glasses signify the four terms related to the redemption by g-d. “I shall take you out . . .”, “I shall rescue you . . .”, “I shall redeem you . . .”, and “I shall bring you . . .” The four cups of wine also symbolize freedom from the four exiles.
Symbol of renewal and hope.
Almond blossoms are the first trees in Israel to blossom in late winter. Almonds are eaten on Tu B’Shevat to celebrate the return of spring. Aaron’s rod which was used during the Exodus to perform miracles was made out of an almond branch.
Symbol of hope and life.
The chai symbol is a combination of the letters Chet and Yud. This symbol dates back to the eighteenth century. It is usually worn as a medallion around the neck. Chaim is the plural form of chai. “L’chaim!” means “to life” and is usually a toast at weddings and other celebrations. It symbolizes the value of life and the hope that supports it. In numerology the letters in chai add up to 18, so 18 is considered a lucky number.