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10 Religious Symbols Explained.

Updated on July 1, 2017


In today’s world, there are many kinds of symbolic expressions, each of which hold a special meaning. A lot of these symbols have been passed down from one generation to the next, symbols that stand for different traditions, historical beliefs, and ways of living. These symbolic expressions have also been implemented into our everyday lives to identity the different faculties between religious beliefs, and nations alike, although there are always two sides to a coin! For example there are older religions that no longer use past symbolic expressions, because some of these symbols have been exploited and blasphemed, to an extent that in today’s societies these symbols would stand for evil spirits or witchery. But there is always a good side towards symbolism, one that can express heavenly beliefs, a peaceful existence and a since of belonging. Furthermore, these symbols can also be worn as jewellery and are regularly used in arts and grafts to express a symbolic meaning.

Religious Symbols.

Symbolism. | Source

1. The Nine-Point Star.

  • This is a kind of symbol that has a story to tell and is also classed as a mathematical sign. Such as, in the Baha’i faith today the highest single digit or numerical value used in their Arabic alphabet is nine, which is an alphabet that uses both letters and numbers to create words. The nine-point star also symbolizes completeness, and the story that lays behind this symbol, states that the promise one would reveal the hundredth name of God, while today the Qur’an has 99 names of God.
  • This symbol is also recognized within the Christian faith, where the Nine point-star symbolizes the nine “fruits of the spirit.” Which are known to be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Nine-Point Star.

 A Meaningful Star
A Meaningful Star | Source

2. The Christian Cross.

  • This symbol is widespread throughout the world today, and can be seen in our churches where it stands for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But a lot of regions today like to refer to the Christian cross as a symbol of their Christianity, and normally refer to it as the crucifix. This symbol has been known to represent a lot of suffering that has taken place around world. It also represents the power of forgiveness, because in the bible it is written that God sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Furthermore, today Christians alike believe that they are born free for sin and worship Jesus Christ as their savour. The Christian cross is also very poplar within the arts and grafts of today, where it is designed for prints, sculptured, painted, and grafted into jewellery.

The Christian Cross.

The Crucifix.
The Crucifix. | Source

3. The Weel of Dharma.

  • The Teachings of Buddha mostly involve the Wheel of Dharma, because it is said that Buddha’s teachings are like a precious wheel that rotates around the people, that teaches them to practise the use of their minds. For example, in the scriptures it states; that after Buddha had attained enlightenment, that he rose from meditation and taught the first Wheel of Dharma called the Sutra of the Four Noble Truths, later Buddha is known to have taught the second and third Wheels of Dharma called the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Sutra. This is also known as the Great Vehicle that moves from place to place, improving people’s lives by helping them to better know their spiritual being.

The Wheel of Dharma.

The Great Vehicle.
The Great Vehicle. | Source

4. The Om.

  • The word Om or Aum has an universal meaning and refers to the first creation by God to be sound, and accordingly to Hindu beliefs, the entire universe came after sound, and that Om is the source of the universe, one that binds all things together. In Hinduism today Om is to bow, and no matter what Hindus are referring to if they use the phrase Om it is recognize immediately. For example, there are also three worlds that exist within Hinduism belief today which are Earth, Atmosphere and Heaven. Whereas, each of these worlds can easily be spoken of in Hindi language as Om.

The Om.

Hindu Symbolism.
Hindu Symbolism. | Source

5. The Star of David.

  • This symbol mainly represents Judaism as a nation. Whereas, within Jewish beliefs of today, it is otherwise known as Magen David or Shield of David, which has been used as a symbolic expression towards Jewish identity since ancient times. The star of David also is used as a national Israeli symbolic flag, that represents their religion and nation.
  • Within the Christian faith of today this symbol is known as the Creator’s Star or Star of Creation. Whereas, the six points of the star represent the six days of creation, along with the six attributes of God. Which are known to be; power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy, and justice.

The Israeli Flag.

The star of David.
The star of David. | Source

Religios Symbols in Flags

6. The Yin and Yang.

  • The Yin and Yang symbol belongs to two Chinese traditions Called Tao-chaio (Daojiao) and Tao-chai (Daojia). Which are based around the teachings of the Tao Te Chin, that is a short scripture written in the 6th century BCE in China. Whereas, Taoism represents spiritual harmony within one’s self, and the Yin and Yang stands for the two opposite and corresponding forces that compose all marvels of existence. Furthermore, through the centuries the implication of the Yin and Yang symbol has influenced Chinese astrology, medicine, art, and politics.

The Yin and Yang.

Opposite Corresponding Forces.
Opposite Corresponding Forces. | Source

7. The Khanda.

  • The Khanda is a two-sided shape that has two separate meanings. For example, one side is known as the Bhagti which represents spiritual power, whilst the other side known as the Shakti stands for an intergalactic energy. Together, the double-sided sword represents Bhagti and Shakti doctrine or principles of Sikhism. Whereas, the circle shape in the upper centre of the symbol represents the cauldron in which food is prepared, and with it being a circle it also symbolizes the perfection of an eternal God who is without a beginning or an end.

The Khanda.

Sikh Symbolism.
Sikh Symbolism. | Source

8. The Symbol fo Allah.

  • The religious symbol used to represent the Muslim name for God is “Allah” and is simply written in Arabic. Whereas, this symbol represents an all-powerful God who is the Creator of a absolute, well-ordered cosmos. In which he is supreme and not part of his own creation. Even though Allah the God of Islam has in numerous occasions made his will known towards Islamic beliefs, the stature in which Allah could represent is still today a mysterious subject. Though a few things are clear about the God of Islam, which is that Allah is the ultimate power, exists in all things, and is everywhere we look.

The Supreme God.

Allah. | Source

9. The Ahimsa Hand.

  • The Ahimsa hand represents a peaceful religious practice known as Jainism, which is an Indian religion from India. This religion dates back to as far as the Buddha religion. For example, the Jain religion emerged sometime within the 6th century BCE India, around the same time period of Buddhism. Also the Jain religion gives emphasis towards non-violence, self-discipline, and peace. Furthermore, the people of this religion are known as Jinas, and they believe that their souls reside in the top level of heaven, that is above the realm of the gods. The whole idea in their way of practicing religion is to practice peace, a life of purification, discipline, and nonviolence.

The Ahimsa Hand.

Peace. | Source

10. The Fish.

  • The fish symbol represents the Christian Faith, and is known to be a symbol used to identify whether a person as a Christian or not. For example, in older times during the early Christian church, whenever a Christian wanted to inquire if the person they had meet along the road was a Christian or not, they would simply draw an arch like shape in the dirt or sand with a stick, and if the person in question returned the gesture by completing the fish by drawing the second arch to make up the fish symbol, this meant that they were a true Christian.

The Fish.

Christianity. | Source


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