Mankind has been obsessed with the use, interpretation of, and love for symbolism, for a very long time. Symbols can be an interesting diversion; a way to interpret one’s life; or, in some cases, a litany to follow that can help someone who feels lost to gain a little more perceived control over their lives.
There are many different ways to interpret different symbols; whether you come at it from a religious point of view or simply someone who is trying to understand why they see so many of the same things recurring in their lives.
Religion uses symbolism in many different ways, depending on the religion, and this can influence the followers of this religion and affect how they live day to day.
Symbolism can be a great way to try to work out what may be going on in the world that we don’t understand – people don’t generally like feeling out of control, or as if we don’t know what is going on, so to have a symbol or two to help us on our way can help us to feel more powerful, more knowledgeable, and more able to cope with life.
Symbolism is rife in literature; have a closer look next time you re read your favorite book and I bet you will be blown away by the sheer number of different symbols that are used to make you, the reader, think or feel a certain way. You may look at your favorite book with a certain amount of cynicism after you look deeply into the symbols that are used!
Symbols can also be used to help people understand things better – just think of road signs, where a hazard or an instruction is represented by a picture rather than written instructions. This show how important symbolism would have been in the early days of humanity, when the majority of people could not read or write, so visual signals would have been the way forward.
Some people view symbols as a physical manifestation of things that they want to receive in their lives; for example in some religions a symbol can mean protection, attachment to a particular god or goddess – or the thing that helps a person get out of bed in the morning.
Who knows if mankind is simply superstitious and in need of comfort symbols to see them through the day, or if certain symbols really do denote power and other helpful attributes – whatever the reason, symbols have been around for centuries, and they show no signs of going anywhere.
Whether or not you “believe” in the significance of symbolism in everyday life, there is no denying that it is a fascinating subject, and will wile away an hour of boredom, at the very least.
Or, who knows, you may discover some hidden meanings in every day situations to help you improve your life and further your spiritual goals!
Here are some of our most popular guides explaining meanings of some symbols (in alphabetical order):