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Top 15 Symbols of Brotherhood With Meanings

Top 15 Symbols of Brotherhood With Meanings

Brotherhood is a universal concept that has been revered throughout history. Brotherhood can be defined as loyalty and affection that is felt for people with whom you share common grounds.

A brotherhood can also be referred to as an organization that shares the same beliefs or political motives. 

Socially brotherhood can be defined as the close friendship between brothers or friends or a sense of kinship with a group of people. It also refers to feelings of unity and cooperation between people. 

These definitions show us that brotherhood in itself is significantly important. It is much deeper than simply making friends and hanging out with them. Brotherhood is a reminder that you have people to turn to when you have bad days, when you break down or feel weak and powerless.

You have people to talk to and confide in, and you don’t have to feel alone. No matter what aspect of your life, a strong brotherhood is a reminder that you are not isolated. 

A strong brotherhood also inculcated a strong sense of accountability in an individual. You feel a strong connection with your fellow members and a feeling of vulnerability. It can make you feel responsible for your actions and encourage you to meet your goals no matter what.

Being part of a brotherhood gives you perspective on what is important in life and enhances your beliefs and values. You may also look up at your brothers and learn from them. You can learn from their example how to lead, manage your life financially, and prepare for a family.

Therefore, a brotherhood can help your personal and professional life by gaining knowledge from people close to you who have been there. 

One form of building strong brotherhood ties is through a fraternity in college. Fraternities have been an important part of universities and colleges since the late 18th century. Fraternities usually have founding values and principles and are designed to enhance your educational experience.

They also emphasize intellectual capacity, social development as well as interpersonal development. Fraternities build lifelong friendships and social interaction amongst their members. 

Let’s consider the Top 15 Symbols of Brotherhood below:

1. Salt

Himalayan Salt (Coarse).
Himalayan Salt (Coarse)
Ivar Leidus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Many cultures regard salt as symbolic of certain attributes and have a metaphorical significance. For example, certain cultures regard salt as a purifying entity.

Hebrews used to rub their newborn with salt and cleansing water when they were born, as referred to in the Book of Ezekiel. Some modern cultures, such as various Turkish tribes, still carry on this practice.

It is believed that this custom brings blessings and abundance to the newborn. (1) Many Arab and European cultures also regard salt as implying the good in life. In Albania, “Bread, Salt and Heart” was a traditional way of honoring guests.

The concept was to honor guests with the most expensive things. At the time, it was salt, hence the birth of the tradition. (2)

2. Blood

Blood Cells.
Blood Cells
Image by Qimono from Pixabay

Blood is a traditional sign of brotherhood. A famous saying is that the covenant’s blood is thicker than the womb’s water.

This saying implies that being bound together by blood oath is more important than brotherhood (hence womb’s water). Also, when two soldiers embark upon war together, a famous saying is that they ‘spilled blood together.’

This is symbolic of the link between ‘blood’ and ‘brotherhood.’ Blood can also imply other things, such as family. For example, family is often referred to as ‘your own blood.’ Blood oaths have also been common ways to form binding agreements between people.

In such an agreement, usually, blood is shed and ‘shared,’ thus sealing the agreement. (3)

3. Handshake

A handshake.
A handshake
Image by Geralt from pixabay.com

Shaking one’s hand can also be a symbol of brotherhood. A handshake can either be a brief greeting or a parting tradition between two individuals. Handshakes originated back in the Middle Ages when it was not the norm to write-down peace treaties or agreements.

So other techniques were used to seal the deal. The handshake was rather important amongst groups that shared a historical grievance. They meant overcoming divides and joining people together.

They opened doors to cooperation and signified the end of adversity. The handshake is also a symbol of brotherhood, even in modern times. For example, handshakes are based on the individual’s rank amongst the Freemasons. Masonic rites also have their unique handshakes. (4)(5)

4. Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones.
Skull and Bones
RootOfAllLight, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Skull and Bones was a society that originated at Yale University in 1832. This society is also known as Order 322 and The Brotherhood of Death.

It is one of the oldest societies and is well-known for its powerful alumni and conspiracy theories. Skull and Bones are one of the three largest societies at Yale University.

Members belonging to the Skull and Bones organization are known as Bonesmen, and the primary societal headquarters are located in New Haven, Connecticut, known as The Tomb. It is a known fact that females were not allowed to enter society until 1992.

Several notable alumni of the organization included George W Bush and George H.W Bush. (6)

5. Pentagram

Pentagram pendant.
Pentagram pendant
Image from piqsels.com

It is a five-pointed star drawn by a single line and depicts brotherhood. The Pythagoreans used this symbol, and they called it health. This concept was taken from the symbol of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health.

6. Phi Gamma Delta

Phi Gamma Delta Logo.
Phi Gamma Delta Logo
Arjay.skate1927, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Phi Gamma Delta is sometimes also called Fiji and is a fraternity founded at Jefferson College. Based in Pennsylvania, the purpose of this fraternity was to build strong friendships and encourage social interaction.

Since this fraternity was founded in 1848, it has had more than 196,000 members throughout the United States and Canada. Initially, the Phi Gamma Delta originated as a secret society known as The Delta Association. After graduation, the Phi Gamma Delta did not use ‘alumni’ for its members.

They used the term ‘Graduate Brothers’ to imply the existence of membership even after graduation. The organization has five core values based on, as listed in its mission statement. These include excellence, morality, knowledge, service, and friendship.

The Phi Gamma Delta is a fraternity known to promote academic achievement in all its members. (7)

7. The Triquetra

Triquetra.
Triquetra
Peter Lomas via Pixabay

The Triquetra or the Trinity Knot is an ancient Celtic symbol representing many things such as family ties, eternal love, strength, and family unity.

The Triquetra is also one of the oldest known symbols of spirituality. An elaborate version of Triquetra is also known as the Celtic Triangle or the Trinity Knot. This Knot implies no beginning or end and eternal spiritual life. It also represents the unified spirit enclosed within the bounds of a circle.

The circle protects this symbolic spirit and cannot be broken. Some also believe that this ancient Knot represents early Celtic Christian teachings of the Holy Trinity, including the father, son, and holy ghost. (8) (9)

8. Masonic Trowel

A trowel on the ground.
A trowel on the ground
Przemysław Sakrajda, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The masonic trowel is a strong symbol of brotherly love. The trowel was originally used for brickwork and spread mortar to complete building projects.

The Masonic trowel is symbolic of spreading brotherhood and encompasses the very concept of brotherhood. This symbol is also used to unite masonic family members throughout the world. 

9. Wolf

Gray Wolf.
Gray Wolf
Eric Kilby from Somerville, MA, USACC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are many attributes associated with Wolves, and they are highly symbolic. Wolves primarily represent family, protection, leadership, and power.

They also symbolize qualities such as loyalty, brotherhood, resilience, and procreation. As animals, wolves are respected in many regions of the world. Wolves can make firm spiritual attachments and always trust their instincts.

They also teach us to trust minds and hearts and practice control over our lives. (10)

11. Dioscuri

Dioscuri Statue.
Dioscuri Statue
Lalupa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Dioscuri were the twin brothers Castor and Pollux, who had one mother but two separate fathers. Castor was a mortal, whereas Pollux was the divine son of Zeus.

In Latin, these are also called the Gemini twins. Pollux had asked Zeus if he could share his immortality with his twin brother; hence both the brothers were transformed into the constellation Gemini.

These twin brothers were considered the patron of sailors and good horsemanship.

12. Brothers (Native American)

Native American brother symbol.
Native American brother symbol

Brother is a Native American symbol that is a pictogram and has two figures on a curved line. This symbol shows that two people are bound together throughout their life.

The curved line tells that there is equality between both the brothers. This symbol could also be depicted in a circle. The circle also shows equality. There is a line connecting the feet of the two brothers, which means they share a lifelong journey.

This symbol may also be used when two men are not actual brothers, but they make a lifelong pledge. Because of this pledge, they can share their property or wives.

In this mythology, this symbol shows the concept of duality, good and evil, and light and dark. (11)

13. The Hopi Nakwach

Hopi Nakwach symbol.
Native American Hopi Nakwach symbol

The Hopi Nakwach is an ancient symbol of brotherhood in the Hopi Indian tribes of Northeastern Arizona. The priests, when dancing in the wuwuchim ceremony, form this symbol.

This symbol is made of curved or squared lines. The Hopi name means “The Peaceful People,” and they had a culture that was more agriculturist and had a spiritual belief system with strong ethics.

Sometimes the Hopis would extend their palm down and clasp the leader’s hand to form a nakwach which means they are in brotherhood. (12) (13)

14. The She-Wolf (Ancient Roman)

She-Wolf of Rome.
She-Wolf of Rome
Rosemania, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The She-wolf, known as Capitoline Wolf, is an ancient Roman symbol that shows a female wolf nursing two brothers named Romulus and Remus.

This symbol shows that this wolf nurtured the two brothers, who then became the mythical founder of Rome. This is the reason that the ancient Romans worshiped this she-wolf.

15. Cheetah

A Cheetah on a road.
A Cheetah on a road
Mukul2uCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A cheetah is an animal symbol of brotherhood. A few years back, they were considered solitary animals, but after much study, it was found that these animals could form coalitions.

They have a union of male siblings throughout their life, and it can be said that they accept other males as brothers. This grouping is very beneficial to them because it helps them protect their territories and become successful hunters.

The interesting part of this coalition of cheetahs is that they are with members in an equal position in the group. Once their leader is selected, the whole group follows the leader’s orders.

Summary

Brotherhood is an essential concept that is beneficial for individuals on many fronts. Being a part of a brotherhood creates a sense of purpose and belonging. You get an opportunity to create social and interpersonal skills, but you also gain satisfaction in life.

If you are going through a difficult period, your brotherhood can give you comfort and reassurance. A brotherhood is much deeper than common friendships. It’s the pledge that members of that group will stick together and support each other for as long as is needed.

Sometimes support is all you need during times of difficulty. It gives you the ability to overcome whatever obstacle you are facing.

Which of these Top 15 symbols of brotherhood were you already aware of? Let us know in the comments section below!

References

  1. https://symbolismandmetaphor.com/symbolism-of-salt/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_salt
  3. https://symbolismandmetaphor.com/blood-symbolism-meanings/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handshake
  5. https://nationalpost.com/news/the-symbolic-meaning-of-a-handshake
  6. ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones#:~:text=Alternative%20names%20for%20Skull%20and,the%20Bones’%20co%2Dfounder.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phi_Gamma_Delta
  8. https://www.rampfesthudson.com/what-is-the-celtic-symbol-for-brotherhood/#:~:text=While%20there%20isn’t%20a,or%20brotherhood%20of%20the%20arrow.
  9. https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/celtic-symbols-and-meanings/
  10. http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/320-wolf-symbolism#:~:text=Wolf%20is%20a%20symbol%20of,control%20over%20our%20own%20lives.
  11. https://thoughtcatalog.com/daniella-urdinlaiz/2018/10/native-american-symbols/
  12. Nakwách – Hopi symbol – Symbolikon Worldwide Symbols
  13. The Hopi Nakwách – The Symbol of Brotherhood – Temple Study

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