Throughout the course of history, humans have strived to make sense of the world around them. Symbols can constitute objects, signs, gestures, and words that have helped people understand the world around them. Cultures and traditions are ripe with symbolism.
These symbols give insight into society’s different attributes, religious customs and mythologies, and gender identity. Female symbols of strength are widely recognized throughout the world. Whether ancient or modern, these symbols have held various powerful meanings that have influenced society and culture.
Listed below are the top 11 most important Symbols of Female Strength:
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1. Lotus Flower (Asia)
The lotus flower is largely symbolic and has implied different concepts through history, such as purity, detachment, enlightenment, and spirituality. But the Lotus flower is also a strong symbol of femininity and womanhood.
The lotus bud was used to signify a young virgin, while a fully bloomed lotus implied a sexually experienced, mature female. The term ‘Golden Lotus’ was often used during the Chinese Han and Ming dynasties to refer to the vagina. This term was present on accounts of sacred texts and poetry. (1)
2. Ichthys (Ancient Greece)
In the olden days, the Ichthys symbol was used to represent femininity and the vagina. This was a pagan symbol that was depicted alongside sex and fertility goddesses. The symbol particularly presented the Vulva.
Images of Aphrodite, Atargatis, Artemis, and Syrian fertility goddesses have been discovered alongside this symbol. The term Ichthys was known by its early name ‘ Vesica Piscis’ that translated to vessel of the fish. In ancient Greece, the same word was used for fish and womb. The fish symbol was widely used during the time to represent female power and femininity.
During the advent of Christianity, Christians were widely persecuted for their faith. They needed a symbol to represent their strife. Since the Ichthys was so widely known, they adopted this symbol, and today, it is a prominent christian symbol.
3. Elephants (Universal)
Elephants are an excellent symbol of femininity due to their unyielding loyalty to family. Elephants are excellent mothers and care and nurture their young vivaciously. At times they remain with their offspring their whole lives.
4. Venus (Roman)
Venus was a Roman goddess that symbolized sex, beauty, love, and prosperity. Venus was born from sea foam. Venus and Mars were both cupid’s parents. She also had many mortal and immortal lovers. (3)
5. Triple Moon Symbol (Roman)
An extremely well-known symbol, the triple moon symbol denotes power, intuition, wisdom, female energy, femininity, and fertility. The three images of the moon represent the maiden, mother, and crone. These images stand for the three stages of the moon, which are waxing, full and waning.
The maiden represents youth, enchantment, and innocence. The mother represents maturity, power, and fertility. The crone represents the wisdom that is acquired with age. This triple moon symbol represents triple goddesses that are still worshipped by pagans and Wiccans today.
There are several other connotations of the triple moon symbol too. The three moons represent three different cycles: Birth, death, and ultimate rebirth as the phases of the moon continue on. This symbol is a connection to womanhood and implies femininity. It’s also a connection to the divine feminine. (4)
6. Freya (Norse)
A goddess within the realm of Norse mythology, Freya symbolized fertility, beauty, and love. (5) Freya was a beloved deity of Nordic culture and legends. She was a complex goddess with an important role.
Representing sexual lust and fertility Freya’s symbolic meaning is similar to goddesses such as Aphrodite and Venus. But Freya’s role also differs from many such female mythological goddesses. Most goddesses linked to concepts of love, sexuality, and lust are depicted as seductresses.
They are the initiators of love affairs and sexual acts. But Freya is depicted as a goddess in mourning who is desired by many but secretly searches for her missing husband. (6)
7. Athena (Ancient Greece)
An important goddess in Greek mythology, Athena has symbolized various concepts. She has traditionally been depicted as a woman wearing a helmet and holding a spear.
During the Renaissance period, Athena symbolically represented classical learning, knowledge, wisdom, and the arts. Athena’s personality also appealed to freedom and democracy. Records of Athena’s features, responsibilities, and activities showed that she was very important in the ancient world.
Similarly became a significant modern symbol as well. In modern times, the symbol of Athena is associated with power, authority, and might. In largely patriarchal societies, Athena’s image of guiding male warriors to fight for their values and ideals remains largely important. (7) The symbolic meaning of this image preserves the question of why attributes like authority and might are reserved for the male gender.
8. Mokosh (Slavic)
Mokosh was a Slavic goddess who symbolized life, death, and fertility. She was the protector of a woman’s destiny and work, such as spinning, weaving, and shearing. (8) She was thought to watch over childbirth and was considered as the ‘great sufferer.’
Mokosh is still considered a vital life-giving force in Eastern Europe. (9) Elderly women sang songs depicting the goddess Mokosh while working with yarn. Mokosh is frequently mentioned in folklore as the patroness of herbalism, family, and medicine. If a woman wanted to marry, she held household ceremonies to draw Mokosh’s attention.
Friday was considered the special day to worship the goddess. Mokosh was honored in various ways. She was presented with gifts such as bread, wheat, and grain. She was also presented with berries, dairy, and oilseeds. (10)
9. Hathor (Ancient Egypt)
The symbol associated with Hathor is two cow horns with the sun between them. One of the oldest Egyptian deities, Hathor was known to protect women during childbirth and care for them. (11) Widely worshipped across the empire, Hathor also looked after women’s psychological and physical well-being.
Hathor personified love, goodness, and celebration. Hathor was also linked to the movement of the planets and the sky. She was also responsible for the cyclical rejuvenation of the cosmos. (12)
10. Tyche (Ancient Greece)
Tyche was the symbol of luck, fortune, chance, and destiny. Tyche was the Greek goddess of fortune. The symbol linked to Tyche was the wheel. Tyche also impacted the destiny of Greek cities. Frost, floods, and droughts were all conjured by Tyche.
She also influenced chance and good luck. It was believed Tyche carried a horn that was filled with riches and wealth. She often tipped the horn and bestowed the riches to lucky people. (13) Tyche was commonly pictured as a lovely, young maiden with wings who wore a mural crown. Tyche’s image became well known as the deity who carried out world affairs.
At times, the image of Tyche is also portrayed as standing on a ball. The ball represents a person’s fortune and how unsteady it can be. The ball can roll in any direction, and so can one’s fortune. This ball also implied the wheel of fortune and the circle of fate.
A few of Tyche’s sculptures depict her as blindfolded. She is also depicted as being blindfolded in several works of art. The blindfold implies that Tyche distributed fortune fairly without any form of bias. (14)
11. Sheela Na Gigs (Ancient European Cultures)
Sheela Na Gigs are ancient carvings of naked women with an openly displayed vulva. The carving depicts an unapologetic woman displaying a large and exaggerated vulva.
Surviving Sheela Na Gig figures have been found around Europe, especially in Britain, France, Ireland, and Spain. The exact purpose of these Sheela Na Gig carvings is still uncertain. Some experts say they were used to protect and ward off evil spirits. Others speculate that these carvings represented fertility and were a warning against lust.
Since ancient times, symbols have held widespread meaning that depicts the vitality, energy, and power of femininity. Which of these female symbols of strength were you already aware of?
Let us know in the comments below!