The concept of growth is a rather beautiful one. Growth does not just mean physical but it has many different facets to it. It can mean mental growth, spiritual growth and so much more. The important thing is that growth is based on the idea that we keep evolving instead of staying stagnant.
To depict this concept in a more articulate manner, there are many different symbols that are used to represent growth. They are derived from different places, whether it’s from nature, such as the symbols of animals and plants, or from other historic legends.
These symbols beautifully convey the idea of growth and enable one to reflect on their own personal growth and development. Most of these symbols are relatable and while some may not be easy to identify with, they are all the more intriguing and will capture your interest.
While there are many different ones out there, here is our list of the top 23 most important symbols of growth:
Table of Contents
- 1. Koi Fish (Japan and China)
- 2. Robin (Universal)
- 3. Tree of life (Old World Cultures)
- 4. Frog (Universal)
- 5. Eggs (Universal)
- 6. The Celtic Spiral (Celtic symbol)
- 7. Sunflowers (Universal)
- 8. Shooting Stars (Universal)
- 9. Phoenix (Universal)
- 10. Lilac (Universal)
- 11. Dharma Wheel (Buddhism)
- 12. Green color (Universal)
- 13. Spider (Universal)
- 14. Acorn (Universal)
- 15. Arrows (Universal)
- 16. Lotus Flower (Universal)
- 17. Changing of seasons (Universal)
- 18. Ajet (Egyptian)
- 19. Butterfly (Universal)
- 20. Plants (Universal)
- 21. Yin Yang Symbol (Chinese culture)
- 22. Inanna (Sumerian Culture)
- 23. Fish (Universal)
1. Koi Fish (Japan and China)
The Koi fish is a stunning creature that is especially known for its unique colors and patterns. It plays a huge role in Chinese and Japanese legends. The Koi fish is known to represent growth and change, which is because of many legends surrounding it.
One of the famous ones is that there were thousands of koi fish trying to swim against the current and after a lot of struggling, they were finally able to reach their destination, which was the Yellow River Waterfall. However, when they reached this point, they thought they would not be able to climb the waterfall and gave up.
However, one of them climbed and when it reached the top, it turned into a Golden Dragon. This is why the Koi fish depicts the ability to grow and overcome one’s obstacles.
2. Robin (Universal)
A robin’s red breast is seen as a force of life that resides within. It is also commonly associated with springtime, therefore highlighting it as a symbol of growth.
According to superstition, if a Robin visits you, it means that you will experience some kind of growth or change in your life. It will leave you with a lot more energy and happiness, giving you what you need to grow and let go of your past.
3. Tree of life (Old World Cultures)
In many ancient cultures, such as the Celtic, Norse and Oriental cultures, the tree of life has been viewed as a symbol of growth.
Generally, because of the sturdy nature of trees as well, they are known to symbolize the concept of growth, always striving to reach the top. The branches of the tree are always growing, trying to reach the sky, reaching tall.
The tree of life depicts personal growth and development; the ability to constantly rise above and never to stop trying or growing. This ‘growth’ can be many kinds, from physical to mental and spiritual growth as long as one is constantly striving upward, no matter what situation he/she is faced with.
4. Frog (Universal)
The frog goes through many different stages to become what it is. It starts from an egg and then goes on to a tadpole and then a full-grown adult. It symbolizes constant growth and change.
It is also a reminder that growth can be in many different forms, so whatever form it takes, it embraces it. The frog reflects growth and changes in our personal lives and serves as a means of inspiration to be better than before.
In addition to that, it is also seen to symbolize Spring, which is a season of growth and change. The fact that it is usually green in color only highlights its symbolism of growth.
5. Eggs (Universal)
Eggs are a symbol of growth and life. Universally, they are linked to new life and the potential for growth. Eggs are also commonly associated with fertility, which, in turn, is linked to growth.
In many other cultures and religions, such as Christianity, the egg is looked at as a symbol of fertility, resurrection and growth. The egg is a huge part of Easter.
It also has spiritual significance in ancient Egyptian cultures. Some also believe that eating eggs can help you grow spiritually.
6. The Celtic Spiral (Celtic symbol)
The Celtic spiral, also commonly referred to as The Triskelion, has been said to have originated from the Neolithic times and is, therefore, one of the oldest symbols that you will come across.
It symbolizes constant growth and progress. It is basically in the form of triple spirals that seem to be moving. What this depicts is the ancient Celtic belief that all good comes in threes. It is representative of the fact that we are constantly in motion, evolving and growing.
This symbol can also be found in French and Greek cultures, although it is rising in popularity and has become a kind of trendy symbol for the youth. Because of its aesthetic appeal and legendary symbolism, many are getting the Celtic spiral tattooed on their bodies.
7. Sunflowers (Universal)
In many cultures and traditions, the sunflower is looked at as a symbol of positivity, change and growth. We all love this flower and it’s not surprising why! It radiates good energy and happiness.
For the Chinese, they represent long life and fortune. They too, are a popular choice for tattoos and not only because of how beautiful they are, but also because of what they depict.
They are a reminder for one to constantly grow and strive towards perfection. The sunflower can grow up to several feet tall, portraying the idea that one can reach great heights if only they keep trying and growing.
8. Shooting Stars (Universal)
The shooting star has a lot of symbolism, especially spiritual symbolism. It is connected with the spiritual realm and depicts growth and movement. A shooting star can symbolize a rising human soul, one that grows into the best possible version of themselves.
It is no surprise that shooting stars are also seen as good luck charms and that you are supposed to make a wish every time that you see one. It is seen as a sign of a good new beginning and that something is going to change in your life.
9. Phoenix (Universal)
This mythical bird is symbolic of many different things, one of the biggest ones being growth and rebirth. The phoenix burns to flames and then rises through its ashes, which is the epitome of growth.
It comes out stronger than before and keeps growing. It doesn’t give up. That’s why this bird is popularly seen as a symbol of growth and strength. It serves as a means of inspiration to many and is also commonly used as a tattoo.
It has inspired many legends, stories and poems. The symbol of the phoenix is not specific to any one culture or religion but rather as a universal symbol.
10. Lilac (Universal)
Flowers are commonly used to symbolize growth and rebirth. They are the perfect examples of it. The lilac, also known as the Syringa Vulgaris, in particular, is a flower that is associated with the concept of growth.
This shrub blooms in the beginning of spring, which is why it is also associated with growth and rebirth. They depict going from ignorance to becoming wise, along with many other forms of growth.
A lilac represents a fresh start and constant evolving and is, therefore, often gifted to people when they are entering a new chapter in their lives. Because of what this flower represents, it is often used in modern poetry and other forms of literature.
11. Dharma Wheel (Buddhism)
The dharma wheel or the Dharmachakra is the perfect symbol of personal growth and change. This wheel looks like the steering wheel of a boat. It has eight spokes that depict the eight principles of the Noble eightfold path.
Early on in Buddhism, the wheel was also said to symbolize the Buddha himself. Among these eight spokes is letting go of the past to live in the present moment and the attribute of wisdom and strength, to stay strong in the face of trials and keep growing and evolving.
Even though this is essentially a Buddhist symbol, it is gaining popularity throughout the world as well
12. Green color (Universal)
If there was any one color that had to represent the concept of growth and change, it would be the color green. Green is the color of nature, the color of spring and is, therefore, associated with renewal, growth and fresh beginnings. Most plants, trees and shrubs are green in color; hence, the reason that it depicts growth.
This color is also known to evoke powerful emotions and can boost your mood, helping you grow spiritually and mentally. It is because of the positivity that is associated with this color that it is used in nurseries and kindergartens. It is also used as the main color in many different flags to represent a growing nation.
13. Spider (Universal)
This fascinating creature is a symbol of growth and strength and has been one since ancient times. The spider weaves its own web for its growth and survival and is, therefore, symbolic of us weaving our own webs of life.
It also depicts spiritual growth and transformation. They highlight the importance of life and growth. Just the way in which a spider weaves its web patiently and continues to grow each day, so can you!
For many people, a spider crossing your path is a positive omen and is a sign that you are being directed to your true goal.
14. Acorn (Universal)
The acorn symbolizes growth and unlimited potential. It is a seed that enables us to reflect upon our growth and potential. The saying ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’ is a great example to understand this symbolism.
The acorn eventually grows into the mighty oak and that’s why it should be seen as the ultimate symbol of growth. We, too, are just like the acorn. We are simply seeds that need to keep growing, so we can reach our maximum potential.
They are also considered to be lucky symbols for many. It symbolizes the start of one’s growth.
15. Arrows (Universal)
It doesn’t necessarily represent spiritual growth; it can also depict growth in business, sales and other stats. An arrow pointing upwards is known to symbolize growth and rising above to be the best version of one’s self.
16. Lotus Flower (Universal)
The lotus flower is one of the most powerful symbols in the world. It represents many different things, from strength and resilience to new beginnings, growth and renewal.
It is potent in many different cultures and religions, from Buddhism to Hinduism. However, over the years, it has become more of a universal symbol that is popular as a tattoo and art piece as well.
The reason why the Lotus flower is a symbol of growth is because it is rooted in mud and grows into the most gorgeous flower. No matter what condition, the lotus keeps growing and finally reaches the surface.
If this flower can grow despite the murky conditions, then we, too, can make our way upward. The flower was seen to symbolize spiritual enlightenment, growth and purity in many religions.
The Buddha is very often portrayed as sitting on a lotus to represent the fact that he overcame his struggles and grew into an enlightened being. It is one of the most beautiful symbols of growth out there.
17. Changing of seasons (Universal)
The changing of seasons is commonly seen to be associated with growth and change. They highlight the ability to adapt to the new and are a reminder for us to adapt to whatever situation life throws at us.
This is why many writers use the changing of the seasons as a depiction of growth in literature. While each season symbolizes something different, in general, the transition of the seasons signifies growth and change.
Just the way in which the seasons change from one to another, we, too, keep evolving and growing to our maximum potential.
18. Ajet (Egyptian)
It consists of two lions with their backs towards each other, which depicts the past and the present. It highlights the concept of growth, where one lets go of their past to focus on the present moment and to keep growing.
19. Butterfly (Universal)
This beautiful creature is known worldwide as a symbol of beauty and growth. It transforms from an ugly caterpillar into the most stunning winged creature. It reflects our individual growth, evolving from one point in our lives to the next and growing into the most beautiful versions of ourselves just like the butterfly.
It is because of this positive symbolism that the butterfly is one of the most iconic symbols of growth. It is popularly used in art and as tattoos. The butterfly serves as a reminder to keep growing and never to give up.
For many people, coming across a butterfly is a sign that they are about to undergo a major change in their lives.
20. Plants (Universal)
When you look at a plant, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? From mere seeds, these living things beautifully transform into full-fledged plants.
Therefore, many times a plant is gifted to someone who is entering a new chapter of their lives, whether it’s a new job, having a baby or anything else, it is a way to symbolize and celebrate their growth and encourage them to keep at it just like the plant.
That being said, of course there are some specific plants and trees that especially symbolize growth. One that was mentioned earlier in this article is the lilac. But, in general, plants as a whole are symbols of growth and wellbeing.
It has also been proven that they boost your mood and help you grow mentally and spiritually.
21. Yin Yang Symbol (Chinese culture)
The Yin Yang symbol is an ancient Chinese symbol that has gained popularity all over the world during recent years. It is a powerful symbol that has a lot of significance and represents many things.
The symbol comprises two parts, the yin and the yang. It is circular and is basically divided into two halves, called the yin and the yang.
The yin is the darker part of the symbol. It is linked to femininity and shadows. The yang, on the other hand, is the lighter section, which is white in color. It depicts brightness, growth and passion. On the whole, this symbol represents balance, which is the essence of life.
This symbol is quite the popular one and has served as a means of inspiration for artists and other creatives. This simple symbol speaks volumes and depicts so much through its simplicity.
22. Inanna (Sumerian Culture)
In Sumerian culture, Inanna is the Goddess of the underworld. She is considered the queen of heaven and is linked to the planet Venus. There are several different myths surrounding this goddess and make her the symbol of growth.
The most popular one consists of the goddess making her way to the underworld called the Kur and then coming back from it. She is eventually resurrected and returns to the light. Her journey is rather difficult and the judges of the underworld kill her because they think she is arrogant and overconfident.
What she went through requires a high level of bravery and strength. Inanna kept evolving instead of giving up altogether. This is necessary if we want to keep growing and become smarter, wiser and braver versions of ourselves.
23. Fish (Universal)
Fish are known to represent life and growth. They are living creatures that continue to keep growing and that’s why they are linked to evolving and constantly growing. If you go deeper into it, fish depict the unconsciousness of one’s higher self.
The consciousness of one’s thoughts and awareness. This living creature is a representation of life, growth, fertility and rebirth. It continues with the cycle of life and goes on to reproduce. The symbol of the fish highlights that you are adaptable and willing to grow just like the fish does in the ocean.
Many Native American Indians look at the fish as a symbol of spiritual change and growth. It is, therefore, significant in many different cultures and religions but also as a general universal symbol of growth. The fish too is a popular tattoo amongst many as a reminder to highlight their growth and need to evolve.
You must have noticed how each of these 23 symbols is so different from each other! Each of them is interesting in its own way and rooted in history or culture. There is meaning behind each of these remarkable symbols.
Although some are older than others, some are more modern. The next time you need some motivation to keep growing you can take it from these symbols. Just choose one that resonates most with you and make that your focal point.
See also: Top 8 Flowers That Symbolize Growth
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