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Symbols of Inner Strength With Meanings

The Hamsa

Let’s ask ourselves, what exactly is a symbol? A symbol can be a sign, a mark, or a word that represents an implicit idea, object, or relationship. Symbols create links between different experiences and concepts. Communication is achieved through the usage of symbols.

A symbol can be a visual image, a gesture, or a sound that conveys an idea, a story, or a belief. Since ancient times, symbols have been used to represent inner strength and resilience. These symbols are sometimes depicted through artwork or worn as jewelry to boost strength during difficult times.

They serve as a reminder of inner strength and courage and push you to achieve your maximum potential. Different cultures have adopted various symbols that signify the popular beliefs of the region. 

Listed below are the top 13 most important symbols of Inner strength:

1. The Phoenix

A Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Phoenix
Image courtesy: needpix.com

The legendary bird in Greek mythology, the phoenix, is known to burst into flames and is born again from the fires that consumed it. This mythical bird being re-born from the ashes and starting new life has been a significant symbol of inner strength. It implies resilience and strength throughout the world. (1)

The Phoenix has inspired stories and artwork since as far back as 1500 B.C.  Legend also says that a phoenix possesses healing powers and can heal anything they touch. Its ashes are also known to bring the dead into life.  While the origin of the Phoenix remains a mystery, various cultures have adopted stories surrounding this legendary bird.

It is said that the mythical Phoenix might have originated from the middle east or Egypt. But cultures such as the Greeks, Chinese, and Hindus have similar legends about such supernatural birds. The phoenix denotes rebirth, immortality, renewal, healing, and eternal fire. (2)

2. The Lion

Close of photo of a lion.
Lion
Daughter#3CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The majestic lion has numerous interpretations within the realm of many cultures. This majestic ‘king of beasts’ is highly respected and revered. A vital symbol of Inner strength, the lion is especially important within Buddhism.

It is seen as a symbol of wisdom, consistency, and strength. The Buddha is also seen seated on a lion. As lions are nocturnal animals, sometimes they also symbolize command over subconscious thoughts, with the night as a representation of the subconscious mind.  (3)

The lion has also symbolized the power of various monarchs throughout cultures and history. (4) Middle eastern anecdotes have shown lions representing great kings. Many gods and goddesses of the region were depicted as accompanied by lions.

Chinese cultures also saw lions as majestic creatures that safeguarded humans from demons and ghosts. This is why much of Chinese architecture showed lions safeguarding entryways. (5)

3. The Bear

Brown bear in a body of water.
Bear
Image Courtesy: piqsels.com

Known for its strength, tenacity, and courage, the bear is depicted in legends all over the world. Bears rely on brute strength and power to survive. In ancient times they were respected and feared due to their intense ferocity.

Bears’ self-contained and strong-willed nature has not gone unnoticed in North American, European, and Asian myths. In Native American cultures, the bear symbol is used to represent family, good health and vitality, as well as unyielding courage. These cultures saw the bear as thoughtful and independent animals that had little need for fellowship. (6)

Bears also represent gentle friendship. The love bears have for honey adds an amusing element to the strong attributes of power and dignity they symbolize. (7)

4. The Griffin

An engraving of a Griffin.
An engraving of a Griffin
National Gallery of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Griffin is an imaginary creature mentioned in legends and stories throughout the world. This creature has a lion’s body, an eagle’s head and wings, and horse-like ears. Griffins are seen as strong symbols of inner strength due to strength and courage. (8) 

As an eagle is seen as the king of birds and a lion is seen as the king of beasts, the Griffin had qualities of both. The mythical Griffin was believed to be sacred to the sun. For the Native Americans, the Griffin symbolized the rise to power. For them, the eagle personified divine power, while the lion symbolizes royalty, strength, and virility.

The Natives also believed that the Griffin had such strong divine power that it could observe everything and everyone. It symbolized the entire truth, both light and dark. Literally, this meant embracing all of one’s attributes, both positive and negative. This could help one reach a higher realm, expose their true purpose of life and connect with their higher self. (9)

5. The Dragon

Chinese Dragon statue.
Chinese Dragon statue
Image courtesy: sherisetj via Pixabay

A mythical creature depicted in ancient cultures, the dragon is most popular in East Asian cultures. Dragons symbolize power, strength, and good luck. The dragon symbol also represented Chinese imperial strength and was a heraldic symbol used by the Chinese emperor. (10)

In Chinese culture, the dragon also represented authority over typhoons, floods, rain, and water. It was a common belief that even emperors have descended from dragons. For the Chinese, the dragon was a spiritual creature linked to prosperity and harmony. (11) The Chinese also saw the dragon as a symbol of wisdom, balance, good judgment, and courage. (12)

In Egypt, the dragon was associated with the crocodile. It was seen as a symbol of rain, floods, cloud, water, and evil or sin. In Christian art, the dragon was depicted as the ‘jaws of hell’ as it was shown with wide-open jaws and a mouthful of flames. (13)

6. The Boar

Photo of a wild boar.
A Wild Boar
Image Courtesy: pikrepo.com

The Wild Boar was considered a symbol of strength, courage, and fertility by the Celtic people. (14) The Celts also thought of the boar as holy and mystical creatures with high spiritual power.

A boar’s head represented incredible strength and good health. It was considered a sacrificial animal, and its flesh was seen as food for gods and warriors.  The Celts also considered the boar as a symbol of the marriage bed. They believed that it represented fertility, virility and exacerbated sexual prowess.

Boars also symbolized good mothering, righteousness, and justice for the Celts. (15) Celtic and Anglo-Saxon helmets bearing boar head crests have also been discovered on numerous occasions. (16)

7. The Celtic Bull

Very similar to boars, the Celtic people also used the Celtic Bull symbol to represent strength, virility, and fertility for both sexes. The Bull symbol is depicted on robes, bed sheets, and pillows, and is believed to strengthen sexual endurance and strength.

The symbol of the bull also implied strong will, belligerence, and stubbornness, which are attributes of a bull. Bulls were extremely important animals to the Celtic people and also symbolizes hard work.

The Celtic bull was also a symbol of abundance as it served as a source of food for the Celtic people as well. This symbol was also associated with prosperity and fortune, and the bull was often featured on Celtic coins as well. (17)

8. The Eagle

An eagle flying high in the air.
An eagle
Image courtesy: pxhere.com

The eagle has been seen as a symbol of inner strength since ancient times. As chief of all winged creatures, they are one of the most powerful birds roaming the sky. An eagle can represent a higher perspective, loyalty, victory, foresight, and vision.

They also symbolize inner strength, goals, challenges, and aspirations. Eagles have left strong messages wherever they have lived. Many cultures also see the eagle as the king of all birds. Native American cultures hold special significance for the eagle and its feathers. Images of eagles and their feathers have been used as logos of many native Indian tribes.

Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are considered sacred within their culture, traditions, and religion. These eagles are honored with great care and shown the highest level of respect. They also represent freedom, power, wisdom, and courage.

9. The Oak Tree

An oak tree on a hill.
Oak tree on hill
Image Courtesy: Max Pixel

Oak trees have long been associated with symbols of sturdiness and strength. The roots of oak trees are known to grow as deep down as almost the height of the tree itself, which is why oak trees are difficult to knock down.

The sturdy and robust tree is also known to withstand harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornados, and storms. (18) This mighty oak has signified inner strength, knowledge, and resistance since ancient times. Might and wisdom are embodied in their towering strength.

The Oak tree is represented in various mythologies and was, at times, also linked to powerful gods. In Greek Mythology, the oak tree was linked to the god of thunder, Zeus. Oak trees also have extremely long lifespans, they can surpass 300 years of age.

This also makes the oak tree a powerful life-affirming symbol. Oak trees represent all that is true, stable, noble, and wholesome. (19)

10. Tabono 

Tabono symbol.
Tabono symbol – Adinkra symbol for strength 

The Tabono is an African symbol that represents perseverance, persistence, strength, and purpose. (20). This symbol is drawn as four stylized paddles forming the shape of a cross.

In the Adinkra language, Tabono literally means an oar or paddle. The Tabono can be interpreted as four separate paddles rowing in unison or as a single paddle that rows continuously. The Tabono symbol is linked to the hard work of rowing a boat.

Hence, metaphorically the Tabono symbol represents persistence and hard work. The significance of the Tabono symbol is as important today as it was thousands of years ago. Persistence, hard work, and strength are timeless qualities that were valued then and are valued now. (21)

11. Hamsa 

Hamsa symbol accessory.
Hamsa Symbol
Image Courtesy: pxfuel.com

The Hamsa is considered a symbol of good luck, inner strength, and protection. Drawn in the shape of a palm with five fingers, the Hamsa is considered a symbol of inner strength in multiple faiths.

This symbol is important to Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims of the Middle East. At times the evil eye is drawn in the middle of the palm that represents protection against evil. Others interpret this eye as the eye that sees everything and warns against evil.

The Jews call the Hamsa the Hand of Mary or the Hand of Miriam, while the Muslims call it the Hand of Fatima. (22) The Hamsa is popularly worn as an amulet to protect against the evil eye and to bring good health and abundance. This symbol is also used as wall hangings or hung on doorways. (23)

12. Ailm

Celtic Ailm.
Celtic Ailm

An extremely popular Celtic symbol in Celtic culture, the Ailm comes from the letter ‘A’ in the Celtic alphabet. This symbol is drawn in the form of a circle with a cross within it.

The Ailm symbol represents power and strength. (24) An important symbol of inner strength, the word Ailm stands for ‘conifer or Silver fir.’ This refers to fir trees that are evergreen. They can survive adversity, and they keep on growing. That’s why for the Celts, this symbol represented strength and resilience. (25)

13. Triskelion

Triskelion Symbol carved on stone.
Triskelion Symbol carved in stone
Image by Hans from pixabay.com

Another prominent Celtic Symbol of strength, the Triskelion consists of three clockwise spirals that connect to a center. The Triskelion or the Triple Spiral can be spotted in Celtic architecture and art.

It is believed that the Triskelion is one of the oldest symbols of earth. It is believed that the three spirals of the Triskelion symbol represented three different worlds. These three different worlds are the present realm, or the physical world, the spirit world comprising of ancestors, and a celestial world consisting of the planets, sun, moon, and stars.

Symbolically the Celtic Triskelion revolved around the concepts of progress and strength. It hints at overcoming adversity and deriving the strength to move forward. This is represented through the appearance of movement in the symbols.

Conclusion

Symbols have always served as powerful visual representations of concepts and ideas throughout history. Which of these symbols of inner strength were you already aware of? Let us know in the comments section below. 

References

  1. https://symbolsage.com/strength-symbols-and-meaning/
  2. https://www.uniguide.com/phoenix-bird/
  3. https://symbolsage.com/strength-symbols-and-meaning/
  4. https://www.givemehistory.com/symbols-of-strength
  5. https://whatismyspiritanimal.com/spirit-totem-power-animal-meanings/mammals/lion-symbolism-meaning/
  6. https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/collections/the-bear-symbol
  7. http://www.animal-symbols.com/bear-symbol.html
  8. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/#Griffins
  9. https://worldbirds.com/griffin-symbolism/
  10. https://symbolsage.com/strength-symbols-and-meaning/
  11. https://www.chineasy.com/the-meaning-of-the-dragon-symbol-in-chinese-culture/
  12. https://www.symbolic-meanings.com/2007/08/27/exploring-the-dragon-as-a-chinese-symbol-for-strength/
  13. https://worldbirds.com/dragon-symbolism/
  14. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/#The_Boar
  15. https://murreyandblue.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/the-symbolism-of-the-wild-boar/
  16. https://treesforlife.org.uk/into-the-forest/trees-plants-animals/mammals/wild-boar/wild-boar-mythology-and-folklore/
  17. https://symbolsarchive.com/celtic-bull-symbol-history-meaning/
  18. https://symbolsage.com/strength-symbols-and-meaning/
  19. https://urnabios.com/oak-tree-symbolism-planting-instructions
  20. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/#Tabono
  21. https://symbolsage.com/what-is-the-tabono-symbol/
  22. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/#Hamsa_The_Hand_of_Fatima
  23. https://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/hand_of_fatima.html
  24. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list/#Hamsa_The_Hand_of_Fatima
  25. https://mythologian.net/symbols-strength-extensive-list

Header image courtesy: Image pixabay.com

Cite this article

The Editors of Give Me History, "Symbols of Inner Strength With Meanings," Give Me History, October 26, 2021, https://www.givemehistory.com/symbols-of-inner-strength.

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