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Top 15 Symbols of Patience With Meanings

Top 15 Symbols of Patience With Meanings

Patience is a virtue. 

How many of us have heard this phrase every day? Many of us, we’re sure. However, it can be difficult to remain patient in the face of everyday ordeals without getting frustrated. The symbols of patience can teach us this vital virtue if you learn more about them. 

There are many different interpretations of patience that you can find in nature, as well as in fruits, trees, and animals. This article will explore the symbols of patience, many of which have been used since ancient times.

1. Elephants 

An elephant
Dario CrespiCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Elephants are ancient symbols of patience that are known for their calm personality. Elephants remain mellow and calm unless the herd or young is threatened.

Elephants are known not to get angry often, turning into revered animals for their calming, patient, and stable approach to life. They are known to never be the first ones to attack.

Ancient cultures believed that dreams of elephants symbolized that there is something you need to let go off; something that is keeping you held back in life. 

2. Camel 

A picture of a brown camel’s face.
A camel
Ltshears, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This symbol of patience encourages people to never rush into things since they will naturally come to you. Camels spend most of their lives traveling long distances looking for shelter and food, especially across hot desert terrain. Despite the hardship of the desert, they carry the hope that things will fall into place and they will survive for another day. 

They are a reminder to continue working towards our dreams, regardless of the obstacles one might face. Even though life is complicated, the camel serves as a symbol of patience that helps one achieve his dreams. 

Their long eyelashes are also known to serve as a reminder to be tolerant, mild, and lenient so that we continue to pursue our goals. 

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the camel was symbolized for doing whatever it takes, even if you feel like you don’t want to. Camels are also mentioned as an animal that represents the end of the days in the Bible.

They symbolize patience, dedication, and strength in the Bible, known to carry believers through hardship to freedom

3. Heron Birds 

Grey Heron bird flying over water.
Heron flying over water
Andy M. from Pixabay 

Heron birds are gorgeous, large birds that wade in shallow waters to look for small fish. They are known to wait patiently, sometimes for hours, to scope the water for any small movements by the fish.

They strike the fish with amazing precision and speed to secure their meal, all of which comes from their inherent patience. 

In the Celtic culture, the blue heron is a symbol of patience, peace, and prosperity. It has been associated with different Celtic dogs, such as Rhiannon, the queen of the fairies.  

4. Ivy 

Green Ivy plants creeping up on a window.
Green Ivy creeping up on a window
Image Courtesy: Piqsels

In the 1800s, Gerard Manley Hopkins compared ivy to patience. He suggested that the purple ivy berries are similar to “seas of liquid leaves” that cover up the imperfections on a wall, allowing it to become beautiful again.

Similar to the rich nectar of the ivy that is vital for bees, Hopkins also compared God’s work on patience to how the bees distill honey. Bees work to patiently store all the nectar from flowers in the honeycombs during summertime

The spirals of the plant are also linked to patience because when its leaves or branches are damaged, it stays resilient. Even when it is broken from someplace, the plant continues to grow. This shows patience and perseverance as, despite the damage, it keeps growing. 

5. Turtles 

A turtle in the sea.
A turtle
RobertoCostaPinto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Turtles have a hard start in life. Out of 5114 nests with around 110 eggs each on the shorelines of South Carolina, only one out of 1000 babies actually make it to adulthood. Adult turtles migrate hundreds and thousands of miles from the place they were born to find adequate feeding grounds.

They return to the beach they were both on and give eggs. They are known to live up to a hundred years or more. 

Their actions have made them a popular symbol of patience, longevity, and endurance. They can encourage people to continue working methodically, like the turtle, towards their goals. 

The story of the turtle and the hare also explores how patience and determination can help individuals achieve their dreams even when they feel like things are moving too slowly. 

Since they do not have too many predators, a turtle just needs to remain calm and live life. Turtles show that slow living is not such a bad idea, after all. 

6. Allium 

Kor!An (Андрей Корзун)CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Allium flowers grow from just one stalk into beautiful flowers. Depending on the Allium species, they can go up to 5 feet in height. 

The flower takes its own time to grow, but they are known as symbols of patience, unity, prosperity, and good fortune once they have completely developed. These beautiful flowers can grow in your backyard or even indoors, and they serve as a constant reminder of patience and perseverance. 

They are even known to survive in unexpected conditions like Mount Everest on the highest relief spot.  

According to Greek Mythology, allium flowers were made from the tears of Astraea, a Goddess, who was crying because there were not any stars in the sky.

In the Victorian era, these flowers were associated with elegance and charm because they had a dainty appearance. In many cultures today, allium flowers are given as a 20th wedding anniversary present to represent dedication and endurance in a relationship. 

7. Pearls 

A pearl in a shell.
A pearl in a shell
Photo by Schäferle of Pixabay

For centuries, pearls have been associated with the wisdom that comes with age, as well as patience. This is because pearls take several years to form. 

When feeling anxious or frustrated, a necklace of pearls can help calm you down and provide some much-needed patience. 

8. Seahorses 

Red Spikey Seahorse.
Red Spikey Seahorse
Bernd, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seahorses aren’t really good swimmers. They survive by allowing the water’s flow to carry them rather than working against it. This shows their patience and peaceful nature.

When the sea waves become rough, they anchor themselves on rocks or other objects using their tails, highlighting persistence.  In fact, when you need patience and strength, turn to the seahorse as your spirit animal. 

9. Koi Fish 

Koi fish.
Koi fish
Image courtesy: Pixabay

Koi fish have a long life and are said to be extremely hardy. Hence, over the years, they have become symbols of patience, courage, and strength.  

Ancient Chinese mythology states an incident where a big school of Koi fish was swimming up the Yellow River. It took 100 years for one small Koi to jump up to the top-most of a waterfall.

This little act impressed the Gods so much that they turned that fish into a golden dragon. Hence, the Koi fish symbolizes patience and resilience.  

10. Plums 

A bowl of plums.
A bowl of plums
Image Courtesy: Piqsels

The plum fruit became equated with patience due to the transformation process of a fresh plum into prunes. It requires perseverance and patience during the growing, harvesting, and drying procedure.

The sun-drying technique that is traditionally used means that you need to handpick the plums at the right time and tend them over a few dry and warm days and nights. 

These purple-red fruits became popular during the Tang dynasty. Soon, the fruit found its way into Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. The five petals of the fruit are a representation of the Five Blessings in China -natural death, wealth, virtue, health, and old age. 

Plums are associated with patience because the plant is the first to bloom in harsh winters, and it can withstand cold temperatures, signaling the arrival of spring. Even when other plants die, the plum plant produces fruit. 

11. Japanese Maple 

Japanese Maple.
Japanese Maple
Image by Te-ge Bramhall from Pixabay

The Japanese Maple enjoys a rich history in China, Japan, and other Asian countries. In Japan, the maple is known as “Kito,” which means rest and relaxation, referring to the peaceful nature and natural beauty of the flower. 

Its beautiful structure doesn’t happen overnight. It has become a symbol of patience because it only grows around a foot per year. Reaching full height can take up to three decades. 

Legend has it that if you want to keep your body free of stress and calm your nerves, sit in front of a Japanese Maple, and you will be able to calm the thoughts in your racing mind. 

You need to work step by step, slowly over time, to reach your full potential, much like the tree takes to reach full height.

12. Pelican 

A Pelican bird against the blue sea.
A Pelican
Image Courtesy: Piqsels

Pelicans are birds said to wait for the perfect opportunity before revealing themselves to the outer eye. This trait, along with their social nature, has made them one of the most powerful animal symbols, since the time of the Egyptians. 

When things are going south, pelicans are looked at as spirit guides. They are a reminder to persevere till an opportunity presents itself -all in good time. 

13. Trout Fish 

The trout fish is a symbol of patience and success because it lives in rivers where the consistent flow of water makes it hard to catch food. 

To ensure that it does not starve to death, this fish waits on the banks of the river for its prey to arrive. Here, the flow of water is minimal, allowing the trout fish to easily grab hold of small fish that come their way. All it needs to do is wait for the perfect opportunity. 

14. Ants 

Two black ants.
Two black ants
RakeshkdograCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout history, ants have appeared as selfless, patient insects. According to a North African legend, ants are said to have taught the first humans of Earth the art of growing wheat and making bread so that they would not starve and die hungry. 

Ants are symbols of patience because they spend several months working with other ants so that together they can gather sufficient food for the colony. Moreover, ants only consume and eat what they need.

When the food finishes, they come out of their nest in search of more. Even though you might not think much of an ant, it exhibits patience and strength- qualities that, if applied to humans, would help us excel massively in life. 

15. Chinese Bamboo 

Bamboo shoots.
Bamboo shoots
Photo by Clement Souchet on Unsplash

The Chinese Bamboo shows that good things only come to those who wait. This plant does not grow for the first five years of its life. Only after it has had sufficient time to absorb all sunlight, water, and nutrients does it begin to grow. 

This plant shows that even though the road to success is long if you are patient, you will be successful.