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Top 18 Symbols of Purity and Their Meanings

Top 18 Symbols of Purity and Their Meanings

Purity is a very powerful symbol that is often used in many different ways across the world. In some places, purity is used to define someone’s worth.

In other places, purity can be misconstrued as something bad as well, such as naivety or lack of experience. 

Nevertheless, overall, it is considered to be something quite positive. Someone or something that is pure is often considered trustworthy, beautiful, and graceful as well. Purity is automatically attached with other positive signs and symbols as well. 

However, as with most good things in life, purity is not always very easy to find. Sometimes you need to look in the right places, or sometimes you need to put in a little effort to attain purity. But everyone needs a little dose of purity and innocence at some point in their lives. 

That’s why we have come up with this list of the top 18 most important symbols of purity to bring that innocence, goodness, and clarity back into your life. 

1. White (Universal)

White Pebbles.
The color white as a symbol of purity / White Pebbles
Image courtesy: maxpixel.net

White is a color that automatically reminds you of purity when you see it. If you see a blank, white piece of paper or a completely white sheet, you instantly think it to be clean and pure and free from any dirt or blemishes. 

Throughout history and all over the world, the color white is strongly associated with purity, among other things.

This is because most things that appear white around us are usually clean and pure objects, such as the white paper or sheet mentioned earlier. 

Its opposite, colors like brown or black which look like mud or dirt, represent something impure and unclean.

The color white also closely resembles light, which is also considered a sign of purity, clarity, and knowledge.

2. Lamb (Christian)

A white lamb as a symbol of purity.
A white lamb as a symbol of purity
Image Courtesy: pikrepo.com

A lamb is also a strong symbol of purity for many reasons, as it actually entails many other symbols of purity.

For starters, a lamb is white, and as mentioned earlier, the color white is naturally associated with purity, cleanliness, and innocence. Similar is the case with lambs with their white body. 

Additionally, a lamb also represents childhood since it is essentially a newborn, a baby sheep. It is yet to be influenced by the world, and so, it is considered pure.

Thirdly, a lamb is also specifically a symbol of purity in Christianity as it usually represents Jesus Christ. Since Jesus himself was a pure person, the lamb is also considered to be a pure creature. 

3. Gardens (Universal)

Garden as a symbol of purity.
Gardens as a symbol of purity
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Specifically, when you compare them with forests, gardens are considered to be purer. They are much more contained and organized, whereas forests can be wild and overrun with dangerous beasts.

Gardens are safe spaces where one can enjoy nature‘s beauty in one of its purest forms. 

Some also consider gardens to represent the soul and innocence of humans. Others compare gardens with the original Garden of Eden, where everything was clean and untainted. It was like an earthly paradise. 

Other than that, gardens are also associated with life and death as plants come alive and wither away, with new possibilities and opportunities, fertility, and happiness.

Therefore, spending some time in a garden can be a great way to connect with nature and surround yourself with purity. 

4. Jesus Christ (Christianity)

Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ as a symbol of purity / Painting: Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ
Image courtesy: pikrepo.com

For Christians, Jesus Christ is one of the biggest symbols of purity out there. There are several reasons for this as well.

Firstly, Jesus is considered to be God‘s agent, and since God is all-pure and holy Himself, by extension, it makes Jesus pure and good as well. 

Secondly, Jesus is also considered pure and clean since he was conceived through the Holy Spirit, and while his mother Mary was still a virgin without any sinning.

Finally, one of the biggest reasons why Jesus is such a symbol of purity is because of his character and personality. 

He always stood against all evil and wrongdoing. He did not commit any sins himself and always held himself to a high standard.

This is also why Jesus is often seen wearing a white robe, to further stress his purity.

5. Virgin Mary (Christianity)

Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.
Virgin Mary as a symbol of purity / Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus
License: CC0 Public Domain / publicdomainpictures.net

Similar to Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also an important figure in Christianity and strongly associated with purity. 

As mentioned earlier, Mary gave birth to Jesus without sinning and conceived him just through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As a result, essentially, Mary remained a virgin, and that is often considered a sign of purity as well. It is also said that she remained a virgin her entire life. 

What’s more, Virgin Mary is also considered to be very pure and holy because she totally surrendered herself to her Lord and worked tirelessly for Him.

This also shows how good and pure she was. This is also why Mary was called the Mother of God and the Virgin Most Powerful.

6. Dove (Universal)

A white dove.
White doves as a symbol of purity / A white dove
Image courtesy: uihere.com

Specifically, white doves are considered a symbol of purity, beauty, and peace all across the world and in many religions as well.

Because of its full white color, graceful mannerisms, and gentle coos, the dove is considered to represent purity, divinity, and gentleness. 

It is also associated with God in many ways, and that further adds to its purity and goodness. The bird appears many times in the bible and is associated with the Holy Spirit as well. In Egypt, doves often represent innocence and life as well. 

Other than that, doves are primarily considered to be symbols of love and peace. This is why many people release white doves at their weddings. Moreover, a white dove with an olive branch is a classic sign of peace and harmony. 

7. Water (Universal)

Bluewater.
Water as a symbol of purity / Bluewater
Anastasia Taioglou thenata, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Water holds various different meanings, such as life, wealth, and even knowledge. However, it is often used to symbolize purity and cleanliness as well.

Since ancient times, water is considered to be pure as it has the power to wash and cleanse away dirt, mud, and everything that is impure. It can help restore other objects to their original pure form. 

Moreover, it usually never loses its own purity due to its vast abundance. You can use a stream to wash away impurities, and the stream still remains pure.

Water is also associated with purity because it represents life, and life itself is one of the purest things out there. 

Some say life began from primordial waters only. All living things need water to survive and thrive, be it humans or animals, or plants. This is also why water is sometimes connected with fertility as well.

8. Childhood (Universal)

 A baby.
Children or childhood as a symbol of purity / A baby
Image by Gayathiri Gengatharan from Pixabay

Children or the concept of childhood, in general, is a strong indicator of purity and innocence as well.

When children are born into this world, they are considered pure because they don’t carry worldly influences just yet. 

They are quite naïve and innocent in their way of thinking and how they perceive the world.

They are not aware of the big wide world and all the dangers and evil in it. They are still naïve and unaware of what man is capable of. 

As they grow older and are exposed to the world, they start losing that innocence and a pure mind.

Even if children seem messy and dirty on the outside, they have a clean heart, which is why they are considered pure. 

9. Unicorn (Universal)

A unicorn.
A unicorn as a symbol of purity / A unicorn
Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Today, a unicorn holds many meanings. It is associated with fantasy, magic, and dreams. Since it is a mythical creature, it is often associated with illusions and creative imagination as well.

However, a unicorn is not a recent discovery. They have been around since the Middle Ages where they were actually considered to be a sign of purity, grace, and strength

They were thought to have various magical properties, and some believed that only a virgin could tame a unicorn as they would be pure enough to tame this pure creature.

According to some translations, a unicorn has been mentioned in the bible too. Besides that, a unicorn is a symbol of hope, joy, positivity, and freedom too. 

10. Pearls (Universal)

A pearl hidden inside a shell.
Pearls as a symbol of purity / A pearl hidden inside a shell.
Photo by Schäferle of Pixabay

Pearls are often associated with beauty and grace, but more than that, they are a symbol of purity and perfection.

Unlike other flashy gemstones, pearls have a more subtle beauty and elegance about them that impart a sense of pureness and incorruptibility. 

They have a smooth and round shape, which can signify the lack of imperfections or impurity. Moreover, while they can come in many colors, usually pearls are white, and that also enhances their connection to purity. 

Natural pearls are also considered very rare, which makes them even more valuable and hard to attain, much like purity.

In Asian cultures, pearls also represent a soul or person’s journey to perfection, much like how a pearl transforms into its beautiful form over time. 

11. Diamonds (Universal)

Diamonds.
A diamond as a symbol of purity / Diamonds
License: CC0 Public Domain / publicdomainpictures.net

Diamonds and pearls are often considered to be two sides of the same coin. Consequently, diamonds are also known to represent purity and perfection. Diamonds are usually made of pure carbon and have no color at all. 

This not only makes them pure but also gives the impression of perfection and clarity.

Some people believe diamonds are formed by the tears shed by God, and this further makes them pure and holy. Diamonds represent not only the state of purity but also the path to purity. 

Just like it takes immense pressure for something like carbon to turn into a diamond, it can take a lot of effort for a person to achieve purity and perfection. These stones also represent love, commitment, strength, and wisdom

12. Fire (Zoroastrianism)

Fire.
Fire as a symbol of purity
Image courtesy: piqsels.com

Much like water, fire is another element that is considered a symbol of purity, particularly in the Zoroastrianism religion.

For Zoroastrians, goodness is closely associated with purity, and therefore, to attain goodness, one must be purified first. 

And for that, one of the things that can be used is fire. They believe that fire is one of the most pure things out there, and therefore, it can help to purify our souls as well.

People with kind and good souls will not be hurt by this fire, while others will feel its pain. 

Fire also represents their God, Ahura Mazda’s light and wisdom. Accordingly, Zoroastrians maintain various fire temples and even use fire at home to cleanse and protect themselves.

13. Lotus (Universal)

A white lotus flower in the water.
The white lotus flower as a symbol of purity
Image courtesy: maxpixel.net

A lotus flower is thought to be a symbol of beauty and grace as when the flower blooms, it has a beautiful and serene appearance.

However, if you actually look a little deeper into how the flower blooms, the lotus takes on meanings of purity as well. 

No matter how dirty the water underneath may be and how deep the roots run in that water, the plant always results in a beautiful lotus flower above on the surface.

It doesn’t let the murky waters take away from its purity and perfection. 

In certain religions, the flower also symbolizes the womb, which is another place where the mind or soul is at its purest. The lotus is also associated with wealth and enlightenment.

14. Lily (Universal)

A white lily.
White lilies as a symbol of purity
Image courtesy: piqsels.com

Lilies come in many different colors, and these colors can hold different meanings. Pink lilies represent love and admiration, while yellow lilies can represent joy and happiness.

However, it is the white lilies that are strongly associated with purity and modesty. 

As discussed earlier, the color white itself is quite representative of purity itself. Therefore, white lilies have taken on similar meanings.

Moreover, they are also used to communicate modesty and sympathy. That’s why they are often used at weddings and funerals both. 

At weddings, they can signify the love and pure commitment between the partners, and on funerals, they are meant to convey condolences.

In ancient Egypt, people even considered them to be sacred flowers. 

15. Baby’s Breath (Universal)

Baby's breath flowers.
Baby’s breath as a symbol of purity
Photo by Stephanie Pratt of Pixabay

Baby’s breath is a beautiful flower to look at, and accordingly, they carry a beautiful meaning too.

The flowers are usually associated with purity and everlasting love. Although they are native to Europe, they are used to convey feelings of love and purity all over the world. 

They are given to brides to show their undying love for their loved one. The flowers are also given to new mothers for the pure and innocent life they have brought into the world. 

Because of how pure the flower is considered, it is used to convey feelings of love in romantic as well as platonic relationships.

Other than that, the flower is associated with freedom from corruption, compassion, and self-discipline too. 

16. White Rose (Universal)

White rose.
A white rose as a symbol of purity
Image courtesy: maxpixel.net

Another flower that is associated with purity is the white rose. The typical red rose often symbolizes love and affection.

However, roses come in many shades with many different meanings. A white rose, in particular, is meant to signify purity, innocence, loyalty, and youthfulness. 

Sometimes, the white rose can be associated with chastity as well. This is why brides often carry or are given white roses to show their own purity as well as the purity of their love for their partner.

A single white rose can also show the purity of your love in a humble manner. 

The biggest reason behind all these symbols is the color white itself. Besides that, the white rose can represent hope, new beginnings, and respect.

17. Ailm (Celts)

Celtic Ailm.
Celtic Ailm

The Ailm is a Celtic symbol that actually combines various other concepts. The symbol essentially consists of a circle with a plus sign in the center and holds various meanings.

The circle shape represents the wholeness or pure state of the soul. 

Moreover, the plus sign in the center has several meanings. For starters, it represents the branches of a fir tree which is held quite sacred and considered pure for the Celtics.

The tree is considered to represent strength, endurance, and resilience, much like how the fir tree survives. 

So, altogether, the Ailm symbol represents strength, purification, resilience, fertility, and even friendship.

The symbol can be commonly seen on t-shirts, jewelry, caps, etc. 

18. Milk (Universal)

Milk in a jar.
Milk as a symbol of purity
Image courtesy: pikrepo.com

Milk is another object that signifies purity, innocence, and goodness all over the world for many reasons.

Firstly, milk is white, which instantly makes it seem pure and clean. Next, milk is strongly associated with children as they tend to drink their mother’s milk.

As discussed earlier, children are a symbol of purity and innocence, and so, their choice of drink becomes pure and innocent as well. 

Furthermore, another reason why milk is considered pure and good is its multiple mentions in many religions.

It is referred to as a holy drink in many religious texts. Some consider it the food of Gods. In Islamic tradition, paradise is said to have a river of milk flowing through it. Milk can also symbolize kindness and unselfish love.

Final Thoughts

These days, the concept of purity has evolved to encompass various different meanings.

Previously, purity usually was associated with physical purity and cleanliness. However, today, purity can mean many different things. 

It can mean the pureness of someone’s heart and how honest and good they are as a person.

For some, purity can be the purity of mind and how moral and ethical a person is. Purity can even signify how true someone is to themselves and how they refuse to let the world influence or taint them. 

Regardless of what purity means to you, with these 18 symbols of purity, you can bring some of it back into your life and even inspire others. 

References:

  1. 40 Common Symbols and Meanings (& How to Use Them). https://visme.co/blog/symbols-and-meanings/ 
  2. 9 Symbols and Symbolism of Innocence. https://symbolismandmetaphor.com/symbolism-of-innocence/ 
  3. Garden. https://symbolism.fandom.com/wiki/Garden 
  4. Dove Symbolism and Meaning. https://www.worldbirds.org/dove-symbolism/ 
  5. Pearl Symbolism. https://www.gemsociety.org/article/history-legend-pearls-gems-yore/ 
  6. Flowers That Symbolize Purity. https://www.atozflowers.com/flower-tags/purity/ 
  7. Celtic Symbols from Ancient Times. https://www.ancient-symbols.com/celtic_symbols.html 

Header image courtesy:  ju Irun from Pixabay