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The Symbolism of Letter Y (Top 6 Meanings)

The Symbolism of Letter Y (Top 6 Meanings)

Throughout human history, people have attached symbolism to many material things but also to phenomena they could not explain. Even letters from the alphabet gained their symbols. 

Some letters carry multiple symbolisms that have been appointed from their creation to modern days. One such case is the symbolism of Y, one of the oldest letters in human history.

The letter Y symbolizes: inner wisdom, contemplation, and meditation.

The letter Y also carries: numerology, mythology, religion, literature, and art symbolism.

Symbolism of Y

According to spirituality, the 25th letter of the alphabet, Y, has many symbolic meanings, such as inner wisdom, contemplation, and meditation. The letter also carries numerology, mythology, religion, literature, and art symbolism.

The History of the Letter Y 

Y - Letter alphabet stones laid out on granite.

Y was called upsilon when it first appeared in the alphabet. The Y, which had Greek roots, was adopted by the Romans about 100 AD and afterward. Y stands for independence.

The letter Y was later adopted by many other alphabets, some of which kept the original Greek pronunciation, and others used a different one. 

In the English alphabet, the letter Y is 25th and has a different pronunciation than its original Greek one. Instead, its pronunciation sounds like the word “why.”.

Spirituality and the letter Y

Decision Inspiration as a group of clouds in the shape of an arrow sign pointing in opposite paths as a business dilemma symbol of a crossroads concept.

The most associated spiritual meaning of the letter Y is a “bivium,” a fork in the road, also known as the “forking of the ways.” A bivium is a point in a person’s life where they must make a vital decision.

The letter is also known as the philosopher Pythagoras’ letter, who used it as an emblem of the path of virtue and vice. The right side of the letter represents spiritual wisdom, and the left side is earthly wisdom. 

If you follow the left side, you direct yourself in the steps of the lower nature of man and all the earthly vices. However, if you follow the right side, you set yourself on the divine path to heaven.


Wood with a white number 7 carved out.

Following Pythagorean reduction, the letter Y corresponds with the number 7. Seven is one of the most important numbers in numerology, representing hidden wisdom, meanings, life’s mysteries, and knowledge. It also holds meaning for people with the letter Y in their names. 

People who have it in their names are free to do as they choose and break all the rules. In addition to being brave and ambitious, they are also autonomous yet appear quiet. They have the bravery and initiative to try anything.

They are very ambitious and succeed quickly because they know what they want and how to attain it. They have a liberal way of thinking and many suggestions for success, particularly in business. They detest being constrained because they value their freedom above all else.

Y in Mythology and Religion

In Egyptian mythology, the Y symbol was associated with the animal totem of Hathor, the cow’s horns. Hathor is the mother of Horus, known as the son of God. In images, Hathor is shown with the sun cradled in the horns on her head. The letter Y also symbolizes Horus, the hawk god in the school of Egyptian esotericism.

In the Hebrew alphabet, the letter Y corresponds to Yod, which means fire. Yod also symbolizes the only One God in Judaism, representing the Oneness and Unity of God in all living things.

Shakespeare and the letter Y

A sculpture of famous playwright William Shakespeare situated outside Guildhall Art Gallery in London.
A sculpture of famous playwright William Shakespeare situated outside Guildhall Art Gallery in London.

As a big fan of the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, Shakespeare inserted his knowledge and understanding of Latin gematria and its principles in his Sonnet 136. Shakespeare took Ovid’s tombstone inscription of four lines equally and inserted it in the sonnet by incorporating the letter Y as a model to define the numeric values. 

In Sonnet 136, Shakespeare used the letter Y in four words consisting of two letters, which is unusual and has made historians wonder why he paid so much attention to this particular letter.

It was later found that the letter Y with values 22 and 23 Shakespeare considered a uniting symbol of Antiquity and Christianity.

The letter Y in Art

The most significant presence of the letter Y in art is in the “fantastic alphabet” full of grotesque figures by the 15th-century German artist Master E.S. In this work, he depicts the letter Y through bold images of a knight defeating a small dragon as a lady, and an angel observing.


These are some of the most significant examples of the symbolism of Y. The letter holds significance in spirituality, numerology, mythology, and religion. 

However, as previously mentioned, some artists and writers gave meaning to the letter in their works.