Symbols can be found everywhere, many established by ancient cultures. They are very much a part of our everyday life, although we have largely forgotten what they represent. The history of these symbols is fascinating, and some say that they can even impart deep understanding and wisdom into our psyche simply by us looking at them.
The thought is that these sacred symbols can speak beyond language, and communicate with our subconscious directly. We have gathered some of the most prolific symbols here with their common meanings. Interestingly some of these cross over more than one tradition. The Flower of Life in particular is seen in many cultures through the ages.
Ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character, often which is thought to represent eternal life, and the regeneration of life through water. It is also known as breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (“cross with a handle”). The loop at the top represents circulating holy water. The design of the symbol itself can be seen with slight variation in many other ancient cultures.
The Ankh is found in many Egyptian tombs and sarcophagi, as it was a prevalent part of funerals and preparation for the afterlife. Egyptian Gods and Pharaohs were often depicted carrying an Ankh.
It is also suggested that the Ankh was used during sexual practice to harness the regenerating powers of orgasm.
The Bagua (八卦 in Chinese) translates to “eight symbols”. It is used in Daoist cosmology, taiji philosophy, taijiquan and the wu xing.
It consists of eight trigrams, each made up of three lines, which represent the principles of reality. The three lines can be either broken (denoting yin energy) or unbroken (representing yang).
The Bagua is used analyse balance in astronomy, astrology, geography, geomancy, anatomy, the family, and is also used in Feng Shui as a map of health and home. In this instance, each trigram correlates to a specific area – of either a single room, the entire home or business premises, or the health of the individual. The ideal goal is to achieve balance as represented by the Bagua.
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