A Short Guide to the Most Popular Religious Symbols

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Symbols have existed as long as religions have appeared in human history, carrying complex truths and meanings. Within each religion, there are many exclusive symbols and signs that make this particular religion recognizable, helping convey unsustainable concepts and serving as a bridge between the world and the sacred. It is interesting that over the years, some religious symbols have gone beyond the spiritual realm and become widely used in designer jewelry, branding, and many other kinds of human activities.

People see these symbols every day, sometimes without realizing their origin and meaning. As a result, the centuries-old history standing behind some of the vital symbols is being lost and forgotten. To bring back the true meaning of such an important part of our culture as religious symbols, we have compiled a short but comprehensive list of the most popular symbols from different world religions. Read on to know what you are wearing and using in your daily life.

  1. Angel

Angel is the “messenger” of God and protector of the human soul. This symbol reflects the strong interaction with God and the spiritual world, carrying a meaning of the evolution of the soul. Many people believe that by wearing necklaces or bracelets in the form of angel’s wings, they become protected from all the evil existing in our earthly world.

  1. Butterfly

Metamorphoses that take place with butterflies make this symbol very significant in the Christian religion. A butterfly stands for the rebirth and eternal existence of the human soul. Thus, in many cultures, this symbol represents such phenomena as change, life, and resurrection.

  1. Star of David

The Star of David is a depiction of a six-pointed star that represents the shield of King David and has a long history of pride and solemnity. This symbol has its roots in the legend of King David and is now used by Jews to show their faith. Jewelry pieces in the form of this star are simple in design and can be worn by both men and women.

  1. Christian cross

A cross is one of the most known symbols in Christianity. It universally represents the sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ and memorializes His death. Today, the cross is widely recognizable and appears not only in Orthodox icons and spiritual objects but also in jewelry and a whole range of everyday items.

  1. Five-pointed star

This religious symbol is used in the Bahá’í religion and is the official icon for this faith. It reveals the human physical nature with one head, two arms, and two legs. People of the Bahá’í Faith wear jewelry with a five-pointed star to show their respect and belonging to the religious community. 

  1. Wheel of Dharma

Here we have a religious Buddhist symbol. The Wheel of Dharma has references in the story about Buddha’s enlightenment. This symbol represents a cycle of samsara, the parts of which are the “three trainings” in Buddhist practice: a wheel is a symbol of moral discipline, spokes are wisdom, and a rim is concentration. The Wheel of Dharma is an essential symbol for all Buddhists. 

  1. Alpha and Omega

This is another Christian symbol that refers to Jesus Christ who called Himself ‘the Alpha and Omega,’ which means the beginning and the end, the first and the last. These signs are also the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. 

  1. Anchor

An anchor is used to mean strength and perseverance. It is quite popular among the seafarers, as it is believed to protect them and give the power to stand against storms and hurricanes. The anchor is widely used in Christianity.

These were the most popular religious symbols that are frequently met in everyday life. Certainly, this list is not exhaustive, as the world of religion is vast and still evolving, meaning that we will see more and more of them in the future.

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