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Creativity is an essential aspect of the human experience, allowing us to think originally, open the mind, and find solutions to our problems. All around us are examples of creative thinking – from the screen you’re reading this on, to the symbols used to represent words.
Across the globe, there are symbols that represent creativity, many stemming from ancient times. These symbols demonstrate the importance of creative thinking and energy and the need to nurture and inspire creativity.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular symbols of creativity, and the ability of the human mind to come up with original ideas.
As a fundamental process of human life, Pregnancy is a distant yet fitting metaphor for the spark of creative ideas.
Pregnancy is an arduous process of nourishing. It involves making compromises for the sake of your future child, and it requires you to do everything in your power to ensure that the birth of your child is successful. These are perfect analogies for creativity.
There’s a lot of symbolism associated with Pregnancy. In most cultures and religions, apart from the obvious, Pregnancy implies fertility, success, the divine spark, cooperation, new beginnings, and creativity.
Although heavily associated with cyclical nature and immortality, the Ouroboros symbol can also represent two interrelated aspects of creativity and inspiration.
For starters, it signifies the ebb and flow of creativity and passion. The snake (or dragon in some cultures) eating its tail implies that creativity is a continuous process, and just like the tides, it comes and goes.
The trick is to act fast at the right “step” of the cycle so you can take full advantage.
The second idea we can extract is that true creativity is eternal. So, if you “create ” something inspiring and divine, i.e., a timeless piece of art or philosophy, it will live on for generations as an outlier unaffected by the folly of the snake devouring its tail.
No matter how you look at it, the Ouroboros represents the essence of creativity and how you are supposed to harness it.
The bright exuberance of the Sun is undoubtedly the best allegory for creativity and inspiration because we make hay while the Sun shines, not while the wolves are howling.
That said, the Moon can also connote creativity and the nurturing of ideas. However, unlike the excitement of the Sun, the Moon resembles the silent and contemplative aspects of the quest for creativity.
The Moon can also portray growth, intuition, abundance, imagination, and the creative spark.
More specifically, it highlights the internal struggle and how creative individuals often need to look deep inside themselves and figure out who they are before venturing into the bright open Sun.
Apart from that, the striking array of colors, distinctly individual and yet blending seamlessly at the edges, can also represent transformation, inspiration, and the process of innovation by mixing or putting together existing ideas and notions of creativity.
Besides that, the Rainbow can symbolize the end of a difficult period in your life or the eventual fruits of your labor, as referenced by the supposed pot of gold and the fact that rainbows form after heavy rain.
5. Orange Color
As the color of the Sun and the first shade that floods the Earth and the sky when the Sun sets or rises, Orange is a direct metaphor for warmth, life, inspiration, and periods of transition.
The youthful energy and zest of the color Orange can also represent originality, creativity, and the burst of fresh ideas and concepts.
As such, Orange is the one-true color that can resonate with creative individuals and boost their journey to creating something unique.
This bright color, rarely found in nature, is often said to stimulate the senses and help individuals spring into action from their insipid pits of monotony. It is said that sporting this color on jewelry and decorations will aid artists and thinkers get back into what they do best.
Besides the light bulb and lightning bolt, artistic depictions of the Brain are often used to associate the thought process of creativity and inspiration.
Although extensively used, we are yet to understand the inner workings and full capability of the human Brain. As such, it’s shrouded in mystery and can often be used to describe moments of inspiration and creativity.
Besides that, the Brain also represents logic, coherent thought, imagination, intelligence, and intuition.
So although we are yet to understand this organ, it has always been one of the most fitting depictions of creativity and intelligence because we are in awe of its design and how it helps us process complex theories and deep emotions.
As a resilient and persistent species, weaving intricate webs with beautiful symmetric designs and starting all over again after we’ve broken them up, the Spider is a direct reference to creativity and patience.
The Spider is also considered the weaver of fate, perpetually setting the course of our lives and mapping out a grand plan (also called the web of fate).
In that regard, the Spider also connotates fate, either negatively or positively. Apart from that, the Spider has other significances, often used to describe invisibility, fear, evil and feminine energy.
8. Sea Lion
It may come as a surprise, but these fun-to-be-around “Sea Doggos” are associated with imagination and creativity.
As a testament to their playful nature and childlike behavior, the Sea Lion inspires us to explore with unwavering zest and curiosity.
Sea Lions love interacting with humans and aren’t afraid to take a chance and venture out into unknown waters (and lands).
These extroverted characteristics of the Sea Lion are said to inspire us to embrace the unknown such that we can unlock the full extent of our imagination and creative abilities.
So after we’ve taken stock of our inner world, it might be high time to channel the spirit of the Sea Lion and venture out into the world.
As a real-life stand-in for imagination, happiness, and affection, the Lupine flowers can be derived as a well-adapted symbol for the creative spirit.
These perennials with flowers that shoot upwards to the sky channel internal energies and help improve the soil.
In that same regard, the flower gives off positive vibes and teaches you how to nourish your waning creativity from within.
You don’t have to spread around, just center yourself, look upwards into the sky, and contemplate.
Inspiration is bound to wash over you as the clouds and breeze gently sway the ever-standing Lupine flowers.
10. Goddess Erato
According to Greek myth, whenever poets, singers, and artists draw inspiration regarding subjects of love and affection, they are said to be under the influence or aid of the Goddess Erato, the Muse of erotic poetry, and mimic imitation.
Apart from artistic endeavors, the blessings of Erato are also said to help in scientific pursuits as well.
As such, she’s considered a patron of inspiration, creativity, imagination, and affection for all aspects of life.
One of the most recognizable symbols of creativity, the lightbulb represents originality and new ideas. It’s a symbol of the invention and even of intelligence. Light has always been associated with knowledge and understanding, while darkness has always represented the unknown.
The image of a lightbulb, therefore, signifies that there is understanding, which results in creativity and ideas.
The sun is one of the most symbolic objects of all, symbolizing concepts such as life, strength, power, inspiration, and self. It also represents creativity and inspiration and is therefore a powerful symbol for creative types.
The sun’s association with light links it to wisdom, intelligence, and understanding, much like the lightbulb. It’s also the source of all life, allowing humans, plants, and animals to grow and thrive.
13. Ananse Ntontan – Spiders Web (Adinkra Symbol)
Ananse is a messenger of the Supreme Being. It’s constantly weaving its web, which is made of energy and covers all creation.
The symbol of Ananse Ntontan represents wisdom, creativity, and the complex nature of life. It also represents good judgment, making the right decisions, and taking decisive action.
In terms of creativity, the symbol represents original thoughts, problem-solving, and using one’s imagination to create something unique.
14. Color Explosion
A modern symbol, an explosion of colors signifies the freedom of creativity and original thought. As the colors run into each other, it creates original patterns and shades that hadn’t existed before.
An explosion of colors also signifies bravery, courage, and fearlessness, as it can be difficult to push the boundaries and think in an original way. There are no rules in creativity, only a person’s ability to think outside of the box.
While seemingly simple, this can be difficult, and as Henri Matisse once states, creativity takes courage. There is always the possibility of things going wrong. All these concepts are perfectly encapsulated by the image of an explosion of colors.
Awen is an important Celtic symbol, representing creativity, imagination, and aesthetic sensibility. The word Awen means the essence or poetic inspiration in the Celtic language.
The symbol itself is quite minimalistic, featuring three tapering lines set within a circle, pointing upwards towards three dots and leaning towards each other.
For thousands of years, the Awen has been a source of inspiration to artists, such as writers, poets, and musicians. It’s believed that Awen would turn into a muse and instigate creativity among artists.
Due to these associations, the Awen symbol remains one of the most potent symbols of creativity from the ancient world.
The flower is renowned for its ability to remain pure and untouched despite being rooted in mud and being surrounded by a murky environment, and for appearing each morning but then submerging itself into the water at night.
This has led the lotus to represent factors such as purity, enlightenment, spirituality, detachment, and resurrection. The lotus represents creativity because of its associations with spiritual growth.
17. Lightning Bolt
The thunderbolt can sometimes be seen as a symbol of creativity, as it represents a quick moment of inspiration.
Sometimes creativity hits us suddenly and unexpectedly, much like a thunderbolt. It’s in those ‘aha’ moments that we are inspired and display our aptitude for coming up with original ideas.
In Slavic mythology, Veles was the god of earth, waters, livestock, and the underworld. He is associated with music, magic, cattle, and the harvest. He is also the guardian of the Heavenly Gates, which separates the spiritual land of the dead from that of the living.
The symbol of Veles features two main parts: a downward-pointing triangle below a horizontal line with two upward-pointing lines emanating from its ends. Some speculate that this is a stylized version of horns, due to Veles’ association with cattle.
The symbol represents creativity, truth, honesty, and determination.
19. Fountain Symbol
Also known as the creativity symbol, the fountain symbol features a y-shaped symbol with ram-like horns. The symbol represents creative energy and a flow of new ideas.
Water has always been a symbol of refreshment, inspiration, and of life itself. The fountain takes these concepts further, adding creative energy to the mix.
20. Svadhishthana – Sacral Chakra
Also known as the Sacral chakra, the Svadhishthana is the second primary chakra and is located in the lower abdomen, about two inches below the abdomen. It’s known as the center of creativity.
The Svadhisthana chakra determines an individual’s dreams, desires, imagination, and creative potential. The chakra is represented by a six-petaled lotus, with a white crescent moon at its center along with the vam mantra.
21. Flowers Representing Creativity
Also known as the tassel flower, emilias are bright, colorful flowers that look like tassels. They come in a range of shades, with the most popular being red, orange, and purple. This flower represents creativity and originality.
Also known as the grape hyacinth, Muscari looks like the hyacinth flower, except that it has round fragrant grape-like flowers instead of the small, open flowers of the hyacinth. Muscari symbolizes power, creativity, and mystery.
Sometimes called vervain, verbena features a cluster of tiny flowers grouped close together. Verbena comes in a range of colors, including shades of purple, blue, and red. These flowers represent creativity, happiness, healing, and romance.
While the above list features the most popular symbols of creativity from different parts of the world, there are others that can also be said to signify creativity.
Some of these include the image of an apple falling from a tree (referencing Newton’s apple which sparked his creative thinking and original ideas), a spark, a thought bubble, and a seedling.
After all, creativity is a dynamic concept, and there are always creative ways of coming up with new symbols of creativity.