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The infinity symbol, also called the eternity symbol or the forever symbol, is a highly recognizable image, but where did it come from and why was this particular image chosen to represent infinity? Here’s a closer look at the history and meaning of this intriguing symbol.
Origins of the Infinity Symbol
The sideways eight that we now associate with infinity was created in the world of mathematics. In 1655, the mathematician, John Wallis, decided to use a sideways eight as a representation of infinity. It’s speculated that he got the idea from the Roman numeral for 1.000, CIƆ, which looks similar to the infinity symbol. This numeral can also be seen to mean “many”.
A similar symbol is found in the works of mathematician Leonhard Eule, where he uses a sideways eight symbol to indicate “absolutus infinitus”, Latin for absolute infinity.
While the infinity symbol has changed in meaning and has found interpretations outside of mathematics, the idea of infinity is still the basic concept behind the image.
Other Interpretations of the Infinity Symbol
- A Representation of the Ouroboros: The circular shape of the two components that make up the infinity symbol is seen by some mystics to resemble the ouroboros, the snake that is represented as eating its own tail and therefore creating a circle. It’s sometimes drawn similar to the sideways eight of the infinity symbol as a reflection of the mystics’ belief in the eternal and infinite.
- Harmony and Balance: The two circles coming together, and uniting has also been seen as representing two opposing people or forces coming together in harmony and balance. It can also be interpreted as an interconnectedness between all things.
- Regeneration: On a spiritual and metaphysical level, the infinity symbol can carry the meaning of regeneration and eternal life after death. It can refer to the boundless and unlimited capacity of God and the Divine and to the eternal love we experience from the deity.
- Kundalini Energy: Within Hinduism, the infinity symbol can portray the Kundalini energy, which is typically illustrated as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. Also, it is sometimes seen to represent the duality and unifying nature of male and female.
- The Christian God: For Christians, the infinity symbol can indicate God, who is eternal by nature. It can also be a reflection of the everlasting promises God has made toward his people.
- The Eternity of the Universe: Practitioners of yoga see the eternity symbol to indicate the unceasing existence of the universe. There is no beginning or end, just an endless cycle of destruction and creation. Everything within the cosmos is in continual motion. There is a oneness we have with the universe and though we are individuals we also have an unbroken connection with one another.
- Nature of Energy: You may spot the infinity symbol on some tarot cards where it used to indicate the limitless nature of energy and the never-ending interchange between matter and energy. It can also be interpreted as the infinite essence of our thoughts or spirits.
The Infinity Symbol as a Reflection of the Number 8
Because of its likeness to the number 8, some people have given the infinity symbol an added religious and spiritual meaning relating to the number.
In Hinduism, 8 represents the initiate, that individual who has passed through the seven stages of spiritual awakening and the seven heavens of Hindu theology. Therefore, the symbol can represent resurrection and renewal as well as regaining lost Paradise.
For the Chinese, 8 is an auspicious number and so the infinity symbol takes on an interpretation of good luck and fortune.
Double Infinity Symbol
If you come across a double infinity symbol consisting of two interwoven infinity symbols, it can depict the idea of two separate commitments coming together as a single whole – a unity of different ideas.
On a more romantic level, it can indicate the vows two people have made to each other as they unite in a relationship. Additionally, the double infinity symbol can reflect perfect balance and harmony and the aesthetic value behind the perfection.
Infinity Symbol in Jewelry and Fashion
The infinity symbol is one of the most popular symbols used in jewelry and fashion. It’s a popular tattoo design as well.
The symbol is symmetrical and can be used as the central focus of the jewelry piece or a decorative accent, which makes it a versatile addition to jewelry. It’s multi-layered symbolism also adds to the value of the symbol. Infinity symbol jewelry gifts is perfect for a range of occasions:
- A single infinity symbol can be taken as a statement of the eternal love a couple has for one another. When incorporated into a heart, the combined symbolism strengthens the romantic association.
- When given to a friend, the infinity symbol represents eternal friendship, indicating that you value their friendship and will hold onto it.
- To a graduate or someone coming of age, giving an infinity gift represents the endless opportunities and path ahead of them.
- For Christians, an infinity with a cross symbolizes God’s eternal love for them and eternal life offered from such love. It can also reflect a Christian’s devotion and obedience to God. A triple infinity symbol can also represent your family or the trinity within Christianity.
The infinity symbol remains one of the most popular symbols, not just in mathematics, but in everyday life. Although originally created as a mathematical representation for an infinite number, over the past 400 years the infinity symbol has been adopted outside of mathematics and has gained a number of interpretations both spiritual and romantic.