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Since ancient times, symbols have been used to represent strength and resilience. These symbols are popularly worn as jewelry, depicted in artwork, or kept close as talismans because they give a symbolic boost and bolster strength in times of need or during adverse situations.
They can be a reminder of your inner strength and courage, giving you the push you need to achieve your full potential. They can showcase a ruler’s power or a nation’s resilience.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most famous symbols of strength, many of which you’re likely to have come across at some point.
1. Tree of Life
As a highly regarded symbol representing strength and fertility, the Celtic Tree of Life is always depicted inside a circle with deep roots, almost as long as the extended branches.
Apart from the Celts, the Tree of Life is common in many other traditions and cultures because of its affinity for symbolizing strength, unity, abundance, and family.
The Baobab tree in African culture, the bodhi tree in Buddhism, the forbidden tree in Christianity, and the human placenta are all related, in part, to the Tree of Life.
Although many interpretations can be derived from the Tree of Life, one that deeply resonates with us is the famous quote by Carl Jung: “No tree can reach heaven until its roots dig deep into hell.”
2. Ferns and Feathers
Although separate in many cultures, Ferns, and Feathers share an uncanny resemblance in nature and symbolism.
As such, these are mostly synonymous with adaptability, insight, wealth, and of course, strength.
In New Zealand and Māori culture, the fern represents power and endurance. Throughout the ages, ferns have been said to have healing properties.
And the feather, in many cultures throughout the world, is meant to provide spiritual guidance and stand in for wisdom, trust, and freedom.
Also, since both symbols look alike, they can be used interchangeably to represent the flexible yet resilient nature of the divine feminine.
As an often-terrifying symbol found in nature, the Thunderbolt has many interpretations synonymous with power, strength, and divine energy.
In modern culture, the Thunderbolt represents raw power and electricity, often sported by famous superheroes such as the Flash, Captain Marvel, and Shazam.
In that same regard, the Thunderbolt was used as the weapon of choice by gods in various cultures. Thor, the Norse god of thunder, Zeus of Greek mythology, Jupiter of Roman mythology, and many other gods, are depicted as wielding thunderbolts to punish their enemies and invoke the full extent of their powers.
In this way, the Thunderbolt represents the unadulterated power of the masculine, which can be unpredictable and destructive if handled unproductively.
As one of the fundamental mythical creatures of ancient Egypt and more often used to highlight all things Egyptian, the Sphinx statues are well known throughout the world.
According to historians, the Sphinx is said to represent wisdom, strength, and mystery since they are found alongside pyramids and the ruins of royal palaces.
Since these creatures are depicted lying on their stomach, with their head up high, (commonly termed the “Sphinx Pose”), the Sphinxes represent a guardian that’s relaxed yet fully aware of their surroundings.
Although we don’t know for sure, this ties in with the theory that Sphinxes are perceived (and symbolized) as strong and intelligent beings.
Even regarded as a unit of power, Horses have always been a symbol of strength and endurance.
The spirit of the wild horse is said to represent freedom, courage, confidence, and competitiveness in many cultures around the world.
Besides that, domesticated horses have been regarded as compliant and capable.
As in real life, these tamed horses symbolize withdrawing from their natural tendencies to carry the burdens of others. Whatever the case, horses will always be symbols of enduring strength.
Although a raging Bull is a cause for concern, these awe-inspiring creatures have remained a firm symbol of strength, power, and virility. Besides that, the Bull is perceived as the definitive “beast of burden.” They toil in the field, push carts, and in some cultures, end up in ritual slaughters.
So, the Bull is also synonymous with selflessness, sacrifice, endurance, and perseverance.
However, on the flip side, Bulls can also be seen as stubborn, rash, and unpredictable.
Whatever the case, if you see a bull in your dreams, it can mean that you’re trying to power through a difficult time in your life in order to find peace or companionship.
As an obvious stand-in for freedom and courage, the Eagle is highly synonymous with power and strength. An eagle is truly free, but it must be strong and authoritative enough to remain that way.
The Eagle has mostly been derived from Native American culture as the divine protector of the sky.
That said, Norse and Egyptian mythology also came up with similar explanations: as intelligent and reserved opportunists, hovering high above the sky and swooping down ferociously when guaranteed a catch.
8. Six Petal Rosette
The Six Petal Rosette hails from the Slavic cultures as a symbol of protection and divine power.
In many Ukrainian and Polish traditions, the Six Petal Rosette was engraved in the crossbeam of a house, often used to decorate and appease the pagan god of thunder and lightning, Perun.
The initial symbol is created by overlapping six circles within the center of an enclosed circle. This results in six lenses or “petals” splitting off from the center of this enclosing circle.
Several variations exist where seven or (even 19 rosettes), mathematically align within the circle boundary.
Although it’s not found in other cultures, the Six Petal Rosette is an immaculately symmetric and timeless symbol, making it ideal as wearable talismans or amulets.
This Adinkra symbol hails from Western Africa and translates to “oar”. This symbol represents strength, unity, and purpose.
Just as the paddle is used to row our boat in this stream called life, the Tabono helps us symbolize our struggles and how we can overcome them.
The symbol is depicted as four “oars” in the shape of ovals meeting together to form a cross. Most perceive the symbol as four paddles rowing together, while others describe it as a single paddle making the rounds.
10. Dara Knot
There’s no denying that the Celts were very fond of trees and saw something in them that led to several Celtic symbols being derived from nature.
There are several variations of the Dara Knot. As a symbol, it represents the sturdy root system of the mighty Oak. This is a nod to the concept that our strength comes from our roots. They stabilize us and always lead us to where we belong.
Just like the thunderbolt, it’s a primary source of power for the god of thunder, Thor. In the original translation, it’s referred to as “the grinder,” “crusher” or “thunder weapon.”
Sometimes mistaken for a fancy anchor, Mjolnir is a fitting symbol of power, perseverance, and protection.
And although it’s nowhere as close to a practical hammer (or Thor’s Mjolnir in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), the Nordic symbol is very popular in necklaces and bracelets.
Also referred to as the Helm of Awe or Helm of Terror, the Aegishjalmur is a protection symbol used to instill fear in the enemy and ward off evil spirits and negative energies.
The symbol is depicted as eight tridents splitting off from the center of a small circle.
According to historians, the Nordic people would draw it on their foreheads or engrave it on the inside of their helmets. Whoever wished them harm would look upon the symbol and flee.
Besides protecting the wearer from direct threats, it also possessed magical powers that helped prevent disasters and ensured a bountiful harvest.
The Aegishjalmur symbol grants protection and the strength to endure.
The Yoni symbol is an inverted triangle. It’s a direct representation of the “womb,” “abode,” and “vagina.”
As such, the symbol is synonymous with femininity, endurance, and strength.
Alongside that, it’s also a sign of fertility and divinity. It celebrates Shakti, the Hindu goddess of femininity.
14. The Phoenix
The image of the mythical bird being reborn from the fire and starting a new life through it has turned it into a symbol of strength and a spiritual totem.
Today, the phoenix continues to be among the most popular symbols of resilience and strength throughout the world and was the inspiration for the phrase ‘rising from the ashes’.
Like the phoenix, the Griffin is another popular legendary creature with variations existing in different cultures around the globe.
With the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle and the head of a horse, Griffins were believed to be extremely powerful, wise and strong beasts.
The Griffin symbolizes strength and wisdom since it’s an amalgamation of two strong and courageous beasts: the lion and the eagle.
It was also commonly associated with strength on the battlefield and has been a popular choice for many coats of arms from families and armies throughout history.
16. The Lotus Flower
The lotus is an aquatic plant that’s adapted to grow in delta areas and slow-moving rivers. With its long history of about 3,000 years of being cultivated for the edible seeds it produces, this flower is highly significant in Eastern cultures.
The lotus flower is considered a symbol of strength and courage in Buddhism because of its resilience in surviving its murky and filthy environment.
The lotus pushes through muddy, dark water until it reaches the surface and opens its petals in full bloom. The obstacles one has to fight through to reach the top are symbolic of the obstacles one has to overcome to reach their goals or success.
17. Hamsa (The Hand of Fatima)
Hamsa, or the Hand of Fatima, is an amulet in the shape of a palm that’s highly popular in the East, and especially in Middle Eastern countries. It features the palm of a right hand, with 5 fingers pressed closed together, often with an evil eye in the center.
The symbol is seen as an amulet that wards off evil and negative energies. Many continue to wear this amulet as they believe that it would make them stronger and protect them from harm.
A simple symbol, uruz is the second Nordic rune of progression. Known as the ‘rune of the ox’, it’s a symbol of untamed mental and physical strength, endurance, virility, fertility, and bravery. The rune is usually worn as an amulet to promote health and well-being and is said to give the wearer a feeling of strength and power.
The term ‘uruz’ was derived from the wild European oxen called ‘aurochs’, which were said to be a cross between a mammoth and a bison. These beasts are now extinct although the symbol continues to be in popular use throughout the world.
19. The Dragon
The dragon is a mythical creature found in almost every major ancient culture and is depicted either as a benign or malignant being.
Mostly popular in East Asian culture, dragons symbolize strength, power and good luck for those who are worthy of it. The symbol was also used by the Chinese Emperor as a heraldic symbol, representing his imperial power and strength.
In some eastern cultures, people who are excellent and outstanding are often compared to a dragon. In fact, being called a dragon is the highest compliment a person could receive since it implies that the person is strong and powerful.
20. Scarab Beetles
The scarab beetle is one of the most ancient and significant of Egyptian symbols. It represents physical strength, vitality, and fertility as well as resurrection, longevity, and immortality. The scarab is also associated with Khepri, the powerful Egyptian god who is said to have the strength to push the sun right across the sky.
Many people choose to wear Scarab amulets and talismans since they believe it will give them the necessary energy and strength to overcome all obstacles in life.
It’s also used as a good-luck charm, the toughness of its shell invoking the feeling of strength and courage and serving as a protector to the wearer.
21. Oak Trees
Oak trees are easily recognized as a symbol of strength and sturdiness. The wood of the oak is an ideal building material used for furniture to buildings and great ships (like the USS Constitution) because of its strength and endurance.
The interesting thing about oaks is that their roots grow down to the point where they almost mirror the height of the tree, which is why they’re almost impossible to knock down.
Due to this, the tree has the ability to withstand adverse weather conditions like storms, hurricanes and tornados.
22. The Bear
A popular animal in the legends of many cultures worldwide, the bear is a famous symbol for strength, tenacity and courage. Bears rely on power, brute strength and their inner courage for their survival and in the ancient times they were respected and feared because of their ferocity.
Some people believe that the bear is a powerful totem to have while others believe that seeing a bear in one’s dreams symbolizes the person’s strength and independence.
In some cultures, it’s believed that eating the flesh of a bear will give a person unimaginable power and wisdom, making them undefeatable.
The lion, known as the ‘king of beasts’, is a majestic, carnivorous animal respected and revered in many cultures, with various interpretations.
However, it most commonly signifies strength, especially in Buddhism, where the Buddha is seen seated upon the lion, a throne of strength, consistency, and wisdom.
Lions are also depicted on the national flag of several countries like Sri Lanka, Zambia, and Belgium.
Because lions are nocturnal creatures, they’re also a symbol of command and authority over subconscious thoughts, with the night representing the subconscious mind.
Also called the ‘triple spiral’, the triskelion or triskele is a popular Celtic symbol for strength, consisting of three wheels or legs radiating from a center. When drawn as legs, they look as though they’re running in a circle, and when drawn as wheels, they look as though they’re always moving forward.
In this sense, the triskelion signifies the strength and will to move forward despite all the adversities and obstacles one might face.
The triskelion is commonly used in product logos to symbolize durability, stability or the strength of the product and it’s also seen in art, architecture, woodwork and so on that are commonly used every day.
The ailm is another symbol in Celtic culture derived from the letter ‘A’ of the Celtic alphabet, consisting of a circle with a cross inside it. It’s a popular and symbol that signifies strength and power.
The word ‘ailm’ means silver fir or conifer, an evergreen plant capable of surviving any adverse conditions and never fails to keep growing. Therefore, the symbol ailm became one of strength, endurance, stability and resilience for the Celtic people and remains so to this day.
One thing to note is that some of the symbols listed above have multiple meanings and can represent opposing concepts depending on which part of the world you’re from. For example, in the East, dragons symbolize strength, great fortune and power, whereas in the West they can represent death and destruction.
However, be that as it may, all the symbols represent strength, endurance and progress in some part of the world.