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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 for strength, many of which you’re likely to have come across at some point.
The phoenix is a legendary bird in Greek mythology that bursts into flames when it dies and is then born again and arises from the ashes of the fire which had consumed it. 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.
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 it has to fight through to reach the top are symbolic of the obstacles one has to overcome to reach their goals or success.
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 wellbeing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.