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14 Powerful Symbols of Courage and Resilience

Courage and resilience are just some of the many characteristics that humans strive to display in their lifetimes. Representations of such ideals have been present in many cultures and religions all throughout the world. In this article, we’re going to discuss a wide variety of symbols that pertain to these attributes and why they are significant.

Symbols of Courage

Courage means having the strength to face your fears. It’s a vital characteristic that allows people to grow and become stronger.

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While it’s also often mistaken as foolishly facing off an enemy or a task without preparation and understanding, courage is important, allowing people to face difficult situations and to rise from their problems.

Here are some of the most common symbols associated with courage.     

1. Lion

Gold Lion Pendant Necklace
A powerful symbol of courage. See it here.

As the King of the Jungle, lions are the most common symbol of courage and bravery and are easily recognized as such in most cultures.

This is because the lion is at the top of the food chain in the African savanna and is a fearless predator, going after what it wants.

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This association of lions with courage goes back thousands of years. Egyptians used lions not just to represent courage, but also as protectors.

They associated lions with the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, who is otherwise known as the Eye of Ra. Egyptians believe that Sekhmet used her power to protect the weak and banish evil.

Lions as protectors also ring true for Hindus, who use these beautiful creatures to represent Vishnu, one of the members of their Holy Trinity.

Ancient Greeks also associated lions with gods like Dionysus, Artemis, and Apollo who supposedly used lions for their chariots. In this representation, lions are believed to be protectors of homes, guardians of the dead, and guardians of shrines and thrones.

2. Wolf 

A symbol of bravery. See it here.

Another animal that is associated with courage and bravery is the wolf. But just like lions, wolves symbolize not just courage, but also wisdom, nobility, and honor.

Wolves are among the many spirit animals invoked by Native Americans. For them, wolves also often appear in dreams as a guide in your journey in life toward self-discovery.

This is why many wear wolf totems and amulets to help lead them in the right direction.

The chiefs of tribes also sometimes wear wolfskin to represent being the leader of the pack, as a symbol of not just courage but wisdom to their clan.

3. Griffin

Griffin symbol

Another animal included on this list of symbols for courage is the mythical beast known as the griffin. Griffins are legendary creatures with the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle.

Since the Middle Ages, griffins are believed to be protectors of treasures and possessions of their owners.

Because of the combination of the qualities of lions and eagles, griffins are believed to emulate courage, boldness, and wisdom.

This is why griffins also represent military courage, strength, and leadership. To depict this, griffins are always shown to have spread wings and talons posed and ready to strike.

4. Dagger


Daggers, or any short knives, are used as a symbol of courage in heraldry. It’s believed that those who use daggers in a fight are brave because they dare initiate a fight in close combat.

5. Borage

borage flowers

Borage flowers are the ultimate symbol of courage in the world of plants. The origin of its name is unknown, but it is commonly believed that it was derived from the term carago which means I bring courage.

The Celts added borage to their wine to give them an ounce of bravery before the battle. Roman soldiers ate leaves and flowers from the borage plant before going to war.

Even Medieval knights wore scarves sewn with borage flowers to make them more fearless.

Borage flowers are also known as tailwort, starflowers, barrach, and bees brea. Because of its association with courage, borage flowers are believed to be masculine and are also sometimes linked to the zodiac sign Leo and the planet Jupiter.

6. Golden Fish

two golden fish Buddhism

Aside from the lion, Buddhists also associate courage with golden fish, because of how they fearlessly and freely swim through oceans without drowning. These golden fish are usually depicted as carp which are highly regarded creatures for their beauty and size.

7. Red

red color

Among all colors of the spectrum, red is the color that symbolizes courage. This is one reason the color red is commonly used in flags.

However, the color red also has negative meanings which include anger, danger, and destruction.

8. Mjolnir

Thor's hammer in jotunheim

Thor’s mighty hammer, mjolnir, represents courage, strength, and generosity. With the mjolnir symbol, Vikings believed they could invoke Thor’s powers and grant them strength and courage to face their foes. Even today, Thor’s Hammer continues to be a symbol of power and bravery.  

Symbols of Resilience

While courage is about bravery and fearlessness, resilience is about the ability to weather any storm and endure.

It’s another facet of strength and quality that’s essential in life, as it means having the strength to overcome inevitable difficulties in life. Below is a list of common representations of resilience.

1. Helix / Spiral

Spiral symbol

The helix is the most popular symbol of resilience because of its prevalence in nature. Many things in nature bear the helix or spherical figure like galaxies, plants, and shells from prehistoric times.

One example is the Maori Koru symbol, which symbolizes resilience and growth. The helix is often associated with stability and strength because items with such shapes can often stand the test of time.

2. Green and Brown

Green and brown color

Because of its association with nature, the color green represents resilience, youth, and sometimes good fortune.

Brown is another color that symbolizes resilience because it is often the color of tree trunks and land, which represent stability and growth.

The two colors are among the most common in nature, which strengthens their association with resilience and endurance.

3. Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterfly

The monarch butterfly is the only two-way migratory butterfly alive, traveling to Mexico for winter and back to North America for spring. This amazing endurance and resilience have made the monarch a much-loved symbol of resilience.

In the modern world, immigrant rights activists have adopted the symbol of the monarch butterfly to represent migration, as these butterflies are known for their annual migration and movements.

In addition, like the monarch, which faces many obstacles and yet migrates yearly and adapts to its new environment successfully, migrants also show resilience.

4. Lotus Flower

Lotus flower

The lotus flower is a representation of resilience, not just because of its ability to weather strong storms and winds effectively, but because it’s rooted in muck and filth, and yet rises above it all to bloom in purity and beauty. As such, the lotus symbolizes the ability to overcome difficult situations in life, and to reach upwards spiritually.

5. Plum Blossom

artificial plum blossoms
A flower that blooms in harsh storms. See them here.

Plum blossoms have been the national flower of Taiwan since 1964. The Taiwanese believe that it represents resilience and perseverance. This is because despite many challenges, the way plum blossoms bloom vibrantly even during the harshest winter storms.

But that’s not all, plum blossom trees usually last for a long time, many of which live to be more than thousands of years old, strengthening its association with endurance.

6. Semicolon

Semicolon beaded bracelet
A symbol of resilience. See it here.

The semicolon is no longer just a simple punctuation mark because, in modern times, it has also become an important symbol of survival. It’s a badge of pride for those who suffer from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and addiction but have chosen to live another day. It symbolizes the resilience of those who struggle to live with mental health issues and banish their thoughts of suicide. 

Wrapping Up  

Courage and resilience are two amazing traits that humans possess, and the symbols that embody these qualities are an effective way to remind us of them. These symbols of courage and resilience have the power to inspire people to act and stay strong in the face of adversity.

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12 Symbols That Represent Freedom (And Their Origins)

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As she grew up reading books on mystery, mythology, fantasy, and adventure, Olive developed an urge to explore the world as an adult. After completing a degree in Mass Communications, she built a career in marketing for the past two decades but has spent most of her vacations backpacking through different countries. During her trips, Olive likes to immerse herself in the local culture to further expand her understanding of other people and their lifestyles, which she now uses to aid her writing.