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Symbolisms have a great influence in representing significant changes in life. Some of these symbols have been around since the dawn of civilization, while others are rooted in human experiences. From flowers to trees and cultural symbolism, we’ve rounded up a list of symbols of new beginnings to bring a dose of inspiration into your life.
The word birch is derived from the Sanskrit term bher that means shining white, or bhurga that literally means a tree whose bark is used for writing upon, referencing to its white bark that can peel away from the tree like paper. In some regions, it’s known as a pioneer tree, since it’s one of the first trees that grow quickly in the woodlands even after natural disasters.
One of the most sacred trees for the Celts, birch tree symbolizes new beginnings, rebirth and hope. In the Celtic Ogham—an ancient Irish alphabet now known as the Celtic Tree Alphabet—the names of the letters are interpreted as names of shrubs or trees, where each letter corresponds to the characteristics of a certain tree. The Gaelic word for birch is beith, which is also the letter B of the alphabet.
To celebrate new beginnings, birch trees are used to make maypoles during the Beltane or Gaelic May Day festival, along with other Celtic festivities like Samhain and Imbloc. Because of its symbolism, it was also used for infants’ cradles and besom brooms, in hopes of removing negative energy from homes. In Native American culture, the tree stands for truth and the cleansing of the past for a new beginning.
Flowers aren’t only beautiful to look at; they also carry meaningful symbolism. In the language of flowers, daffodils represent new beginnings, renewal and rebirth since they’re one of the early bloomers in spring, and a great indicator that winter is over.
What’s more, yellow is their most popular color, which stands for happiness and optimism. As a symbol of fresh beginnings, bouquets of daffodils are often gifted to those making a career change or embarking on a new journey. They’re also great as gifts for new couples, as a wish for a happy new chapter together.
A sign of peace, hope and new beginnings, the rainbow has been featured in Western art to signify the promise of better times to come. Many view it as a spiritual sign, signifying that one should break from their current path and start over.
For others, it serves as an inspiration and encouragement from their spirit guides. In the 1960s, the rainbow was incorporated into flags during the peace marches in Italy, and continued to be used by several movements of social change.
The white dove has gained significance in almost all cultures and religions. While it has long been used as a symbol of peace, it can also represent new beginnings. For Christians, the white dove is an important symbol of fresh beginnings. It makes a famous appearance in the Bible after the Great Flood, when Noah releases the dove into the world, and it returned with an olive leaf, which signified that the floodwaters were receding. It symbolized a new beginning, and that God had made peace with mankind.
For thousands of years, white doves have been used in rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. Nowadays, the tradition of releasing doves at weddings remains popular, as it’s believed to symbolize new beginnings for the newlywed, along with blessings of love, hope and peace.
The moon is symbolic of a range of beliefs and interests, especially for those who believe in the influence of celestial bodies. The phases of the moon have long been used to represent the rhythm of time, as it goes along on the cycle. Since the new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle, it has been associated with new beginnings, a fresh start and new phases in life.
Many believe that it’s the perfect time for meditation, self-reflection, goal setting, as well as starting something new, setting new intentions and initiating life changes, as the moon’s energy can help you to propel those transitions further. Some even harness the energy of the new moon with some rituals, in hopes of fulfilling their visions.
One of the most popular Maori symbols, the koru resembles the spiral form of the unfurling fern sprout. The silver fern plant from which the symbol is derived, is significant to the indigenous people of New Zealand. Apart from its abilities of growth and regeneration, the budding leaves of the plant also mark the beginning of a new calendar.
If one fern frond died, another one is born in its place, associating it with creation, life, new beginnings and hope. The Maori people pass on their history and cultural heritage through oral lore and art. Today, the koru symbol is featured not only on carvings and paintings, but also in jewelry design and tattoos.
Inguz Rune Symbol
The runic alphabet was the first writing system used by the Norse and other Germanic people, and it was more of communication and tradition rather than magic. Nowadays, the rune symbols are believed to have philosophical and magical significance, so they’re commonly used in pagan rituals and divination. While their meanings are obscure, the Inguz or Ingwaz rune is thought to symbolize fertility and new beginnings. It’s believed to have great power, so many use it to mark a new phase of life or a new path.
The metamorphosis of a butterfly from a caterpillar to a winged creature associates it with new beginnings, rebirth, hope, transformation and change. Some even regard butterflies as spiritual guides on personal growth and change, as well as on embarking a new journey in life. The Native Americans would perform the Fancy Shawl dance, inspired by the Hopi ceremony of The Butterfly Dance, to celebrate renewal and new beginnings.
In Biblical numerology, the number eight is thought to symbolize new beginnings, because the eighth day was the first day after creation. Some scholars note that eight people survived the Great Flood, which contributes to the significance of the number. However, its symbolism may vary in different cultures and religions. In China, number eight is seen as a lucky number associated with prosperity and abundance.
One of the most spiritual plants in the world, the lotus can symbolize a number of different things, from beauty to purity, rebirth and new beginnings. Rooted in the mud, the flower blooms during the day and closes up when the sun sets. The next day, it re-blooms again, looking as pure and beautiful as always. Because of its symbolism, it’s often depicted alongside divine figures in different cultures.
The ancient Egyptians thought that the flower had the ability to give new life to the deceased, as shown in the Book of the Dead. In Eastern cultures, gods and goddesses are often depicted holding a lotus or sitting on the flower. They’re also popular symbols for people who have experienced hardships and challenges in life and are looking forward for a fresh start.
In times of distress, we need something to lift our spirits and motivate us on our journey. Whether you want to celebrate a fresh start, or simply like to change and improve your life, these symbols of beginnings will give new hope and a dash of inspiration.