Symbols and Totems
World Peace Jewelry: Symbols and Totems Guide
In addition to the traditional peace sign symbol, at World Peace Jewelry we use a myriad of symbolic pendants and charms in our handcrafted jewelry. Below are just a few of the more common symbols we use in our jewelry as totems and talismans. Do check back because we will make additions to this page frequently.
Symbols and Totems
Angel - a symbol of devotion, spirituality and faith. Represents a relationship with God. An angel can be intended as a figure of guidance and protection. Angels also symbolize divine will and are the messengers of God.
Winged messengers appear in a number of religions as intermediaries between the spiritual and material worlds. They appear most often in Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths.
The word angel comes from the Greek 'aggelos', meaning messenger. Angels make frequent appearances in the Christian Bible. Angels act as God's intermediaries, carrying out God's will in the affairs of man.
Ankh - symbolizes eternal life and the breath you will need in the afterlife.
Bee - Denotes industrious and cooperative teamwork, dilligence and a sense of order. In mediterranean civilizations, the bee was seen to be brave, chaste, industrious, clean and live harmoniously. Symbols of purity and abstinence. In the secular world, the bee was a royal symbol and the queen bee was long regarded as a King.
Also a sign of creativity, wealth and eloquence. The Egyptians used it as a symbol of regal power.
Bees are, in many cultures, a symbol of hope, and also inspire cleanliness, social organization, tireless work, honey-sweet rhetoric, intelligence and poetry.
The bee symbolizes the original source of all life and inspiration. Looked upon as a symbol of the potency of nature, because while creating a magical elixir, known for its preservation properties, they were also pollinating flowers, increasing plant fertility, and abundance. Because of these symbolic meanings, the bee has been used as an emblem by those who wish to associate themselves with the inspiration of the Gods.
Bird - Birds are believed to mediate between earth and heaven, the physical and spiritual worlds. A bird in flight symbolizes freedom and the spiritual development of the soul.
Blue Jays represent fearless protectors. They symbolize determination, assertiveness, intelligence, clarity and vision.
Crows - Long believed to be an omen of transformation, American Indians believe the crow is the keeper of the sacred law and protects the sacred writings of the Great Spirit. The Osage Indians believed that crows bring good news. Crows represent protections, a spirit guide and symbol of light.
Dove - especially white doves - symbolize peace.
Swallow (also bluebirds and sparrows) - symbols of love and loyalty, good fortune and returning home safely
Butterfly - There is a Native American legend that says, " If you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. Since butterflies cannot speak, your secret is ever safe in their keeping. Release the butterfly, and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted."
They are a symbol of change, joy, and color. (There is also an association of Faerie folklore with butterflies.) Their flight appears as dancing, and a reminder not to take things so seriously. They have a sense of lightness and joy. They are reminders to get up and move, for if you can move you can dance, and dance brings joy.
The butterfly is a powerful symbol for transformation. It leaves the safety of the cocoon in it's new form. This is an excellent image for anyone contemplating, or in the midst of a major change. A butterfly is a strong symbol of metamorphosis, with distinct stages. The butterfly is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises. Change and transformation are inevitable for us all, but it does not have to be traumatic.
Butterfly symbolism is also closely tied to the idea of spirits and souls. It has been used in many religions and cultures. Psyche is the Greek word for both soul and butterfly. The belief was that butterflies were human souls searching for a new reincarnation, which gave the creature uncanny and sometimes ominous connotations. This symbolism was also used in early Christianity as a symbol of the soul. Celts thought that women became pregnant by swallowing butterfly souls. These butterfly-souls flew about seeking a new mother.
Other cultures believed that spirits of the dead took the form of white butterflies. In northern Europe to see one flying at night was a warning of death, and some said that the soul-butterfly's ability to leave the body in sleep accounts for dreams.
The Chinese believed a jade butterfly suggested a wedding of souls, making it an appropriate gift for the groom to give to his bride.
Circle - A symbol of unity, because all the regular polygons are embraced by the circle. It is also the symbol of infinity, without beginning or end, perfect, the ultimate geometric symbol.
Crane - Denotes a sense of inquisitiveness. This is a symbol of renewal and of Christ resurrected. In China, it is a symbol of longevity, also for wisdom and peace.
A crane soaring toward the sun denotes desire for 'social elevation'. In the legends of India, however, it denotes deceit and knavery. It has also been denoted as a symbol of vigilance. See Chinese Symbols for more info
Cross - used not just for ornamentation, but also religious significance. The cross is a sign of consecration. For Christians it symbolizes God's act of love and atonement in Christ's sacrifice and Jesus' victory over sin and death.
Daisy - symbolizes innocence and gentleness. Associated with loyal love, patience and simplicity.
Dog - The dog symbolizes faithfulness and guardianship. Dogs are considered loyal and temperate and the dog is a symbol of a skilled hunter. They were also associated with priests since priests were thought of as watchdogs against the devil. Dogs symbolize courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity
Dolphin - symbolize balance, kindness and charity. They also promote safe travel. Dolphins move through life with grace and sense of playfulness. Some believe dolphins are a warning to humans of the danger of ignoring the balance of the natural world.
Dragonfly - A symbol of renewal and change; positive force and the power of life in general. Dragonflies can also symbolize the sense of self that comes with maturity. A dragonfly is a wonderful reminder that we must live life to the fullest with the short time we have available.
Elephant - A symbol of huge strength and stature, wisdom and courage. Elephants are also an emblem of the call to war, in particular, the crusades. This symbol is very fitting for someone who has bravely followed the sound of the trumpet into battle Elephants are symbols of wisdom in Asian cultures, and are famed for their memory and high intelligence.
Elephants are increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching. Once numbering in the millions, the African elephant population has dwindled to between 470,000 and 690,000 individuals. The elephant is now a protected species worldwide, with restrictions in place on capture, domestic use, and trade in products such as ivory.
The elephant denotes great, long lasting memory or memories, can also mean a generous and gregarious nature It has an image of great strength. It denotes intelligence.
A white elephant announced the birth of Gautama Buddha. The white elephant brings salvation from worldly entanglements. In Hinduism , Ganesha, God of wiring and wisdom in general, has an elephant's head with with one tusk and rides a mouse. The elephant is the chief of attendants on the God Shiva. It is a symbol of victory of life over death.
Fairy / Faerie / Fairies - Spirits of peace. Originally worshiped as gods and goddesses, generally recognized as metaphors for the night sky and stars. Fairies symbolize nature, love, fate and destiny. Magical beings which bring something wonderful and fantastic, encouraging hope, joy and a sense of childlike innocence.
Feather - worn by American Indians to symbolize their communication with Spirit. Feathers represent the power of air and wind and symbolize prayer.
Frog - symbolize good luck, abundance, transformation, and fertility. The Egyptians saw frogs as symbols of life and fertility and they worshiped the frog Goddess Heget. Greeks and Romans saw frogs as symbols of fertility and harmony. Frogs assisted their Goddess Aphrodite. The Chinese believe the spirit of the frog means healing and good forturne in business.
Goddess - symbolize fertility, love and the female body; the female deities who promoted fertility and watched over pregnancy and birth in many ancient civilizations. Fertility Goddess statues and carvings were often placed near a couples bed to the fertility goddess to work in their favour.
The Goddess can also symbolize the earth as our mother and the source of life, including plant life; trees, the herbs and grains that sustain life.
Grapes & Wine - Symbolic of fertility, joy, intoxication, healing and youthfulness. As wine, they represent the alchemical process of infusing the creative spirit into matter, and are used in the sacred rites of many civilizations, representing the presence of the Divine Spirit on earth. Symbolizing the Blood of Life, wine is offered as a libation to many gods, but is especially sacred to Pan.
Grapes are symbolic of good luck. Though they are not easily distinguished from vines they do appear in heraldry occasionally.
Fruit of all kinds was considered to be evidence of God's kindness and a symbol of the goodness of providence.
Heart - symbolizes love, unity, connection, compassion
Horse - Symbolize power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength, freedom an emblem of life-force. Many cultures assign the attributes of the four elements to the Horse: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.
The Celts hailed the Horse as the beast belonging to the sun god, and assigned it a place with the goddess Epona . In Hindu the Horse is linked to Varuna and as such, is equated to the cosmos. Additionally, a white horse is believed to be the last incarnation of Vishnu. Buddha is said to have left this physical plane riding a white horse. Also in Buddhism a winged horse is often depicted carrying the Book of Law.
As one of the symbols in the Chinese zodiac, the horse in Chinese culture is equated with Gemini, and represents practicality, love, endurance, devotion and stability.
As a Native American symbol, the Horse symbol meanings combine the grounded power of the earth with the whispers of wisdom found in the spirit winds. The Horse has long been honored has helper, messenger, and harbinger of spirit knowledge.
House - Symbolizes family and signifies protection
Hummingbird - symbolizing love, joy, and beauty, the hummingbird is a messenger of hope and jubilation. Often used as symbols of: energy, vitality, renewal, sincerity, healing, persistence, peace, infinity, agility, playfulness, loyalty, and affection. They remind us to persistently persue our dreams and to seek out the good and beauty in life.
Koi (Carp, Fish) - In Japanese symbolism the koirepresents perserverance in adversity and strength of purpose. The strongest koi swims upstream until it reaches the final waterfall, where it vaults into the mists and becomes a water dragon.
According to Japanese legend if a koi succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called Dragon Gate on the Yellow River it would be transformed into a dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement.
More generally, the Japanese associate koi (also known as carp) with perserverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.
Others say it means good fortune or luck.
Kokopelli - worshiped for centuries as the god of fertility and childbirth. A symbol of rebirth and growth which honors renewal and the cycle of life.
Leaf - a single leaf symbolizes happiness
Lily - symbolizes purity, chastity and innocence
Lotus - symbolizes purity and enlightenment; birth and rebirth. Also a symbol for fertility and creation.
Moon - The moon has been a traditional symbol of femininity, women, and fertility. In many older civilizations, the moon was represented by a female goddess, or the moon was taken care of by a female goddess.
In comparison to this, traditional Japanese literature has the moon being male, and the sun being female. Thus, you can tell where the artist is pulling from if the moon is refered to as a she or as a he. If it's a "he" the artist is pulling from traditional Japanese folklore and religion. If it's a she, the artist is pulling from more European and African folklore and religion.
The moon combined with the sun - symbolizes duality; equal balance of male and female.
Rabbit - symbolize fertility, love and good luck
Rose - symbolizes hope and joy; Used to represent love, especially a love that is pure
Scarab - symbolizes resurrection and the renewal of life. Spiritually connected to the sunrise, the scarab is associated with the Egyptian God of the Rising Sun (Khepri). Scarabs have been used as magical amulets, talismans, and royal seals.
Seashells - played an important part in the religious symbolism of the early inhabitants of Mexico, where it symbolized birth and life itself. Some baptismal fonts are carved in marble in imitation of a giant shell, symbolizing Christian rebirth. Its use as a trumpet since time immemorial also symbolizes power and authority.
A seashell represents spiritual gifts. To see whole and broken seashells, one is looking at the good and bad situations in one's life.
Starfish - symbolize healing and regeneration. Starfish represent infinite divine love, as well as inspiration, intuition, fertility, happiness, wealth, peace and love.
Stars - Stars in the sky are a thing of mystery, immagination, and adventure. Usually a stary sky is used as a backdrop to a romantic scene, where the hero and heroine stare off into the night sky and it's beauty. Stars symbolize wishes and good portents (as in the old custome of wishing on a falling star)
Sun - The sun symbolizes awareness. Often used to represent the god (as opposed to goddess). Combined with the moon - symbolizes duality; equal balance between male and female.
Sunflower - symbolize warmth, happiness, adoration and longevity.
Violet - symbolizes faithfulness, humility and chastity