14 Symbols You’ve Encountered but Never Understood

By Aaron Stone

Symbols have played a crucial role in human communication and culture throughout history. They provide a convenient and visually appealing way to convey complex ideas and messages. While some symbols are widely understood, their meanings are often obscured by individuals who are unfamiliar with their cultural or historical origins. Although many people are not aware of the meanings and exact origins of the symbols they encounter, a few have made a significant impact, such as the light switch whose symbol is ubiquitous. In contrast, others still remain to be discovered. Here is a list of 14 popular symbols you may have seen, but there are misunderstandings about what they mean.

Yin and Yang

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The yin and yang symbol is one of the most recognized icons in Chinese philosophy. It embodies the essence of duality and balance. The design consists of two dynamic shapes that show how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are interdependent.

Anarchy

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The emblem of anarchy, often illustrated as the letter “A” encircled, signifies the lack of government or obligation. Insurgents and anti-authoritarian movements globally have taken it up as an expression of defiance against suffocating arrangements and structured hierarchies.

Eye of Providence

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The All-Seeing Eye, also called the Eye of Providence, is a symbol that Freemasonry, Christianity, and conspiracy theorists use. It depicts an eye enclosed within a triangle or radiant light and is usually thought to represent divine providence, omniscience, or enlightenment.

Om

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The Om Symbol, an emblem held in great reverence in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Dharmic religions, signifies the resonating sound of the universe and embodies the crux of reality. This primordial mark is derived from three Sanskrit letters—A, U, and M—representing creation, preservation, and destruction, much like the waxing, lingering, and waning cycle of the moon, as well as the phases of our consciousness—awareness, dreaming, and deep shut-eye.

Peace Symbol

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The peace symbol, known as the “peace sign” or “CND symbol,” was designed in the 1950s to signify nuclear disarmament and peace. It was originally used in a campaign that urged for the end of all nuclear weapons. It has a circle in the middle of it, then it has a line at the bottom that branches off into a “V” shape and has another line going straight down to the bottom. It represents an individual who is in despair because they believe the ending of the world is inevitable because of nuclear weapons.

Swastika

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The swastika has been considered a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in various cultures, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Native American traditions, for centuries. However, it will forever be associated with the crimes of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. The hook-armed, right-facing Nazi swastika is today universally regarded as the emblem of hate, sure signs of anti-Semitism and terror throughout the world.

The Cross

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An important emblem in the Christian tradition, the crucifix symbolizes both Jesus Christ’s death and ultimate resurrection. This image appears in three of the four gospels. It also symbolizes the greatest love, sacrifice, and redemption through His crucifixion.

The Pentagram

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Enclosed within a circle, the pentagram is a five-pointed star. It symbolizes five important elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. The star, frequently associated with magical practices and protection, has become deeply embedded within the spiritual and religious imaginations of Wiccans, Pagans, and those involved in the occult.

The Caduceus

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The caduceus is often used as a symbol of healthcare and medicine, but it is incorrect. The true symbol of healthcare can be found in the staff of Asclepius, which shows one snake coiled around a staff.

The LGBT Pride Flag

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Named for its familiar rainbow design, the LGBT pride flag is an emblem representing various factions of the LGBTQ community, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Made popular by its creator, Gilbert Baker, in 1978, each vibrant flag color is associated with different facets of the larger LGBTQ movement. The colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet represent sexuality, life, healing, sunlight, nature, and spirit, respectively.

The Triskelion

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The triskelion is a Celtic and Neolithic symbol of three spirals interlocked together. It is linked with life cycles, spiritual growth, and eternity. This symbol stands for unity and continuity and has become a favored symbol for various cultures and organizations.

Crossed Swords

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Crossed swords are powerful symbols of preparedness, strength, and military power, frequently used in national flags, military insignia, and coats of arms. The sword is a symbolic weapon associated with the ability to enforce the law and keep order, just as it was during the Crusades and as it does with the police force and military today. It may signify both a readiness for combat and to act as a judge for fairness and justice outside of combat.

The Creepy Calaveras

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This terrifying symbol has been given various names, such as the Cranium and Crossed Coco Bones, but its most well-known name is the Big Smile, or the Death’s Head, or the Black Spot. It has been used as a sign of death, terror, and hopelessness. Its teeth have been known to send shivers down a man’s spine. At some point in our lives, we have all been afraid of it.

Truths About Christianity That No One Is Ready To Hear

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Christianity has a long and complex history and many different ways to understand and practice it exist. As with any religion, some aspects of Christianity can be challenging. Here are harsh truths about Christianity that some people may not be ready to hear: Truths About Christianity That No One Is Ready To Hear

Things People Say All the Time That Are Actually Taken from the Bible

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Did you know that many commonly used (while outdated) sayings that people say all the time actually have origins in scripture, specifically the Bible? Here is a list of outdated things people say all the time that are actually taken from scripture: Things People Say All the Time That Are Actually Taken from the Bible

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