The religious world is filled with quite a few mysteries, some we know and accept and others we reject. Talk about symbols: Many of us see them but not a handful can tell what a single one means. Ask a Christian what the sign of the cross stands for and only a few have a clue and even fewer can explain it satisfactorily. It’s not like we are ignorant; some of the symbols actually have very hidden meanings. You are not in any way bound to know the meanings of all, in fact, you are not bound at all to know the meaning of any single religious symbol if it adds nothing to your life. For those who would love to know about some of the untold mysteries, here is a collection of 10 freakish religious symbols and meanings
10 Most Used Religious Symbols and Meanings
1. The Crescent and the Star – Islam
This symbol was initially used by the natives of Asia and Siberia as a symbol of the gods of the Skies. It was later adopted by the Ottoman Empire and eventually Islam as a whole around 1453 when the Turks took control of Constantinople. In this city, Constantinople, the symbol was used in reference to the Goddess Diana. When the Turks came in and took over, they stole this symbol as well as the flag of Constantinople and claimed both to Islam.
2. The Ichthys – Christianity
Ichthys is actually the Greek word for fish and contains the Greek letters IX(-)YΣ which translates to “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour.” But why fish? Well, first of all, most of Jesus Christ’s apostles were actually fishermen. Secondly, Jesus performed a number of miracles with fish. And finally, the message in Mathew 4:19 says, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
3. The Cross – Christianity
Another popular symbol in the Christian faith is the cross. Indeed, this symbol is so popular that almost all Christians carry it on one accessory or the other. The cross generally symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. The cross could come plain or as a crucifix with Jesus Christ nailed on it, a crown of thorns over his head and the Latin letters INRI which means “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews” on the top end of the cross.
4. The Menorah – Judaism
The Menorah is a candelabrum with 9 branches and is used in the celebration of Hanukkah. According to Judaism, this sign was first revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus in the Bible. Originally, the Menorah was used in lighting candles in the temple but it has also been used in the commemoration of the building of the temple in Jerusalem.
5. The Aum – Hindu
This is a Hindu mantra uttered by every Hindu faithful in the morning of each new day. The symbol is made up of 3 Sanskrit letters a, u and m which form the sound OM that means “Braham, the supreme god of Hinduism.”
6. The Yin and Yang
This Asian symbol simply refers to the perfect harmony of balance. It is rather self-explanatory; there would be no light without dark, no male without female and no good without evil such that no side exists without the other.
7. The Khanda – Sikhism
The Khanda has three symbols within it; a circle (also known as the Chakkar), two crossed curved-swords (also known as Kirpans) and a double-edged sword. A double-edged sword denotes the belief in a universal God, the circle tells of the God as one who has neither beginning nor an end and the two curved swords signify His authority. As a whole, the Khanda represents a Wholesome God.
8. The swastika – Hindu
Swastika has often been associated with the Nazi reign but this symbol is actually a Hindu symbol of good luck.
9. The Star of David – Judaism
In the Star of David, the two triangles that interlock represent the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.
10. The Wheel of Dharma – Buddhism
finally, making the list of our 10 religious symbols and meanings is the wheel of Dharma better known as Dharma-chakra is a Buddhist symbol with 8, 12, 24 or 31 spokes. The circle represents the wholesome nature of the Dharma teachings while the spokes depending on the number represent the teachings, laws or rules. The rim symbolizes mindfulness and the hub stands for discipline.
There are probably a few other religious symbols not on this list. Some of these 10 freakish religious symbols and meanings would take you the whole day if you tried to understand them. But they are definitely interesting!