Venus of Willendorf

10 Most Popular Symbols of Femininity And Their Meanings

The feminine symbols have been around since ancient times in an attempt to define the divine femininity. Numerous symbols that represent femininity are seen in different cultures across the globe and through various ages.

These symbols represent the energy, strength, and vitality of women as well as their caring and nurturing nature. Such symbols and their representations are recognized throughout the world to this day.

Let’s dive into some of the most popular symbols of femininity.

10 Most Popular Symbols of Femininity And Their Meanings

10 Most Popular Symbols of Femininity

1. Sheela Na Gig

Sheela na Gig

Sheela Na Gig (spelling variant: Sheela-na-gig), or Sheela for short, is a stone architectural figure that depicts a naked woman gesturing or displaying exaggerated genitalia.

Sheela Na Gigs are “female exhibitionists” usually found in Romanesque churches in western and central Europe, which date roughly from 1000 to 1200 CE. They can also be found, although less often, on secular buildings from the same era.

These symbols were believed to ward off the Devil because he cannot bear the sight of a woman’s genitals. They were placed in churches and other buildings to protect the place from his presence.

In folklore, there is evidence that Sheelas were used in birthing rituals. In modern times, feminists see the Sheela Na Gig as an empowering symbol of female sexuality.

To learn more about this Sheela Na Gigs , click here.

2. Venus Symbol

Venus symbol
ImAGE by Vade Parvis, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Humans have a long history of gazing up at and studying the stars, assigning names, qualities, and symbols for all the objects in the sky. Symbols have been connected with the names of the planets, as well as their history.

The symbol of the planet Venus is primarily meant to be a sign for “female.” However, it also represents the hand mirror of the Roman goddess Venus, which is the chemical sign for copper. In ancient times, copper was the material used in making mirrors.

As Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, the Venus symbol as a representative of femininity simply cannot be disputed.

3. Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf
Image by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

At just 4.4 inches, the Venus of Willendorf is a miniature Venus figurine thought to be around 25,000 to 30,000 years old.

Discovered near Willendorf, Austria, in 1908, the Venus of Willendorf is tinted with red ochre and carved from an oolitic limestone which is not local to where it was found. The artifact does not have a face or feet. It is either wearing a headdress of some kind or has pleated hair.

Venus of Willendorf is also called “Nude Woman” and “Woman of Willendorf.” This female representation has been interpreted as a fertility figure, a mother goddess symbol, a good-luck totem, or an aphrodisiac created by men for their own appreciation.

If you want to see this miniature figurine, the Venus of Willendorf is being showcased in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.

4. Umay

Umay, in Turkic mythology, is the goddess of fertility and virginity, resembling the earth-mother goddesses in other cultures and religions. As such, Umay’s symbol is associated with women, mothers, and children.

Umay is the protectress of women and children. She is also accepted as a mother and a guide. For the Turkic peoples, the smiling of a sleeping baby means Umay is near it; and when the baby cries, it signifies that Umay has left.

For the Kyrgyz people, Umay not only protects children but all Turkic communities around the world as well. She is also believed to bring good luck and to assist people in obtaining food and goods.

Umay is also called Sari Kiz, which means “Yellow Maiden,” because she is associated with the sun. Hence, yellow is her color and symbol and she is depicted with sixty golden tresses that resemble the rays of the sun.

5. Cats

Cat Symbol Feminnity
Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

Cats are frequently seen as a symbol of femininity throughout history because of their feminine traits – from purring and walking gently to having a calming energy. Cats often make people think about intelligent feminine energy rather than its counterpart which is more commonly associated with rougher animals.

The feminine mystery possessed by cats symbolizes the positive, creative, and fertile aspects of womanhood. The cat as a symbol of femininity contains more positive aspects such as the spiritual instinct, fertility, richness, and healing or nurturing.

These animals also symbolize pregnant women. They have as well been related to the moon by virtue of their feminine nature.

6. Elephants

Image by bushveldcamper from Pixabay

Elephants have come to symbolize feminine power, thanks to the fact that elephant groups rely on their elder “stateswomen.” Family groups among African elephants, which range from two to more than 20, is led by the oldest and most experienced female.

Elephants are amazing animals – the matriarchs more so, as they have an astonishing influence over decision-making in the group, enhancing the survival of the members.

While gentle and wise, they become fierce protectors when the group is in danger. Hence, these amazing beasts have also come to represent wisdom and royalty, as well as war and sovereignty.

7. Moon

Moon Symbol of feminity
Image by veverkolog from Pixabay

The cycle of the moon reminds us that all things on Earth have a natural cycle. There are cultures that believe in the “rebirth” of the moon as a hint at reincarnation, or the rebirth a.k.a. renewal of the soul.

The moon is universally accepted as a feminine symbol, whereas the sun represents male qualities. The moon is often associated with feminine qualities like passion and delicacy.

The moon symbol denotes the rhythm of time as it manifests the cycle. Its association with menstrual cycles has been longstanding, with both the lunar month and the menstrual cycle running on the same period.

The round shape of the full moon and a pregnant woman’s belly also links the celestial body and the female fertility.

8. Gaia

Image by Mary Harrsch via flickr

Gaia, the Greek earth goddess or the Mother Earth herself, symbolizes fertility and all life on earth.

In Greek mythology, Gaia is the reason that the mountains, seas, plains, rivers, the god Uranus, and the starry heavens exist. While she is rarely mentioned in a lot of myths, she is one of the Greek primordial deities.

As the very heart and soul of the earth and the actual source of all things there are, Gaia represents an all-loving mother earth, thus denoting nourishment, nurture, and protection.

9. Lotus

As a sacred feminine element in Hindu culture, the lotus flower symbolizes beauty and fertility, as well as prosperity of the soul. The unopened and opened petals of this flower are symbolic of the various stages of one’s spiritual “unfolding” in life.

Because this flower rises from the mud without stains, lotus is often seen as a purity symbol. A lotus also returns to the murky water every evening and opens its blooms at dawn, making it a symbol of strength, as well as resilience and rebirth.

10. Kokyangwuti

Kokyangwuti, or the Spider Grandmother in Hopi culture, is revered for her wisdom. Kokyangwuti is viewed as a leader. She is the wise woman who symbolizes all good things.

In her spider form, Kokyangwuti lives underground. She is called upon by the Hopi people for advice whenever good decision-making is needed. She is also invoked when someone is sick as the Spider Grandmother is believed to cure illnesses and ailments.

Kokyangwuti as a symbol denotes wisdom and good leadership, and is also seen as a bestower of good fortune.

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