16 Most Important Symbols of Life And Their Meanings

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Since the dawn of time, people have used symbols to depict every significant matter in the human life. And what could be more sigificant in life than life itself?

People throughout history, regardless of culture or religion, have accepted and recognized important signs and symbols that represent life.

Here is a list of the 12 most important symbols of life.

16 Most Important Symbols of Life And Their Meanings

1. Flower of Life

Flower of Life
Image by Tomruen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shapes in Sacred Geometry possess history, mathematical properties, and profound symbolic meanings. The symbols refer to the patterns and laws that form the basis of all life in the universe.

Representing the cycle of life, the Flower of Life symbol is one of the original and most recognized symbols in Sacred Geometry, consisting of overlapping circles that create a pattern that resembles a flower. It is said that the symbol holds the universe’s most significant and sacred patterns.

The Flower of Life depicts how all life in the universe comes from one singular source. This is represented by the circle in the center of the symbol. It is also said to contain a secret symbol hidden within the Flower of Life itself.

Leonardo da Vinci studied the Flower of Life and he found some significant matters that it holds. These are the Golden Ratio of Phi, the Fibonacci Spiral, and the Five Platonic Solids.

2. Seed of Life

Seed of Life Symbol
Image via FREE SVG

Seed of Life is another Sacred Geometric symbol that has existed for centuries, capturing the minds and imaginations of philosophers and holy men, as well as scientists.

The Seed of Life symbol consists of seven interconnected circles that represent the interconnection of life on earth and universal existence.

As the name suggests, the Seed of Life also denotes that all creation originated from a single source in one divine plan – the basis of all life and the universe itself as we know it.

In Sacred Geometry, circles represent cycles. The circle is basis of the Seed of Life. Its seven circles are interpreted to symbolize the seven days of creation. The overlapping of these circles signifies that these events did not take place independently of each other, but that each is connected to the next, building on top of what occurred before it.

3. Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a powerful symbol that holds a lot of deep symbolic meanings, the most important of which is life and its cycle: birth, death, and rebirth.

In the Tree of Life symbol, the tree’s roots extend deep into the ground while its leafy branches rise toward the sky. In this fashion, the Tree of Life can also be interpreted to denote the connection between heaven and earth.

The tree of life may also signify the four essential elements of nature: air, water, wind, and earth.

4. Cross

Cross Symbol
Image via FREE SVG

One of the oldest human symbols and the most important and well-known in Christian iconography, the cross has existed for thousands of years.

Viewed as a symbol of life, the cross symbol also represents resurrection and redemption in connection with Jesus dying on the cross to redeem the world and then to be resurrected after three days.

The points of the cross’ intersection are interpreted in some cultures as the link between the journeys of the living and the dead.

5. Chai

Chai Symbol
Image by AnonMoos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chai, pronounced like “hi” or “high,” is both a Jewish word and symbol that means “living” or “life.” As a very prominent figure in Jewish culture, one will mostly hear it in Jewish toasts during celebrations: “L’Chaim!” – which is translated as “To Life!” It is said to wish for good things to come.

The Hebrew letters that make up Chai have commonly been employed as a visual symbol practically since the beginning of Jewish history, with the Talmud claiming that “Chai” was created from Hebrew letters that constitute verses of the Torah.

Jews wear the Chai symbol as a medallion around the neck. The use of Chai as an amulet dates back to the 18th century in Eastern Europe, but as a symbol it goes a long way back to medieval Spain.

6. Water

Water symbol
Image by José Manuel Suárez, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a representative of both physical and spiritual birth, water is among the most recognizable symbols of life. People all over the world believe in this symbolism and many religions use water in baptism (“spiritual birth”), the most well-known of all may be the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

However, water also symbolizes many other different things throughout history such as fertility, purity, power, mystery, wisdom, grace, and music.

7. Eternal Flame

Eternal Flame
Image by Jennifer Boyer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The eternal flame is the symbolic flame that protects life. It is widely accepted that as long as the flame continues to burn, so does life continue to remain in the world.

8. Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life)

Nagarjun Kandukuru from Bangalore, India, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bhavachakra is the Wheel of Life or Wheel of Becoming. The wheel is divided into five or six states into which a soul can be reborn. It is held by a demonic figure called Yama.

The Bhavachakra is a mandala, or a complex image symbolizing the Buddhist view of the universe because Buddhists believe that existence is a continuous cycle of birth, life, and death, as well as rebirth and suffering that they desire to escape altogether. Liberation from this cycle can be attained only through enlightenment or “nirvana.”

The Bhavachakra is a symbolic representation of this very cycle of existence. The symbol is found painted on the walls of Buddhist temples in Tibet and India.

9. I’itoi (Man in the Maze)

Depicted by a human figure at the entrance of a maze that has one single path, I’itoi – the Man in Maze – is a sacred symbol of the Tohono O’odham people (Papago Indians) of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. The I’itoi symbol is meant to denote life.

In the Tohono O’odham culture, I’itoi – also spelled Iʼithi – is a mischievous creator god who emerged from the swirling edges of the earth that brush against the sky. I’itoi lives in a cave below the Baboquivari Peak.

The I’itoi life symbol is characterized by the path of life and all that come with it such as joy and sadness, successes and failures, among others. This symbol represents experiences and choices one makes in one’s journey through life.

The center of the maze signifies one’s life goals. Upon reaching the center, the Tohono O’odham people believe they have a final chance to look back at their path and choices before they are greeted, blessed, and passed into the next world by the Sun God.

10.  Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve were universally recognized as the first man and woman, the origins of life which is depicted in their symbol.

The Adam and Eve symbol signifies the beginning of life. As one of the most ancient symbols of life, it holds a special significance in religions like Christianity and Islam.

11. The Color Red

Red color symbol of life
Image by AKBYS, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red is a powerful color that holds multiple symbolic meanings. It represents love, passion, anger, and the most important of all – life.

Red is the driving force of life, being the color of blood, which keeps us alive.

12. Tapuat (Labyrinth)

Image by JamesJen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tapuat is a Hopi word which means “mother and child.” The Tapuat symbol is depicted by a labyrinth or maze.

The widely accepted representation of the Tapuat symbol is the relationship between a mother and her offspring, starting in the center and radiating outwards as the child’s world grows bigger.

However, the Hopi people also employs the same depiction as their symbol of life, or the “life-labyrinth,” accepting that life sometimes feels like a maze.

This labyrinth-like symbol is seen in South America and Central America as well. It was  also created by ancient European civilizations. This only connotes that almost all indigenous cultures embrace the maze or labyrinth as the consummate symbol for human life and the cycles of it.

13. Sun

Sun symbol
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The sun is a symbol that is prevalent throughout many cultures. There are others who believe that the sun is a symbol of hope, positivity, energy, and power. But most importantly, it is used to symbolize the origin of life.

The sun is one of the main sources of living things. People get energy from the sun. Plants grow because of the sun as well. In other words, it allows everyone to exist on Earth because of the light and heat it radiates. Therefore, the sun is one of the best representations of life.

14. Butterfly

Butterfly Symbol
Image by Microdac, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The butterfly is a powerful symbol. It symbolizes a variety of concepts, including freedom, hope, new beginnings, and life. It is a beautiful representation of life because it is associated with the process of a butterfly’s life, from being a caterpillar to a beautiful and free butterfly.

The transition from being a young child who is unaware of the outside world to being an adult, which marks the beginning of a new stage in one’s life, is analogous to the butterfly’s life cycle. However, the short life of a butterfly also serves as a reminder that life is short, so better enjoy it and give value to it.

Weddings are yet another important life event that uses the butterfly as a significant symbol. Some newly married couples celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in their lives by releasing butterflies. On the other hand, butterflies are sometimes set free after the passing of a loved one to represent the freedom of their soul. 

15. Bamboo


Bamboo is widely used in many cultures as a symbol of long life. It is one of the best options when giving gifts, especially at housewarming as it can represent wishing someone a beautiful and peaceful life as they enter the new chapter of their lives.

When someone gives bamboo as a gift, it means that they want the receiver to be full of life and have more energy to do the things they love. Bamboo is well-known for its ability to continue growing regardless of its environment. In the same way that life is, people need to make an effort to be resilient and prepare for everything that might happen.

16. Scroll

Image via FREE SVG

Life on earth is unpredictable. Nobody can accurately predict what the future will hold. The scroll is one of the symbols used to represent this idea. It is a symbol used to represent life and time. Like the scroll, little by little, it reveals the message the King wants to convey during ancient times. Like life, as days go by, it unfolds new chapters and learnings that will mold people’s lives for the better.

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