Symbols Of Protection And Their Meanings

12 Symbols Of Protection And Their Meanings

Since time immemorial, people have believed and relied on signs and symbols to fend off bad luck and evil.

These symbols are often employed as amulets, worn for their perceived magical properties that will protect the wearers from black magic, curses, injury, and other misfortunes.

Let’s delve into some of the most powerful symbols of protection that have ever existed.

12 Symbols Of Protection And Their Meanings

Symbols Of Protection And Their Meanings

1. Evil Eye

The evil eye is similar to the Egyptian wedjat, also known as the udjat eye or the Eye of Horus , which is a symbol of protection and good health. However, the Greek evil eye talisman is believed to specifically protect against a malevolent glare – the “evil eye” – given to an unsuspecting person.

This belief that dates back to at least 1250 BC is not limited to the Greeks. Various cultures also believe that receiving the evil eye will cause harm or bad luck. The evil eye talisman is believed to be a supernatural force that reflects the curse of a malicious gaze back upon those who wish ill or harm on others.

The early evil eyes were traditionally made of ceramic or clay. Glass evil eyes became popular in the Mediterranean region in about 1500 BC. The evil eye is usually a blue bead with white circles. However, modern evil eyes can come in a wide array of colors. They are typically made of glass, resin, and enamel.

2. Cornicello

The cornicello or cornetto, also known as the Italian horn, is an amulet or a talisman worn as a protection against malocchio or the evil eye and bad luck in general.

A cornicello is a twisted horn-shaped charm patterned after the horn of an eland. It was once employed to represent fertility, strength, and vitality.

As an amulet or a talisman often worn as jewelry, a cornicello is frequently made of gold, silver, plastic, red coral, terracotta, or bone. A red cornicello resembles a chili pepper. Cornicelli are sometimes hung in houses and the rearview mirrors of cars.

“Cornicello” or “cornetto” is Italian for “hornlet” or “little horn.” However, it is also called by many names such as corno which is Italian for “horn,” or corno portafortuna which means “horn that brings luck.”

3. Dreamcatcher

The dreamcatcher is perhaps the most widely recognized Native American symbol. It is a small wooden hoop that contains a mesh of horsehair, string, or yarn, and adorned with beads and feathers.

Dreamcatchers were originally created by North American Indians in their belief that it gives its owner good dreams or at least ward off nightmares.

The dreamcatcher is used as a protective talisman of protection. People use it as mentioned – to ward off bad dreams and nightmares. The Native American Indians used this charm for young children, hung above their beds or cradles.

Dreamcatchers are popularly sold in the market today. They are commonly used in jewelry and has become some sort of a fashionable trend because of their beautiful design and meaningful symbolism.

4. Horseshoe

The horseshoe as a symbol of protection is associated with a Christian legend that dates back to 959 AD – to the story of St. Dunstan and the devil.

The story says that St. Dunstan, a blacksmith, was working in his forge when a beautiful woman came to tempt him. But he saw that the woman had cloven hooves beneath her dress and knew right away that this was the devil, so he grabbed the creature’s nose with his flaming hot tongs.

The devil then disguised himself as a weary traveler asking the blacksmith for a horseshoe. Again, St. Dunstan saw through the devil’s intentions, beating him to a pulp.

The devil made one last attempt to tempt the saintly blacksmith by asking the latter to create new shoes for his horse. St. Dunstan obliged. However, instead of the horse, he nailed a horseshoe to the devil’s hoof. The devil cried in pain, begging for St. Dunstan to remove the horseshoe.

The saint only agreed when the devil swore never to come to a place which had a horseshoe nailed to the door.

This legend spawned the belief that horseshoes keep evil spirits and the devil himself away. It has been a popular symbol of protection since. It has also become associated with good fortune.

5. Single Arrow

The arrow symbols are very prominent in Native American culture because of the arrow’s importance in hunting and gathering. For a Native American Indian, the arrow is his most prized possession because he uses it to produce food for his family and as a protection from the enemies of his tribe.

A single arrow symbolizes protection, especially the one pointing to the left. An arrow pointing to the right is believed to repel evil spirits.

6. Algiz

Algiz, also called elhaz, is deemed the most powerful rune. The term “algiz” is Proto-Germanic for “protection.”

Algiz is a Norse symbol of divine blessing, protection, and defense, said to represent the upper branches of Yggdrasil or the world tree. However, this symbol is also interpreted by some to be representative of a swan in flight, an elk’s horns, or a splayed hand.

The term “algiz” is associated with the concept of the mythical beings called valkyrjur, who fly using swan feathers. In Norse mythology, they are Odin’s female helping spirits. They are life givers and proctectors.

The Germanic term “elhaz” is translated as elk. It represents elk-sedge, the flowering plant that wounds anyone who attempts to grasp it, thus, associating it with defense and protection.

Algiz may also have been a representation of a splayed hand which is a basic sign of defense.

7. Pentagram

The pentagram symbol held various meanings in different cultures.

It represented the sacred nature of five among the Celtic people. It was also the symbol of the goddess Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of death, fate, and war.

For the ancient Hebrews, each point of the pentagram signified the five books of the Pentateuch which, in turn, symbolized the repetition of the truth.

It was also an important symbol among ancient Christians, said to denote the five wounds of Christ. Like the ancient Hebrews, it was also associated with truth among Christians.

Shaped like a five-pointed star polygon, the pentagram is also sometimes known as the pentacle, pentangle, pentalpha, or star pentagon.

This symbol is usually associated with witchcraft and the occult. However, the pentagram wasn’t always portrayed negatively. Back in around 3500 BC, it was a sacred symbol used as a protection against evil spirits and black magic.

8. Cartouche

cartouche symbol

In ancient Egypt, the cartouche symbol was called “shen” or “shenu,” which means “encircle.” The term “cartouche” is pretty recent, having been around only since Napoleon Bonaparte’s time.

“Cartouche” is actually French for a muzzle-loading gun’s paper powder cartridge, which resembled the hieroglyph that the French soldiers had seen when Napoleon took them to Egypt.

A cartouche was a name plate for royals and other important figures back in the day. It was oval-shaped, used in order to distinguish them from other hieroglyphs. 

The cartouche symbol is represented as an oval placed vertically, with a horizontal bar at one end. Cartouches could also be horizontal, depending on the length of a royal name written inside it.

This oval-shaped symbol bears hieroglyphs in the center and a line underneath. The circle around the hieroglyph stands to for a magical rope and the bar beneath signifies the place where the rope is tied together. The rope circle symbolizes everything being bound by the sun which represented the king’s power over the universe.

Cartouches were solar symbols, denoting the powers of the sun, with its oval form said to symbolize the shape of the sun.Cartouche was also seen as possessing the ability to protect the kings or pharaohs from the world’s evils.

The oval shape encompassing the hieroglyphic inscription became a symbol of protection for the pharaohs. However, they later came to symbolize both good luck and protection, not just for the royals but the masses as well.

To learn more about this Cartouche Symbol, click here. 

9. Wedjat

wedjat symbol meaning

The ancient Egyptian name “wedjat” or “udjat” means “the one that is sound.” It translates to “whole,” “completed,” or “uninjured” eye, so it is not clear whether it refers to the eye of Horus that was destroyed and restored or the unharmed one.

The wedjat symbol represents healing power, well-being, protection, and rebirth. It is depicted as a stylized eye with distinctive markings and was believed to possess protective magical powers. 

The wedjat or Eye of Horus was one of the most popular amulets in ancient Egypt. It was a symbol of the healed eye of the sky god Horus. 

Horus is often depicted as a falcon-headed man, thus, the wedjat eye features a combination of both human and falcon elements.

It appears as a human eye with a horizontal cosmetic line that extends from its outer corner and mixes it with the stylized markings of a falcon’s face, which are reflected in the vertical extension below the pupil and in the diagonal line with a curled or spiral tail. 

The wedjat eye or Eye of Horus symbolyzes healing, well-being, and protection, as well as rebirth. However, it also came to denote other concepts.

A prominent example of this is the moon because of its waxing and waning that was likened to the injury and restoration of Horus’ eye.

To learn more about this Wedjat symbol, click here. 

10. Menat

menat symbol meaning

The menat, also known as menit and menyat, is a symbol consisting of a beaded necklace and a counterpoise. An emblem of the sky goddess Hathor, it was used in ancient Egyptian religion as a symbol of divine protection. 

A menat is a talisman or an amulet that can be described as an ornament or religious object believed to bestow good luck or protection against evil, danger, and diseases. It is typically carved or inscribed with magic signs, symbols, formula, or sacred text.

The menat’s counterweight was deemed magical and symbolized the life-force. Used as amulets, the menat was believed to attract prosperity and good fortune.

The emblem of the Egyptian sky goddess Hathor, the menat necklace has two parts. The front of the menat necklace consisted of strings of beads designed in a crescent shape. 

Attached to the beads was a small shield-like plate called an aegis, which is Greek for “shield,” meant to rest on the chest. The aegis was often inscribed or bore depictions of deities associated with Hathor.

On the other ends of the strings was a counterweight hanging down the back of the wearer. This piece of jewelry always featured a sun disk.

The menat necklace was worn by ancient Egyptians, both men and women, to promote health and vitality. Among women it was believed to bestow fruitfulness and health. For men, it represented virility.

The necklace was also believed to provide good luck and fortune; ward off danger, sickness, and evil spirits; and serve as a protection in the afterlife.

To learn more about this Menat symbol, click here. 

11. Ankh

ankh symbol

The ankh is a T-shape Egyptian hieroglyph that bears a loop on top. In Latin, it is known as a crux ansata, which translates as an ansate – or handle-shaped – cross.

In Egyptian culture, the dead carry this symbol as a sign that they seek immortality from the gods, thus, ankhs were placed in sarcophagi to ensure life after death.

The ankh symbol generally represents life and rebirth. The ankh is used to symbolize the Goth subculture as well as a represesentative of the African cultural identity and Neopagan belief systems.

This teardrop-shaped loop cross is a sacred symbol for Egyptians. The ankh was among the most popular decorative motifs in ancient times, not only in Egypt but its neighbors as well. Back then, it symbolized the spring where the elixir of immortality and divine virtues flowed.

Sometimes referred to as “the key of life” or “the key of the Nile,” the ankh symbol represents eternal life in Ancient Egypt and is widely used as an amulet for protection.

To learn more about this Ankh symbol, click here. 

12. Chatra 

Chatra symbol meaning

The chatra, also spelled chhatra, is the Sanskrit word for “parasol” or “umbrella.” According to the Sivapurana, “chatra” refers to the parasol or umbrella which forms part of the royal paraphernalia.

Chatra is also defined as one of the fourteen gems or ratna serving the Cakravartin, the universal king who rules the world in ethical and benevolent ways.

This chatra is a glittering white umbrella. It is not only used as a symbol of the Cakravartin’s dignity as a ruler, but also as a protective symbol since it is supposed to cripple his foe by its look. 

The chatra is a parasol/umbrella symbol is believed to protect one from evil forces. It is also associated with equality and universality among men, but it has many other meanings different cultures and communities.

In other words, the chatra is a sign of honor and respect. It symbolizes the protection over the shadow that it casts.The chatra is frequently featured in the thangkas or Buddhist paintings depicting traditional Tibetan medicine.

It is used as a representation of sacred medicinal and hallucinogenic mushrooms of the Himalayan pharmacopeia. In this manner, the chatra is used as a symbol of protection from sickness.

To learn more about this Chatra symbol, click here. 

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