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Symbols Strike a Chord in the Depths of the Soul, the Mind, and the Body

“The symbol strikes its roots in the most secret depths of the soul; language skims over the surface of the understanding like a soft breeze… Words make the infinite finite; symbols carry the mind beyond the finite world of becoming into the realm of infinite being.” ~J.J. Bachofen

Images, words, and thoughts are all symbolic echoes of what is evident, clear, and apparent in our life. Images in our mind imitate mental symbols for something authentic. Words reflect a symbol for a feeling, process, concept, thing, or relationship. Thoughts reveal a combination of all these symbols.

Symbols allow for more conveyance with less. For example, I can talk about an automobile even though I cannot lift one. I can describe a black hole, even though I cannot travel to one. I can show you a picture of a gentleman easier than I can describe him.

Symbols can be seen as the vibrational essence of what they represent. They are the building blocks of communication and consciousness. They are containers of meaning that can be stored in one mind and expressed with others, each container enhancing consciousness. When a symbol genuinely speaks to us then we are said to resonate with it.

Here are five symbols and their traditional and modern day meaning.


In Grphoenix photoeek mythology, and in the Talmud, a phoenix represents immortality and the victory of life over death. It is able to recycle its own life. The phoenix is associated with the Sun and obtains new life, igniting itself into a magnificent fire and rising from the ashes. It then reemerges from the ashes very much alive – reborn and renewed.

The symbol of a phoenix represents triumph and rising from flames as a champion, beating all life challenges and defeating ashes of the past.


The eleelephant photophant signifies divinity, good luck, inner wisdom, and strength. Asian and African cultures highly respect the elephant. It is often times associated to Gods and Goddesses. It is the symbol of amazing strength and power.

The most common symbolic meaning of the elephant is their connection to the divine and spiritual world. Many civilizations allowed the elephant to live amongst the community because of its strength, age and spiritual bonding. Even today, elephants participate in various religious ceremonies in several Asian countries. Societies often make contributions to elephants or ask for their blessings.

In India, for example, the elephant represents absolute divinity. Related to the Hindu god, Ganesh, elephants are in charge of unblocking the many obstacles of life. Ganesh is also the benefactor of the arts, intelligence and wisdom.

The elephant is also a symbol of good luck likewise cultivating your inner wisdom. Some Asian cultures think of the elephant as a mystical animal with cosmic significance. They appear in drawings and etchings carrying the world on its monumental shoulders. Other attractions to this magnificent animal are their seniority in the world and strength.

Buddhists use the image of a White elephant as it embodies the figure of the Buddha. In this implication, the white elephant symbolizes the premise that Buddha fortified: sincerity, compassion, peace, kindness and love.

Koi Fish

koi fish photoThe Koi fish signifies immense inner strength, resilience, and courage due to its ability to swim miles upstream. In Japanese and Chinese mythology when a Koi fish is caught, it behaves as a samurai by bravely waiting for its death. Hence, it’s considered a symbol of courage and strength.


The hummingbird reminds us to always seek out the good in life, the beauty of each day, and be chummingbird photoonscious of how we expend our daily energy. The prime message of the hummingbird animal totem is: “The sweetest nectar is within!”

Many cultures and indigenous people think of the hummingbird as a symbol representing overcoming difficult times, freedom, peace, love, joy, hope, and life.

In some legends, the hummingbird is often depicted as a healer or as a spirit being who helps people in need. In Native American tribes, seeing a hummingbird is a sign of good luck.


butterfly photo

The Greek work for butterfly is psyche. The origin of the name came from the Greek Goddess of the soul. Acco

rding to Greek mythology Psyche, the Goddess of the soul, married Eros, the God of love, affec

tion, and desire. Consequently, the butterfly represents the connection between the mind, the soul, and love indicating that all are one.

A single butterfly represents transformation, while a butterfly with flowers signifies a connection with nature and two butterflies symbolizes love.

The butterfly is a gentle and beautiful creature with colorful, delicate wings. Such a tender being that has to live in the wild represents the need to care for mother Earth and nature.

The butterfly is symbol for femininity due to its tenderness and an image for strength because it faces many problems in nature and in life.

The butterfly is also a symbol for rebirth, resurrection, transformation, and overcoming struggle. The butterfly undergoes a short-lived life and develops in different stages turning from an unnoticed creature into something beautiful. The butterfly begins as a caterpillar then turns into a chrysalis before finally undergoing a metamorphosis and turning into a beautiful butterfly.

You may want to explore what animals resonate most with you. The attraction could be something your mind, your body, or your soul may be trying to communicate to you. Having a personal symbol is also a great reminder that even during difficult times, there is rebirth, renewal, and an awakening. What symbol sings to you?

Photo by Tim Green aka atoach

Symbols Strike a Chord in the Depths of the Soul, the Mind, and the Body


As a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC #96155) residing in Los Angeles, I offer a safe and comfortable environment for individuals, couples, and groups to heal from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, and neglect; anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and adapt easily through life’s many transitions. We meet weekly for 50 minutes in a non-judging environment in West Los Angeles, or via Skype or FaceTime. We work together to determine your goals, assess your needs, and create a healing plan. Mindfulness, ACA tools, and nurturing support in the here and now are part of my approach to unleash critical thoughts, destructive beliefs, and assist in helping in reparenting the child within. I welcome you to contact me at [email protected] l will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your email.

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APA Reference
, . (2018). Symbols Strike a Chord in the Depths of the Soul, the Mind, and the Body. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 18 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2018
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