Sources of Symbols


(Important Note: I have only uploaded the glyphs I have used in practice sentences and sample constructions. Therefore, not every glyph indicated on these "source" pages is available on my website at the moment. Instead, you'll probably see a lot of these little guys, , indicating that the image can't be loaded.)

Christianity is central to the traditional Western world view, so a huge chunk of our symbolic vocabulary is based on Christian imagery. In fact, once you start researching it, it looks like just about every object imaginable has some sort of Christian symbolism. Like frogs. In cemeteries, a frog symbolizes resurrection. In medieval art, it would indicate the sin of lust. Now, the lady in the next cubicle tells me that her stuffed frog stands for "Fully Rely On God."

Or we can go at it from the other direction and Google the phrase "symbolizes resurrection". The results? In addition to frogs, it would appear that a vine, a butterfly, baptism, a shell, a torch, wheat and, of course, the cross also symbolize resurrection.

See also the symbolism for Saints and Cemetaries

Image Object Christian Symbolism
Anchor Hope, steadiness, secret cross
Apple Sin
Beehive Activity, Teamwork, Hard work
Bell Call to worship
Benediction The Trinity
Book The Bible, The Word of God
Butterfly Resurrection
Candle Light
Celtic Cross
Crook The Good Shepherd
Cross Christ
Crown Kingdom of God
Cup Last Supper, the blood of Christ
Devil The Enemy
Dove The Holy Spirit
Fish Greek ("fish"), an anagram for ("Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior")
Gamma Cross
Goat Sinner
Grapes Holy Communion
Lamb Sacrifice
Lamp Word of God
Lily Easter, Resurrection
Maltese Cross
Ox Strength, Service, Patience
Providence God
Sheep Congregation
Shell Baptism
Tablets The Ten Commandments
Torch Witnessing for Christ
Triquetra The Trinity
Unicorn Strength, Virginity

So, with apologies to the heathens among us, it will be difficult to create an iconic language based on Western symbols that is free of imbedded Christianity. On the other hand, we should note that just because a word has an etymology rooted in Christian symbolism, this isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement for the faith:

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Last updated December 2003

Copyright © 2003 Matthew White