Personal growth is inevitable. From the moment we are conceived, we start growing and continue to do so until our very last day. Even though it’s part of being human, we all experience different types of growth. That’s part of why symbols of growth are often so personal to the individual experiencing the growth.
Growth doesn’t always mean the same thing to everyone. Some of us value physical growth more than any other type of growth, while most look towards spiritual awakening and the discovery of self. What all humans have in common is that we must all grow at some point.
Throughout history, there have been symbols associated with growth. Some symbols are more universal, while others are more culture-centric. All of them hold various symbolic meanings for the people who use them.
With that in mind, here are some of the most common symbols of growth across the globe.
1. Celtic Triskelion
This Celtic symbol is considered one of the oldest known symbols in the Celtic culture and on earth. The Celts and many other cultures that have adopted the Celtic triskelion look upon it as a symbol of strength, progress, and growth.
The triskelion has three spirals connected to a central hub and has been used by many in modern and ancient Celtic society as an inspiration to keep moving forward or overcome adversity.
This ancient Celtic symbol is more commonly found in ancient Celtic architecture or art.
2. Egyptian Scarab
In ancient Egypt, and perhaps even today, the scarab beetle was considered sacred, as the ancient Egyptians believed it to be a manifestation of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God.
However, that isn’t the main reason the Egyptian scarab symbolizes growth. Its ability to find new life even in dire situations or filth makes it the perfect symbol of renewal, rebirth, and growth.
The Egyptian scarab is very closely associated with the dung beetle. The scarab, like the dung beetle, which lays its eggs in waste and hatches new life from them, reminds believers that they can create a new life even in the worst of circumstances and that they can thrive despite life’s never-ending challenges.
Our chakras have long been considered directly connected to our spiritual growth. It’s believed that our chakras represent our body’s energy centers and can provide us with the necessary guidance as we walk through life’s journey.
To activate your chakras, you can meditate or take up yoga. Done correctly, tapping into one’s chakras can help boost physical and spiritual growth. Tapping into our chakras invokes spiritual growth and enhances our connection with our higher selves or the divine.
4. Lotus Flower
As far as powerful symbols go, the lotus flower is one of the most iconic. For something so beautiful and delicate, the lotus flower has a lot of symbolism attached to it. Many associate it with strength, growth, resilience, new beginnings, and renewal.
Even though the lotus flower is originally associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, it has become more of a universal symbol over the years and is a very popular tattoo for people who want to find new beginnings in their lives.
One of the main reasons why the lotus flower is a powerful symbol of growth and resilience is because it naturally grows in mud. The plant is rooted underwater and grows through the difficult, muddy environment until, one day, it reaches the surface and turns into a gorgeous flower.
The Buddha is often seen sitting on a lotus flower. This is meant to demonstrate that he overcame adversity and struggle to become an enlightened being.
The butterfly has been regarded as a symbol of beauty and growth throughout the universe for quite some time. The symbolism here is straightforward, as the butterfly goes through several stages—most of which can be considered ugly—to become a stunningly beautiful creature in the end.
That growth and eventual beauty reflect the journey most of us go through as we battle our demons, trials, and tribulations to eventually triumph and live a more meaningful life.
Since this process naturally exists in nature, we can rest easy knowing that we can deliberately build ourselves into the beautiful versions we want to be. That personal growth is a never-ending journey, and just because our path might be dark right now, it doesn’t mean that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
The butterfly is one of the most popular tattoo ideas for people looking for a symbol of personal growth. Apart from that, many believe that coming across or seeing a butterfly shows they are about to undergo significant change in their lives.
By far one of the most popular and powerful symbols across the globe, the phoenix is a mythical bird that symbolizes a host of different things, including change, growth, and rebirth.
According to legend—Egyptian, Greek, and a host of others—the phoenix is a beautiful mythical bird intricately linked to time.
It’s believed that only one phoenix could exist at a time, and each bird had a lifespan of 500 years. When the time to go came, the phoenix would build a massive nest and set itself on fire. From its ashes, the next phoenix would grow.
This bird has been a symbol of personal growth, rebirth, and strength over the years. Believed to be determined to live, the phoenix grows anew despite burning itself to ashes and becomes even more vibrant as it journeys through the next 500 years.
7. Shooting Star
Shooting stars hold many different meanings in different cultures, most of which are spiritual. For the most part, shooting stars symbolize transformation, growth, and movement.
Many cultures believe that shooting stars are rising human souls that have the potential to grow into the best possible version of themselves.
Shooting stars have also been used as good luck charms, and making a wish as soon as one is spotted is a popular practice. This is a sign of new life or beginnings, and good news is coming.
8. Koi Fish
Koi fish are a popular symbol of growth and change in Chinese and Japanese cultures. These stunning creatures come in many different colors and unique patterns.
Several legends surround the Koi fish and why they are so revered. One of the most common legends is that once upon a time, thousands of Koi fish tried to swim against a powerful current to reach the Yellow River Waterfall.
After much struggle, the fish managed to reach the waterfall, only to find it too steep to climb. All the fish gave up except for one who believed it could climb. And it did. On reaching the summit of the waterfall, that one Koi fish transformed into a Golden Dragon.
The Koi fish, therefore, symbolize both growth and strength. This story shows that with determination, we can do the impossible and transform into a better, unbelievable version of ourselves.
From Native American to Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian, and every other ancient culture in the world, symbols have always held great meaning.
While most of these symbols were often derived from the local surroundings, some were universal. The list above shows you some of the most common symbols for growth. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start.