Labrys Flag Deep Dive Into Its Evolution

The “labrys,” or double-headed axe, is one of the earliest emblems of Greek culture and has many religious and mythical meanings that remains a significant emblem to this day. In today’s article we take a closer look at the history and symbolism that has evolved over time to gain a better understanding of what the labrys flag meaning is now.

A labrys, a sort of double-headed axe, is placed on an inverted black triangle on a violet backdrop in the design. The labrys was originally connected with mythological Amazons as a weapon among other purposes.

The lesbian feminist group embraced it as a symbol of empowerment in the 1970s.

The labrys flag is most usually connected with the Minoans, the Amazons, and the Greek goddess Demeter


Demeter Symbols of the Greek Goddess, Her Sacred Plants and Animals
Demeter the Greek Goddess of Agriculture, Harvest and Fertility by Nnnmmm

Ancient History Leading To The Labrys Flag

Plutarch, a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, said that the name “labrys” was a Lydian word for “axe.” It was a holy emblem of the Minoan religion in ancient Crete, denoting the power of female deities, the authority of women, and the matriarchy.

Some people believe that the term “labrys” is etymologically related to the word “labyrinth.” The labrys flag, also known as the “pelekys” in Greek mythology, is the sign of Zeus, the ancient Greek deity of the skies, thunder, and lightning and the monarch of the gods of Mount Olympus.

During the Mycenaean period, between 1600 and 1100 B.C. The double-axes were utilized as a symbol of lightning—and even worshiped as protective deities. The emblem was frequently connected in Roman Crete with the Amazons, a group of warrior women in Greek mythology who refused to conform to patriarchal civilization. In times of battle, an antique mosaic depicts an Amazon warrior with an axe-like weapon.

Research Abstract from “The Double Axe And The Labyrinth” by W.H.D. Rose. Source: JSTOR.ORG and The Journal of Hellenic Studies


What is The Labrys Lesbian Flag Meaning Today?

Sean Campbell developed this flag for the lesbian community in 1999, but it has yet to acquire popular acceptance. One reason might be that the flag was designed by a gay guy rather than a lesbian.

Some transphobic groups have sought to use the labrys as a campaign emblem, although the roots of this pride flag were never based on transphobia.

The Evolving Significance Of The Labrys Flag:

  • The labrys is a fabled Amazonian sword that feminists have exploited as a symbol of empowerment since the 1970s.
  • The black inverted triangle harkens back to when Nazis imprisoned gay women and labeled them with black triangles for being “asocial.”
  • Sappho’s lyrics equated the violet backdrop with lesbians.
  • Purple: symbolizes women, feminism, and anyone who identifies as a woman who is attracted to other women.
  • The black triangle symbolizes lesbians.
  • Labrys: symbolizes female empowerment.


Labrys Flag Meaning and Symbolism

The labrys weapon, often known as the double-headed axe or double-sided axe, has several meanings and implications for interpreting the meaning it has in the flag we see today. The key of which are outlined below:

A Symbol of Protection

Archeologists believe the double-axes on Knossos’ altar were worshiped as lightning gods or protective deities. It’s also thought that the thunderstone superstition flourished, and stone axes were worn as charms to honor thunder gods. (See also our detailed article on Symbols of Protection from around the world)

A Female Empowerment Symbol

Only women are represented with labrys in Minoan art. It signifies the power and feminism of homosexual women in the modern world, akin to the Amazons (the tribe of warrior women in Greek mythology) who defied patriarchal culture’s beliefs. It is now frequently used by some lesbians as a symbol of unity and matriarchy. 

A Symbol of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism

The labrys is a symbol of Hellenic Neopaganism today. Hellenic polytheists worship ancient Greek gods such as Olympians, heroes, underworld deities, and nature divinities, and are often influenced by Greek philosophers and poets.

A Symbol of Female Courage

Throughout history, the ancient Greeks utilized swords, spears, phalanxes, ballistas, armor, and shields. The double-headed battle-axe, on the other hand, is connected with the Amazons on the battlefield, hence the sign depicts the bravery and power of female soldiers.


What Colors Are On The Labrys Lesbian flag?

The major colors of the Labrys Lesbian flag are violet, black, and white. It contains the most frequent and popular color codes in HEX, RGB, and CMYK formats, as well as Pantone (PMS), RAL, and NCS (Natural Color System). Please keep in mind that HEX and RGB codes are intended for digital works and web pages (including HTML and CSS), whereas CMYK values are intended for printers.

The Labrys Flag Source: Ensix, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

What is the most popular lesbian pride flag?

There is no official lesbian flag, although the one seen below has grown in popularity over the last decade.

The “New” Lesbian Pride Flag Source: Ensix, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


It is widely used to depict lesbians, with tones of pink, white, and red, while others believe it solely represents ‘lipstick’ or ‘femme’ lesbians. This is most likely due to the original version. It debuted in 2010 with a lipstick mark in the top left-hand corner. While some people still support the initial version, others believe that it and its succeeding versions are butch-phobic, resulting in color variances.

The so-called “Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag” Source: Ensix, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Why Is Purple a Popular Color For Lesbian Flags?

The color purple, or lavender, has long been connected with lesbianism, as has the color of violets, a flower historically used by lesbians to signify themselves to other lesbians.

In the classic rainbow flag, designed by the late San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 and comprising seven colors, purple denotes lesbians.

In 2017, Philadelphia-based LGBTQ+ activists developed an updated version of the rainbow flag that included the colors black and brown to signify people of color and the battle against racism.


Labrys Flag Symbol Also Used in Fashion and Jewelry

The ancient emblem inspired jewelry designs ranging from labrys pendants to bracelet charms and etched double-axe patterns on rings. Some designs include a Minoan bull, while others have ornate elaboration on the labrys and are made of silver or gold.

Beautiful Labrys Necklace. Source:


Vetements teamed with Comme des Garçons in 2016 to create a collection of knitwear honoring LGBTQ pride. One of the limited edition designs included the emblem of lesbian independence—a white labrys printed on an inverted black triangle on a purple backdrop. 


The labrys has a lengthy history, but it rose to prominence throughout the Greek and Roman periods when it was revered as Zeus’ sacred weapon. This concludes our look at the Deep dive into the labrys flag, its meaning, history, and symbolism. If you liked it, you’ll probably appreciate our in-depth look into the history and meaning of the Lesbian Labrys symbol. Thank you for reading along with us.

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