Symbols for Motherhood Around The World

In today’s post we will be discussing a very interesting and lovely topic, the symbols that represent the motherhood. Let us get right into it. Here is the list of the symbols of motherhood across cultures around the world.

Celtic Symbols for Motherhood

The Celtic Motherhood Knot

The Celtic mother’s knot is made of two hearts that intertwine to form a bigger and overarching heart shape. The knot does not have a beginning or an end, which shows the never-ending and continuous nature of the love a mother has for her child.

The symbol contains two smaller interwoven hearts inside a larger heart; the smaller hearts represent the child while the larger heart represents the mother. It shows the strength of the bond between a mother and her child as maternal love surpasses other forms of love, including romantic and brotherly love.

This bond is forged with blood, and the child becomes an extension of the mother, which encourages feelings of belonging and protection that begin before childbirth and last until the mother’s dying breath.

Triskele, A Celtic Symbol of Motherhood

The triskele or the triple spiral consists of three vortex spirals that are joined at a common central point. The three spirals have multiple meanings, including the three realms of existence – earth, water, and sky, but they are also linked to femininity and motherhood as they represent the three goddesses, or the three aspects of the Goddess; the maiden, mother, and crone.

As one spiral represents the mother, it signifies the nourishment, love, and patience of motherhood. The mother is also related to pregnancy due to its association with fertility.

Celtic Triskelion, Symbols for Motherhood
Celtic Triskelion Symbol on Black Background by Cernecka Natalja

Other meanings of the symbol include birth, life, and death which are set in motion by motherhood, and it is also used to reflect the three stages of pregnancy.

The symbol also has a shape similar to that of a womb, which represents womanhood at different stages, including innocence denoted by the maiden, motherhood denoted by the mother, and wisdom denoted by the crone.

Taino Symbols for Motherhood


Atabey is the next item in our list of symbols for motherhood. Atabey is a goddess of the Taino tribes of the Caribbean.  The goddess is considered to be a supreme being who resides in heaven and is commonly represented as a nude woman in the birthing position to draw parallels with Mother Earth as a nurturing figure.

She is considered the goddess of fertility, earth, and freshwater, which is the source of all life and creation. Atabey was worshipped as a maternal figure and is known to have immaculately conceived twins, one of which became the male God of crop fertility.

The Taino people often prayed to the goddess for fertility and healthy pregnancies, and childbirth as they believed in her power of protecting the creation of life.

Christian Symbols for Motherhood

The Virgin Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the most prominent women in Christianity, and she is respected for her piety, grace, and for being the mother of God. Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception of Jesus and her dedication to carrying and caring for her child, who she believed was a blessing from God made her an important mother figure in history.

Christians consider her to be the pinnacle of motherhood, and she placed her faith in God and his plan for Jesus when he was born, which set the path for the baptism of newborns for Christians.

Apart from being the mother of Jesus, Mary was also considered the mother of all mankind as she possessed the qualities of being compassionate, loving, protective, and devoted to her child.

Her dedication and devotion to Jesus led her to be present and constantly support him throughout his difficult mission in life by providing comfort and guidance as any mother should. She is immortalized in scripture, paintings, statues, and poetry, and acts as a representation of the Christian ideal of motherhood, purity, and faith.

Native American Symbols of Motherhood

Turtles As A Motherhood Symbol

While turtles might not be among the most conventional motherhood symbols, they are considered a representation of Mother Earth that provides for all living on the earth.

The turtles also have 13 sections on their bellies which is associated with the number of lunar cycles in a year, and also with feminine energy, which is represented by the moon.

Even today, the turtle is recognized as a symbol of mother earth by indigenous people and Native Americans in line with their previous traditions. The turtle shell also has 28 sections on it which is the length of a female cycle, and it links it to the cycle of fertility.

The most common association of turtles with motherhood comes with the story of the great flood in which the turtle swam to the ocean floor and extracted mud, and piled it up to create a foundation for a piece of land where people and animals could live, thereby protecting them from dying in the flood.

The turtle specifically symbolizes the aspect of protection which is an important component of motherhood. Turtles are also associated with other Native American folklore, which includes their role in providing the Sky Woman land to live on, by piling up dirt on the back of a giant turtle. The Mohawks also believed the earth was carried on the back of a giant turtle, representing the support provided by this animal.

The Crow Mother

The last item on our list of symbols of motherhood is the crow mother. The crow mother is known as Angwusnasomtaka, and she is a spiritual force and an embodiment of a spiritual being belonging to the mythology of the Hopi Nation in Arizona.

Kachina spirits such as the crow mother typically visit the Hopi people during winters at the start of the year. The crow is also a symbolic animal in Hopi culture as it is linked to good luck and intelligence, which are important qualities for learning, growth, and transformation.

The crow mother kachina is considered the mother of all kachinas, and during ceremonies celebrating the descent of the spirits, she initiates children into the tribe and performs the initiation rituals for the ceremony with yucca leaves. Overall, she is a symbol of love and fertility, as she nurtures crops and initiates children into the tribe to provide a sense of belonging and family while placing them under her protection.

This wraps up our post on the symbols for motherhood. If you liked it, you will probably enjoy reading our piece on the symbols of strength here. If you enjoy reading about spiritual symbols you might also want to check out our article on the unalome symbol and its meaning here. Thanks for reading on Symbols and Meanings.


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