Five Fold Symbol Meanings

five fold symbol meaning

Exploring Five Fold Symbol Meanings

I just finished up a page on the Celtic five fold symbol meaning and had to acknowledge many cultures have a five-fold symbol, and with each culture, there are different rules.

So, rather than limit this vastly engaging symbol to just one (Celtic) perspective, I decided to write a bit more on this symbol from other cultures.

A more robust understanding of this symbol can be obtained by investigating the meaning of number five itself. The meaning of numbers gives us powerful insight into the nature of symbolism, and the number five is dealing with expansion, integration, and synchronistic journeying to higher understanding.

The ancient Asian cultures were big into tying knots and/or depicting images in a five-fold pattern to represent the following…

The Five States of Happiness:

The following are the “five states of happiness;” ancient Chinese symbols depicted in their art and culture. They are considered emblems of good luck & joy. They are:

  • Shou (longevity symbol)
  • Ch’i-Lin (chimera)
  • Lung (dragon)
  • Fen Huang (Phoenix)
  • Ju-I (scepter)

Other Five Fold Symbol Meanings

The Five Noble Strengths:

In the Kung-fu tradition, students are required to learn the five noble five animal forms representing nobility, strength, wisdom, and responsibility. They are:

  • Crane
  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Dragon
  • Snake

Five Human Powers:

Also in the Asian tradition, the Buddhists refer to the five human powers. They are:

  • Effort
  • Memory
  • Faith
  • Concentration
  • Wisdom

Five Aspects of Enlightenment:

Also in the Buddhist tradition – mandalas are often incorporated in meditations. Within many of these mandalas are representations of the five states of enlightenment. They are:

  • Speech
  • Mind
  • Body
  • Wisdom
  • Bliss

Christianity utilized a five-fold pattern called the Five Sacred Wounds (here is a link to an artistic rendition of this symbol). This symbol dates back to the Middle ages and honors the sacrifice the Christ made through crucifixion at Calvary – depicting the five mortal wounds he endured.

In Islam the five-fold symbol is expressed in the Hand of Fatima which is a symbol of spiritual power, strength, domination, and protection. The Hand of Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter) is worn as a good luck symbol in Islam – each finger representing an attribute :

  • Faith
  • Prayer
  • Pilgrimage
  • Charity
  • Fasting

As you can see the five-fold symbol is found in countless varieties, in countless forms, with countless meanings. Take the time to relate to this symbol and all its implications. Devote a personal study to it – your results will be well worth your investment.

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