MODERN SYMBOLS THAT HAVE LOST THEIR ORIGINAL MEANING
Added on: 29th Aug 2016
THE RAISED FIST
In modern times, the raised fist symbolizes solidarity
and socialism, while it also expresses unity, power
and defiance. It dates back to ancient Assyria where it
represented resistance to violent acts.
Each December many people worldwide decorate their
houses with mistletoe and kiss beneath it. The original
meaning of this plant, however, had nothing to do with
kissing or hugging. Ancient Norse myth, where the mistletoe
originates, saw a mistletoe as a symbol of ritual castration.
THE INFINITY SYMBOL
In modern times the infinity symbol has become a secular
mathematical sign for the infinity of numbers, time, or space
but its original meaning has nothing to do with its
modern use. In ancient India and Tibet it represented
perfection, dualism, and union between male and female.
The Ankh became popular in the West once it was adopted
by New Age mysticism groups during the sixties and seventies
but has been around for thousands of years. It comes from
ancient Egypt where it was a hieroglyphic that symbolized
life, while according to other sources it was considered
to be the key to the Nile.
Also known as “the devil’s pitchfork” in pretty much every
Christian country, this symbol’s origin has nothing to do with
Satan. Its origin can be traced back to ancient Greece, where
the trident was seen as a sacred symbol and the powerful
weapon of Poseidon, god of the sea.
MUDRAS (HAND GESTURES)
It might sound ridiculously funny to those who happen to
know the origin of the mudras, but there are indeed many
people, especially in the United States, who think that some
of the mudras originated in American ghettos and
represent certain gangs like the Bloods or Crips. Of course,
the original mudras have nothing to do with violence or
gangs and originated in India where they symbolize peace,
harmony, and good mental health, among other good things.
THE LIGHTNING BOLT
This is another symbol that many people wrongly associate
exclusively with Nazism, since the double lightning bolt
was the official symbol of the Waffen-SS. The history of the
lightning bolt, however, goes back to ancient Greece where
people considered it a symbol of divine power and
punishment from Zeus against those who
challenged the gods or wronged others.
THE TWO-FINGERED SALUTE
The two-fingered salute, not to be confused with the V sign, might
not be the most popular way to salute someone today, but
some people will still do it, mostly instinctively. Regardless
of how it is viewed today, this salute goes back to ancient
Rome, where defeated gladiators used it to ask for
mercy from the Lord of the Arena.
Also known as the Reichsadler, or “imperial eagle,” this
symbol derived from the Roman eagle standard used by the
Roman emperors. In modern times the symbol has almost
exclusively been associated with Nazi ideology,
Hitler, and the Third Reich.