Five-fold Symbol Meaning

Written by avenefica on December 13th, 2007

I just finished up a page on the Celtic five fold symbol meaning, and had to acknolwedge 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  ont his symbol from other cultures.

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

I have an explanation of the five-fold on my Celtic symbols pages – here is a link to Celtic five-fold symbol .

Another five-fold symbol is found in alchemy – here is a link to this alchemical five-fold symbol meaning: (refer to the “Quincunx” entry).

You might want to read the “Pentacle” entry on this page too - as this is another powerful cultural five-fold symbol. 

When considering the Pentacle, you may also want to consider consider DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man – on which a five-fold star is superimposed. As humans are in much the same shape as the star – the five points symbolize the five senses of humans….the circle around the Pentacle is symbolic of the Divine – the higher energy that encircles us – connects us and protects us.

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

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

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:

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 :

  1. Faith
  2. Prayer
  3. Pilgrimage
  4. Charity
  5. 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.

To find out about Celtic Meanings of the five fold symbol, click here.

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