The most basic definition of thunderbolt meaning is when a flash of lightning happens while thunder strikes at the exact same time. The occurrence of thunder and lightning clashing together at the same time is uncommon. I think that, in itself, is symbolic.
When Nature tosses out something rare in our experience, it is worthy of a second look…it’s worthy of some pondering.
Thankfully, ancient cultures around the world have done a lot of pondering about thunderbolt meaning already. The following points offer some views about how the thunderbolt is perceived in different ways.
Before meteorology and science explained away the wonder of phenomenons like thunderbolts, we humans only had our imaginations to explain such epic events. Around the world, the occurrence of the thunderbolt was thought of as a colossal shout from big, magical sources. Whether angel, god or goddess – the thunderbolt announced a message from an immensely powerful source. Essentially, witnessing and hearing a thunderbolt was akin to receiving a message from the heavens.
It is ALIVE! Thunderbolt meaning deals with the creation of life. Perhaps the best example of this is found in that singular, memorable scene in any movie version of Frankenstein. When the thunderbolt struck the creature, it animated Frankenstein’s vision. The Buddhists give us the idea of ‘the rolling Dharma thunder.’ Dharma is the order of life, the order of the cosmos. In this case, the thunderbolt is a symbol of liberating life, and igniting the cycle of living.
Okay, maybe it’s not so alive.
With every ancient cultural view that sees the thunderbolt as a spark of creation, most of the same views also see it as a source of destruction. Look at Zeus (Jupiter). The thunderbolt is one of his symbols. He is considered a creator-father god in Greek-Roman myth. But he was also feared for his destructive tendencies. In Native American myth, the thunderbolt is associated with the Thunder Bird. This mega-bird is symbolic of the great Creator, it also represents some wicked-destructive forces.
Is that a thunderbolt in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
The idea of fertility is part and parcel with the creative aspect of thunderbolt meaning. In many ancient cultures, the thunderbolt is a symbol of libido, virility and fertility. Anybody who drools over the Thor character in the Marvel comics movies can formulate exactly what I mean. In fact, a thunderbolt is one of this Scandinavian god’s symbols. I guess you could say Thor, and his thunderbolt are kinda like a sex symbols. If you consider the shape of lightning, it’s like a rod. I don’t want to get too graphic here, but let’s just say it causes us to be ‘erect’ in our thinking about the thunderbolt. The simultaneous boom is a very orgasmic feature too. I’ll let your own imagination do the rest of the work when it comes to the thunderbolt as a symbol of virility and fertility.
Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
You know that Nat King Cole song? “Orange Colored Sky” Nat croons that he’s just walking along, minding his own business, and then WHAM! He got stone-cold smashed with inspiration. In his case, he was struck by love. Thunderbolt meaning can certainly be symbolic of being blind-sided by love. It is also symbolic of being struck by a bright idea. The thunderbolt represents a split second moment of tremendous inspiration. In Hinduism, the thunderbolt of Indra and Krishna are synonymous with the awakening of the Third Eye. This is a fancy way of saying the thunderbolt represents enlightenment, a spark of intelligence and getting groundbreaking ideas.
Closing Thoughts on Symbolic Thunderbolt Meaning
Whether perceived as a symbol of war and destruction, or an icon for creativity and inspiration – it should be clear thunderbolt meaning is surrounded with lots of smashing concepts.
I hope this post offered you some thunderously thought-provoking moments. I also hope you take your curiosity about thunderbolt meaning further by doing your own research. I’ve got a few links to other related articles that might keep your symbolic search energized.
Exploring Swastika Symbol Meaning From Around the World
Regrettably, swastika symbol meaning has been horribly marred due to the Nazi regime, when the symbol was the icon for the atrocities committed during WWII.
The goal of this article is to expose the swastika (also known as svastika or also a fylfot)in its many different forms and meanings around the world and throughout history.
Various cultures have their own term for their version of the swastika. The term swastika is a blanket word for four-armed or four-angled symbols.
In the Hindu language, the term swastika means ‘well being.’ This is the first of many examples demonstrating this symbol as the complete opposite of evil connotations inherited by Nazi Germany.
Swastika symbol meaning varies according to era and culture. This symbol has been around for over 3,000 years. It has made its appearance throughout the ages in China, Japan, India, Greece, as well as Celtic and Native American cultures. The swastika has also been featured in alchemy and even Christianity.
Swastika Symbol Meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism
The swastika, also known as sauvastika is not only a religious symbol in this culture, it is also considered a lucky symbol. It is said to bring about great prosperity and good fortune. The symbol adorns statues, buildings, textiles, and it is even painted on bodies for various festivals. The swastika is commonly used in ceremonies. For example, this symbol is strongly featured during weddings with Ganesh, the elephant god of luck placed in the center of the cross to insure blessings upon the marriage.
The arms of the sauvastika represent the directions and cycles of life. These extensions give a sense of motion, which symbolizes the forward motion of human life. The four dots represent the four concepts of Karma: Right thought, right words, right actions, and right understanding.
Swastika Symbol Meaning – Greece
The above shown symbol is an artistic rendition of a tetraskelion,which is the Greek version of the swastika. This symbol is also found in other regions of ancient Europe. It’s not always in the form of horses, as show above. Sometimes this ornate swastika was created with arms, wings, snakes or other features from nature.
In this symbol, the horse is symbolic of the chariot of the Greek titan Helios, who represented the sun. In myth, the grand chariot of Helios was pulled by four horses: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon. The circle in the center is symbolic of the sun.
Swastika Symbol as a Swedish Rune
This swastika symbol meaning deals with paths taken in the afterlife. It was a symbol commonly found on Scandinavian grave sites. Notice all the lines connecting and crossing each other. This is symbolic of the infinite nature of life – even in the afterlife. The center cross has been known to symbolize the womb. In Norse belief, the transition from physical to non-physical is all about returning to the source of life – the womb of the mother. In essence, this Norse rune represents journey through afterlife with the goal of returning back to mother earth (or mother sea in some accounts).
Swastika Symbol in Native American Tradition
This symbol can be seen carved upon numerous stone structures in New Mexico and Arizona. This is where the Hopi hailed from and believed the swastika symbol meaning dealt with their origin and ultimate destination of their clans. The center cross is symbolic of TuwanasaviI, this is the center of the world. It is also considered the center of the Hopi soul.
Legend states that the first Hopi clans were at the center of the world, and centered within their souls. With assistance from Spirit, the four clans were guided in a certain direction: North, South, East, West. After traveling out (from the center cross) both physically and spiritually, each clan turned left, which is symbolic of turning towards the earth. Other clans were guided to turn right, which was a migration towards the sun.
Swastika Symbol Meaning From Pagan Perspective
This version of the fylfot (or swastika) started its life as a Pagan sun wheel symbol. It represents the movement of the four seasons. Each of the four arms of the symbol are also symbolic of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. Pagans assigned spiritual energy to all things in Nature. Consequently, each arm of this symbol stands for the energy of each element: Salamander (fire), Gnome (earth), Sylph (air) and Undine (water).
Later, the symbol was adopted by Christians. In the early days, being a Christian wasn’t the most popular choice. There was a lot of controversy about the new religion. Early Christians used this symbol as a sign to other Christians that they were among fellow believers. This symbol is also called crux dissimulata because it disguised the Christian cross, and helped believers avoid persecution.
Native American Version of the Swastika Symbol
This is an artistic rendition of swastika symbol from the Native American Ho-Chąąnk people (also known as Winnebago tribe). Four birds in a four angled design have been located on Ho-Chąąnk burial grounds. This is a nod to both creation and death. One ancient Native creation myth describes four magical bird clans who came from the heavens to populate the earth. In time, these clans evolved into different sects. But the birds clans were the first. This bird motif on grave sites is symbolic of flying back to the great Spirit or Creator at the time of death. The first four ancient bird clans are: Eagle, Dove, Vulture and Owl.
The eagle provided power and the courage of a warrior as a tribal member walked through the after life. The vulture insured all physical remains of the body were removed so that the soul could be fully released to move through the after world. The owl gave his eyesight and senses through the shadowy unknown of the after life. And the dove gave the deceased a calm, sweet countenance…a feeling of nurturing and peace throughout the after life journey.
The symbol in the middle is the union of all great spirits with the center of the crossing lines representing the ultimate Creator, as well as the ultimate destination of the soul.
Celtic Version of Swastika Symbol Meaning – Brigid’s Cross
In Celtic mythology Brigid was the goddess of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann. These were four clans who were guided into Ireland to begin a new life. As a powerful goddess of one of these clans, Brigid was celebrated during the time of Imbolc, a festival marking new beginnings, and Springtime.
Brigid’s cross, also known as a sun-wheel, was typically woven out of straw or rushes. Once made during Imbolc, these ornaments were customarily hung in the home as a symbol of protection.
Each of the arms of Brigid’s cross represents the four Irish clans of the Tuatha Dé Danann, ruled by individual deities who were: Lugh, Fal, Nuada and Dagda.
Meaning of the Directions of the Swastika Symbol
Throughout most cultures, there is a sweeping consensus as to directional representation of the swastika.
If the symbol is turning clockwise (right), this is symbolic of opening up to sun energy. Conversely, if turning counter-clockwise (left), this allows an opening to moon energy. This is an age-old concept that attempts to define universal polarity.
For example, sun energy is symbolic of: Masculinity, Assertiveness, Passion, Truth. On the other hand, moon energy is the opposite, symbolic of: Femininity, Restrained, Calm, Mystery.
Closing Thoughts on Swastika Symbol Meaning
I hope you enjoyed this article on the various meaning of the swastika. It was my highest goal to shed new light on this symbol. I think it also teaches a symbolic lesson that just because a symbol has gotten a bad reputation (such as Nazi German swastika), that doesn’t mean the symbol has always stood for a maligned concept.
Segments of populations have been adopting and changing the meaning of preexisting symbols for eons. That means one symbol almost never has one single meaning.
Don’t let this be the end of your research on swastika symbol meaning. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots more versions of these symbols, and with each version, there is are different meanings.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy the related links listed below. As always, thanks for reading.
It’s been said that on March 17th, St. Patrick’s day, everybody is Irish. That’s not too far off the mark. At one point, Irish immigrants outnumbered any other nationality in the US. In fact, the Irish have been so influential in this country, that many Irish customs (and symbols) are embossed upon the American culture.
This Irish holiday is just as impressive with symbolic meaning. Firstly, St. Patrick was a pretty remarkable dude…and he wasn’t Irish either. He was born around Roman Britain, close to Scotland. In a weird twist of fate, St. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and made a slave in Ireland. Ironic, eh? Yeah…the guy who is an Irish icon was kept a slave there from the time he was 16. After about seven years as a slave, St. Paddy was called by God to serve a higher purpose, and he ran away from his dour life of slavery.
He traveled Europe and got the education he lacked as a slave. Then God called St. Pat again, telling him it was time to do great things. So St. Patrick went back to Ireland to share his passion for Christianity. Talk about dynamic forgiveness! This is a guy captured by the Irish, yet he went back there as a missionary to talk about salvation.
St. Patrick didn’t have an easy time of it though. He made some big social blunders. On one occasion, Patrick lit a bonfire on what was then one of the most sacred Celtic celebrations (Beltane).
No big deal, right? Well, the high Celtic king, Laoghaire saw Pat’s fire and was enraged. Apparently, it’s not good etiquette to light a bonfire before the king lights his own first. Oopsie.
St. Patrick soothed over the hard feelings about the fire, started to make friends, and successfully shared his views about Christianity.
What I find very cool about St. Patrick is that he took a different tact than many missionaries. He wasn’t about crushing and converting the people. He actually meshed the Celtic/pagan beliefs in with the Christian philosophy. So instead of obliterating Irish ancient beliefs, St. Patrick wove together the old and the new – forming a cohesion.
As he respected the old ways while honoring his own faith – I think St. Paddy would approve of this post on St. Patrick’s Day symbols. Why? Because symbols, either ancient or new, reflect an era, a culture, a belief, etc. Check out these St. Patrick’s Day symbols…I think you’ll find they make March 17th a little more rich with meaning.
St. Patrick’s Day Symbols
Shillelagh: Okay, so it’s not the most sophisticated weapon, but certainly effective. Back in Patrick’s day, there was a lot of warring for territory, and family feuds. The fighting Irish devised these clubs called shillelagh’s from oak trees as weapons. Often, a warrior would double fist their clubs, one club in one hand to deliver the damaging blow, and the other club for staving off attacks. So what makes this one of St. Patrick’s Day symbols? Over time and with the evolution of legend, the clubs turned into staffs or walking sticks. They were considered to be a mark of wisdom and great power. Check out any picture of St. Patrick, and you’ll see him with a staff – a mark of his esteemed position in the Irish culture.
Leprechaun: These are the wee ones in Irish lore. They are a group of fairies known as Luchorpan. The whole deal with their association with cobbling shoes points back to their name in Gaelic, which means ‘one shoemaker’. Now, you’ve got to understand that in ancient cultures around the world, just about everything had a governing spirit (fairy, troll, goddess whatever). There is a hierarchy of mythic beings who are in charge of certain functions in life. Leprechaun’s, apparently were the Jimmy Choo of shoes back in the day. The leprechaun is included in this list of St. Patrick Day Symbols as a nod of respect to St. Pat for keeping old traditions intact. Rather than eliminating beliefs in magical beings, St. Patrick allowed the people to acknowledge them side-by-side with the new religion.
Harp: Both a national symbol of Ireland, and St. Patrick, the harp won popularity with the Irish long ago. This instrument was used in festivals, celebrations and just general family gatherings. Its music was said to put evil spirits to sleep, and insure peaceful dreams for children. The harp plays its way into Irish culture because it was custom for great tales and legends to be made into music. These tales were often sung accompanied by the harp. Seeing as how St. Patrick is a living legend, it makes sense a few harp tunes were played in his honor. As a symbol of cultural heritage, St. Patrick and the harp go hand in hand.
Shamrock: This unlikely little plant set St. Patrick on the map. It is THE symbol he is most famous for. Why? Because St. Pat was a clever guy. He used the shamrock as a demonstration tool to explain the triple force behind Christianity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost). Celts were already digging the scene of triple energy (triple gods, and goddesses) when Pat showed up, so a trinity was easy to grasp. St. Patrick used the shamrock to show how each branch of the Christian faith stood on it’s own power, but all the leaves needed each other to live and grow. He used the leaves to explain the individuality of each holy entity, while also explaining their dependence upon each sacred power. Learn more about shamrock symbol meanings here.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this brief article on St. Patrick’s day symbols and their meanings. To be sure, there are many more icons associated with St. Patrick, as well as Ireland. Don’t let your research stop here! Take some time to find out the symbolic meanings associated with this great time of year and the Irish culture.
If nothing else, you can impress your friends at the pub with your knowledge about Irish symbolic history!
As always, thank you for reading. And I hope your St. Patrick’s day (March 17th) turns out to be a frolicking good time.
I get tons of emails filled with great questions. I got this inquiry from Roger (name used with permission), and had to share it with you. Roger writes:
‘All of this stuff you write here is very entertaining, but is that all it is? Entertainment? For example, is there proof of earth elementals, magic, and anything else you describe that is out of the norm? I am very interested in knowing this stuff, but I don’t want to delve deeper if I am going to be let down in the long run.’
I think this is a great email. It appeals to my innate skeptic, and it smacks of a willingness to go beyond the mundane – to reach out for more – even if tentatively.
Well, Roger…I’ll be honest…it takes a certain amount of belief and faith to encounter elementals, or enchantment in life. It takes attitude, that’s for sure. This is not to say we all frolic willy-nilly into fairy land.
Too much dreaming without substance is all fluff. That’s why I appreciate healthy skepticism. It’s necessary to question.
In my experience, I’ve encountered things that logic cannot explain, and so my inquiries persist. Science comes close to explaining the enchantments of life, but it cannot fully explain the human-element which deals with attitude, perception and the dynamism of mind/spirit.
So, I guess my answer is circumventing the question, in that I’d say the realness of magic would be dependent upon your perception and reality.
I once wrote: ‘Magic is inherent in every inhalation of life.’ and that really is true. From a studious stance, science and metaphysics can track down logical, organized connections within energetic phenomenon taking place in every moment of our conscious existence. From a creative, imaginative stance…magic just “is”. It’s in every atom, every cell, every nook and cranny of life. It doesn’t have to be explained, or shoved under a microscope – it’s just present – at all times, and in all things.
It’s the glimmering sword of reason humans must wield in an effort to slice away doubt. But we’ve got to be able to suspend our doubt long enough to marry logic with imagination.
Life requires balance, and living a conscious life represents an endless Q&A between provable tangibles and intangible mysteries. It’s healthy to be skeptical. I certainly am. Believe it or not, I’m hugely suspect of most things I encounter that deny logic. But I think that makes me a great intuitive. Why? Because I’m not mindless. I pick apart the unexplained. In that process of picking, I usually come across a loop I can hook my psychic claws into. Once hooked, I can suspend my analytical mind just long enough to peer into an opening of magic, wonder and wisdom.
Plus, I can’t help but revert back to my ancestry – and the ancient lineage all humans share. Native Americans, Vikings, ancient Celts, Aborigines, etc….all the Old People of the Old Ways. They had old school psychic chutzpah. They knew stuff that went deep into the core of what it meant to live and be alive. We can argue they didn’t have the science to explain stuff as we do today. But does that make their wisdom any less significant? I don’t think so.
Take sympathetic magic for example. This is a kind of practice that sees corollaries in nature, and mimics them in ritual to bring about a similar, binding effect. An illustration of this is the Celtic Druid approach to mistletoe. Science tells us mistletoe is a parasite on the oak tree. Druids saw it as a snuggly, symbiotic partner to the oak. As such, Druids harvested mistletoe and used it in sacred ritual to bind their community. It was used as an omen or a symbol to keep marriages together, and bind the clan together. Mistletoe in ritual was used to imitate a clinging, a kinship, a glue to that which is deeply rooted and strong like the oak. Were the binding rituals effective? I can’t say. But I’m certain the divorce rates of ancient Celts were far less than that of the population today. Am I suggesting that all marriages end in divorce because a hand-fasting or a mistletoe ritual wasn’t employed? Certainly not.
What’s relevant here is the connection and collaboration with nature. I wholeheartedly feel (and have experienced) the effects of natural energy when profoundly, respectfully connected to it.
I guess I’m saying we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. Yes, indeed, there is such a thing as magic. Look around at the miracle of Earth and our galaxy…that’s proof enough of magic. Yes, magic can be conjured too. Is it the end-all-be-all of an outcome? No. I don’t think so. I think magic requires fortitude. I think tapping into the enchantment of life requires intellect, imagination and a willingness to believe while still maintaining an even mind.
I rarely make guarantees. But I promise you this: There is absolutely a superior, enchanted life taking place beyond our bills, our jobs, our kids crying, and long lines at the grocery store. There is more to this life than what we see day-to-day.
There is a gossamer veil that divides common experience from uncommon experience. Luckily, that veil is translucent and ephemeral. Luckily, if we want to, we can venture behind that veil to access otherworldly experiences. It takes an altered perception, and a balanced perspective to straddle the common and the uncommon. Am I saying it’s easy? No. But I am saying it’s doable.
I have a few evergreen (conifer) trees around the house and they mean infinitely more to me than mere landscape features.
Our ancient kin, particularly of the Celtic ilk, observed evergreens as hugely powerful in symbolism. Because they stayed green through the ‘dark half’ of the year, evergreens symbolic meanings included qualities such as:
Unbending against heavy winter snows and brutal winds – the evergreen won a high place of honor amongst the Celts. In fact, these early clans brought evergreen boughs into the home as a reminder of the indomitable spirit inherent in all life.
I observe the evergreens in my midst as heroes in this winter grip. Ever-bright and ever-clear, their likeness reminds me of the ever-green nature within the core of every human. And so, those glimmery evergreens remind me of the Anahata (the green heart chakra) qualities.
We too have the ability to stand strong in the midst of adverse conditions. Whether comparing them heart chakras, or Celtic wisdom, evergreen symbolic meanings deal with life-loving qualities such as:
• The capacity to love in the coldest of times.
• The inner resources to feel warmth (empathy) in spite of austerity.
• The ability to feel deep magic in a sterile, fact-finding world.
Those are some of my thoughts on the evergreen, and how they remind me of emerald potentials forever glistening within the strongholds of our souls.
What does the evergreen remind you of?
If you need more inspiration, feast your ever-bright eyes on these green gems:
As we approach Samhain (October 31 – November 1) our awareness naturally moves in the same circles as our ancient ancestors as we all prepare for a shift in the seasons.
In the Northern hemisphere, this seasonal shift manifests itself in autumnal themes, and Samhain is the cross-quarter holiday marking the midpoint between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice.
The ancient Celts simplified this seasonal transition by establishing two halves to their calendar: Light and Dark. Samhain marked the seam between light and dark in both agricultural and philosophical terms.
Most of you may already know this, but a little known fact is the connection between Pleiades and Samhain. The Celts were masterful astronomers and astrologists. From their geographic position, the Celts could see the star cluster, Pleiades, quite easily with the naked eye.
Pleiades is cluster of nine stars, but only seven are seen with unaided vision. Pleiades is heliacal, which means this group of stars appears to rise and set in the heavens. This particular group of stars is extremely noteworthy because the rising and setting of Pleiades heralded the birth of light and dark in the Celtic view of time.
Rising in May, Pleiades marked the official start of summer (light) and thus Beltane was celebrated at this time.
Conversely, Pleiades’ descent in the skies at this time launches the journey into the darker half of the year. So, when these shimmery beauties shone their brightest, at midnight on October 31st, the feast of Samhain was consummated and the new year was made official (Samhain observes the beginning of the year in the Celtic calendar).
What’s more, our ancestors knew the potential for transformation was ripe at this pivotal point in astronomical time. Ergo, many of the rituals and traditions observed at this time were all geared to tapping into the transformational power inherent in this time.
Samhain is a gateway into incredible metamorphosis and the position of Pleiades during this time is optimal for creating profound change in our lives.
In fact, the Pleiades stars can serve as a guiding lightas we move through the darkness of Samhain.
Samhain is a time of descent into dark realms which are represented by the upcoming winter months. The Celts used this time to gird their loins because they knew potential hardships loomed in their future. Today, many of us admire the Celts because they were fiercely courageous and faithful to their own spiritual tenets. In truth, they were stalwart because they had to be. It took real fortitude to survive a harsh winter, and death was certainly a reality on many levels.
Realizing this, the Druids understood (and utilized) the potential guidance offered from all sources. One form of guidance can be found in the seven virtues represented in the seven stars of Pleiades.
In the same way, we can cast our higher awareness into the stellar realms and follow the Lights of Guidance as our Druid ancestors did.
When the potential darkness of decay or even death threatens to close in on us this time of year, I invite you to look to the heavens as our ancestors did for guidance, assurance and illumination.
This Samhain, at midnight, honor the old ways by lighting seven candles; one for each ancient virtue represented in the stars of Pleiades.
Upon lighting each candle, affirm these seven starlit virtues:
Truth: Maintain honesty in all things, especially with yourself.
Purity: Remain clean and wholesome and therefore pleasing in the eyes of the ancients.
Faith: Be resolute in knowing all ways are blessed to those who have faith.
Patience: Surrender to the perfect timing of the Universe.
Kindness: Compassion, generosity and goodness are the guardians of the soul.
Temperance: Sustain wisdom and discernment through self-control and moderation.
Determination: All is lost if the will is weak. Illumination is granted to the persistent.
This Halloween season, if the darker connotations of Samhain like death and dark power threatens to overtake your joy – simply look up to the heavens, and recall those glittery lights of virtue sparkling back to you.
Likewise, as we in the northern hemisphere embark on the dark months of winter, it’s assuring to know these starry illuminations can serve as soul-guides upon our path, lighting our way to greater wisdom and life experiences.
I hope you have enjoyed these observations about the connection between sacred Samhain and Pleiades, the starry calendar compass between the light and dark halves of the year.
If you enjoyed this topic, don’t miss these Samhain-related articles: