We are all immortal beings. On this physical plane, it might seem that we are restricted to our physical bodies but that is simply not true. We continue to exist beyond the physical because in essence, we are the infinite consciousness that is everlasting.
In this article, let’s look at 27 ancient symbols of immortality and eternal life that will inspire you to look at life beyond the physical and connect with your non-physical essential self.
1. Tree of Life
Trees are among the longest-living organisms on earth; one of the reasons why they are a popular symbol of immortality. A Great Basin bristlecone pine named, ‘Methuselah’, in California is said to be over 4000 years old!
Also, trees shed their life sustaining leaves during winter signifying death only to resurrect and become reborn again in spring with the sprouting of new leaves. This never ending cycle of life represents immortality. Trees also produce seeds that drop to the earth and become reborn as new trees which also signifies continuity and immortality.
Mistletoe is a plant that grows by taking nutrients from other trees and shrubs. The reason why mistletoe represents immortality is that it can blossom even during harsh winter months when resources are bleak, simply by taking energy from its host plant (that it is latching on to). This way it continues to live and blossom throughout the year when other plants tend to wither away.
Another interesting fact about the mistletoe is that even when it is cut down or burned, it can sprout new shoots and grow again as it continues to live inside the host tree. This again is testament to its immortal nature.
3. Peach/peach tree
According to Chinese mythology, the peach tree was a gift from the gods and a symbol of immortality. The fruit was believed to provide longevity to those who ate it. The peach tree is also a symbol of spring and rebirth, as it is one of the first trees to blossom in the spring.
Yew trees have been considered symbols of immortality, regeneration and rebirth since ancient times. What makes Yew trees immortal is their ability to regenerate from within.
Drooping branches of the tree tend to take root once they touch the ground. These branches then form new trunks and the tree continues to grow slowly and steadily forever, signifying immortality. It’s no wonder that the tree is considered holy in many traditions including Greek, Japanese, Asian and Celtic cultures. In-fact, in many parts of Asia and Japan, the Yew is called the ‘Tree of God’.
Since ancient times, Amaranth has been associated with immortality. This is because of the almost magical ability of the Amaranth flower to not wither and to retain its vivid colors even after dying. In-fact, the name Amaranth comes from the Greek word, ‘Amarantos’, which means, ‘Never Fading’ or ‘One that does not wither/Fade.
6. Pine trees
Pine trees are some of the oldest living trees in the world and symbolize longevity, wisdom, fertility, good fortune and hope. The tree is also linked to immortality because of its ability to thrive in the harshest weather conditions.
7. Reishi Mushroom
Many ancient cultures have called the Reishi Mushroom the ‘Mushroom of Immortality‘. This is because they believed in this mushroom’s amazing ability to heal the body and slow down aging. In China the mushroom is called Lingzhi and is linked to prosperity, good health, spiritual power, and longevity.
Ouroboros is an ancient symbol that depicts a serpent (or dragon) eating its own tail. It represents rebirth, eternity, unity, sustenance and the natural cycle of life that is never-ending. It also represents the principle that life consumes life to survive and this cycle of creation and destruction continues forever which is symbolic of immortality.
9. The Christmas wreath
The Christmas wreath represents eternity, immortality, triumph over death, changing seasons, return of the Sun (or return of life), unity, perfection, fertility and good luck. The circular shape of the wreath and the natural evergreens used to make it represent eternal life and immortality.
A circle has no ending or beginning and continues to flow in a never-ending loop which signifies wholeness, limitlessness, eternity, unity, infinity and immortality.
11. Ivy plant
The ivy creeping up a tree symbolizes eternal life, friendship, love, faithfulness and attachment. The reason it symbolizes immortality and eternal life is because of its evergreen nature and the fact that it can thrive even by latching on to dead trees and branches.
In ancient Egyptian culture, the ivy was dedicated to Osiris, the God of birth, death and resurrection. The plant is also associated with Greek God Dionysus, who is the God of fertility, creation and ecstasy.
12. Banyan tree
The Indian fig tree (Ficus bengalensis) also known as The Sacred Banyan Tree has been associated with longevity, immortality, prosperity and good luck since ancient times. Just like the Yew tree (discussed earlier), the branches of this tree droop to the ground and once there, they root themselves and to produce new trunks and branches. The tree keeps growing this way ending up covering a vast area the longer it lives. This characteristic of the Banyan tree makes it the tree of immortality.
Shou is a Chinese symbol that represents longevity, immortality and eternal life. This circular symbol usually has five bats around its circumference each one representing a blessing. The blessings include health, prosperity, love, tranquility and natural death. This symbol is also associated with Shouxing – the Chinese God of Longevity.
14. Infinity sign
Just like a circle the infinity symbol depicts an endless loop. It has no beginning or end and hence goes on forever. This is why the infinity sign represents immortality, limitlessness and eternity.
The sign is used extensively in mathematics and was perhaps adapted from ancient symbols like the Ouroboros – which depicts a serpent curling around to eat its own tail.
15. Nyame Nnwu na Mawu (Adinkara symbol)
Nyame Nwu Na Mawu is an Adinkara symbol that translates to “God won’t die for me to die.” In other words, because God (or the creator) cannot die, I cannot die because I’m part of the divine creator.
This symbol represents the immortality of the human soul which continues to live on for eternity even when the physical body perishes.
16. North star (Druv Tara)
The Druva Tara or North Star is a symbol of immortality and guidance in Hinduism. As per Hindu mythology, Prince Druva after years of penance in the forest got granted a wish by Lord Vishnu. The Lord was so impressed by Druva’s penance that he not only granted all of Druva’s wishes but also granted Druva a permanent place in the sky as one of the brightest stars.
17. Tansy flowers
The word, ‘Tansy’, is derived from the Greek word, ‘Athanasia’, which means immortality. In Greek mythology Zeus is said to have given a drink of Tansy flowers to Shepherd Ganymede that made him immortal. In many cultures, including Egyptian and Celtic cultures Tansy flowers were also used for embalming because it was thought to confer immortality.
18. Knot of eternity
The Eternal (endless) knot is a sacred symbol found across various cultures around the world including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Celtic cultures. The knot does not have an ending or a beginning and symbolizes infinite consciousness, wisdom, compassion and good fortune. It also signifies the infinite nature of the universe, endless nature of time and endless births and rebirths which represents immortality.
Kalasha is a sacred metal pot with a coconut covering its mouth. The coconut is circled with mango leaves. In Hinduism the Kalasha is considered sacred and is included in various rituals and prayers. It symbolizes eternal life, wisdom, abundance and immortality because it is said to contain Amrita or the Elixir of life.
Since ancient times, corals have been linked to wisdom, fertility, happiness and immortality. Corals are also linked with immortality because of their long lives and hard exterior. Some corals can live up to 5000 years or more making them the longest living organisms on planet earth. In addition to that, most corals are shaped like a tree which also makes them a symbol of immortality.
21. Willow trees
In China, the Willow tree is associated with immortality and rebirth. This is because of the ability of the willow tree to grow even from a cut stem/branch when put in the soil. Similarly, the tree tends to grow back with vigor where ever it is cut. The tree has been shown to contain hormones that allow for such rapid growth and rooting.
22. Heart-Leaved moonseed (Amritavalli)
Heart-Leaved moonseed or Giloy is an Indian herb that is used in Ayurveda to treat a wide range of ailments. The reason this herb is associated with immortality is because the herb never dies. Cut stems of the Giloy plant no matter how old will begin to sprout leaves when given water and sunlight. This is the reason the herb is also called – Amritavalli which translates to the ‘Root of Immortality‘.
23. Pear tree/fruit
Pears and pear trees are considered sacred in many cultures around the world including India, China, Rome and Egypt. The fruit is called ‘Amrita Phalam’ in Sanskit which translates to the ‘Fruit of Immortality’.
One of the reasons why the pear tree represents immortality is the fact that it lives a long life and during this period products an abundance of delicious fruits. Similarly, the fruits by themselves are said to have healing and anti-aging properties. Pears are also a symbol of good health, happiness, abundance, sustenance and longevity.
24. White Wisteria flower
Because of its long life, White wisteria represents longevity, eternal life, spirituality and wisdom. Some of the oldest wisteria plants found in Japan are said to be more than 1200 years old.
25. Firangipani (Plumeria Obtusa)
Firangipani plant and flowers are considered sacred in Mayan and Hindu cultures. In India, they are planted on temple grounds and symbolize eternal life of the soul. Firangipani is equated with eternal life because it is said to produce leaves and blooms even after it has been uprooted from the soil. In addition, the plant is an evergreen which also represents immortality.
Kanatitsa is an ancient Bulgarian symbol that represents eternal life, longevity and protection from negative energy.
Idun is the Norse Goddess of spring, youth, joy and rejuvenation. She is said to keep the magical apples of immortality which the Gods must eat to stay forever youthful.