21 Symbols of Integrity and Righteousness

Symbols of integrity featured

Integrity is something which is difficult to find, yet easy to see. It isn’t often we meet people who always act with honesty and never compromise their principals. Perhaps because it is so rare, true integrity is highly appreciated and reflected in the symbolism of many cultures. Check out the following symbols of integrity and righteousness to discover what this quality looks like for different societies around the world.

1. Kola Nut

Kola nut symbol

The Kola Nut is a vital part of western Africa’s culture and economy. This little nut contains as much caffeine as two cups of coffee, and is prized for its stimulating effects. It is known to symbolize friendship and communion for the Adinkra people.

Because of its biological characteristics, it also acts as a symbol of purity, righteousness, and integrity. The kola nut is self-containing and tends not to overgrow. It can protect itself from rot and corruption, much like a person of strong integrity.

2. Dara Knot

Celtic Dara knot
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An ancient Celtic symbol, the Dara knot is said to represent inner strength. Coming from the Gaelic Doire, meaning oak tree, the knot is stylized to resemble the roots of the mighty oak. These roots must remain strong to hold up such a large tree.

Likewise, we must remain resolute to maintain our inner strength and integrity. With its interwoven pieces, the Dara Knot is a stalwart base. If we fashion our thought processes the same way, we can withstand outside forces of temptation and weakness in the world.

3. Plum

Plum fruit
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Most likely, you’ve tasted a plum or two in your lifetime. This delicious fruit has been around for centuries, and it’s a favorite treat across the world. Because of its unique growing conditions and the circumstances in which it thrives, the plum tree is regarded as a plant of integrity in many Asian cultures.

This tree flowers in the winter. Even as temperatures drop and conditions get harsh, the plum continues to blossom. Just like a righteous person will not compromise his principles even as the world grows unkind towards him, the plum grows on and flowers despite the winter.

4. Compass

Silver compass
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The compass was one of the most important tools in early nautical navigation. We still use it today, even in a world full of GPS and Google Maps. As a symbol of integrity and guidance, the compass signifies our ability to find a safe moral path.

Each person must navigate their own sea of life. These seas are often fraught with temptation, dishonesty, and strife. However, we can trust our inner compass to guide us safely on a road of righteousness. Using its direction, we can stay honest and true to our best selves.

5. Mirror

Mirror
Sometimes we love looking in the mirror, and sometimes we hate it. But our reflection is always true. As an object, the mirror is open and honest. It only shows what is actually there, not what we want to be there. In this way, the mirror is a perfect symbol of integrity. It never lies.

Just as the looking glass reflects a real image back to us, we too can gaze into our inner selves and see the truth. We should not be afraid to take real stock, to examine our desires and motivations and see if we truly act with righteousness.

6. Lotus

Lotus design
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The lotus flower is a highly-regarded symbol of integrity in China. These plants grow from murky waters, mirroring perfectly the moral complications and dilemmas of everyday life. From this unclean base, a flower grows.

Even surrounded by muck, the flower still blooms beautifully. Much like a person with integrity and righteousness will rise above moral turpitude to shine bright in any situation, the lotus flower stands vibrantly above its muddy roots.

7. Peacock

Peacock
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The peacock and its awe-striking array of feathers symbolize many things, with integrity and righteousness being high on the list of positive attributes. In India, the peacock is a bird of honesty and a protector of royalty. His tail draws attention from every angle with bright hues and beautiful designs.

He cannot help but show his true colors. But he doesn’t need to be ashamed, because he has nothing to hide. Just like a person of morality, the peacock struts proudly. He has no need to skulk around the edges of society.

8. Gladiolus Flower

Gladiolus flower
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Named after the fierce gladiator warrior class, the Gladiolus flower was a well-known symbol in ancient Rome. Even today it still conveys meaning, its bright colors and strong stalk indicating the integrity, bravery, and strong moral character expected of a gladiator.

The gladiolus flower comes in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. This wide variety could be representative of the different peoples of the world, signifying the ability to be our best selves regardless of national origin, social class, or physical appearance.

9. White Swan

White swan
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The white swan is a symbol of purity, integrity, honesty and goddess in Hinduism. These birds are beautiful, spotless and clean despite paddling around in muddy waters all day long. They possess the ability to remain pure despite their circumstances.

Humans can emulate the discerning nature of the swan by acting with honesty and integrity in all situations. Even when surrounded by immoral people, we can hold true to our principals and determine the best course of action without being swayed—remaining clean, white, and pure like the swan.

10. Prov

In ancient times, eastern Europe was dominated by strong Slavic tribes. They had many symbols to communicate their most positive and negative characteristics, and one of the most righteous of these was the symbol Prov—meaning truth.

Prov is also sometimes portrayed as a powerful god in the Slavic pantheon, embodying all personality traits associated with integrity. Honesty, faithfulness, and lawfulness are his specialties, and worshipping Prov or wearing his symbol can help channel those traits in humans.

11. Orchids

White orchids
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The Orchid flower has long been regarded as symbol of love and beauty, but in China it also represents inner strength and integrity. The philosopher Confucius based many of his beliefs around orchids, likening their beauty and fragrance to the nobility of a man with strong moral fiber.

As an orchid will bloom even in the absence of an appreciative audience, a good person will act accordingly even when no one is around to see. Purple orchids represent integrity in a romantic relationship, while white orchids indicate spiritual strength and purity.

12. Moose

Moose
The moose is a massive, towering animal native to North America that has been used as a symbol of power, wisdom, and perseverance in many native American cultures. Its slow gait and steady progress indicate intelligence and critical thinking, while its size represents strength and bravery.

In some tribes, boys were urged to seek out a moose totem for the transition from childhood into adulthood. The moose could grant them physical prowess along with mental clarity and good character, and so was invaluable when coming into a phase of life which required both.

13. Bamboo

Bamboo symbol
Bamboo plays an important symbolic role in Chinese culture, representing beauty, strength, wisdom, resilience, morality, and good character. This hearty plant grows incredibly fast and is used in daily construction as well as for decoration.

Thick and strong, the bamboo grass flourishes despite rough terrain. But though it is resolute, it is not bullheaded. Just as a righteous man might change his opinion when presented with new facts, the bamboo is both strong and flexible, able to adapt to new situations and retain its good traits.

14. Rooster

Rooster
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The rooster has a wide variety of meanings across many cultures, both positive and negative. In the Chinese culture, they are considered emblems of strength, courage, honesty, and integrity. The rooster is a protector of his flock, guiding those in his tutelage with their best interests in mind.

In Judaism, the rooster represents honesty and bravery. He crows reliably each day as dawn breaks, ever steadfast in his principals. For the Japanese, roosters are a holy animal. They roam freely through the streets, protected by their status as a symbol of heavenly unity.

15. Circle

Circle
The circle is a universal emblem of unity and integrity. Without beginning or ending, it indicates the state of the interwoven world and all its communities. Each society should work towards being like the circle, an equal group comprising an unbroken whole.

The circle is also a protective sphere that one can step into while performing spells and rituals. The unity of the solid circle reflects our own inner strength, and as long as its integrity remains intact, outside forces cannot step in to harm us.

16. Pine Tree

Scots pine
Via DepositPhotos

Much like the plum tree, the pine tree flourishes in the wintertime. While other trees stand barren, the pine continues to provide color with refreshing green needles. In Korea, the pine tree represents strength in the face of adversity and strong moral character.

Even in the coldest of winters, the pine does not falter. Just like we should not compromise our principals when faced with challenges, the pine does not lose its color. It serves as a beacon of integrity, reminding us what to strive for in dark hours.

17. Giraffe

Giraffe symbol

The giraffe with its straight and long neck is considered a symbol of integrity, honesty and authenticity (being true to yourself). Just like a person of integrity has nothing to hide and lives an authentic life, the giraffe stands tall and proud without the need to hide anything. It does not feel the need to fit it and is proud to be different and to stand out from the rest.

18. Lion

Lion head symbol
The lion represents many things, but one prominent meaning of the lion as a symbol is someone who is incorruptible.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, the lion is considered a symbol of wisdom, integrity and strength. Hinduism also has a popular lion deity named ‘Narasimha’ who represents hope, courage, protection and victory over evil.

19. Lunaria flowers

Lunaria pods
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Lunaria flowers carry translucent pods that reveal the seeds beneath. This represents truthfulness, integrity and honesty. In-fact, another name for the Lunaria plant is ‘honesty’.

20. Lovebirds

Love birds

Lovebirds symbolize integrity because they stay together with their partner for life. Most birds are monogamous but only for a certain period of time. But the lovebird stays true to its mate, forming a pair for life. Lovebirds also symbolize love, commitment, loyalty and care.

Some other animals that stay true to their partner for life include beavers, gray wolves, gibbons, macaroni penguins, sandhill cranes, bald eagles and sea horses.

21. Ailm

Ailm symbol

Ailm is the name of the 16th letter of the Celtic Ogham Alphabet. It corresponds to the pine tree and symbolizes endurance, resilience, integrity, purity, wholeness and inner strength. This symbol is believed to raise your consciousness, bring in mental clarity and spiritual insights.

Conclusion

Integrity is vital not only to humanity, but also to science and the earth. We can look to the natural world as well as a variety of cultures and religions to find symbols which resonate with us. By studying these plants, animals, and icons, we see reflections of our best selves and get daily reminders of what we should strive to be.


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About the Author
Lyza is a certified yoga instructor and advanced practitioner, dedicating time and space each day for spiritual process and immersion in the mystical. She’s a professional wordsmith by day and an avid nature enthusiast by night, exploring all the spectacular spots and hidden gems of her native Ozark Mountain region. Get in touch with Lyza at her website, or follow her on Instagram to see her point...  visit author page.
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