Even the most optimistic among us can experience periods of doubt. That’s why symbols of hope are so important. From the liveliness of animals, birds, and insects to the vibrancy of nature in flowers, plants, and trees, there are symbols of hope all around us. As well mythological and ancient symbols of hope can inspire us today as they did our ancestors.
In this post, we’ll explore the rich variety of symbols of hope. In fact, there are so many that I’ll venture to say there are multiple ones for everyone in this list.
Animals that Symbolize Hope
To kick things off, we’ll start with the most lively symbols of hope: animals. Our fellow earthlings have a wonderful capacity to remind us that pureness of heart abounds. So, we have reason to hope.
1. Baby Elephant
Not many people can resist a baby elephant. Their curiosity coupled with their clumsiness can make anyone smile.
Yet it’s also their immense potential that can fill us with awe, as baby elephants grow to be as wise, compassionate, and loyal to their herds as they grow in size.
Here’s a popular video of a baby elephant to remind you of the joy in life:
Silly, affectionate, curious, and energetic, puppies make people feel happy. They represent new beginnings and the joy that comes with embracing the present moment. A puppy symbolizes the hope for a brighter future and a reminder to be curious and playful.
Just as puppies do, kittens remind us of new beginnings and hope for the future. They also bring a sense of comfort and warmth wherever they go. A kitten reminds us to find hope in simple pleasures and to stay curious and cuddly.
As they are symbols of rebirth and fertility, bunnies are also symbols of hope. Just as rabbits reproduce at a healthy rate, bringing new life into the world, they remind us of opportunity, abundance, and new growth.
Not to mention, their sweet natures remind us that despite the madness in this world, there is also gentleness.
Curious and playful, adorable otters also make people happy. As they effortlessly move from land to water, they remind us to take it easy and go with the flow. They’re also a reminder that life can be fun and enjoyable.
As they symbolize playfulness, messages, guidance, and transformation, the dolphin is also a symbol of hope. Highly social and dependent on their pods, dolphins also represent the importance of connection and support, reminding us that no one is an island.
Starfish are sensitive creatures, so they’re indicator species. When starfish are present in their natural ecosystems, it’s a sign that the local environment is healthy.
In addition, the sea star’s ability to regrow their limbs means they’re symbols of regeneration and renewal.
Thus, the starfish is an apt symbol for hope, as they remind us of our own ability to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit and to renew our lives.
Sloths are known for their slow and relaxed pace of life. They remind us to slow down and appreciate the present moment. Thus, sloths symbolize hope in finding peace and contentment in the simple things, reminding us to prioritize self-care and well-being.
9. Baby Gorilla
Gorillas are an endangered species. However, conservation efforts are making headway in protecting them.1 So, baby gorillas, in addition to being adorable, are powerful symbols of hope for generations to come.
Here’s a video from BBC Earth of a baby gorilla practicing becoming a big, powerful gorilla:
Birds that Symbolize Hope
Perhaps one of the most potent symbols of hope in the animal kingdom is a bird. Their ability to soar through the skies and traverse vast distances remind us that the sky’s the limit. So, have faith and believe!
Here are some types of birds who are notable symbols of hope:
The majestic albatross is a symbol of endurance and perseverance. These magnificent seabirds spend most of their lives at sea, traveling thousands of miles.
In addition, for centuries sailors have viewed them as good omens. In fact, sailors of old believed the albatross carried the souls of dead sailors to Heaven.
Thus, the albatross serves as a reminder that no matter how arduous the journey may be, faith and hope can carry you through.
Doves have long been associated with peace, harmony, and reconciliation. In addition, these gentle birds are often seen as messengers of hope and signs of the divine.
In the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, it’s the dove who returns to the ark with an olive branch that shows Noah that the Earth is habitable again.
While they are small in stature, the hummingbird possesses some powerful attributes: they can fly long distances, hover in mid-air, and they are exceptionally fast.
In addition, as a pollinator, this tiny creature is also vital for supporting life on Earth.
Furthermore, the hummingbird’s beautiful jewel-toned colors remind us of the beauty, variety, and joy in life. Thus, the hummingbird is a fitting symbol of hope and abundance.
The presence of a bluebird has many positive associations. As a symbol of optimism, joy, dreams, and friendship, the bluebird is a reminder to be hopeful about a brighter future.
As Miranda Lambert sing in her song “Bluebird”:
“And if the whole wide world stops singing
And all the stars go dark
I’ll keep the light on in my soul
Keep a bluebird in my heart”2
Many people believe that seeing a cardinal is a sign that the spirit of a loved one who has passed is sending a message of greeting.
But whether or not you believe in angels, seeing a cardinal is always a beautiful sign. Their bright red plumage is a show-stopper: a vibrant reminder of the miraculous beauty that exists in the world, offering a vivid glimmer of hope.
Sparrows are known for their resilience and adaptability. These small, unassuming birds are able to thrive in urban environments, despite their small size and vulnerability. Thus, the sparrow represents the idea that simple acts and small steps can lead to greater things.
The robin’s arrival signifies the end of winter, the coming of spring, and hope for new beginnings. And the cheerful red breast of the robin brings a sense of optimism and reminds us that brighter days are ahead.
In addition, the robin encourages us to seize the moment, as in – be the early bird who gets the worm: embrace change and new beginnings.
Insects that Symbolize Hope
Hope can be found in unexpected places, even in the world’s tiniest creatures. Here are some examples:
Butterflies are one of the most iconic symbols of hope. They undergo a remarkable transformation from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, embodying the notion of transforming yourself or aspects of your life.
In addition, in many cultures, the appearance of a butterfly is considered to be a positive sign, including a message of greeting from an angel.
Like butterflies, dragonflies undergo a miraculous metamorphosis in their lifetimes. In addition, they are capable of a stunning level of maneuverability and shear strength, which baffles scientists.
Thus, these beautiful winged insects serve as symbols of hope. They undergo a major transformation and they can swiftly change direction when necessary.
Furthermore, in some cultures, dragonflies are believed to channel divine energy and messages from spirits.
Ladybugs keep plants healthy because they munch on the kinds of pests that can kill crops. Thus, throughout history, people have viewed ladybugs as symbols of hope, health, good luck, prosperity.
As well, their round bodies, vibrant color, and polka dots make them the most favorite bugs of many.
As vital pollinators, bees carry the responsibility of helping to support life on Earth on their tiny little shoulders. It’s a good thing they’re so hardworking! Thus, bees are powerful symbols of life, good fortune, and teamwork.
The presence of bees makes us hopeful for the future. They remind us that dedication, teamwork, and hard work can bring sweet rewards.
The grasshopper can jump great distances, so they remind us to take a leap of faith. As well, their propensity to reproduce in large numbers makes them a symbol of abundance.
Thus, the grasshopper gives us hope that we can make progress by overcoming obstacles in our way. They also remind us to believe in the power to manifest abundance.
The firefly literally illuminates the darkness. So, they are like little beacons of hope. In addition, their fairy-like quality reminds us of the magic of imagination.
These enchanting little creatures symbolize that despite problems and negativity, there’s always a flicker of hope.
In addition to the world’s animals and insects, another set of creatures can embody hope: These are the mythical creatures that have sparked people’s imaginations throughout history.
Here are some mythical creatures that are symbols of hope:
With the ability to transform and rise up from the ashes again and again after perishing in the fire, the mythical bird called the phoenix is an iconic symbol of hope and renewal.
The rare and beautiful unicorn has long been a symbol of purity, grace, and magic. Thus, the unicorn is a wonderful symbol of hope that encourages us to embrace uniqueness and to believe in the extraordinary.
25. Rainbow Serpent
The Indigenous Australians tell the tale of a mythical rainbow serpent that brings water to the people and fertility to the soil. Thus, it’s another special symbol of hope and renewal.
Often referred to as the Chinese phoenix, the fenghuang is a mythical bird that symbolizes high virtue, grace, and prosperity.
It’s a symbol of hope for a bright future that will bring happiness and harmony.
27. White Stag
Commonly found in European folklore, a white stag is the embodiment of purity, magic, and spiritual enlightenment.
In addition, he is a symbol of hope and guidance, leading individuals towards their destiny and the fulfillment of their purpose.
Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, is renowned for his immortality and ability to fly to the realm of the gods. Thus, he inspires poets and dreamers alike.
Pegasus symbolizes freedom, imagination, and the power to transcend limitations, offering hope for boundless possibilities.
29. Kirin, or Qilin
The kirin, or qilin, is a mythical creature from East Asian mythology. He is often depicted as a gentle and benevolent guardian.
Sometimes described as a mythical lion, his appearance signifies the imminent arrival of a wise ruler or sage. Thus, he symbolizes hope and auspicious times.
Flowers that Symbolize Hope
Flowers have long been intertwined with deep meanings and symbolism. In addition to their aesthetic beauty, many flowers also represent hope. Here are some examples:
30. Almond Blossoms
Almond trees are mentioned a few times in the Bible, in which they represent blessings, new beginnings, and hope.
For example, in Numbers 17:23, as the Israelites travel in the desert, Aaron’s staff sprouts almond blossoms. The sprouts are a sign that Aaron has been chosen by God to serve as the first High Priest.
Thus, the almond blossom has long been a symbol for hopefulness and optimism in Jewish culture and beyond.3
31. Lotus Flower
A symbol of purity, transformation, spiritual growth, and enlightenment, the lotus flower gives us hope for our own ability to transcend challenges and to become a better version of ourselves.
Like the lotus flower, a water lily grows from the mud and through water, and then opens up once it reaches the surface.
In this way, lily flowers represent our ability to rise up no matter where we start in life. Thus, the lily is a beautiful symbol of hope and transformation.
Among the first flowers to emerge as the dark winter turns into spring, the daffodil is a bright symbol of hope and fresh starts. Its vibrant yellow color signifies optimism, opportunities, and good fortune. Thus, seeing a daffodil burst through the snow is always a hopeful sign.
The sunflower is famous for its bright yellow petals and round face, which seems to beam at the sun.
However, what is less known about the sunflower is that they can absorb radioactive isotopes from the environment. In fact, sunflowers have been planted at both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disaster sites because they help to remove radioactive toxins from the environment.
A symbol of the nation of Ukraine, the sunflower represents peace and nuclear disarmament, as well as devotion. It reminds us to keep the faith and hope for a better future.
Water irises are semi-aquatic flowers that grow in water and marshy environments. And they have an extra special quality because, like sunflowers, they have the ability to remove toxins from the environment.
In addition, the iris is a longstanding symbol of chivalry and faith. With their beautifully unique structure and special qualities, the Iris has also come to symbolize hope and the ability to handle challenges with grace.
The crocus is one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring. Thus, they are also symbols of hope, rebirth, and new beginnings.
Trees and Plants
In addition to flowers, nature manifests hope in the form of trees, plants, and seeds. Here are some examples:
The acorn holds the seed of what will become a mighty oak tree. Thus, the acorn is a hopeful reminder that something small, such as the kernel of an idea, can grow into something powerful and magnificent.
38. Birch Tree
The birch tree is a special species because of its ability to regenerate damaged ecosystems. Biologists call it a “pioneer species” for this reason. In fact, birch trees are often the first trees to grow from the ruins of a forest fire.4
So, the birch tree is a symbol of hope.
Furthermore, the birch’s unusually beautiful white bark reminds us of a blank slate and starting fresh.
Sprouts, or young plants, embody the essence of growth and new life. In fact, sprouts are one of the healthiest foods on the planet! So, the sprout is a fitting symbol of hope and believing in growth and vitality.
40. Olive Branch
In the story of Noah’s Ark a dove carries an olive branch back to Noah, demonstrating that the Earth is habitable again. Since then, and most likely even before biblical times, the olive branch has been a symbol of hope, faith, and peacefulness.
41. Money Tree
Native to Central and South America and befitting its name, the money tree plant has long been a symbol of hope, good fortune, and financial abundance.
According to local lore, a poor man once prayed for money and he came across the plant that came to be called the money tree. When he took it home, he made money by selling its seeds, which delivered him from poverty.5
42. Ginkgo Tree
Native to China, the ginkgo tree is known for its resilience and longevity, despite having a delicate appearance. In addition, its fan-shaped leaves turn a vibrant shade of yellow in the fall.
Because of these qualities, the ginkgo tree is a symbol of hope, resilience, and transformation, making it a popular symbol in Feng Shui.
43. Shamrock or Four-Leafed Clover
Often associated with St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns, and finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the shamrock is a symbol of hope and good luck in its own right.
In addition, finding a four-leaf clover is believed to bring luck, prosperity, and blessings.
Nature Symbols of Hope
In addition to flowers, plants, and trees, other natural phenomena can be symbols of hope and optimism. Here are some examples:
As the sun rises above the horizon, bringing light and warmth, it signals the start of a new day that’s filled with possibilities.
Thus, the sunrise is a beautiful symbol of hope and a fresh start. And if you miss the one today, there will be another one tomorrow!
Often appearing at the intersection of a rainstorm and sunshine, the colorful rainbow reminds us that the world is full of magical possibilities.
It also serves as a hopeful symbol that people of all colors and kinds can join together to create a sum that is even more beautiful than its parts.
Whether a natural spring or a human-made wishing well, a fountain represents a fresh start and getting into flow. Its cascading waters also represent vitality, renewal, and tranquility. So, the fountain is a special symbol of hope.
In the dry, arid desert, an oasis offers replenishment and sanctuary. So, an oasis is an iconic symbol of hope, refuge, and pleasure.
48. Shooting Star
As it streaks across the night sky, a shooting star is a fast-moving, eye-catching spark of hope. It’s a reminder to make a wish and hope it will come true.
49. Silver Lining in a Cloud
The silver lining in a cloud is a metaphorical symbol of hope. It signifies the presence of something positive or hopeful, even in the midst of difficult or trying circumstances.
Ancient and Inanimate Symbols
In addition, the abundance of symbols of hope that we can find in nature, we humans have also created objects and artifacts that serve the added purpose of making us believe in possibilities. Here are some examples:
Associated with stability and strength, the anchor is a time-tested symbol of hope. It represents security amidst the turbulence of life, reminding us that we can create our own ways of staying steady even in the most challenging circumstances.
Like the anchor, a hook symbolizes an ability to grab something solid from which we can reap rewards. So, it’s a hopeful symbol for not giving up and believing there are rewards if we keep trying to hook them!
The awen is at Celtic symbol that represents divine inspiration, creative energy, and in modern times – being in flow.6
It embodies the belief that hope and inspiration are abundant and accessible to all. The name loosely translates to “breathe” – as in the breath of inspiration flowing into you.
While the cross was originally a torture device, it has come to symbolize hope, faith, and salvation. It is a reminder of Jesus’ love and devotion to his followers. The cross also represents the power to overcome adversity through faith in your Higher Power.
The symbol of (and root of the words) illumination and enlightenment, light itself is also a time-tested symbol of hope. Like seeing a light at the end of a tunnel, light offers guidance, warmth, expanded awareness, and hope.
Another light symbol, the candle represents the hope and resilience that can emerge from something small. Even in a vast darkness, one candle can appear and completely change the dynamic.
Standing tall and steady amidst stormy, dark seas, the lighthouse offers navigation, guidance, reassurance, and dry land. Thus, a lighthouse is a longstanding symbol of hope.
57. Fingers Crossed
Crossing your fingers for good luck is also a symbol of hope. According to historians, the hand gesture has its roots in Christianity. Early Christians would cross their fingers in a gesture that represented the cross. They believed that doing so would bring in the positive energy of Jesus and dispel negative energy.
58. Peace Sign
An iconic symbol of hope, love, and harmony, the peace sign originated in the late 1950s as a symbol of nuclear disarmament and has since become synonymous with the desire for a peaceful and just world.7
The peace sign represents the power of hope and unity in creating a better future for all.
59. 8-Pointed Star
In Native American culture, an eight-pointed star symbolizes the stages of life and the cardinal directions. Native Americans view it as the morning star. Thus it also represents hope and guidance.8
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Greek symbol of hope?
In Greek mythology, the symbol of hope is often associated with the goddess Elpis. She was among the evils in Pandora’s box, and when all other plagues and sorrows had escaped, Elpis alone remained inside, signifying the endurance and spirit of hope amidst suffering.9
What is the Indigenous symbol of hope?
Indigenous symbols of hope can vary widely between tribes. However, some examples include a white bison, an eight-pointed star, a red bird, and eagle.
What do symbols of hope represent?
Symbols of hope typically represent the enduring human spirit and the belief in positive outcomes despite challenging circumstances. They serve as reminders of resilience, optimism, and the potential for change and betterment.
Why do animals symbolize hope?
Animals symbolize hope due to their resilience, adaptability, and the remarkable instincts they exhibit in overcoming challenges. Their behavior and life cycles often reflect themes of renewal, survival, and transformation, inspiring hope in we humans.
Why are birds symbols of hope?
Birds are powerful symbols of hope because of their ability to soar high in the sky, suggesting freedom, perspective, and transcendence above earthly concerns. Their migratory patterns also signify resilience and the promise of return, embodying the spirit of hope and renewal.
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