Symbols of rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings give us hope that we can transform our lives and start anew. And one of the most intriguing aspects of these symbols is that there are some many. From spiritual and mythological symbols to flowers, insects, and animals, we are reminded of the opportunity for renewal and transformation all around us. Here are some of those symbols, their stories, and meanings.
Table of Contents
- Other Nature Symbols of New Beginnings, Renewal, and Transformation
- Cultural and Mythological Symbols
- Other Cultural and Spiritual Symbols of New Beginnings, Renewal, and Transformation
- Angel Numbers that Symbolize New Beginnings and Transformation
- Tarot Cards that Symbolize Renewal and Transformation
Crocus bulbs actually thrive in the cold ground all winter. But at the first hint of spring, they open up and the crocus plants burst through the earth to bloom, even if there is still snow on the ground. Because of this, they are symbols of new beginnings.
2. Daffodils and Narcissus Flowers
Like crocuses, daffodils and narcissuses (which are from the same genus of flowers) are some of the first flowers that we see bloom in early spring. So, like the crocus, daffodil and narcissus symbolism includes rebirth and new beginnings. This is why these flowers are often given as gifts for those who are starting something new in their life, such as having a baby, buying a home, adopting a pet, or starting a new job.
3. Daisy Flowers
Also blooming in spring, daisies, which are part of the aster family of flowers, bloom in the spring. Reminding us of springtime and fresh starts, daisy meaning embodies the idea of a rebirth and renewal, Because of this, they are often planted or given as gifts to new parents and their babies.
The Easter lily is commonly seen during this spring holiday because lily meaning includes rebirth and new beginnings. It’s also for this reason that we give them to those who are grieving and in honor of loved ones who have passed at memorial services.
Death can feel like an ending to those who have lost a loved one. However, lily flower meaning represents another aspect of death, which is transformation and rebirth. So, lily flower symbolism also represents the transition of the soul from the earthly, material world to heaven, nirvana, or the spiritual plane.
Lilies are symbols of transformation because they can grow through mud and water to emerge and bloom above the surface.
5. Lotus Flower
Like the lily flower, the lotus originates in the water. However, it doesn’t stay there. The lotus plant undergoes a transformation. It begins as a seed in the mud. From there, it begins to sprout into a closed bud in the water. Eventually it grows up through the water to open up and blossom above the surface. Hence, lotus flower meaning represents transformation and rebirth. It reminds us that we can emerge to blossom, regardless of where we started.
In addition to flowers, many animals symbolize rebirth and transformation. Here are some examples:
While they may not be as pretty as narcissus blooms, alligators also symbolize renewal and transformation. The reason is that alligators have an enviable and rare skill: They can regrow their tails. Because of this, alligator symbolism includes regeneration and renewal.
In addition, the fact that alligators move seamlessly between land and the water is the reason that they are also symbols of transformation.
While they are not commonly known for this, bats are pollinators. In fact, because they pollinate, they help to extend the life force of valuable plants, such as bananas, mangoes, agave, and others. In essence, bats are fertility symbols. Because of this, bat meaning includes new life and new beginnings.
Furthermore, as bats are among the few mammals who can fly, they also symbolize the idea of transformation from earth to sky, or the material to the supernatural world.
Because they go into hibernation during the winter months and then emerge in springtime, bears are also symbols of new beginnings and renewal. Bear meaning reminds us of the importance of having a she den or a man cave so we can take time out to recharge.
Dolphins and other marine mammals are fascinating examples of the miracle of evolution. While life on Earth originated in the water, some creatures evolved to walk on land. And of that group, a number of species chose to return to the water – including dolphins and porpoises. Thus, dolphin meaning and symbolism includes transformation. In addition, the happy-go-lucky nature of these joyful beings remind us to seize the new day and enjoy ourselves.
As water birds, ducks inhabit three mediums: water, land, and air. So, duck symbolism includes the idea “diving deep” for better understanding, such as a person doing the psychological work needed to transform an area of their life. In addition, ducks build their nests and lay their eggs on land, so they are also “rooted” to the material world.
Furthermore, ducks can fly, which is a metaphor for being connected to the spiritual realm. So, the duck is a beautiful metaphor for emotional and spiritual transformation.
Born from eggs laid in the water, the frog starts life as a simple tadpole. Then, they grow their legs and arms, evolving to become adult frogs who can swim, hop on land, croak, and even climb trees. Because they go through this miraculous metamorphosis, the frog is a symbol of new beginnings and transformation.
As pollinators, hummingbirds symbolize supporting life as well as bringing new life into the world. Because of this, hummingbird meaning includes renewal and healing. With their buzzing wings and show-stopping beauty, hummingbirds remind us to live each moment and be optimistic about the future.
Like their dolphin cousins, manatees embody the idea of evolution and transformation because they evolved from land animals who returned to the sea. Symbolically, land represents the conscious mind and the material world. While water represents the sub-conscious mind and the supernatural world. Thus, manatee meaning represents our ability to be present in our day-to-day lives while having the ability to transform our thoughts to connect with our spiritual selves and the divine.
The octopus is a virtuoso when it comes to fitting into tight spaces as well as camouflaging themselves. Furthermore, among their many talents, the octopus can regrow a limb if needed. Because of this, octopus meaning includes regeneration and transformation.
Otters can move seamlessly between land and the water. Thus, otter meaning symbolizes our connection to the material and spiritual realms. In addition, the otter symbolizes our conscious and sub-conscious minds. Therefore, they are symbols of transformation. In addition, their lively spirits make us feel hopeful about the future.
Peacocks are famous for their gorgeous plumage. And if you’re ever so lucky as to find a peacock feather and see it up close, you can’t help but be dazzled by its jewel-colored tones. As with other birds who molt their feathers, the peacock symbolizes renewal and regeneration because of their ability to regrow their feathers.
In addition, peacock meaning includes transformation, as the male of the species evolve from little brown chicks into one of the most beautiful and magnificent creatures in the animal kingdom.
In springtime, the Earth renews itself and the world is full of new life, including baby bunnies. Rabbits generally start breeding in February or March, so a lot of baby rabbits are born when spring flowers are beginning to bloom. Hence, rabbit meaning includes new beginnings.
18. Ravens and Crows
Because they eat carrion, and most likely because they’re black, ravens and crows have often been associated with death and are even viewed as scary birds. Yet, on a spiritual level, death is not an end but a transformation to another state of existence or consciousness. Thus, in mythology and folklore, raven and crow meaning often symbolizes change, transformation, and even new opportunities.
Like their amphibian cousin – the frog, salamanders are symbols of renewal and transformation. For one, they can regrow their tails if needed.
In the Talmud, the religious text of Judaism, the salamander is associated with fire, like the Phoenix. Thus, this could be a reason they are also associated with transformation.
This myth possibly came from the fact that salamanders hibernate in moist logs, and when logs were burned by humans, the salamanders scurried out to escape. In fact, salamanders, like frogs, are not fire-resistant. They need consistent temperatures and moisture to survive.1
20. Sea Lions and Seals
Like their fellow marine mammals, seals and sea lions symbolize transformation. Because they swim in water, rest and birth their pups on land, and breathe air, these playful marine mammals symbolize our ability to transform our own awareness of consciousness. In essence, they signify our connection to the physical and spiritual realms, as well as to our own subconscious.
Snakes shed their skin several times every year, and for this reason, snake symbolism and meaning includes renewal, rebirth, and transformation. In addition, snakes are among the few animals who live on both land and in the water. Thus, snake meaning represents the ability of our minds to move from the conscious (land) to the subconscious (water) and back.
All life originated in the sea, and eventually, some creatures made their way to land, including the turtle. Yet, the turtle never completely disconnected from the water. Sea turtles, especially, evolved and then returned to the ocean full-time. (Though, they do make a pilgrimage on to land to lay their eggs.) Thus, because they are semi-aquatic, turtle symbolism also includes transformation.
Another powerful life form in the marine mammal camp, whales can dive to over 6,500 feet (roughly 2,000 meters.)2 Yet, they still have the capacity to propel their large bodies out of the depths and into the fresh air. They remind us that no matter how low we go, we still have the power to reach the surface and take in a deep breath. Thus, whale symbolism also includes transformation and renewal.
24. Sea Stars, or Starfish
Sea stars, also called starfish, can regenerate their limbs like octopuses. Thus, they are also symbols of rebirth and renewal. You can read more about starfish meanings in my dedicated post about starfish symbolism.
Many of us remember the story from childhood about an ugly duckling who isn’t a duckling at all but grows up to be a beautiful swan. In fact, swan chicks are usually grayish or brown when they hatch, so they are more easily camouflaged in their nests. However, as they grow older, they shed their baby feathers and then turn white or black. Because of this, the swan is also a symbol of transformation and renewal.
Butterflies are the ultimate symbol of transformation and new beginnings. Going through their metamorphosis from caterpillars to exquisitely beautiful flying insects, the butterfly reminds us that we all have the opportunity to transform our lives. Butterfly symbolism also includes renewal because, as pollinators, they extend the lifeforce of plants.
Known for their unmistakable singing sounds, cicadas burst through their nests in the ground when temperatures reach about 64 degrees (17.8 degrees C). Since this usually occurs in spring, cicada symbolism includes new beginnings and rebirth. In addition, young cicadas molt and shed their nymph skin before becoming adults. Hence, cicada meaning also includes transformation.
As with lotus flower symbolism, dragonfly meaning also includes transformation and rebirth. Similar to the lotus, dragonflies begin their life in the water. Then, the dragonfly soon takes flight in a magical metamorphosis. These magnificent flying insects remind us that we all have the opportunity for change and revival in our lives.
Often overlooked because they are not as showy as butterflies, moths are nevertheless beautiful and they play a vital role in pollination and supporting life on Earth. In fact, butterflies and moths belong to the same Order of insects, which is Lepidoptera.
Like the butterfly, the moth transitions from larva into a caterpillar and then into a beautiful flying insect. Thus, moth symbolism also includes transformation and rebirth.
Other Nature Symbols of New Beginnings, Renewal, and Transformation
30. Cherry Blossom Trees
Blooming in springtime, cherry blossom trees also signify new beginnings and rebirth. Because they bloom for a short times, they also remind is to live in the present and seize the day.
31. Pine Cones
While pine cones are not specially seeds, they play a vital role in how pine trees reproduce. They actually help to nurture the pine seeds, serving in a female while the male cones produce pollen.3 So, pine cones are fertility symbols. As such, they are associated with new beginnings.
32. The New Moon
The moon itself goes through a transformation every month, from our perspective here on Earth. Every 28 days, it is new again. For many people, the new moon is a time to set their intentions for good things to come in the upcoming month.
Whether in our gardens or on our salads, sprouts are very clear symbols or new beginnings. In fact, in Persian culture, they are given as gifts for Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
In addition to the moon “renewing” itself every 28 days, we get to celebrate a new days every 24 hours. So, sunrise itself is a symbol of new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal.
35. The Spring Equinox
In addition to New Year’s Day, an annual event that symbolizes rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings is the first day of spring. In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring, or vernal, equinox happens when the sun crosses the equator on or around March 20th. After this date, this part of the globe is more tilted towards the sun and the days become warmer and lighter.4
In spring, new life emerges in spectacular fashion, giving us new hope for the future.
Cultural and Mythological Symbols
There are also a number of deities and mythical creatures that symbolize new beginnings, rebirth, renewal, and transformation. In addition, cultural , Here are a few:
36. Easter and Easter Eggs
In many ways, Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday. However, Easter has its roots in pagan celebrations that honored the spring equinox. In fact, many historians believe the name Easter comes from the name of the Germanic pagan goddess Ēostre. She was a fertility goddess and was associated with spring and new beginnings.5
The Easter bunny and Easter eggs also have pagan roots as they are fertility symbols. So whatever your spiritual beliefs are, celebrating this time of year and its symbols is a wonderful way to welcome new beginnings and renewal.
37. Ouroboros – the Snake Eating Its Tail
The ouroboros is a mythical symbol that dates back to 5000 BCE.6 Depicting a snake or dragon curled in a circle and eating its tale, the ouroboros is practically a ubiquitous symbol, as it appears in diverse cultures and spiritual beliefs around the world. One of its many meanings is the idea of infinity and self-regeneration, as well as starting anew.
38. The Tree of Life
Another ancient and cross-cultural symbol is the Tree of Life. While Tree of Life meanings vary slightly from culture to culture, they all share a common theme.
The concept is that a mystical tree connects the underworld, the middle (or physical) world, and the spiritual (or metaphysical) world. Furthermore, the Tree of Life supports all life on Earth. Because of this, Tree of Life symbolism included new beginnings, renewal, and rebirth.
39. The Phoenix
With its flame-colored, purple, red, and gold feathers, the phoenix a mythical bird that resembles a combination of birds, including a peacock, crane, and hawk. In the story of the phoenix, it lives for 500 years before returning to its nest. Once there, it sets the nest on fire, burns in the flames, and then if re-born again. Thus, phoenix symbolism includes rebirth, renewal, and healing.
40. Osiris, Egyptian Deity of Death and the Afterlife
Osiris is a preeminent deity in Egyptian mythology. He rules death and the afterlife. In addition, the ancient Egyptians believed he played a role when the Nile River flooded, which brough needed water to agricultural lands.7 Thus, he was also a fertility god. So, Osiris is associated with the ideas of transformation, rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings.
41. Bennu, Egyptian Bird Deity
So historians believe that the phoenix was inspired by the Egyptian avian deity Bennu. Like the phoenix, Bennu had the power to self-generate, or perpetually re-create himself.
Bennu was also associated with the god Osiris, who ruled death and rebirth. In fact, some believe that Bennu’s name comes from the Egyptian words that mean “to rise and shine.” So, Bennu is also associated with transformation and new beginnings.
42. Dionysus, Greek Fertility God of Agriculture and Wine
Dionysus (whose Roman equivalent is the hard-partying deity Bacchus) was a Greek fertility god who ruled agriculture and wine-making. As much, he is associated with springtime and renewal.
43. Persephone, Greek Goddess of Spring and the Underworld
The Greek goddess Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As the myth goes, she was picking flowers one day when her Uncle Hades, king of the Underworld, snatched her and made her his queen.
Sickened with grief at the loss of her daughter, Demeter caused all plants on Earth to die, which led to famine. So, Zeus demanded that Hades let Persephone go. However, Persephone had eaten some poppy seeds in the Underworld, causing her to fall asleep and be more tied to Hades’ realm. To appease Demeter, Zeus struck a deal with Hades that Persephone would spend part of the year in Hades and the rest with her mother on Earth.
Thus, the ancient Greeks associated spring and summer when plants were in bloom with Persephone’s return to the Earth. Hence, she is associated with new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal.
44. Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld
As mentioned above, Hades (whose Roman equivalent is Pluto) was the god of the mortality and the Underworld. So, like the Egyptian Osiris, he is associated with transformation and rebirth. In addition, he is associated with abundance, as he was a god of wealth.
45. Jarylo, the Slavic Deity of Fertility and Spring
In Slavic mythology, the god Jarylo is associated with fertility, springtime, new beginnings, and renewal. Sometimes depicted as a young man riding a horse, Jarylo could also shapeshift from human-like god into a horse and back.
Other Cultural and Spiritual Symbols of New Beginnings, Renewal, and Transformation
46. Lamat, Maya Symbol
In Maya mythology and astrology, the Lamat symbol represents fertility, new beginnings, abundance, and renewal. Associated with rabbits and sharing rabbit symbolism and meanings, the Lamat also represents the eighth day in the Maya calendar.
47. The Dharma Wheel (Dharmachakra)
In Buddhism, the eight-spoked Dharma Wheel, or Dharmachakra, represents renewal and the cycle of life as well as the Buddhist Eightfold Path. Taking the Eightfold Path leads to spiritual awakening and transformation, and ultimately to enlightenment.8
In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the djed symbol looks like a pillar. It is also referred to as the “backbone of Osiris.” According to Egyptian mythology, Osiris’ jealous brother, Set, had issues with his brother’s immense power. So, he had a coffin made that fit Osiris’ proportions. While at a party, Set tricked Osiris into laying in the coffin, and then he slammed the lid shut and threw the coffin into the Nile.
The coffin drifted down the Nile and out to sea, eventually washing up on the coast of Byblos in Phoenicia. There it got lodged in a giant sycamore tree. And, over time, the great tree grew around and enveloped the coffin.
Nevertheless, the Egyptians didn’t forget the tree’s contents. Hence, the djed symbol is associated with Osiris, transformation, and renewal. The symbol is also sometimes called the Egyptian Tree of Life.
Another Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol, the ajet represents the horizon and the rising and setting sun. Thus, it is associated with cycle of life concepts, including birth, death, and resurrection.
As noted in the section on animals that symbolize transformation, the element water itself is often used to symbolize renewal and transformation. Metaphorically, water represents our birth, as we are in fluid when in the womb. It also represents the dream state or going into our subconscious mind. In Hinduism, Christianity, and other spiritual beliefs, water is associated with purification, such as when babies are baptized.
As they are associated with water, fountains also symbolize purification, renewal, and transformation. Like the mythical Fountain of Youth, they also represent our ability to be reborn.
52. Infinity Symbol
The concept of infinity can feel like something massive because it’s never-ending. However, like the ouroboros symbol or the Dharma Wheel, it also represent the concept of a perennial cycle. Thus, we also associate the idea of infinity with renewal.
53. Octagons and Octagonal Stars
The number 8, as illustrated in octopus meanings, is associated with the ideas of infinity. For one, the number 8 symbol looks like the infinity symbol standing up. In addition, in cultures around the world, 8 represents a cycle beginning again. You can read more about this in my posts on angel numbers 808 and 888.
Thus, shapes with eight aspects, such as the octagon and octagonal stars, or octagrams, also symbolize infinity and new beginnings. Indeed, Leonardo da Vinci based much of his work on the shape of the octagon, imbuing it with profound symbolic meanings.9
The triquetra is a symbol that is found in the artwork of ancient Persia, the Celts, and other cultures. Composed of three interlacing arcs, the symbol appears to have no beginning and no end. Thus, it is associated with number 3 meanings, including wholeness and completion. However, it is also associated with idea of continual renewal.
Similar to the triquetra, the triskelion is another symbol that is based on the number 3. However, the triskelion appears as three spirals that are seemingly spinning on a joined axlel, or center.
The triskelion is associated with infinity and the cycle of life, from birth to death to rebirth. It is also associated with the three trimesters of pregnancy, thus new beginnings.
Angel Numbers that Symbolize New Beginnings and Transformation
Numbers themselves are symbols. Thus, some sacred numbers, or angel numbers, are also associated with new beginnings, transformation, and renewal. Here are a few:
56. Angel Numbers 111 and 1111
57. The Number 555
The number 5, which is the base for angel number 555, is associated with the ancient fertility goddess Ishtar (or Inanna) as well as the planet Venus. Thus, angel number 555 symbolizes fertility and new beginnings.
58. Angel Numbers 808 and 888
As mentioned earlier, the number 8, a component of angel number 808, is associated with the idea of infinity and renewal. This 808 meaning also includes these concepts.
As with 808 meaning, the 888 angel number symbolizes the idea of infinity and regeneration.
59. The Number 999
For the ancient scholar Pythagoras and his followers the Pythagoreans, the number 9 represented the end of a cycle before the next one begins. This is because after the number 9, the larger numbers are composed or the first numbers 0-9. Thus, angel number 999 meaning includes the idea of rebirth and renewal.
Tarot Cards that Symbolize Renewal and Transformation
The concepts of new beginnings, rebirth, and transformation also appear in certain cards in the tarot’s major arcana. Here are some examples:
60. Death Card
The Death Card in the tarot can seem to be a scary sign to some. However, like crow symbolism, it represents change and transformation more than the literal idea of death.
61. The Fool
In the tarot, the Fool card is associated with having a carefree nature. However, the Fool is also associated with the idea of zero or starting from scratch. As he happily heads out on a new adventure with seemingly no plan, he reminds us of the joy of new beginnings and starting fresh.
62. The Hermit
As the 9th card in the major arcana, the Hermit is associated with the idea of transformation through wisdom. He represents emotional and spiritual growth by taking the time to retreat and reflect.
63. The Magician
As with angel number 111 and 1111, the Magician card in the tarot is associated with the number 1. Thus, he embodies the idea of new beginnings.
64. Strength Card
The Strength Card in the tarot depicts a woman gently taming a ferocious lion. Thus, it symbolizes our ability to transform ourselves by taming our impulsive instincts in order to become wiser and more enlightened.
65. Wheel of Fortune
Like the Dharma Wheel or the ouroboros, the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot represents the idea of rebirth and renewal. And while it represents the idea of continuity, it also signifies change. In other words, even if we feel caught up in a cycle, we have the opportunity to jump off the wheel and transform our lives.