Women have long been seen as the weaker sex.
However, countless brave and powerful women have proven this wrong throughout history.
From civil rights activists to competitive athletes, these brave and determined women have inspired us all with their resilience and courage in times of adversity.
For example, women like Joan of Arc’s battle cry and Rosa Parks remind us how far women have come and how much more work is yet to be done.
So join us as we look back through history at powerful symbols of strength and courage in women.
What Symbolizes the Divine Feminine?
The divine feminine is a powerful force embodied through different aspects in various cultures and religions throughout the world.
For instance, in Hinduism, the Goddess Shakti is seen as an embodiment of the divine feminine and is often regarded as a primal source of creative energy.
On the other hand, Buddhists see the White Tara as a compassionate goddess who offers protection from suffering and misfortune. She is associated with maternal healing and compassion.
Additionally, the popularity of Kuan Yin, the Chinese bodhisattva of compassion, speaks to her role as an icon for the divine feminine around the world, while in Ancient Greece, Aphrodite was seen as a goddess of love and beauty as well as being associated with fertility and reproduction.
Similarly, in Celtic mythology, numerous female deities embodied the divine feminine, such as Macha or Arianrhod, who represented love, strength, courage, and creativity.
Overall, these symbols all point to one universal truth: women are powerful forces capable of creating life, causing destruction, and loving unconditionally.
So many cultures have revered them throughout history for embodying strength in its purest form: The Divine Feminine.
What Is the Symbol for a Strong Woman?
While the Divine Feminine is an overarching concept, plenty of other symbols represent the strength and courage of womanhood in our everyday life. These include:
- Intuition: This is defined as the ability of women to make decisions based on their gut feeling rather than logical reasoning. A woman’s intuition is seen as a superpower that gives them an edge in their everyday life.
- Beauty: A woman’s beauty is seen as an outward symbol of her inner strength and courage. Whether physical or internal, beauty is seen as something that empowers women to face any challenge with confidence.
- Sexual love: Sexual love has long been seen as a symbol of the divine female strength and courage that exists within women. From ancient times, deities such as Aphrodite, Ishtar, and Freya have been celebrated for their physical beauty and ability to use sexuality as a form of power. By embracing our own sexual desires, women can embrace the same power – both in terms of their own inner strength and courage.
- Fertility: This is the ultimate symbol of strength in women. That’s because they are considered the bridge between the spirit and physical worlds, thanks to their ability to bring new life into the world. Through their bodies, women can nurture the young and bring hope to the future.
- Female grace: Grace is the power to stay calm, cool, and collected even in adversity. Female grace is seen as a woman’s ability to be lithe and graceful despite any challenge and symbolizes her strength of character.
Now that we know what attributes symbolize a woman’s strength and courage, let’s look at 35 woman symbols that you can use to draw on your own inner strength.
These symbols have been used throughout history and are still used today to represent womanhood and its power:
1. The Phoenix
The phoenix is a mythical bird representing rebirth, regeneration, transformation, and immortality. It perfectly represents a woman’s ability to rise from adversity and become stronger.
In Greek mythology, the phoenix is considered a powerful and majestic creature immune to aging and could only die by self-sacrifice.
It has also been used as a symbol of femininity throughout the ages, with some interpretations suggesting the phoenix represents fertility, immortality, and hope.
Origin: France and Spain
The Sheela na Gig is an ancient Celtic figure commonly found carved into the side of buildings, walls of churches, castles, and even tombs. These figures depict a semi-nude female figure with an exaggerated vulva, often held open with her hands.
Sheela na Gig sculptures are thought to symbolize fertility, abundance, and power, as well as divine feminine energy and independence. Their presence in public and private structures suggests they were held in high regard by all classes of society.
3. The Lioness
Thanks to the fierce nature of the lioness combined with their majestic beauty and powerful presence in the wild, they are the perfect metaphor for female empowerment.
In many cultures, these majestic creatures embody feminine strength and courage, representing a woman’s unique ability to rise above challenges with grace and confidence.
Ancient Egyptians venerated this animal as a deity associated with protection and strength. Similarly, the lioness is viewed throughout Africa as a protector who provides secure boundaries for her cubs.
4. The Ankh
Origin: Ancient Egypt
The Ankh, also known as the key of life, is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that has come to represent eternal life, fertility, and a woman’s life-giving powers.
It is typically depicted as a cross with a loop at the top and was believed to be a key to unlocking the mysteries of the afterlife.
It has been used throughout history as an emblem of a woman’s power and strength in providing nourishment, comfort, and protection to her family and community.
Origin: Native American Tribes
Wolves have earned themselves a negative reputation due to their fierce nature. Farmers are afraid of their power, while hunters and trappers fear the destruction they can cause in packs.
However, in some Native American tribes, wolves are viewed as symbols of courage and strength. The She-Wolf, especially, is a powerful sign of protection, loyalty, and love.
To these cultures, the she-wolf embodies bravery, self-sufficiency, and determination—traits held by many woman warriors in their culture.
Origin: Ancient Egypt and India
The Lotus Flower has been an essential symbol in Ancient Egyptian and Indian cultures. In Ancient Egypt, the lotus flower was often depicted as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection.
The Egyptians believed that the lotus flower died in the evening and rose from the water again in the morning, which was symbolic of how Osiris, a major god, rose from the dead every day and brought life back to all living things.
Conversely, the lotus flower was a sign of beauty, enlightenment, and purity of the mind and heart in ancient Indian society.
Origin: Ancient Scandinavia
The Tree of Life symbol is often associated with Norse mythology, where Yggdrasil, the World Tree, was seen as a connection between all aspects of life. It was believed to be an axis Mundi—a center point linking the heavens, earth, and underworld.
In this way, the tree of life served as a reminder that all facets of life are intertwined and connected. This connection is seen in how womanhood is often shared through generations.
Origin: Ancient Greece
The Venus symbol is the universal representation of womanhood and femininity. It depicts a circle atop an arrow or cross, which points in four directions to represent the female gender.
Before this, the symbol was used as a sigil of Venus, the Roman goddess who became Aphrodite.
In Greek mythology, Venus is the Goddess of love, beauty, procreation, and passion. She was the most beautiful god among all the Greek gods, and that’s why Eros (Cupid) always followed her.
Origin: Western cultures and African Traditions
Feathers and ferns are an ever-present motif in African, European, and Celtic traditions. In most of these cultures, ferns and feathers represent womanhood due to their delicate and light nature.
Ferns are thought to have magical and healing properties, while feathers impart wisdom and guidance.
This dual symbolism is quite fitting when it comes to womanhood— they can be strong yet gentle, independent yet nurturing, and wise yet vulnerable.
Thunderbolts represent strength, power, and courage. In ancient times, the thunderbolt was a symbol used by the Proto-Indo-European cultures to represent divine power and protection from evil.
It was also seen as an emblem of womanhood due to its association with female deities like Hera (goddess of marriage) in Greek mythology, Raudra (goddess of war and destruction) in Hinduism, and Scathach (goddess of battle strategy) in Celtic mythology.
11. The Dragon
Origin: Native Chinese and Japanese cultures
Dragons are mythical creatures that depict huge fire-breathing reptiles with crawling legs and beautifully spread wings. These mystical creatures are intimately associated with the earth, sky, and sea in Chinese folklore.
In other East Asian traditions, dragons are seen as guardians of wisdom and protectors against evil. It was said that anyone who could tame the mighty dragon would be blessed with immense power.
12. The Griffin
Origin: Ancient Persia and Greek mythology
The griffin is a mythological creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion- an amalgamation of two of the strongest and most courageous beats.
It has been used for centuries as a symbol of womanhood in various cultures worldwide. In Persia, it was connected to royalty, power, and courage, while in Greek mythology, it was seen as a symbol of strength and protection.
Origin: Middle Eastern Cultures
Hamsa is an amulet shaped like a palm with an eye in the center, which is believed to ward off bad luck and evil. It’s also known as the hand of Fatima, named after the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, Fatima Zahra.
Middle Eastern women have used it for centuries as a sign of protection and strength. It reminds women of their inner power and divine light, which can never be extinguished by negative external forces.
Origin: Nordic and Germanic cultures
The Uruz, although a simple symbol, is the second Nordic rune of progression, also known as the Rune of the ox. It represents untamed physical and mental strength, fertility, virility, endurance, bravery, and strength.
In some cultures, women wear the rune as an amulet to promote good health and well-being. Some people have even confessed to experiencing a feeling of warmth, power, and strength once they wore the amulet.
15. The Oak Tree
Oak trees are among the strongest and toughest in the forest and have been used for centuries as a sacred symbol of strength, wisdom, knowledge, and endurance in traditional European cultures.
In fact, these trees can stay healthy for up to 300 years, making their wood quite strong and long-lasting.
In some regions, farmers and landholders would plant an oak tree near their homes to represent strength and as a sign of protection. It’s also seen as a symbol of fertility, nurturing, and growth—all qualities uniquely associated with womanhood.
16. Scarab Beetle
Origin: Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptians viewed the scarab beetle as a symbol of womanhood due to its connection with Khepri, the sun deity associated with rebirth and creation.
As such, the scarab was associated with fertility, creation, and transformation– all qualities seen as womanly in Ancient Egyptian culture.
It’s also a symbol of protection and good luck for anyone who wears it or keeps it close by. In fact, some people placed beetles on the bodies of the deceased to help them in the afterlife.
Origin: West Africa
We’ve all seen west-African brides adorned with jewelry made of iron. From beautiful hand bracelets to intricate neckpieces, iron has been used in African weddings, births, and other traditional and religious ceremonies for centuries.
In most traditional West-African religions, the metal iron is often associated with the warrior god of war, Ogun, authority, and warriors.
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Origin: African traditional cultures
For centuries, the moon and its phases have been a powerful symbol of womanhood in many African cultures. It represents a woman’s inner power—her ability to create and nurture life.
In some cultures, women’s menstrual cycle was tracked using the lunar cycle. Each moon phase represents the different stages a woman’s body goes through throughout the month- from menstruation to ovulation.
According to a recent study, researchers found that most women often menstruate during the full moon. And as the moon goes through its phases, women also experience their own ebbs and flows of energy.
This makes the moon a powerful symbol of womanhood—a reminder that we are all connected to an energetic cycle of life and death.
19. Spider Web
Origin: Indigenous cultures
Spider webs are beautiful, intricate, and quite strong. In most indigenous cultures, the spider is seen as a symbol of feminine power and creativity.
As the spider constructs its intricate web, it can be seen to represent the strength and courage necessary to build something beautiful in times of adversity.
A spider web is also a metaphor for a woman’s journey through life, navigating danger, discovering her inner strength, and ultimately creating her own unique path forward.
Women are often faced with obstacles that create challenges. But if they remain focused on their goals and are not discouraged by these challenges, they can still accomplish great things.
Artists, musicians, and poets throughout the ages have used the butterfly in their art as a symbol of change and transformation.
This delicate creature represents beauty, elegance, freedom, balance, and grace. It also symbolizes hope for a new beginning and life itself.
The cycle of metamorphosis that the butterfly goes through—from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly—is seen as a woman’s journey of growth and transformation.
21. The Tyet
Origin: Ancient Egypt
The Tyet, also known as the Knot of Isis, is an ancient Egyptian symbol that dates back to the Old Kingdom (2613-2181 BC). It resembles the Ankh symbol except for its arms which are curved downwards.
Representing female genitalia and associated with many Ancient Egyptian Goddesses, including Isis, who was seen as a universal mother, it stands for reproductive organs and eternal life. It was also linked to the Ankh providing protection from Isis and Osiris.
The Star of Lakshmi is an eight-sided symbol representing the eight wealth forms inspired by the Hindu Goddess, Lakshmi. These wealth forms include:
- Adi-Lakshmi stands for new beginnings
- Dhairya-Lakshmi embodies courage
- Dhaniya-Lakshmi provides food and nourishment
- Gaja-Lakshmi embodies force and influence
- Santana-Lakshmi ensures fertility and familial wellbeing
- Vijaya-Lakshmi brings victory and achievements
- Vidya-Lakshmi grants knowledge and wisdom
- Dhana-Lakshmi provides material wealth.
This powerful symbol represents prosperity and femininity, making it a potent representation of Goddess Lakshmi.
23. The Shen
Origin: Ancient Egypt
The Shen is a symbol of symmetry and royalty. Ancient Egyptian society linked it with eternity, protection, and infinity.
It’s depicted as a circle of rope with no beginning or end, signifying its everlasting nature. The term ‘Shen’ was derived from the Ancient Egyptian word for ‘encircle’ and was commonly worn by royals and ordinary people.
Origin: West Africa (Ghana)
The pempamsie is a West African Adinkra symbol of strength, unity, and perseverance. It looks like a chain and links three figures together.
The pempamsie expresses the importance of unity and strength in numbers. It encourages individuals to come together and rely on one another for support and guidance, as a woman’s greatest asset is her collective voice.
Origin: Ancient China
Did you know that ancient Chinese families often used images and paintings of tigers in their homes to ward off evil spirits and attract positive energy?
The tiger symbolizes power and strength, representing the people’s ability to overcome obstacles. It was believed that the powerful spirit embodied in the tiger could help you fight against all odds and reach your goals.
Origin: Ancient India
The Tri-Shakti symbol is an important part of Hinduism, signifying the three powerful Goddesses; Durga (also known as Shakti or Parvati. The goddess of power), Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth), and Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge).
This symbol comprises the Trishul – representing power and protection; OM – which gives off positive vibrations and knowledge; and the Swastika – symbolizing well-being and wealth.
Origin: Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, oysters were believed to be a powerful symbol of prosperity, femininity, strength, protection, and fertility.
In Greek mythology, it was believed that oysters were formed due to the tears of Aphrodite – the goddess of love and beauty.
Their imagery was often used in jewelry as a sign of womanhood and protection against evil. Oyster shells also played an essential role in fertility rituals, where they were presented as offerings to the goddess Demeter.
Origin: Ancient Indian Community
The Verja is the emblem of Indra, the Indian god of war, weather, and power. It was considered one of the most powerful weapons to exist in the world.
The Verja shares the resemblance and strength of a thunderbolt and a diamond. And thanks to these two elements’ unbreakable composition, the Verja was seen as a symbol of a woman’s courage, strength, and power.
Origin: Ancient Greece
The eagle is an animal of power, might, and strength. In ancient Greek mythology, it was believed that the eagle was the messenger from Zeus – the god of lightning, thunder, and justice. It was also believed to be his sacred form.
The eagle was seen as a symbol of courage and strength. Its fierce wings were believed to bring guidance and protection in times of need.
30. Asase Ye Duru
Origin: West Africa
Asase Ye Duru is a West-African symbol in the Adinkra tradition, which loosely translates to “the earth has weight.”
This letter signifies the divinity of the earth, working as a symbol of feminine energy, protection, sustenance, divinity, and providence, all of which women need to access strength and courage.
31. Sea Shells
Origin: Ancient Rome
Beautiful, delicate, and unique sea shells have long been seen as a symbol woman’s strength and courage.
In Ancient Rome, it was believed that women could gain power by wearing seashells because they were believed to symbolize fertility and womanhood.
They were also used in fertility rituals to bring woman luck, protection, and insight from the divine. In many cultures, women would carry shells as amulets to protect them from harm while traveling.
32. Bamboo Trees
In ancient Chinese traditions, bamboo trees symbolize good health, strength, and flexibility.
While this tree is neutral and not directly associated with masculinity or femininity, some cultures used to carve different female symbols on bamboo branches for good luck and protection.
33. The Eye of Horus
Origin: Ancient Egypt
Also known as Wadjet, the eye of Horus is a symbol of healing and protection. Ancient Egyptians believed that women had the power to look within and access their spiritual powers in order to heal.
The eye of Horus was seen as a protector, shielding women from any harm that came their way. It was also accepted as a symbol of woman’s courage and strength – women who are willing to take risks and show resilience no matter what life throws at them.
Origin: Europe, the Middle East, and India
The Philosopher’s Stone is an ancient symbol of a woman’s strength and courage in misfortune. It was thought to be a magical stone that could transform any material into gold, so women who possessed it were said to wield incredible power.
35. Okodee Mmowere
Origin: West Africa
The Okodee Mmowere is known as the Talons of the Eagle and was considered the symbol of courage, bravery, and strength in West African tradition.
Because the eagle uses its talons to hunt, it’s a fitting symbol for women who are willing to fight and overcome obstacles.
4 Ways to Use These Symbols of Strength and Perseverance As a Woman
Now that you know over 30 different woman symbols of strength, courage, and power that have been used for ages by different cultures around the world, here are a few ways to incorporate them into your life:
- Create an altar or shrine featuring your favorite symbols: Choose your favorite symbols of strength and courage, such as the Eye of Horus, the Ankh, or even a tiger face. Place them in an area of your home where you’d like to draw positive energy, and light a candle in front of them.
- Wear your preferred symbols of strength as jewelry: Whether it’s an Ankh necklace, a thunderbolt charm, or a Hamsa Hand bracelet- wearing your resilience symbols can help remind you of the power within.
- Get a tattoo of one of these symbols: If you’re feeling particularly brave and want to permanently mark your skin with a reminder of womanhood, power, courage, and strength- get a tattoo. While this isn’t for everyone, it may be the perfect way to celebrate your womanhood.
- Make art inspired by these symbols: If you’re an artist, create a painting, drawing, or sketch based on your favorite symbols of power. You can also use these symbols in collages, sculptures, and other types of artwork.
Incorporating these symbols into your daily life will give you a sense of power and courage that can help you stay strong in the face of any challenge.
This not only helps you honor your divine feminine energy, but it also helps you embrace your womanhood and remind yourself of the strength and courage you possess.
The above symbols of strength, courage, and power represent women’s inner power. From the all-seeing eye to the mighty griffin, these symbols have a story to tell about womanhood, empowerment, and resilience.
Whether you decide to wear them as jewelry or get a tattoo inspired by one of these symbols- remember that you are strong, powerful, and capable of facing any challenge.