Are You Transforming And Evolving? 27 Symbols Of Rebirth And New Beginnings

A Turkish proverb advises: “No matter how far down the wrong road you’ve gone, turn back.”

In other words: Starting over is always an option — no matter your situation or age.

But fresh starts aren’t a snap.

So having a few discipline tools in your arsenal, like using symbols of new beginnings, can help keep your eye on the reinvention prize.

As such, today we’re looking at various marks from disparate cultures that represent rebirth and new beginnings.

Let’s dive in.

Why Are Symbols of Rebirth and New Beginnings So Important? 

People mucking their way through tough times often benefit by making a concerted effort to “leave the past behind” and start anew.

According to studies, good mental health is fueled by resilience — the ability of one’s mind to move on after mistakes, trauma, and life-altering realizations that may denude unintentional past poor behavior.

To put it another way, starting over again is good — and always an option. So what are the benefits? 

  • Decrease in negative thought patterns
  • Stabilization of emotional balance
  • Better motivation and focus
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Increased sense of self-worth and presence 

However, effectively moving on from the past requires changing how you think, which takes dedication and effort. It can be challenging, but pictographic reminders of conceptual goals help keep your mind on track.

27 Symbols of Rebirth and New Beginnings 

A massive part of what sets humans apart from other species is our heightened level of consciousness, and throughout millennia, we’ve crafted pictorial and natural allegories to communicate universal concepts and celebrate life’s mysteries. 

Below, we’re unpacking 27 symbols used by various cultures and traditions over thousands of years to represent the concept of rebirth and fresh starts.

1. The Phoenix

Ancient traditions linked the immortal phoenix to the sun, and the fiery bird is arguably the most famous symbol of new beginnings known to mankind.

The mythical winged miracle cycles through a never-ending loop of death and reincarnation, dying in a fury of flames only to be reborn of its own ashes.

Phoenixes derive strength from adversity and always come back stronger.

2. Bennu

The Bennu is an ancient Egyptian deity that, like the phoenix, is associated with the sun. In fact, it’s believed to be the “original phoenix.” 

According to legend, Bennu was thought to occasionally renew himself through a process of rebirth.

He also features in the Egyptian creation myth as the soul of Ra, the sun god, and his name is sometimes translated to “He Who Came Into Being by Himself.” 

Traditionally, Bennu is linked to a now-extinct subspecies of ibis birds with red and gold feathers. 

3. Lotus Flower

The lotus flower — specifically the Nelumbo nucifera species — holds an exalted position in several eastern traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. 

At dawn, the sun lifts the stunning blossoms from dirty waters to enjoy daylight; when darkness descends, the bloom closes up and retreats into the water. Its cycle symbolizes the journey from adversity to enlightenment. 

Lotus flowers also play a role in Christian and Egyptian theology. The former reveres it as a talisman for Thomas’ trip to India; the latter sees the flower as a natural representation of the rebirth cycle.

4. Triskele 

The triskele — an interlocking triple spiral symbolizing the sun, afterlife, and rebirth — comes from the Celts and is linked to the Mother Goddess.

The mark features an unbroken line and reflects the eternal nature of time and life. Sometimes triskeles have three lines, and other depictions show nine, but their designs are always divisible by three. 

5. Wheel of Fortune (Tarot)

The Wheel of Fortune is a complicated tarot card that speaks to the idea of karmic energy and universal life forces.

It features a sun, moon, snake, jackal, and sphinx — all of which represent a foundational element of existence, including power, death, rebirth, and justice.

6. Ouroboros 

An ouroboros is a graphic depiction of a snake or dragon eating its own tail. Like the phoenix, it’s a long-standing emblem of the life-death-resurrection cycle.

Interestingly, the idea of the ouroboros transcended culture and was independently part of Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Hermetic, and Gnostic traditions.

Famed psychologist Carl Jung frequently mentioned the symbol, and Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria I an ouroboros ring to commemorate their wedding.

7. Salamander

Have you ever wondered why salamanders frequently are mascots for fire safety and insurance companies?

According to ancient European tradition, salamanders were born of flames and immune to fire’s effects. The belief arose because the reptiles lived under logs and would scatter when people gathered wood to make fires.

To the laymen’s eye, the animals appeared to come alive at first spark.  

As such, the quick lizards became symbols of rebirth and immortality. 

Fun Fact: The incomparable Leonardo da Vinci also made mistakes. The genius believed salamanders were spiritual guides that didn’t have digestive organs.

8. Blue Morpho Butterfly

One of the largest butterflies in existence, morphos’ wingspans can reach up to 8 inches! 

Blue ones are considered symbols of rejuvenation and new beginnings because they’re believed to be good luck.

In some ancient stories, they served as messengers between the spirit and earthly realms, tying them to humans’ destinies.

“Morpho” is an ancient word for “the shapely one,” and early Greeks believed the animals represented the goddess of beauty and love, Aphrodite, on Earth. 

9. Crocuses

Crocus are beautiful, delicate flowers that retreat into the ground each winter. But at the first breath of spring, they pop up and open their blossoms, welcoming the season of rebirth.

Crocuses will push through the earth even if a light blanket of snow still covers the ground. 

10. Alligator

Did you know that alligators can regrow their tails!? 

Because of this miraculous feat, they’ve long represented regeneration and new beginnings.

The notoriously vicious reptiles have fierce reputations, but they’re incredible animals that symbolize longevity and the ability to persevere through immense changes and turmoil.

11. Manatee

Also known as sea cows, manatees are cousins to dolphins, and they’re one of the few animals whose evolutionary journey was from land to sea.

This “backward” cycle gives manatees a special place in the pantheon of rebirth symbols, as its natural evolution went from conscious (earth) to subconscious and spiritual (water). 

12. Snake

Snakes shed their skins several times yearly. Resultantly, the slithering reptiles are associated with renewal, transformation, and new beginnings.

Moreover, many species live on the land and in water, representing a balance between the earthly and ethereal — a concept linked with rebirth.

13. Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom festivals are a much-beloved tradition that marks the natural start of spring. Each year, the pink and white buds burst back in a kaleidoscope of color after winter hibernation, welcoming the season of rejuvenation and growth. 

Moreover, since the blossoms only last a short while, they’re tied to the idea of “carpe diem” — seizing the day.

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14. New Moon

The moon has long fascinated humans. Every 28 days, it starts the cycle from new to full. The beginning of the transition — known as the “new moon” — is a traditional time for intention setting and fresh starts. 

Technically, the new moon is completely dark, but symbols representing the concept typically feature a sliver of light.

15. Lamat

The lamat is a Myan astrological symbol representing abundance, renewal, and fertility — linking it to the concepts of birth and rebirth.

It’s also associated with rabbits, known for their profundity, and the eighth day of the Mayan calendar.

16. Dharmachakra

Commonly known as the Dharma Wheel, the Dharmachakra is a Buddhist symbol composed of eight spokes intersecting a circle. Religiously, it represents the eightfold path to enlightenment — a spiritual form of rebirth.

17. Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a mythical concept highlighting the balanced unity of the under, physical, and spiritual realms. 

Many cultures feature a similar concept in mythologies and theological allegories. It’s also seen as the source of all life forces, making it an ideogram of sustained existence and rebirth.

18. Ajet

Like several symbols associated with renewal and fresh starts, the Egyptian ajet is linked to solar imagery.

A hieroglyphic form, it depicts a rising and setting sun guarded by two animals. The elements of the mark are tied to birth, death, and resurrection. 

19. Water

Water’s fluidity, flexibility, and expansive nature align it with cultural concepts associated with transformation, purification, and birth. 

Water also symbolizes the subconscious mind in several religious traditions.

20. Infinity Symbol

Arguably, we humans can’t wrap our heads around the enormity of infinity — an existence with no beginning or end. While we understand the concept abstractly, the practicalities elude comprehension. 

Symbolically, we represent the idea of infinity with two interlocking ovals (or a sideways 8).

21. Angel Numbers 111 and 1111

Angels, in and of themselves, are revered as eternal souls, and the idea of angel numbers is growing in popularity as increasing numbers of people are discovering the ancient divination tool.

Traditionally, the numbers 111 and 1111 are linked to new beginnings.

22. Sprouts

On the Persian new year celebration of Nowruz, giving sprouts as gifts is traditional.

The nascent buds symbolize sweeping away the old and welcoming the new, rendering the plants a middle eastern symbol for rebirth.

23. Persephone 

Daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone is a Greek goddess who was fated to live half the year in Hades with her erstwhile husband and the other half on Earth with her mother.

According to legend, every spring, she emerges from the underworld, flowers in hand. Resultantly, she’s come to be associated with rejuvenation.  

24. The Fool (Tarot)

Most people associate “The Fool” tarot card with frivolity and carefree living. But it’s also tied to new beginnings and starting from scratch.

The jovial nature of the character is a reminder that fresh starts are best approached with a light heart and few expectations.

25. Snowflake

Snowflakes are one of Mother Nature’s miraculous inventions. No two are exactly alike, constantly reformed and refined by the elements. People have long associated snowflakes with transformation, pure beauty, and rebirth.

Moreover, the melting process is seen as an allegory for retreating into one’s original form, representing the essentiality of authenticity in life’s cycle.  

26. Starfish

Also known as sea stars, starfish are regenerative marvels that can detach their limbs and grow new ones. If a fish grabs hold of a sea star’s “arm,” the starfish will let the predator have it and scurry away with the rest of its body intact.

The aquatic animal’s abilities link it to concepts of continuation, letting go, and re-growth.

Starfish are often used as healing talismans since they’re a natural analogy for letting go of what you no longer need and fostering what you do.  

27. Sunrise

Early peoples weren’t quite sure what to make of the sun, but they knew it was existentially essential and revered it.

Resultantly, many ancient mythologies cast Earth’s main star as the source of life, beginnings, and rebirth.

Mindful Ways to Use These Symbols of New Beginnings 

We’ve outlined over two dozen symbols of rebirth and new beginnings from various cultures and traditions.

So now let’s answer: How can you mindfully incorporate these marks into your life as a reminder of your positive new paths?

  • Trataka Meditation: Trataka is an open-eye meditation. During a session, focus on one of the symbols.
  • Sketching / Art: Draw, paint, or sculpt the symbols that resonate with you.
  • Tattoo: Get a tattoo somewhere visible so you’re reminded of your goals or a good path every time it catches your eye.
  • Journal: Write about the idea of rebirth in the context of one or more of the symbols.

Ultimately, we are what we think about. So if you’re invested in making a new start or reinventing your journey, try to incorporate affirmations and symbols that remind you of the goal. 

Final Thought

Art and allegory help us make sense of the world, and these symbols are reminders of the mystical, natural, and potential of new beginnings.

If you’re embarking on a better path or striving to stay on one, these visual and emotional aids can help you achieve that aim.

Get inspired by these symbols of rebirth and new beginnings that you can look at whenever you are thinking of starting over again.