Myth And Legend: Symbols And Meanings


The tree of life

  • Tree of life connects different forms of life/creation.
  • All life on earth is related.
  • Its branches and roots symbolizing the connections we all share to each other.
  • A tree will live for many years, existing to witness several generations of family life.
  • When the tree falls, the seed it leaves behind will spring forth into new life.
  • There have and will continue to be events both big and small to connect us through things beyond our control.
  • In Chinese mythology, a carving of a Tree of Life depicts a phoenix and a dragon; the dragon often represents immortality.
  • Taoist story tells of a tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit receives immortality.
  • In Catholic Christianity, the Tree of Life represents the immaculate state of humanity free from corruption and Original Sin before the Fall. (Adam and Eve were spiritually immortal before committing this sin, and they spiritually died on that day.)
  • In Eastern Christianity the tree of life is the love of God.
  • In the book of Proverbs the tree of life is associated with wisdom (Proverbs 3:13-18)
  • In Proverbs 15:4 the tree of life is associated with calmness.
  • The symbol of Tree of Life represents different qualities and virtues like wisdom, strength, protection, beauty, bounty and redemption.
  •  It is also considered to be the symbol of ‘Creator‘. This tree is associated with the creator because it provides protection, supports abundant fruit production and thereby, regeneration.
  • This analogy can also be used to describe the life of humans. We as humans develop ‘roots’ of our beliefs, ‘branch out’ by means of wisdom and the ‘trunk’ (mind & body) keeps them connected.
  • The Tree of Life meaning as perceived in different faiths, belief systems and cultures, resonates with a simple and strong message of unity.



  • The dragon is a symbol of mythical rulers of the time, rain, water, happiness, health.
  • Chinese dragon is a symbol of:
    • wisdom
    • fertility
    • immortality
    • happiness
    • intelligence
    • enlightenment
    • energy
    • leadership
    • Good fortune in health, wealth, living a long prosperous life.
    • optimism
    • success
  • Best symbol in Feng Shui:
    • A pregnant dragon is a symbol of future growth and expansion.
    • Most useful in connection with fame, reputation, and career.
    • Effective placement: Fame area of home (the spot that reflects who you are) or in connection with a home office.
  • In European Mythology: (Dragons with wings)
    • Dragon symbolizes the ability to see the “big picture”.
    • The ability to see far off danger or future circumstances.
  • In Chinese culture:
    • Symbol of “auspiciousness”. Meaning: Promising success, favorable, opportune, favored by fortune, prosperous, fortunate.
  • Many looked to Chinese dragons to keep evil spirits at bay – it will make you feel protected and safe.
  • The dragon is mostly seen holding a magical pearl, which is believed to symbolize Wisdom.




  • Commonly referred to as the “Kings of Birds”.
  • Embodies the 5 virtues of:
    • Benevolence (desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness; kindness)
    • Righteousness
    • Propriety
    • Wisdom
    • Sincerity
  • made up of various elements symbolizing the entire cosmos:
  1. The head of a cock (the sun)the back of a swallow (the crescent moon)
  2. the wings as the wind
  3. the tail represents trees and flowers
  4. its feet are the earth
  • From feminine aspect (huang) denotes:
    • Beauty
    • Delicacy of feeling
    • peace
  • Bridal symbol signifying “inseparable fellowship”.
  • Symbolic to fire; can bring fame and glory to mundane life.



Dragon & Phoenix together

  • A symbol of Yin & Yang:
    • The dragon symbolizes Yang (light, sun, masculine) and the Phoenix symbolizes Yin (darkness, night, feminine).
  • While the dragon is a symbol of the ruler (Emperor), the phoenix became an embodiment of his mate (Empress).
  • The forms of the dragon and phoenix were transformed gradually into images associated with the court, representing imperial nobility and authority.
  • The Dragon represents male energy and the Phoenix female energy.




  • In Far East, they believe the shell is a symbol of heaven, and the bottom is a symbol of earth.
  • The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth.
  • Side view of a mountain and the turning motion of its toes: a depiction of heaven and earth changing constantly through the seasons.
  • God-like resistance to aging – symbolizes longevity.
  • Symbols of immortality – is considered as temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana.
  • Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural use in divination.
    • In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality.
    • To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.
    • Powerful analogy for humankind:
      • Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.
      • The turtle takes its wisdom one day at a time – not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural methods.
    • The turtle symbolizes motherhood and/or Mother Earth.
    • Order
    • Creation
    • Patience
    • Strength
    • Stability
    • Longevity
    • Innocence
    • Endurance
    • Protection
    • Thought to be the wisest of souls among the animal kingdom.
    • Turtle is a creature of 2 elements: land and sea – reflects the ability to adapt and flourish in any environment.




  • Symbolizes:
    • Fertility
    • Eternity
    • Creativity
    • Femininity
    • Good Luck
    • Happiness
    • Knowledge
    • Transformation
  • In Christianity, it is a symbol of abundance of faith.
  • In the Bible, The Apostles were referred to as “fishers of men”.
  • In China, the fish is symbolic of unity and fidelity.
  • Fish are often given as wedding gifts in the form of charms or figurines – an auspicious sign of fidelity and perfect union.
  • In Buddhism, the fish symbolizes happiness and freedom.
  • In ancient European culture, the fish had symbolic meanings of adaptability, determination, and the flow of life.
  • In Chinese, the word for fish is yu, which also means abundance and riches.
  • In Feng Shui:
    • good fortune
    • abundant wealth
    • to attract success and prosperity
    • save us from danger and bad luck
  • Fish with a lotus blossom symbolize “Year after year may you live in affluence”.
  • Dolphin symbolizes resurrection (rising from the dead), submission to faith, patience and mercy.
  • Sardine represents a peasant or man/woman of the earth, willingness of spirit, thankfulness.
  • Whale symbolizes obedience, willingness of spirit, gratitude, compassion, submission to faith, patience and mercy.



Village People

  • The simple life.
  • Closer family ties.
  • People believe in tradition and nature.
  • Women are respected and behave in very delicate and feminine manner.
  • People are hardworking and yet very contented and happy.
  • The relations between the painter and the scene:
    • It was a scene depicted from his childhood.
    • It was a scene captured to let future generations and outsiders know of the near-obsolete village life.
    • A scene to capture the important people in the painter’s life (e.g. mother, guru, etc).
  • Village represents a painter’s roots and heritage.



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