8 Ancient Love Symbols and What They Mean

Many of us are just coming out of the most difficult two years of their lives. It can be calming to remind ourselves that all is not lost. It’s still a good idea to take a shower each day, it gets colder in winter, and, even though it may not feel like it, Hugh Grant said in Love Actually that “love is everywhere.”

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Apples are a complex topic. We need to understand everything from the Old Testament of The Bible, with Adam and Eve. The apple was used as a symbol of temptation in ancient Greece. The apple, according to Greek mythology is a symbol for courtship. Most people are familiar with Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. But did you know that he gave apples to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to win her affection? Apples are now a symbol for health. An apple a day keeps a doctor away! Beauty, fertility, youth, and fertility. The symbolism may have less to do with love than it did for previous generations.


No matter if you knew it or not, you’ve likely seen a Claddagh Ring before. Three components make up the Celtic love symbol: a crown to signify loyalty, a heart that symbolizes love, and two hands to represent bonded friendship. This story is set in Ireland where Richard, a young man, lived in Claddagh. He was fishing with his family when he was taken by pirates and made to slave. Richard was held captive by pirates and forced into slavery. Each day, he saved a little bit of gold to make a ring for Margaret. Claddagh rings are still worn proudly today to signify love. If the Irish symbol for love is worn on the left hand of a person with the heart facing inward it indicates that the wearer has been taken. The ring should be worn on the right hand, with the heart facing inward. This indicates that the wearer is seeking love.

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Depending on the number of petals, the lotus can represent many things. A lotus flower that has eight petals represents peace and harmony. A lotus flower that has one thousand petals symbolizes self-love and enlightenment. Numerous lotus blossoms are found in mythologies as well as religious rituals across Asia. The lotus flower’s color can also have different meanings in Buddhism. For example, the red lotus is a symbol of love and compassion.

Rose Quartz

Ask your crystal-loving friend what they would recommend for love. Rose quartz, a long-lasting symbol for love, is mentioned in Greek mythology. It even has a story about Cupid. This particular legend states that Cupid and Eros brought rose Quartz to humanity to bring love and hope. This beautiful crystal was not only meaningful to the ancient Greeks. Rose quartz was a symbol of beauty for Romans and Egyptians. For North Americans, however, it is often associated with balance and peace.

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Swans and Storks

Both storks and swans are symbols of love in various cultures and traditions. White swans can be used to signify affection and devotion. Perhaps you’ve seen pictures of two swans mingling, their heads joining their long necks to form a heart. Swans are believed to be able to mate for the rest of their lives. The swan is often associated with the Roman and Greek goddesses of love and the Virgin Mary. Storks on the other side represent a different type of love. You can probably guess what this means. In some cultures, storks are associated with having a new life or having babies. According to legend, storks can deliver babies to their parents. Storks are also a symbol of luck and good fortune.


Did you know that certain fabrics can be used as symbols of love? The history of romance is linked to ribbons, lace, and frills. It all started with knights gifting a scarf or ribbon to their loved ones before they rode into battle. A lace handkerchief might be dropped by a woman to indicate that she is interested in a suitor and invite him to come to her. Today we’ll see ribbons and lace associated with love used to wrap gifts or lacy lingerie.

Love Knot

A simple symbol of love, the “lover’s” knot is a collection of interconnected knots that can not be identified as the “true love-knot”. Although it is sometimes called the Celtic love knot, many cultures and traditions have their own variations of this symbol. It is found in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’s Canterbury Tales, and also in a short Hindu story called “A Love Knot”. This symbol of eternal love was once common on sailors’ wedding rings. It is still represented on jewelry today.

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Red Rose

This one might seem a bit trite. We’ve all seen red rose bouquets that were a dozen or more become ubiquitous at work and on campus on Valentine’s Day. Red roses have been associated for love and passion since long before we were able to appreciate their beauty. First, “rose” can be anagramed of Eros, the Greek god love. Legend has it that Aphrodite gave this beautiful flower its name in honor of her son. Roses are also mentioned in ancient Roman legends. Rose crowns would be worn by newly married couples, and rose petals would cover their beds. Roses are linked to sexual pleasure and desire.

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