Symbolism For Transformation: overview of the most common Symbols

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Symbolism For Transformation

Much like performing the same set of exercises at the gym day after day, we tend to seek changes in our lives to keep things exciting, challenging, and supportive of the people we are today. While even the happiest and most satisfied eventually get tired, it is common for us to seek a time to step back and fall back in love with ourselves through a renewed spirit.

Whether you aim to rejuvenate your journey or motivate and refresh yourself, our list of symbolism for transformation seeks to inspire you to pursue and embrace profound spiritual growth.

depiction of transformation

Key takeaways

  • Transformation provides spiritual rest by understanding that a clean and fresh soul is required for us to be an excellent example to others. Butterflies tell us that, while challenging, it is crucial to go through periods of transformation to live the fullest versions of ourselves.
  • Transformation helps us mature spiritually. Renewal helps us push aside the negativity of life. Trees inspire us to grow and flourish with a heart and soul fully transformed and replenished.
  • Transformation builds character. The ultimate goal of transformation and renewal is to help us build character by being more honest with ourselves. The repentant thief’s admission of his shortcomings reminds us that spiritual transformation allows us to be closer to God.

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”

– Rick Warren


For centuries, people have regarded the butterfly as an insect of various fascinating symbolism. However, the butterfly’s natural life cycle of going through a period of complete metamorphosis has made it a powerful symbol of personal transformation and change.

Numerous cultures say that chancing upon a butterfly could signify that you must make profound changes in some areas of your life.

A butterfly is a classic example of symbolizing transformation
A butterfly is a classic example of symbolizing transformation

While some people see these vibrant creatures as symbols of playfulness, lightness, and charm, others believe that they help us through difficult periods of renewal and change.

When a butterfly flies into our life, it is often a reminder of our ability to flutter from one state, perception, and way of life to another.


Trees provide us with an impressive presence that has earned them admiration throughout history. They are beautiful beings that have long played a critical role in the lives of many.

Mystical and majestic, this ancient living creature’s ability to flourish from a humble seed into a magnificent, towering figure has led many to view it as a powerful symbol of growth and transformation.

tree transformation

From protecting us from the heat of the sun to helping us stay warm, trees are a significant part of the environment that has furnished us with many of our basic needs. Trees are known to house creatures of all sizes, including transient spirits. Mythologies and traditions have given them profound spiritual importance through the ages. Trees also symbolize balance.

“The universe is transformation: life is opinion.”

– Marcus Aurelius

The tree of life 

The tree of life symbolizes transformation, growth, fertility, and new beginnings. It is often seen as a symbol of paradise or heaven and is often used in religious artwork to represent the Garden of Eden.

The tree of life symbol in sacred geometry (see the Vitruvian man as another example of sacred geometry) (see the Vitruvian man as another example of sacred geometry) (see the Vitruvian man as another example of sacred geometry)

The tree of life can also be seen as a symbol of immortality since it is said to be eternal and ever-growing. In some cultures, the tree of life symbolizes transformation and balance, due to its ability to grow and change with the seasons.

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Whether you see it as a symbol of hope or a spot where leprechauns hide a pot of gold, the rainbow offers colorful symbolism to various cultures across the globe. God used a rainbow to assure Noah that the horrors of the great flood were over. The rainbow symbolizes that a period of transformation will take place and that a new phase in your life is about to happen.


The rainbow serves as a vibrant reminder of our need to take the first steps in bringing about change. It also enables us to face the challenges that transformation offers. Believed to be a sign that directly comes from the Divine, many feel that rainbows give us the courage to go after the changes we wish to make.


From the creative ways we decorate and cook pumpkins to the trees’ leaves changing from green to yellow, then orange, before falling, ancient traditions have linked autumn to the many phases of our lives. Apart from being a season when the lengths of night and day are equal, this amazingly chilly season is a compelling symbol of change and transformation.

While spring inspires us to grow and flourish, autumn moves us to blossom from within and embrace the spiritual changes we encounter. This transitional season encourages us to look within as we aim to nourish not just our bodies but also our souls constantly.

“You have to maintain a culture of transformation and stay true to your values.”

– Jeff Weiner


While legends and myths associate the egg with our world’s birth, people often view eggs as symbols of fertility, life, and creation. Since they can produce life from an oval-shaped shell, eggs have been considered by some as being part of symbolism for transformation.

Bird’s eggs

Produced by birds that populate every continent, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most recognize the egg as an image of change and transition. As the cracking of its shell reveals new life, eggs inspire us to patiently go through periods of renewal, for it often results in uncovering a better version of ourselves.

A makeover

Defined as a radical change in a person’s physical appearance, people often refer to a “makeover” in a positive light as a symbol of new beginnings and fresh starts. Whether in clothing, cosmetics, or something as simple as a haircut, this transformation symbol typically indicates and inspires us to go through changes to improve our lives (we also wrote a post about the spiritual meaning of someone cutting my hair).

A makeover

Although most people associate a makeover with physical enhancements, it also reminds us that we can reform our personalities, characters, and attitudes. Since a makeover makes us feel more noticeable and attractive, it may be the enrichment we need to fulfill a significant spiritual transformation.

The repentant thief

In several Bible verses, the story of the repentant thief wonderfully tells us about God’s love and mercy for all those who willingly go through a spiritual transformation. He teaches us that Jesus Christ’s compassion has no limits and that even the simplest form of regret towards our sins is enough to bring about the salvation of our souls.

repentant thief
The repentant thief

Later known as St. Dismas, the repentant thief’s humility before God and acknowledgment of his sins showed his strong desire to be with the Father in Heaven. His atonement and submission are widely recognized as perhaps the most popular symbolism for transformation in the Bible.

The Lotus Flower

The lotus flower is a popular symbol in many Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism (they are shown in the chakra symbols for instance). It grows in muddy water and rises up to the surface to bloom with breathtaking beauty.

Because of its ability to rise from the murky depths and blossom into something beautiful, the lotus is often seen as a symbol of transformation, hope, new beginnings, and spiritual awakening.

lotus flower transformation
Lotus flower

In the Buddhist tradition, the lotus is often associated with the Buddha himself. The story goes that when the Buddha was born, a lotus bloomed when he emerged from his mother’s side. The lotus is also seen as a symbol of purity since it blooms clean and untouched by the mud it rises from.

For Hindus, the lotus is associated with the god Vishnu. It is said that when Vishnu returns to Earth after destroying the world at the end of each age, he rests on a lotus flower floating on the cosmic ocean.

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The Phoenix

The phoenix is a mythical bird that is reborn from its own ashes. It is often seen within symbolism for transformation as a symbol of hope, new beginnings, and rebirth after hardship.

The phoenix is said to live for a thousand years before it dies in a burst of flames. From the ashes, a new phoenix is born and the cycle begins anew. This story reminds us that even though there may be difficult times in our lives, we can always rise up from the ashes and start anew.

The Phoenix

In ancient Greece, the phoenix was associated with the sun god Apollo. In Egyptian mythology, it was linked to the god Ra. And in Chinese mythology, the phoenix was seen as a symbol of yin and yang, representing the duality of nature. Read more about the phoenix symbolism here.


The ouroboros is an ancient symbol that represents the cyclical nature of life. It is often depicted as a snake or dragon eating its own tail, and it has been used by many cultures throughout history to represent things like immortality, the universe, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Ouroboros symbolism of transformation
Ouroboros, symbolism for transformation

This symbol reminds us that everything is connected and that life is a never-ending cycle. It teaches us that death is not the end, but simply a step in the journey of life.

The ouroboros can also be seen as a symbol of self-sufficiency and enlightenment. By eating its own tail, the ouroboros represents that it is all it needs to sustain itself. This can be seen as a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery and enlightenment that we all must take.

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Author: Richard Alois
Richard, a London-based spiritual explorer and daytime marketer, invites fellow seekers to join him on a journey of discovery through his website, With engaging articles and thought-provoking discussions, Richard's inclusive approach transcends borders, uniting people in the quest for wisdom, inner peace, and self-understanding.

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