The symbolic meaning of the Vesica Piscis officially represents balance and creation. But as I will demonstrate in this article it has a deeper meaning – that creation is the result of consciousness.
Symbols are a powerful tool you can use for self-development. They are the language of the unconscious mind and appear to us through dreams, synchronicity and the experiences we have in life.
I appreciate that may sound like mystical woo-woo, but it is true. I explain how you can use numbers and symbols in the Number Symbolism guide. What’smore, I provide real-life examples of when numbers have been used to reach a moment of self-realisation or to make an important decision.
And that’s the true beauty of understanding the esoteric meaning of symbols. They are a a guide you want by your side because they will help you navigate every challenge you face in life.
The Vesica Piscis is a symbol you may find appearing to you in dreams and in walking life. It’s fairly common to find this symbol in religious iconography all over the world. But what does it mean exactly?
What is the Vesica Piscis?
Most people in the West will recognise the Vesica Piscis is the Christian symbol of Jesus. But the symbol predates the Catholic church by thousands of years. In the East and Africa, the symbol is known as the Mandorla.
The origins of the vesica piscis are not known. Modern-day neo-pagans claim the symbol is Germanic as it was used by Norse peoples. But the symbol can also be traced to Pythagorean Greece, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China and Africa. It’s the principle symbol that appears in the Flower of Life.
Regardless of its origins, the symbol is given the same meaning – creation. But the esoteric meaning of the Vesica piscis is much deeper than that. To benefit from symbolism as a self-development tool, you need to know the esoteric meaning of symbols.
It’s esoteric symbolism we teach you in all our symbolism courses.
In ancient Greece, this symbol was called the Ichthys, the offspring (creation) of the Syrian Goddess Atargatis. The Ichthys takes the form of fish. It is created by overlapping two circles. The almond shape in the middle is the Vesica Piscis.
Take a look at example below. This is a major clue to the deeper symbolic meaning of the vesica piscis.
I trust you are familiar with the expression Mind, Soul, Spirit. I explain what the term means symbolically in the Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism.
I also show you how esoteric symbolism is being used for the same meaning today by modern civilisations. Mind, Body and Soul seems to be the prefered trinity.
The Vesica Piscis is not alone here – all the symbols used by modern “authorities” have their origins in ancient cultures and date back thousands of years.
Every culture has their own interpretation of symbols, but if you treat them as pieces to a jigsaw, they reveal the bigger picture.
Let me show you.
The four examples below are only a small sample, but the symbolic meaning given for the vesica piscis are:
- The union of heaven and earth in the body of Christ (Christian)
- The root element of the Flower of Life (Judaism)
- The womb of the ‘Cosmic Mother,’ Goddess Maat (Egypt)
- Merging of God and Goddess (Celts/Norse)
What follows is an explanation of how each of the four meanings above actually have the same meaning once you unpack the symbolism in the interpretation.
Vesica Piscis: Balance and Creation
Science shows us that nature has to find balance in order for creation to flourish. We see this in the sub-atomic particles of an atom. Male protons (positive charge) bind with female electrons (negative charge) to try and find equilibrium.
When positive and negative charges of an atom find a balance, a perfect creation is formed. When they cannot find equilibrium, the female electron will look for another proton.
If the atom cannot find equilibrium, the neutron kicks in and the atom neutralises. This only happens if there is more or less of a balance of electrons and protons. If there are more of one than the other, an imperfect creation forms.
An equal amount of electrons and protons balance out an atom.
The vesica piscis is the shape in the centre of two interlocking circles. Let’s say one of the circles is the male energy and the other is the female energy. Male and female are opposites that create a balance in a relationship just as protons (male) and eletrons (female) create balance in an atom.
The centrepiece is a perfect creation. But only when the circles are symmetrical – balanced.
You can see from the picture above, the centre is an almond shape. I will come on to that later. But can you also see that the symbol above makes the “Ichthys” – the fish symbol used to represent Jesus in Christianity?
If not, check this out:
Jesus Christ is a symbol of God in man. Essentially he represents enlightened man. Man becomes enlightened when ego-consciousness becomes aware of the split-off content buried in the unconscious.
This is the union of heaven and earth. Heaven is the Mind which receives the ‘voice of God’ the superconscious. Earth is the personal unconscious, the repository for our programs which prompt habitual behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, character traits etc.
It is when you program the personal unconscious with a higher knowledge of your True Self that you improve your life and your relationships.
The unconscious mind, by the way is a the higher self and the lower self; the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It contains knowledge of our animal instincts and our “divinity”.
Consciousness essentially creates our experience of life. So one way to interpret the vesica piscis is that we need balance in our lives to consistently act appropriately.
Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
However, that easier said than done. How do you know whether you’re balancing your animal instincts and your divine qualities?
Ordinarily it would be difficult to perform a balancing act. However, symbols will guide you.
The Christian idea that the Ichthys is the ‘union of heaven and earth’ dates back to earlier cultures. The ancient Greeks for example used the idea of Father Sky for Heaven and Mother Earth for Earth.
Heaven (Father Sky – male proton) and Earth (Mother Earth – female electron) are also religious euphemisms for mind (male) and body (female). The central shape of the vesica piscis, known as the ‘bladder of the fish’ is, therefore, the soul. The soul is consciousness in man.
“First look at the things as keenly and as intently as you possibly can; then only let the feeling which expands to life, and the thought which arises in the soul, take possession of you. The point is that the attention should be directed with perfect inner balance upon both phenomena. If the necessary tranquillity be attained and you surrender yourself to the feeling which expands to life in the soul, then, in due time, the following experience will ensue.” ~ Rudolf Steiner, How To Know Higher Worlds
The Symbolic Meaning of the Vesica Piscis in Judaism
We see the same concept for the symbolic meaning of vesica piscis in Judaism. The flower of life is also devised by interlocking circles – seven of them. Seven is a feminine number representing emotion. Emotions are measured on a scale of love to fear. This will become more apparent later when we discuss the almond connection.
The flower of life is the basis of the tree of life. It has a deep symbolic meaning of spiritual development and the evolution of consciousness. Essentially it represents balance and creation.
The four petals are the foundations of creation that develops from the three – the beginning of consciousness which ultimately evolves into reality. Just as atoms are the building blocks of creation. Note how the root of the flower of life are four vesica piscis.
In the image above, you will also note that the root of the flower of life is positioned over a well. A well is used for storing water and in ancient symbolism – as it is in nature – water is used to symbolise that all life (creation) comes from water. This photo was taken at the Castello Aragonese on the island of Ischia, just off the coast of Naples, Italy.
That’s also the reason why a fish is used as a symbol for Jesus. Fish live in water – the superconscious.
The Catholic church still uses fish and water to represent creation. The bishop’s mitre is a prime example. Examine the image below and you can see that the fold in the mitre looks like the open mouth of a fish.
The bishop in this image also has a crescent moon behind him, a feminine symbol associated with water because the moon is known to change the tides. You may also note that the prongs look like the horns of the devil – which actually represents base consciousness.
The oldest discovery of the vesica piscis dates back some 6000 years and was found in the Temple of Osiris in Abydos, Egypt. Osiris is a Sun God, the son of Nut and Geb, Father Sky and Mother Earth.
Osiris, therefore, represents the creation of the male and female union. A child represents the creation of man and woman. As a Sun God, he represents illumination of the higher self. His brother Set (given to the English term, sunset) is the God of storms and disorder. When you live in base consciousness you experience turmoil and chaos.
It is from ancient symbolism that Carl Jung developed his theory of the self and shadow self. A 20th Century concept which ancient cultures knew about 6000 years ago! Yet today, we don’t really know how consciousness works.
Before Isis came to prominence as the Mother Goddess of Egypt, there was the ancient goddess Ma’at, the Cosmic Mother who oversees the order of the world and restores chaos. She brings the Universe into balance. Sounds like an electron.
The vesica piscis is said to represent the vagina of the goddess Ma’at. When the male seed is planted into the female ovary, their creation grows in the womb.
The ancients used nature, including the dimension of human anatomy, as inspiration for their sacred geometry.
The vesica piscis symbol was also used to represent the vulva of Goddesses in Celtic and Norse cultures as well, as we see in the Goddess’ Garden at Glastonbury.
In Christian art, as we see in the introductory image of this article, we often find Jesus and other saints painted into a Vesica Piscis as though emerging from the womb of the Cosmic Mother.
But the symbol is mostly associated with Mary Magdalene, the ‘Cosmic Mother’ of the Christian Church. Thus again, we see Jesus as creation/pure consciousness.
So then, what do you make of the image below and what is the symbolic meaning of the vesica piscis here?
This is the Washington Monument in the US capital. The obelisk represents the male phallus. And it is ensconced in the Vesica Piscis, the female vagina.
A phallus symbol is actually esoteric symbolism for the active principle; the seed of an idea, reason and willpower. Symbols representing the womb – the symbolic meaning of the vesica piscis being one of them – is representative of the female principle; fertility, patience and nurturing.
And thus we have an example of esoteric symbolism in modern times representing the union of the God and the Goddess, the protons and electrons of an atom, the male and female energies of nature. This balance is necessary for creation to flourish.
The Symbolic Meaning of Vesica Piscis in the Brain
Earlier in this article, I mentioned the centrepiece of the Vesica Piscis resembles the shape of an almond. The ancient symbol, the Mandorla – which is the equivalent of the Vesica Piscis – means, ‘almond.’
The mandorla is found throughout the Celtic Tribes of Europe but is also used by the Igbo people of West Africa, which share so many similarities with Judaism, mainstream media has called them “the lost Jews.”
But more critically, the almond is the same shape as the amygdala, described by Science Daily as:
“an almond-shaped set of neurons located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. [The amygdala is] shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions…”
The image below is an artefact from a Catholic church. It is the shape of an almond and the centre-piece of the Vesica Piscis – thus representing the amygdala, the seat of emotions.
Emotions, impact thoughts, and thoughts impact actions. You are responsible for your behaviour, and as the natural laws determines, your thoughts, emotions and actions create your reality.
Furthermore, thoughts, actions and emotions are the basis of the triangle of manifestation. Just to remind you, the ‘magic’ number three is also regarded as the number of manifestation – or if you like, creation.
So just one more point.
In geometry, if you measure the distance where the two circles of the vesica piscis meet and the height at the widest point of the “bladder of the fish” you get a ratio of 265:153 which equals 1.7320261. This is as close as you can get to the square root of three.
Furthermore, in ancient Greece, during the time of mathematicians, Pythagoras and Archimedes, 153 was known as the ‘measure of the fish’.
This expression comes from the Bible story in John 21:11 that tells the second miracle of Jesus. His fisherman disciples had not caught anything all day, so Jesus tells them to throw the net over the right side of the boat:
“Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
Just to round this off, let’s look at the number of this verse – 21:11. In another form of ancient mathematics known as gematria, 21 equals 3 (2+1). Three is the number of creation. Eleven is a master number.
Master numbers are perfect creations. The eleven is one and one, which makes two – the perfect balance of male and female which by nature pro-create. The chemical union of two creates three.