Anchor symbol- origin, history, and symbolism

An anchor is a very important part of the ocean. The anchor symbol represents and is closely related to the sailors. Moreover, it serves the purpose of tattoos and jewelry by many people who love sailing and the sea. Despite that, the term anchor has a deeper meaning other than its connection with water. The word anchor derives from the Latin word Ancora, which in turn takes its origin from the Greek word ἄγκυρα or ankȳra. The shape of the anchor symbol represents the ancient maritime boat anchors.  Needless to say, the sole purpose of the anchor is to slow down or park a boat at the seashores or hangars.

Anchor symbol meaning

Spiritually and in the world of philosophy, an anchor symbol can have very curious meanings. It works as a superstition that claims that if a woman sees an anchor in her dream or a vision it means she will have a baby who will choose to work as a sailor.

If an anchor appears in your dreams hidden or under the water it can either be a sign of disappointment or allude to a big trip or a change of home. Usually in psychology, an anchor means that you are looking for greater security, stabilization, and force. But it can also symbolize that something bad is holding you down.

An anchor found on a grave usually represents a seaman’s life or the maritime profession. When represented with a rope or a chain around it, the anchor may be a symbol of a former member of the Navy.

Anchor symbol origin

Formerly, the anchor symbol occurred to be owned by the people on land instead of people on the water. During the early years of Christianity, Christians were under heavy oppression by the Romans. To secretly showcase and spread their religion, they would wear anchor jewelry. In addition, sometimes they even had the anchors tattooed on themselves. Needless to say, the anchor represents a symbol of strength since they hold down ships even in extreme weather situations. It was also a popular symbol among the Christian community because it looks very similar to the cross. Moreover, anchors also served the purpose to mark safe houses for those seeking refuge from persecution.

What does the anchor symbol indicate?

Apart from the practical use, the symbolic use of an anchor image as art on a piece of jewelry, tattoos, or painting has many different meanings.

It symbolizes:-

● The Sea

The anchor, without a doubt, represents the sea and sailing. For someone who loves the sea and everything that it stands for, an anchor is an excellent symbol to wear. It shows our connection with the sea and is also a nod to the importance of sailing as a means of exploring the world in human history.

●  Safety and Stability

 An anchor holds on steadfastly to keep the vessel from drifting off. It represents holding on to your values, beliefs, hopes, and goals, regardless of what’s happening around you. In addition, it says that you should stay rooted and grounded no matter what happens.

● Hope

 Anchors symbolize hope and a positive outlook. It doesn’t matter what the weather may be like today, just hold on and wait and work for a better day.

● Determination

For a person going through hard times, the anchor represents determination, to see the hard times through without giving up.

●  Eternal Love and Fidelity

An anchor is steadfast in how it holds firmly to one place. It doesn’t go wandering off when the weather gets rough. This symbolizes a strong, steady, and loyal love where the person is deeply connected to the other through good and bad times. This has made the anchor an excellent symbol for close friends, lovers, and family.

In modern times people often use the anchor symbol as an emoji on mobile phones, tablets, and computers to communicate. Usually, it means strength and stability. Moreover, it represents an old style of the traditional boating anchor. As can be seen, anchors are all about being strong and stable. No matter if you love sailing or not, you can appreciate the deeper meaning of the anchor symbol. In addition, the symbol shows that a person is in tune with themselves and they can hold onto the values they believe in.

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The anchor can also represent a person who supports others. For those who travel a lot, this symbol can have a very special meaning. For the sailors, the anchor represents always having a safe place to go home. Moreover, the anchor works as an oath to move on and have a better, brighter, grounded future for those who had a violent past. In this case, some people choose to wear a cracked or broken anchor. This works as a sign of letting go of their tumultuous past and moving ahead in life.

What is an anchored cross symbol?

The anchored cross, or say mariner’s cross, is a stylized cross in the shape of an anchor. We can take it as one of the earliest Christian symbols in existence. The symbol bears a plus sign depicted with anchor-like projections coming out of the base. There are many variations on this symbol, but the most common form connects a ring with a bar, with a cross-bar, terminating on the other end with two curved branches or arrowheads. The anchor symbolizes hope, steadfastness, calm, and composure. Coupled with that, it also signifies security in one or more uncertain experiences of life. It counts incidents such as sea voyages and one’s fate after death To put it another way, this ancient symbol means a fresh start or hope. Even though it looks physically similar to the simple anchor, the symbols are completely different.

Anchor symbol history

Anchor symbol

Seleucus I started the use of anchor as a symbol. Later on, Jews from the Seleucid Empire adopted the use of the symbol on their coinage. Therefore,  the anchor as a symbol would have been widespread and familiar to early Christians. In addition, the use of anchor can be found in the Inscriptions of catacombs of St Domitilla from the 1st century CE.

The anchor can be considered as one of the oldest symbols used in Christianity. In this instance the combination with the cross represents Jesus. Moreover, Clement of Alexandria approved the use of the anchor as a symbol because of its use in the Bible. Not only that, but Missionaries of the United Methodist Church also used to wear the anchor cross. It worked as a reminder and sign that their work should always be “anchored in faith, hope, and love”. Hebrews 6.19 ties the anchor to the concept of “hope,” and thus Christians’ hope of salvation through Christ.

The region of Camargue in France created its symbol, made to represent the “Guardian Nation” of herdsmen and fishermen and the three theological virtues of Christianity. It has carried the same elements as an anchored cross:

  • a cross anchor with the three “fleurs-de-lis” replaced by Camargue tridents which represent the Christian faith
  • An anchor representing hope; coupled with
  • the heart of The Three Marys which showcases charity

The anchor cross can be seen as a reference to the “Cross of Hope”. The concept dates before Hebrews 6.19;

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.”

St. Clement’s Cross

Pope Clement I, known also as Saint Clement of Rome is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as the bishop of Rome. He served in this position from 88 AD to his death in 99 AD. He got executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the Black sea. Henceforth, the cross anchor represents the way Pope Clement I got martyred. Despite this tradition of his untimely end at sea, people consider Clement a patron saint of sailors, and many wear his cross for protection.

Anchored cross in heraldry

The anchored cross can be commonly seen in the coats and flags of armies. It usually represents the context of “angry” or “ancre” by the heraldic terms. Examples of this can be found in the hooked anchor that represents Vinnytsia, Ukraine; a three-leaf cross with an anchor on the coat of arms of Pyharanta, Finland; a patriarchal cross with an anchor in the coat of arms of Barkakra Municipality. In addition, you can find it in Sweden, and Wollmatingen, Germany; the coat of arms of Leon, Spain, and Tallinn, Estonia; and the personal shield of Claude Feidt, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Aix.

Anchor symbol in Christianity

Anchor symbol

During the Roman Empire between the years, 64AD and 313AD Christians faced severe persecution and death because the law was strictly against following the Christian religion. In later years, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and Licinius legalized the Christian religion. However, during the years of oppression, Christians could not use the famous cross which Jesus had been crucified on as the symbol of their fate. Henceforth, they had to find similar objects to express their faith in Jesus. Therefore, the anchor came up to be the best replacement for their forbidden cross.

The anchor cross also became known in Latin as the “crux dissimulate”. It means that the cross was hidden in the symbol of the anchor. It can also be a symbol of hope in Christ when you have an anchor combined with an X (the letter Chi in Greek.

What does the anchor symbol mean in the Bible?

The anchor can be seen mentioned in the Holy Bible at multiple places, mainly representing hope. In Hebrews 6:19 the word can be seen used metaphorically for that which supports or keeps one steadfast in a time of trial or doubt.

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil”.`

“If you fear, Put all your trust in God: that anchor holds.”

Symbolic Anchor Jewelry

Anchor symbol

Anchor Jewelry can express all different meanings. It is up to the person what and how they choose to express through wearing the anchor jewelry. It may represent a feeling, faith, or maybe a part of history.

The anchor bracelet generally stands for hope, steadfastness, salvation, stability or tranquility, and good luck. On the other hand, the anchor necklace meanings are safety and security or trust and confidence. The anchor pendant meaning can be all those listed before.

 Anchor symbol FAQs

1.   What does the anchor symbol represent?

The anchor is a symbol of hope. Initially tied to safety and stability, over time the maritime anchor has also been used as a symbol for broader meanings. For example, as a part of Christian tradition, this object has quickly become a message of hope towards the future: the anchor symbolizes a brilliant, happy life.

2.   What anchor tattoo means?

An anchor tattoo usually means stability, peace, strength, determination, and passion. People frequently use other symbols or letters with anchors together, such as roses, infinity, swallows, compasses, ropes, and wheels.

3.   What does a cross heart and anchor symbolize?

The cross, the anchor, and the heart represent the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity respectively. It is based on the cross and anchor symbol used by the early Christians in the catacombs, the added heart representing humanity.

4.  What does an anchor mean in the Bible?

For the Christian, the anchor of a person must be the firm witness of Scripture grounded in faithful and prayerful devotion. The Christian does work well to guide and inform the world for God’s glory when firmly anchored in faith. It is, in many ways, the calling to which Christ calls all Christians!

5.  What does the Bible say about anchors?

Yes, Jesus is our hope and anchor who will keep us amid storms. He is the one who can keep us steadfast and unmovable despite the tides of life. Hebrews 6:19 declares: “Hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”

6.  What is the function of an anchor?

anchor, device, usually of metal, attached to a ship or boat by a cable or chain and lowered to the seabed to hold the vessel in a particular place using a fluke or pointed projection that digs into the sea bottom.

7.  What does an anchor mean on jewelry?

Will it represent a feeling, faith, or a part of your history? The anchor bracelet generally stands for hope, steadfastness, salvation, stability or tranquility, and good luck while The anchor necklace’s meanings are safety and security or trust and confidence.

8.  What is the meaning of the Mariner’s cross?

The anchored cross, or mariner’s cross, is a stylized cross in the shape of an anchor and is one of the earliest symbols in Christianity. The anchor symbolizes hope, steadfastness, calm, and composure.

9.  What does God say about the anchor?

Yes, Jesus is our hope and anchor who will keep us amid storms. He is the one who can keep us steadfast and unmovable despite the tides of life. Hebrews 6:19 declares: “Hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”

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