Lightning in the symbolism of the various cultures

Attribute of all the gods smiths, such as Hephaestus, Vulcan and Thor.

Thunder is the voice of the heavenly gods, and lightning is their weapon that destroys snakes and spiritual opponents, and symbolizes the divine wrath.

Lightning was universally regarded as foretelling (good and evil), Death by lightning is death received from Heaven.

Like the rays of the sun, lightning is considered both beneficial and destructive. Such was the spear of Achilles, capable of inflicting wounds and healing. Lightning is associated with all the gods of storm and thunder.

Traditions of all continents take into account the magical properties of lightning stones - meteorites, which were thought to have originated from thunder and served as talismans against lightning and disease.

It is universally considered a manifestation of divine wrath, strength and fertile power. Lightning was seen as both a symbolic and real weapon, as the hand and phallus of the supreme gods of heaven or as their helper. Sometimes it was the dazzling light of their eyes -

Phallic symbolism is especially clear in the representations of the Australian Aborigines, where the lightning symbolizes the cosmic erect phallus.

Lightning (or lightning strike) represents the celestial fire as an active force, intimidating and dynamic.

At the same time, the lightning flash correlates with light and enlightenment. Because of these parallels, lightning is associated with the first sign of the Zodiac, symbolizing the beginning of spring and the initial stage of any cycle (40).

Lightning is considered an emblem of sovereign power. Winged lightning expresses ideas of power and speed (8). Jupiter's three lightning bolts symbolize chance, fate, and foresight, the forces shaping the future (8).

In most religions the deity is hidden from human sight, and then a sudden flash of lightning reveals the deity in all his active power for a moment. This image of the Logos piercing the darkness is universal (9).

The spectacular discharge of "heavenly" electricity that brings fire and destruction to earth is, in all ancient cultures, an expression and symbol of supernatural power. More often than not, it is the god of heaven or the king of the gods who destroys enemy creatures on earth with an axe or hammer or punishes disobedient people. Because of its celestial origin, lightning also plays a certain role as a symbol of unearthly insight.

In arid areas, which depended on thunderous rains, lightning was associated with the fertilization of the fields and was seen as a symbol of male potency.

Lightning was the creation of Zeus Keraunos the thunderer (Lat. Jupiter Fulgur - lightning), as well as of the Slavic god of thunder Perun (Lat. Perkons. Lith. Perkunas), or in an older era the eastern god Haddad. People killed by lightning were considered marked by the deity and were to be buried at the place of death.

In many cultures lightning is also seen as a serpent descending from the heavens.

Compounded in the image of a thunderstorm.

God's power; in Semitic and some other traditions thunder is the sounding (and lightning is the written) Word of God.

In many cultures, lightning (usually depicted as zigzag fiery arrows shooting down from the clouds) were attributes of the most powerful gods, such as the ancient Greek Zeus (Jupiter in Roman mythology).

The lightning strike is a symbol with a dual meaning, creative and destructive, associated with the fertilizing power, as well as with retribution and justice.

Thus, in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the god Indra uses the vajra, lightning, in the form of a diamond scepter to disperse the clouds (identified with ignorance in the Tantric symbolic system).

Symbolism linking the bird and thunder is also found in the mythology of the peoples of Siberia. The predominant tradition is that of identifying thunder with male gods, such as the Scandinavian Thor, or with blacksmith gods (often lame). But sometimes this natural phenomenon is represented by lunar and earth goddesses who give fertility and rich crops. In Asia thunder was associated with the dragon (especially in China), the drum, the rumbling wagon carrying away the souls of the dead, and the wrath or mirth of the gods. Other associations include the hammer, hammer, chisel, axe, roaring bull, rattle, and animals symbolically associated with rain, such as the snake. Graphically, thunderstorms are depicted with zigzag arrows, fleur-de-lys, and spirals.

Basic meanings:

  • sacred union (of the impregnating celestial god and the perceiving mother earth), fertilization, male power, sustenance;
  • revelation, spiritual illumination, enlightenment, unexpected embodiment of truth, destruction of ignorance;
  • the descent of power, the breaking through time and space, the eternal now.

Key symbols:

  • zigzag;
  • trident, trident;
  • axe ("heavenly axe");
  • hammer;
  • vajra; scepter;
  • arrow;
  • bird of prey.


  • 1 Basic meanings:
  • 2 Basic symbols:
  • 3 See also:
  • 4 Ancient East
  • 5 Antiquity
  • 6 Northern Tradition
  • 7 Japan
  • 8 Mesoamerica
  • 9 South America
  • 10 North America
  • 11 Shamanism
  • 12 Hinduism
  • 13 Buddhism
  • 14 Judaism
  • 15 Christianity
  • 16 Manichaeism
  • 17 Emblematics
  • 18 Psychology
  • 19 Art
  • 20 Illustrations
  • 21 Notes and Comments


For the ancient Greeks, lightning or fiery ether (cf. Parabrachman) was a symbol of supreme, creative (creating) power.

As a sign of demiurge is an attribute of Zeus (in Roman mythology, Jupiter). As an attribute of the latter lightning is depicted as a spindle-shaped flame with arrows emerging from the center of it izlomannymi (see Perun).

According to the myths of Dionysus, his first birth was in flames from the lightning of Zeus, which destroyed Coronida.

In Etruscan culture the practice of brontoscopy ("showing" of lightning) has an important place among other oracles. Lightning strikes in the east[1] were considered favorable signs, unfavorable in the west, and acceptable in the northeast; lightning in the northwest was a sign of misfortune. These interpretations were adopted by the Roman oracle priests, while the Greeks held the opposite view. A lightning strike from the right was a significant enough reason in ancient Rome to postpone public events or senate meetings for a day.

Lightning in the Symbolism of Different Cultures

Various ancient cultures often treated lightning as a kind of powerful and expressive force, so its meaning in their symbolism was appropriate. Lightning has always been associated with speed and movement, as well as with the attributes of the various gods-thunderers, as well as the king-dogs.

In addition, many cultures attributed lightning to a phenomenon that connected heaven and earth, personifying the divine will as well as the creative impulse that moves people and events. Lightning was often associated with a sign, it was considered sacred, and those people who were struck by it were said to have been marked by the deity himself.

However, lightning in various cultures was not only an expression of divine fury and a destructive force. It also had a benign meaning, representing the awakening of all vital forces. At the psychological level, lightning was seen as a crisis and also as the ability to see in the darkness new perspectives and horizons, to find the long-awaited way out of any situation. In the symbolism of various esoteric societies lightning was interpreted as an opportunity to know the Truth suddenly and unexpectedly, by a force and shock so powerful that it instantly changes the idea of some things.

The people of ancient India regarded such a phenomenon as lightning as a manifestation of the power and majesty of Brahman, the impersonal Absolute that underlies all things. Brahman is known instantly and with lightning. This was accomplished through the Vedic texts as well as through the texts of the Upanishads. The moment of illumination in India was compared to lightning-"the truth is in the lightning. In the Indian Vedas there is mention of Trita, a deity who personified lightning in all its senses. The deity was associated with water, fire and the sky. Lightning was also one of the faces of Agni. Also, lightning in India was associated with the "third eye" of Shiva. In addition, the symbol of lightning was associated with the mythical weapon of the thunder god Indra - the vajra. This device was called the "lightning thrower."

Ancient China associated lightning with the creature Pan-gu, the first man on the entire earth. It is believed that with his inhalation came wind and rain, and with his exhalation came lightning and thunder. Chinese lore tells us that there was a celestial thunder realm, with the gods of thunder, wind, rain, and lightning. The head of the government, Lei-tzu, was depicted with a third glowing eye. And Dian-mu, his other half, was the "mother lightning," holding two mirrors above her head. By manipulating the mirrors while standing in the clouds, she gave birth to lightning bolts to be flung down to the earth. It is also interesting that the famous ancient Chinese treatise "I Ching" testifies that lightning represents the image of zhen - excitement. Also, lightning was associated with the moment of the beginning of a new life, with movement forward.

The ancient Greeks revered the supreme deity Zeus, who was in charge of all lightning and headed the Olympic pantheon. Lightning was forged by the Cyclopes specifically so that Zeus could successfully fight the Titans. The second birth of Dionysus took place when Zeus himself struck him with a lightning.

Lightning is also present in the symbolism of the Etruscans, who had such a deity in their pantheon as Tin, who commanded "three sparkling beams of lightning". There were several deities under Tin and some of them could throw lightning bolts of different colors. In interpreting the celestial signs, local shamans took into account the peculiarities of such interpretation and gave out interesting prophecies.

In ancient Rome, the god Jupiter was worshipped, who originally had no human form at all and was depicted as a stone arrow, a symbol of lightning. Later, this deity began to be portrayed with three lightning bolts, which he holds in his hand. They symbolize chance, fate and foresight - the forces responsible for shaping the future.

Aztec myths also included lightning. They had a god, Tlaloc, who was depicted with a lightning staff.

The Christian era associated lightning with the revelation of God, as detailed in the book of Exodus. Also, lightning is also a symbolic expression of God's judgment.

Muslims also had lightning in their symbolism - according to their lore, it precedes the appearance of divine messengers. Lightning was also often found in references to shamans of particular peoples, who believed that after being struck by lightning, they would undergo instant initiation.

All photos "

Amazing photos of lightning and thunderstorms

Interesting materials on this topic:

Types of lightning
Lightning as a weapon
Consequences of lightning hitting a person. Facts and fictions
Surprising and interesting about lightning
Can a thunderstorm strike a house?
Lightning and lightning protection
Physical Properties of Lightning

South America

In ancient Peru in Inca times, thunder and lightning were referred to by the common name "Illapa", and the same name was given by the Indians to the "thunder" gun of the Spanish conquerors.

However, according to Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616), thunder and lightning were revered not as gods, but as servants of the sacred Sun, who lived not in the sky, but in the air.

The Incan god of rain releases heavenly waters from his sling - like other throwing implements, the sling in ancient times was usually associated with thunderstorms.

North America

Associated with notions of a giant (predatory) "thunderbird" (or birds ?) (cf. myths of the lightning bird in South Africa):

the gleam of lightning is the blinking of the Stormbird, the great creator deity of the world; the peals of thunder are the sounds emitted by the mighty eagle wings of the Thunderbird, usually acting in the protective role of the sky god.

Serves as a symbol of the Great Spirit, revelation (apparently late, post-Christian ideas).

Graphically transmitted in the familiar and European zigzag shape.


"Truth is in the brilliance of lightning."

Lightning is symbolically associated simultaneously:

with fire, and with water (rain). life and death - as a creative and destructive divine force (forces of destruction and birth), in this capacity can be symbolized by a double-edged axe.

The thunderbolt represents the activation of powerful creative forces, serves as a symbol of divine power, cosmic intelligence, enlightenment, etc.

The image of a flash of lightning is represented:

- celestial fire, the attribute and instrument of Indra; - trident (trisula), the attribute of Rudra; - the third eye of Shiva, the light of truth; - arrow of archer Krishna (one of the avatars of Vishnu); - chakra, the weapon of Vishnu.

Agni dwelt in the waters of heaven in the form of lightning.

Places struck by lightning are considered sacred, and people are marked by God if they survive, or go straight to heaven if they perish.


Home > Vitamins for the Soul > Symbols >.

In all ancient cultures, lightning is an expressive sign of strength, speed, movement, and is an attribute of the god thunderer, king of the gods. A lightning, connecting the sky and the earth, represents the divine will, the creative impulse that is transmitted to the earth and becomes the driving force behind people and events. Lightning was seen as a sign sent by the gods; places struck by lightning were considered sacred and people struck by lightning were marked by the deity.

Being expression of divine anger and image of destructive "heavenly fire", lightning at the same time can be also beneficial, personifying awakening of internal vital forces. Psychologically lightning can be seen as a crisis and at the same time as an ability to see in the darkness new horizons, to find a way out. Knowledge of the Truth is like a flash of lightning in its suddenness, power and shock. "The immediacy of spiritual insight has been compared to lightning in many religions. Moreover: the sudden flash of lightning, breaking through the darkness, was regarded as mysterium tremendum (Latin for 'terrible mystery'), which, transforming the world, fills the soul with sacred awe.

(Mircea Eliade).

В Ancient India. The lightning was thought to symbolize the power and majesty of Brahman, the impersonal Absolute that underlies all things. Brahman is cognized instantly, with lightning, and the Vedic and Upanishad texts compare the moment of illumination to lightning - "the truth is in the lightning.

The Vedas mention Trita, a very ancient deity, believed to be the personification of lightning. He is associated with water, with fire and the sky. Lightning as heavenly fire is one of the hypostases of Agni; it is also associated with the destructive fire of the "third eye" of Shiva (the Vedic Rudra). One of Shiva's feats was the destruction of Tripura, the capital of the asuras, by a single arrow: "Then the three-eyed Shiva quickly fired a destructive arrow. The firmament turned red as if molten gold mixed with purple, and the glitter of the arrow merged with the rays of the sun. The arrow burned the three strongholds like a stack of straw." Closely related to the symbol of lightning is the vajra, the mythical weapon of the thunder god Indra. The vajra (Sanskrit. "diamond," "lightning") is called the "lightning thrower" and is considered the power that destroys enemies and all kinds of ignorance.

The vajra is also one of the most important symbols of Buddhism and denotes the spiritual power of the Buddha to split the illusory realities of the world. Tibetan Buddhists call the vajra "dorje." It symbolizes the strength, clarity, and all-conquering power of the Buddha's teachings.

В ancient Chinese mythology... the origin of natural phenomena is associated with Pan-gu, the first man on earth: with his breath comes wind and rain, with his exhalation comes thunder and lightning. According to legend, there was a celestial thunder authority. It consisted of the god of thunder, the god of wind, the god of rain and the goddess of lightning. The head of the celestial thunder board, Lei-tzu, was depicted with a third eye on his forehead, from which a stream of light poured out. Dyan-mu ("lightning mother") held two mirrors in her hands raised above her head. Standing on a cloud, she brought the mirrors closer and closer together, as a result of which lightning appeared. It was believed that Dian-mu illuminates with lightning the hearts of sinners, who must be punished by the god of thunder.

In the symbolism of the ancient Chinese treatise "I Ching", lightning is an image of the hexagram zhen, "excitement". It denotes the moment when life begins anew, the movement backwards is impossible, it is necessary to go forward. In this situation, a person may feel fear and lose confidence in their own abilities. But if you do not betray the principle of a steadfast action and the desire to move forward, this movement will lead to the highest success.

У ...of the ancient Greeks... ...lightning was wielded by Zeus, head of the Olympian pantheon of gods. When Zeus fought the Titans, the Cyclopes forged lightning, a magical weapon with which he struck Kronos. Having won these battles, Zeus obtained power over the earth and sky, and thunder, lightning and peruni became his indispensable attribute. Zeus' lightning strike is attributed by the myths to the first of the two births of the "twice-born" Dionysus.

According to Pliny the Elder, the great god Etruscans Tin commanded "three sparkling red bundles of lightning." There were sixteen deities under him, but only eight had the right to throw thunderbolts, and these thunderbolts differed in color. All these peculiarities were taken into account by the soothsayers, who interpreted celestial signs.

В ancient Rome... Jupiter, like many other ancient gods, originally did not have human form, and was depicted as a stone arrow, which was seen as a symbol of lightning. Later on, the thunder arrows that he holds in his hand became a symbol of the power and invincible strength of the king of the gods. Jupiter's three thunderbolts symbolize chance, fate and foresight - the three forces shaping the future.

According to ...the Aztec myths...myths, the universe went through four stages (or eras) of development. In the third era, which was called "Four. Rain", the supreme deity, the bearer of the sun, was Tlaloc, the god of rain and thunder, who was depicted with a staff of lightning. The element of this era, which culminated in a worldwide conflagration, was fire and its sign was lightning.

В in the Christian era. lightning is associated with the revelation of God, such as in the book of Exodus, where thunder and lightning heralded the appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai. In addition, lightning is a symbolic expression of God's judgment (on the day of the Last Judgment).

In the famous Muslim story revelation to Mohammed in the cave on Mount Hira, lightning precedes the appearance of the divine envoy, the Angel Jibril.

Being struck by lightning, according to shamans, means immediate initiation. "People who are killed by lightning are thought to have been stolen from Heaven by the thunder gods, and their remains are revered as relics. Whoever survives the lightning experience is completely changed; in essence, he begins a new life, becomes a new person."

(Mircea Eliade).


In Renaissance emblematics, it acts as a warning-sign of Providence beyond human exploration:

"Will the construction of fortresses, earth fortifications, ramparts and ditches help, When God sends burning rays from above. No matter how the guard tries and strives, Only God's care alone can prevent a miserable doom." Hochberg. 1675 г.

Lightning bursting out from behind a cloud

  • Not without divine intervention.

"The symbol signifies the divine gaze, which will not tolerate that the messengers of his wrath should act at random and have infinite discretion, but each of the divine irresistible kar is directed by his infallible hand, and without his intervention his messengers could not touch a hair on our head." [EMSYI, 40-9, p.277]
The lightning that flashed from the cloud.

  • Tremble and beware.

"A symbol of the divine retribution of an angry deity who hurls deadly projectiles across the guilty world." "Let the guilty man tremble and beware of his folly in hiding from the divine wrath. He must repent and renounce his former bad behavior. The piles of walls cannot resist their flight as much as the air that is incapable of resistance." [EMSYI, 40-3, p.276].

The Meaning of the Rune of Lightning

Considering the value of this beautiful and very strong runes, it can not be overlooked that its magical properties can absorb the negative of any force. It also signals a person who turns to her for advice that should not take all minor problems too close to his heart - all will be cleared, you only need to be patient.

For example, when the "lightning rune" in the laying out falls, along with money symbols - it means that you will achieve financial prosperity, but it is worth a little wait.

Now more about the meaning of the symbol. As mentioned above, from the outside the rune looks like a lightning bolt - it is a special sign that cannot be confused with anything else.

If you decide to ask the rune plaques about your concerns, Saulu indicates that at the moment you have absolutely all the doors available to you. Don't miss such a unique chance - make the most of it. Another of the symbol's tips is to never forget your surroundings. Take care not only of your own well-being, but also the well-being of your family and friends.

But all of the above applies only to confident individuals. Those who are afraid of everything, the rune sign may portend danger. You have no ability to wait, and all decisions must be made now - otherwise the work will be lost.

All that can be done in this situation, is to pull yourself together, concentrate on work and just act. This is the time for strong and strong-willed decisions.

If you ignore the magical advice, there will be an energy stagnation and it will be impossible to correct the situation.

The lightning symbol says that now your every word has a great value. You have an opportunity to become a true leader. But along with the power you get the responsibility for it. At such a moment it is important to know the measure and not to forget about self-criticism, otherwise you can lose power and return to the starting position.

Valuable information:

  • Scandinavian runes: description, meaning and interpretation


For women

For Men