Meaning of Infinity Symbol
Understanding the Deeper Meaning of the Symbol Infinity
Infinity means ‘eternal’. The Infinity symbol has been in use for more than a thousand years, depicting the eternal in the universe and the cosmos around. This mystical symbol is a figure of eight lying sideways and is something from which people have been able to draw their strength. But the Infinity symbol is more than a source of strength, there is a lot that people do not know about this symbol.
What is the mystery of Infinity? What does it mean? And what does it have to offer you? What are its origins? Read on to know the answer to these questions and more.
Meaning of Infinity
The word infinity is derived from ‘infinitas’, a Latin word, meaning endless or eternity. It is used to explain events or feelings that are eternal, boundless, and limitless. This eternal is everlasting and magical in a finite world where there is an end to everything.
In short, the term infinity can be defined as immeasurable, the everlasting, and the infinite.
In Greek, the word for Infinity is ‘apeiron’. It has the same meaning as unbounded and limitless, but it used to be a negative word during its time. ‘Apeiron’ used to be taken to mean ‘out of chaos, without defined form or crooked’. Aristotle says,” ...being infinite is a privation, not a perfection, but the absence of a limit…”
Infinite is, therefore, to be without limit, to be endless and eternal. The universe is infinite, and many religions believe that God is infinite.
Origins of Infinity – Infinity in Various Cultures
Asia – Tibet & India
There are varying historical accounts of the Infinity symbol from different parts of the world. In Tibet and India, it represents perfection and a balance between the male and female.
The Celts have the Celtic Knots, which are similar to the Infinity symbol – there is no beginning or end. To go further, the Double Infinity Symbol and the Celtic Knots are quite similar. Few people are aware that the Double Infinity Symbol depicts “double absoluteness.” There are several Celtic knots, with each knot having a different representation. But the fundamental meaning remains the same - the endless circle of life.
Greek philosophers and mathematicians had an ongoing argument about Infinity, with philosophers like Pythagoras and Plato arguing that all things in the world could be represented by a defined set of values or whole numbers. Their argument went on to say that ‘Good’ was also a measurable value and, thus, finite.
Another word for the Infinity Symbol is Lemniscates, which originates from the word “Lemniscatus”, a Latin word, meaning ‘ribbon.’ The idea comes from Ouroboros, which is an ancient image of a serpent or dragon biting its own tail. This ancient symbol depicts the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. There is a connection in this meaning, but it comes from a less than familiar place.
The snake’s skin-sloughing is a symbolism of transmigration of souls; the symbol of the biting of the tail depicts fertility, where the tail represents the phallus, and the mouth depicts the womb.
The Ouroboros is believed to have been first seen in the 10th century copy of “Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra”, an alchemy book that was written in the 3rd century.
In Egypt, the symbol of the dragon eating its tail was first seen in an Egyptian funerary text in 14th century B.C. It entered western tradition through Greek magical practices and was later adopted in Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and alchemy.
Gnosticism means ‘to have knowledge’. It is a set of beliefs, culture, systems, and religious ideas that come from early Christian and Jewish secs in the 1st century A.D. This belief saw the serpent biting its tail as a sign of eternity and the soul of the world. Put together, the Ouroboros was seen as having encompassed the world, completing the circle by biting its tail.
Hermeticism is related to Gnosticism as it is the pursuit of knowledge concerning spiritual mysteries. This movement is mostly based upon the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, a Greek God likened to Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom and magic.
Alchemy, as many people know, is a quest for turning lead to gold. But not many know that alchemy is more than creating gold nuggets. It is rooted in a belief that everything, including metals, contains a universal spirit. It believes that there is life in metals, and they grow inside Earth’s womb. This interconnectedness has an eternal unity. Alchemists desire to get out of the cycle of birth and death to an eternal destiny.
All these beliefs have one thing in common – the desire for the infinite or to study and be a part of that which is without an end. So, how did the infinity symbol work its way into modern times?
Infinity in the Modern Day
The Infinity Symbol, as seen today, was discovered in 1655 by John Wallis, an English mathematician. It refers to an endless and boundless quantity in both physics and mathematics. This quantity is larger than any number.
Today, it is referred to as the ‘eighth dynamic’ by Scientologists – the eighth dynamic urging towards an infinite and eternal existence – the supreme being, embracing the endless capacity and wholeness of all.
The Infinity Symbol is all around us as it has been embraced in different spheres of life. Religion and fashion are two of the most important spheres in which this symbol is seen commonly.
The Infinity Cross
The infinity Cross is worn by religious people to show their love for God. It is worn as jewelry and serves as a reminder to the faith and eternal life that religious people aspire to.
Infinity Symbol for Love
Today, the infinity symbol is used for expressing the undying love for an intimate partner. It is used as a pendant for necklaces, in bracelets or watches, and even earrings. This follows the Indian and Tibetan tradition that uses the Infinity Symbol as an expression for the balance between male and female.
Double Infinity Symbol
This symbol is used in décor because of its intricacy. It is an expression of the bond between two people and expresses an eternal bond and unity. It is also used in wedding décor and in jewelry.
Swedish Malin Symbol
The Swedish Malin symbol is one of the most popular tattoos in the world. It is the symbol of Infinity with an arrow that breaks the center. The symbol means that you need to face setbacks to move forward.
This symbol has found a permanent place in jewelry. Infinity jewelry represents endless love or connection. The two interconnecting circles each represent one side of a relationship encompassing the idea of ‘together forever’.
If you have admired an infinity necklace and coveted it, then you should also know that it represents more than everlasting love. It is also the symbol of eternity, balance, the ribbon, and love – all that the ancient symbol has always meant.
An interesting trivia here is the use of the infinity ‘women’s empowerment bracelet’ by Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon at the U.N. news conference. This bracelet represents a “future without limitations for all women”.2
There is a timelessness about infinity symbols, as is the jewelry inspired by these symbols. You could wear an infinity bracelet to tell the world of your friendship or of everlasting love with your significant other.
The infinity necklace would be a way to celebrate a new life, making it richer and adding meaning to it.
The infinity scarf is believed to have originated in ancient Rome. Unlike its use in the fashion world today, it was used to wipe sweat. The scarf is a fashion statement today and has made a comeback in the recent decade. Try out a knit infinity scarf that has evolved into an accessory that looks like a necklace and does more than just keep you warm.
As this symbol represents something eternal, it is the perfect gift for friends and family as it emphasizes the everlasting nature of love for the people in your life.
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