The Truth Behind Skull Symbolism

In all human history, skulls were considered as strong magical objects. Because of that, there are more meanings of this item.

Depending on the context of the symbol, it can represent such different things, and because of that, we geeks here at Skull N-More had to put this list together.

Plain, ordinary skull, without anything added, represents the warning about the time we have in this world. It is also a memento mori and simply tells us that every life has to end. It was believed that the skull is the place where the soul resides.

Skull With The Lit Candle

Although this symbol represents forbidden and gnostic knowledge, when we break it down, we get the real meaning of it. The spirit which is enlightened by knowledge, surrounded by darkness. This is why it is commonly presented at wizard’s table; they know something we don’t.

Winged Skull

In symbolism, wings represent ascension and lifting from this world. After all, in Christianity, angels are winged, and are always from “other world.” Therefore, a skull with attached wings can mean free spirit or the one who is ready to soar higher than the rest.

A Skull With Knife

Usually seen on military insignia, a representation of skull with the sword or dagger can mean fighting which is symbolized by the blade, until death, which clear symbol is the skull. It can also stand for courage and bravery.

Jolly Roger

When you think of pirates, their flag, the Jolly Roger is the first thing which comes to your mind. A skull on (usually) black background, can be paired with either crossed bones or cutlasses, and both represent pirate life with all of its wonders; plundering, stealing and drinking.

Flaming Skull

This symbol is not easy to decipher since it can have two meanings, depending on the context. It can either mean an eternal spirit since the flames stand for longevity or can suggest hatred and aggression. Ever heard about the expression “burning with rage”? Well, this is it.

Crowned Skull

Since crown is usually worn by rulers and monarchs, it is a symbol of power. But, when it is paired with skull, it has much darker meaning. It stands for the death which rules above everything else, and cannot be escaped.

Skull With Animalistic Features

Often present in the culture of Native Americans, skull represented in this way has deep roots in totemic learning. Therefore, a skull such as this can express the connection with your inner animal spirit, or a belief in reincarnation, depending on the context it is used.

Geared Skull

A representation of the skull paired with gears or other mechanical parts is often connected with the Steampunk culture. It is also a sign of moving spirit, progress, and technological advancement. However, it may have more menacing meaning. If you watched The Terminator recently, you know what we mean.

Skull With An Anchor

The anchor is often connected to the sea and ships. However, the deeper meaning (pun intended) of this symbol is the strength and stability. Therefore, when paired with the skull, it makes a symbol of stable and strong spirit, which resists external influences.

Combined Skull

Skulls are often paired with natural elements, and depending on which one is chosen, it can have a different meaning. For example, a skull with the added element of the earth might mean firm spirit, or be the representation of the ultimate end and rotting. It matters in which context it is used.

Crystal Skull

At the end of 19th century, there was real chase and hype about crystal skulls which were allegedly found in Mesoamerica. In time, it was proven that they were fake, but the strong influence they made remains until today. Since crystal represents the connection with the spiritual world, a skull made of crystal means a strong bond with the world of the dead and the ancestors.

Glass Skull

A human skull made of glass has one particular meaning. If we begin that the glass as a material is delicate and sensitive material, we can say that skull made of it can represent the fragile spirit or the one which is carefully balanced.

Skull And Crossbones

It is unclear when this practice became common, but burying the dead with their thigh bones crossed and placed under the skull is probably meant to keep the dead from “walking from the grave.” Because of that, it is a most famous representation of death and danger. It is also a universal sign for poisons and hazardous materials.

Skulls And Hearts

At first sight, these two symbols are diametrically opposing each other. But once put together, they represent an insatiate love for adventure. It does have sense, since the heart is something passionate, and is there an adventure without a bit of danger?

Sugar Skulls

The place of origin of these decorated skulls is Mexico, and is connected with their holiday Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), when these small skulls are made of sugar, and decorated in memory of the loving ones which have passed away. It also symbolizes life and joy of those who are still living.

Roses And Skulls

Perhaps the most famous symbol of the band Guns ‘N’ Roses, the sharp contrast between red of roses and white of the skull represents the opposing natures of life and death. Since roses are red, they are an artistic representation of blood, which is equal to life.

Toothless Skull

In symbolism, teeth represent power and strength. Because of that, the skull which has its teeth removed stands for weakness and shame after death. It is rarely portrayed these days, and in case that you come across to the illustration of one, you will know that this guy was less than worthy, or his enemies feared him so much, that they removed his teeth.

Cracked Skull

Since skull bones are vital for a human being to live, in ancient times, there was not much a doctor could do if this injury would happen. Because of this, a cracked skull means that something is over. In time, it evolved into a symbol of moving on.

Skulls As Optical Illusions

Not every time the skull is transparently presented. Often, it takes another look to notice that there is a skull in the picture in the first place. The meaning of such skull is that there is always death present, but it is up to us to see or ignore it.

Skull Without Jaw

For one to speak, he needs jaw. Therefore, skulls represented without lower jaw bone are connected with silence and the absence of a spoken word. During Victorian era, prostitutes were wearing rings with such skulls, which stood for their discretion, something which was vital for their customers.

Horned Skull

A skull which features horns, long teeth, and other non-human features are usually connected with something evil and supernatural (without Winchester brothers). Also, it is connected with nightmares and overall is considered as a bad omen.

Skull With Snake (Or Snakes)

Another old symbol, skull paired with snake or more of such is a sign of the eternal knowledge, the one which cannot be lost upon death. Often used by secret societies, it is primarily there to show both knowledge and secrecy around it.

Ornamented Or Tribal Skull

Skulls which are ornated with lines, strokes, and pain which resemble tribal appearance are aiming toward showing someone’s affiliation to the specific group. It also stands for those features which were highly reputable in the ancient times such as courage, honesty, and strength.

What do you think about the list?

Let us know in the comments section! And make sure to share the article with all your friends who love skulls.

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