Taoist Symbology. Most Popular Icons 12 Concepts

Meet the most powerful Taoist Symbology. Know its meaning and how it has evolved over the years in popular culture.

taoist symbology

What is Taoism and how is the Taoist Symbology?

Symbology in Taoism plays a crucial role in the transmission and understanding of its philosophical and spiritual teachings. Symbology in Taoism is essential for transmitting its teachings, facilitating the understanding of abstract concepts, promoting harmony with nature and the cosmos, and fostering personal and spiritual transformation.

Representation of abstract concepts

Taoism deals with abstract themes such as Tao (the way or force that flows through all things), Yinand Yang (the two fundamental principles that represent the duality and complementarity of all things), as well as the concepts of Wu Wei (effortless action) and the cyclical nature of the universe. Symbology offers a way to visually represent these abstract concepts, which facilitates their understanding and assimilation.

Communication of teachings in the Taoist Symbology

Many Taoist teachings are transmitted through symbolic images rather than written texts. These images may include mandalas, symbols such as Taiji (the symbol of Yin and Yang), as well as mythological figures such as the dragon and the phoenix. These images provide a visual language that transcends linguistic and cultural barriers, allowing Taoist teachings to be transmitted effectively.

Encouraging Contemplation and Meditation

Taoist symbology is often used as an object of contemplation and meditation. Practitioners can reflect on the symbolic meaning of Taoist images to deepen their understanding of Taoist principles and cultivate inner wisdom.

Integration of Nature and Cosmos in Taoist Symbology

Taoism emphasizes harmony with nature and the cosmos. Many of the Taoist symbols are inspired by observation of nature and reflect the interconnectedness of all things. These symbols serve as constant reminders of the importance of living in harmony with the natural flow of the universe.

Transformative Potential of Taoist Symbology

By interacting with Taoist symbols through contemplation, meditation and ritual practice, individuals can experience inner change and greater understanding of themselves and the universe. Taoist symbols act as tools for personal and spiritual transformation.

Important Taoist Symbology

Here are some of the most relevant symbologies of Taoism, universal icons that are used in multiple fields and representations.

Taiji (Tai Chi)

The Taiji symbol represents the fundamental duality of the universe, manifested as Yin and Yang (Black and White). Yin represents darkness, feminine, passive and earth, while Yang represents light, masculine, active and heaven. The dynamic interaction between Yin and Yang reflects the constant flow of energy and change in the universe.

Taiji tao

Ba-gua or Pa-kua

The Bagua is an octagonal diagram representing the eight significant trigrams of the classical Taoist book, the I Ching (Yijing). Each trigram is composed of three lines, continuous or divided, representing the principles of Yin and Yang in various combinations. The Bagua is used for divination, meditation and as a tool for understanding the dual nature of the universe.

ba gua tao


The symbol “Shou” represents longevity, health and prosperity in Chinese culture. It consists of a human figure, often an old man with a long beard, holding a gourd. The gourd symbolizes immortality and contains the elixir of life in Chinese mythology. The Shou symbol is an expression of wishes for a long and healthy life, as well as the desire to achieve spiritual immortality.

shou tao


The “Thao” is a Taoist symbol representing the way or path of the Tao. It consists of a sinuous curved line that is often drawn in the form of a snake or river, symbolizing the continuous and natural flow of the Tao through the universe. The Thao symbol emphasizes the idea that the Tao is a force in constant motion and transformation, and that the path to harmony and self-realization involves following this natural flow without resistance or effort. It is a reminder of the importance of living in harmony with the rhythm of the universe and following the path of the Tao to achieve peace and fulfillment.

thao simbolo

I Ching, Yijing or I King

The main symbol of the I Ching is the Bagua, which consists of an octagonal diagram composed of eight trigrams. These trigrams are formed by continuous and divided lines, representing the interactions between Yin (divided line) and Yang (continuous line). The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text of divination and philosophy that uses this symbol as a basis for interpreting changes in nature and human life. The Bagua is believed to reflect the universal patterns of change and transformation, providing guidance for understanding the constant flow of existence and making wise decisions in harmony with the Tao.

i ching tao


In Taoist symbology, the gourd is a symbol of longevity, immortality and prosperity. It is commonly associated with the god of longevity, Shou, who is depicted holding a gourd containing the elixir of life. The gourd is also used in Taoist rituals as a sacred vessel for offerings and as an emblem of good fortune and abundance. In Chinese mythology, the gourd is believed to have healing and magical properties, and symbolizes the connection to the spiritual world and eternity.

pumpkin - Taoism Symbology

Maneki Neko or Lucky Cat

The Maneki Neko is a Japanese symbol of good luck and prosperity. Also known as the “lucky cat” or the “fortune cat”, this figure depicts a cat with one paw raised, as if waving. The gesture of the raised paw is believed to attract good fortune and prosperity to the home or business where it is displayed. The Maneki Neko is an important part of Japanese culture and can be found in stores, restaurants and homes as a good luck charm. In addition to its greeting gesture, it often wears a necklace with a bell or coin, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

Maneki Neko - Taoism Symbology

Chan Chu

In Taoist Symbology the Chan Chu, also known as the “fortune toad” or “three-legged toad”. Is a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. This symbol depicts a toad sitting on a pile of gold coins and usually has a coin in its mouth. Chan Chu is believed to attract wealth and prosperity to the home or business where it is placed. Tradition says that rubbing the back of the Chan Chu or the coin in its mouth can bring good fortune and abundance. This symbol is popular in Chinese culture and is commonly used as a good luck charm in business and finance.

Chan Chu - Taoism Symbology

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