Skull rings gained momentum in the 1980s. Forty years later, they are still a hot fashion trend. They can be found in jewellery collections of such dissimilar groups as bikers, rockers, punks, Goths, and others. Supermodels, movies stars, musicians, and artists flaunt them to showcase their creative and rebellious nature.
At some point, skulls started making their way to the wardrobes or Average Jacks and Jills. Nevertheless, most people treat skulls with a fair amount of skepticism. They don’t quite understand why to wear a symbol of death and danger. In this post, we’re going to explain why skulls are a universal symbol. Spoiler alert: they feature good and bad in equal proportions.
The Symbol of Death
You are not wrong if you believe that skulls represent death and other things associated with it (destruction, decay, etc.). However, you are wrong if you think that death is their only meaning. Below, we are going to focus on other messages your skull ring may convey but right now, let us explain that there is nothing outrageous in wearing death symbolism.
Our ancestors treated death with respect. They knew that life is impossible without death. Although they feared the day their spirit would leave their body, they did not deem death to be the end of everything. For them, the death of a physical body was the new beginning in the afterlife. Thus, death was perceived as the normal state of things.
Skulls were attributes of those who communicated with the spirits of the dead – shamans, priests, healers, etc. They turned to spirits for advice, asked them to show the right path, heal wounds, etc. Along with that, almost every house had a skull of a noble ancestor that was supposed to provide protection against adversity.
The Symbol of Life
Since the concept of death is inseparable from the concept of life, the skull symbolizes both of them. It is the skull that protects against diseases and evil spirits that can cause illness or death. It is the skull, otherwise known as the Head of Adam, that lies at the base of the crucifix, i.e. the Christian symbol of life and resurrection. It is the skull and bones that remain unchanged while the flesh decays. By the way, the latter circumstance largely contributed to the fact that ancient people considered skulls to be immortal. In the end, skulls became a symbol of immortality.
The Symbol of Wisdom
Ancient people made many discoveries. They noticed that skulls and bones did not deteriorate. They eventually realized that the skull was made to contain the brain. This wonderful organ is responsible for a set of important functions, but above all, it is in charge of comprehending the world. This is our brain that learns, adapts, fantasizes, analyzes … If you ask any of us where the centre of our wisdom is, the answer will be the same – this is the brain.
Our ancestors couldn’t depict the brain; even worse, they couldn’t have the brain of another person as an amulet or ritual object. However, they had no issue with getting a ritual or talisman skull. Thus, the ancients attached the meaning of wisdom and intelligence to skulls. Perhaps, you’ve seen an image depicting the skull and a snake crawling out of its eye socket. Together, the snake and the skull symbolize that knowledge doesn’t disappear even if a person makes a transition to the other world.
The Symbol of Hermits
Hermits avoid people, and they are always alone with their thoughts. Sometimes, hermits came to villages and people began to notice that they were bringing diseases and death. Indeed, Medieval Europe was a breeding ground for deadly diseases, and people who traveled from one closed community to another could bring the causative agents of dangerous ailments. One way or another, villagers began to perceive hermits as harbingers of death. And since the skull is, as you know, a representation of death, hermits and skulls became inseparable.
In fact, death haunts hermits every second. When they are alone, they think about the meaning of life and what will happen when this life comes to an end. The skull is truly a fitting symbol for this cohort of people.
Symbol of Equality
At a time when more and more people find their voice to fight for their rights, symbols of equality are more relevant than ever. Equality is one of the meanings of the skull symbol. On the one hand, everyone is equal in the face of death; it takes rich and poor, young and old, noble and commoners. On the other hand, skulls turned into the attributes of communities that put equality at the forefront.
Take motorcyclists, for example. In a motorcycle club, everyone is equal. At least when making decisions, everyone’s vote counts. Plus, the biker community accepts everyone regardless of skin color, creed, background, etc. Bikers do not discriminate and they are ready to help anyone who is involved in the biker movement, even if they are from competing clubs. We’re not talking about biker gangs because they are a different story.
So, you’ve just learned a few meanings of the ancient skull symbol. Hopefully, some of its meanings will strike the right note with you.