The anchor is a solid body, its weight holding the ship fast, the lanchor was taken to symbolize firmness, solidity, tranquillity and faithfulness.
It holds firm and steady amid the flux of the elements and comes to symbolyze the stable part of our being, the quality which enables us to keep a clear mind amid the confusion of sensation and emotion.
In this sense it can also act as a brake, and doubtless this was its meaning when it was linked with that symbol of swiftness itself, the dolphin, to illustrate the motto of the Roman Emperor Augustus: “Festina lente” (make haste slowly).
Anchor symbol in Christianity
The anchor symbol, in the emblems, signs and graphic representations of the early Christians, always signified salvation and hope. It was often shown upside down, with a star, cross or crescent to denote its mystic nature.
The Epistle to the Hebrews says: “Which hope we have as the anchor of our soul”.
The anchor symbol is based on the symbol of receptivity “◡” pointing upward toward the spiritual world, and crowned with the cross of matter “✚”, representing the actual and continuous existence in the material world. This combination creates the crux dissimulata, a Christian symbol of hope.
In other cases, the symbol is noticeably built out of the old symbol of the pagan ankh cross “☥” and the symbol of receptivity “◡“.
In Christian graphical representation, the anchor cross has multiple variations:
This symbol in particular was sometimes also used by alchemists to denote white lead.
This symbol is known as the anchored cross, because the ends of the cross arms are similar in shape to the flukes of an anchor.
However, they also are rather similar in shape to “⥾” , an acient symbol representing Aries, rebirth, new beginnings, and growth.
In Rome during the third century the Christians were persecuted to such an extent that they dared not use the cross as their symbol.
This led to the creation of the crux dissimulata, meaning the disguised or dissimilar cross. The intention was that no non-Christian would recognize the crux dissimulata as a Christian rallying symbol and object of worship. For this reason, an anchor shaped cross was often used.
Anchor symbol in dreams
An anchor may express a desire for security, for someone or something reliable in a persons life.
Another possible interpretation, the anchor symbolizes a constraint that prevents self-fulfillment. For example, it may symbolize a mother if the person is still tied to her, still dominated by her or too dependent on her, so that the dreamer has not been able to find or express their own individuality or some unconscious programming that holds the dreamer back from exploring and releasing hidden aspects of themselves. (The sea may symbolize the unconscious, or mother.)
Symbol of good luck & of the sea
The anchor was often seen as an attribute of various sea deities. It was associated with other maritime symbols such as the fish and the ship, as well as with the early priests, self-described as “fishers of men”, looking to bring new converts, to the Christian faith .
Because the anchor is the ship’s only source of stability during storms, it is a symbol of hope, which carried over to Christianity during its time as a persecuted religion.
Sometimes it was claimed that the anchor cross was a magic charm able to prevent any ship from sinking in a storm.
Anchor combined with a dolphin
The emblem of an anchor entwined by a dolphin was coupled with the motto “Festina lente“, meaning “Make haste slowly”. This was a quote attributed to the great Roman Emperor Augustus and had become popular in the Rennaisance period.
The dolphin was seen as a prudent and wise animal, so it’s association with the anchor’s symbolism as a Christian sign of rally in times of persecution was natural.
The anchor as spiritual peace in Christianity
The anchor also symbolizes the war between the liquid and the solid, the land and the sea. It puts a brake upon life when it becomes too stormy.
The conflict must be resolved, since land and water together promote fruitful development.
From the mystical viewpoint, this harmonization can never take place in this world and one must anchor one’s soul in Christ as the only way of avoiding spiritual shipwreck.
“My cross and my anchor” say the mystics, thus strongly affirming their will never to abandon themselves to the reflux of the natural world devoid of grace, but to anchor themselves to the source of all grace: the Cross.
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