Meaning And Symbolism Of Arrow Symbols

If you look around, you will see arrows everywhere. From signposts, jewelry, logos, and many other things, arrows are everywhere around us in things that we don’t even notice.

Arrows are much more than a long straight line with a wedge on one side; they symbolize and represent many deep meanings.

Let’s unfold what arrows meant for our ancestors, and what they mean for us today.

white round medication pill on red surface Meaning And Symbolism Of Arrow Symbols
Photo by Anna Shvets on

What arrows meant for our ancestors?

Different cultures and religions around the globe interpret and utilize arrows differently.

To know about the meaning and symbolism of arrows, one must look at how different people used to interpret them.

The two arrows in Buddhism

Buddha described two arrows, according to the Buddhist teachings.

The first arrow is the natural feelings that we as humans develop, including aggression, fear, craving, and greed. While the second arrow represents the dislike of one’s self because of the first arrow.

We are humans, and we commonly experience greed, selfishness, and being nasty. But disliking and hating ourselves for these is the second arrow.

The first arrow is not in our control, but we can control the second arrow as it is our reaction to the first one. 

Life for the Native Americans

In the Native American culture, arrows were very important as hunting and gathering were important parts of their culture.

For them, arrows meant life because they were the tools they used for hunting food and feeding their families with that food. 

Some other arrow symbolism in the Native American culture is:

  • One horizontal arrow pointing towards the left: trying to ward off evil.
  • One horizontal arrow pointing towards the right side: defense and protection.
  • Two horizontal arrows pointing left and right: war.
  • Two arrows crossed: friendship.
  • One arrow pointing downwards: peace and contentment.
  • Broken Arrow: peace.

Iroquois League had five founding tribes, and a bundle of five arrows also symbolized them.

The meaning and symbolism of arrow symbols, in this case, was that a single arrow could easily be broken, whereas a bundle of arrows remains strong and intact. 

Various meanings in Hindu mythology

The Hindu God of winds or storms, Rudra is associated with arrows; he has a bow and arrow among his weapons. He is also called the archer.

There were various meanings of arrow symbols in Hindu mythology, including bravery, strength, physical power, and psychological prowess.

Love in Roman mythology

Cupid used arrows in Roman mythology to pierce the heart with love. Therefore, even today, the arrow through the heart represents love and passion.

Heart and arrow clipart, Valentine's

In Roman mythology, another meaning of arrows was having kids. Roman mythology also used arrows to symbolize war. Both Artemis (goddess of hunting and wild animals) and Apollo (god of the Sun) used arrows for hunting.

Arrows are not commonly used these days for hunting, but their symbol of war is still present. 

Meaning and symbolism of arrow symbols

There are many different meanings associated with different types of arrows.

Before we go into details about each design of arrows, let’s know about the general meaning of arrows:

  • Concentration and focus: Shooting an arrow at the target means ignoring distractions and focusing with a concentration in the direction where you want your arrow to go. This is characteristic of a skilled archers that they are able to ignore the noise around them. They keep their focus on a single-minded purpose, regardless of what they are and where they stand. 
  • Hitting the target: An arrow represents reaching your goals and hitting what you target for. This is what the purpose of an arrow is, to hit the target and reach its goals. 
  • Protection and safeguard: An arrow is a weapon and it was used traditionally to protect a person from danger and harm. Arrow symbols are commonly used to symbolize protection and defense from evil. 
  • Sustenance: Arrows used to be weapons people used to hunt food and fight enemies, which are two important aspects of keeping alive. This makes an arrow a symbol of maintaining and protecting life.
  • Moving forward: A bow propels the arrow and it starts moving towards new targets. The arrow symbolizes motion and the desire to move forward and improve your life. 

In the 19th century, Cupid was commonly known as the God of love. He was believed to have a golden arrow that, when pierced into the heart, inspired love. An interesting thing to note here is that his other arrow was made of lead, and it inspired hate. 

Arrow symbol in jewelry


Today, the places where the arrow symbol is used the most are in mathematical equations, where it implies something, and in jewelry. They are used in inked tattoos, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, earrings, dresses, t-shirts, and other accessories and attire.

Here are some arrow symbols and what they are represented as. Next, we will discuss the meaning of each arrow symbol used in jewelry and accessories. 

Arrow SymbolAppearance
Downward pointing arrowThe long part of the arrow is horizontal and the wedge points down
Looped arrowA loop is there at the middle of the arrow 
Two crossed arrowsTwo arrows cross each other at an angle
Moving arrowThis arrow looks like a circle
Pulled back arrowThere is a bow that is about to shoot an arrow
Arrow with a heartis stuck by the arrow at its center
Infinity arrowThe infinity symbol has an arrowhead on one side


  1. Downward pointing arrow

When used in jewelry, an arrow pointing down means peace and contentment. It is not a very common symbol of peace but is a beautifully subtle statement. The leftward-pointing arrow means warding off evil, while the rightward pointing one means protection.

  1. Looped arrow

The straight arrow is known to point toward reaching goals and fulfilling one’s promises. On the other hand, if there is a looped arrow, then it represents the opposite. The arrow means that you will get to your destination and the loop means that it would be in a different way from what you imagined originally. There are obstacles and hurdles on any path which a person must overcome to reach their goal.

  1. Two crossed arrows

When two arrows are crossed at an angle, they represent close ties and bonds of friendship. Each arrow in this design represents one of the friends and the cross patterns represent a strong bond of friendship.

  1. Moving arrow

This symbol consists of a round twisted arrow. It symbolizes movement and motion. This symbol shows independence and power, which further depict confidence in your purpose and in knowing the direction where you are going. Another meaning of this symbol is doing whatever it takes to reach your destination.

  1. Pulled back arrow

There is a bow that is about to release an arrow and the arrow is about to take flight.  This symbol represents someone standing at the threshold of their dreams, anticipating upcoming events, and looking towards the future. The meaning of this symbol is hope, positivity, and potential. It reminds a person that they will sometimes be pulled back in order to move forward, but if they take a step back, then it can be a good thing. The pulled-back arrow is also a symbol of the Sagittarius star sign.

  1. Arrow with a heart

This symbol represents a wounded heart from love and passion. But today, this symbol is used to represent unending passion and love for someone. People can tell their emotions to their loved ones by saying that they are captured by them and they have eyes for no one else. This symbol originates from Cupid’s arrow. As the legend says, if a person is struck by Cupid’s arrow, they develop an undying love for the first person they set eyes on the moment the arrow hits them. This may seem like a story, but nevertheless, an arrow with a heart is one of the oldest and cutest symbols to represent romantic love.

  1. Infinity arrow

Infinity symbol represents limitlessness and eternity. The arrow symbol blends so well with the infinity symbol that they both look stunning. The infinity arrow symbolizes endless potential and possibilities, and there are new adventures to come and new things to discover.

Gifting arrow jewelry

Now that you know the meaning and symbolism of arrow symbols, you may be thinking about gifting an arrow pendant, an arrow bracelet, or a t-shirt with an arrow to someone special. But when should you gift it and who is the right person to have it? Arrow jewelry is very meaningful and symbolic. So first read about the appropriate occasions when you should gift it, then you could buy some. 

  • Coming-of-age gift: You can gift a twisted arrow or a single straight arrow on this occasion.  It would be a way to wish someone luck and show that you believe they would achieve their goals and the aims they are targeting for.
  • Valentine’s Day: The arrow and the heart jewelry is a perfect gift for a lover on Valentine’s Day. It would symbolize the passion and love a person holds for another person.
  • Graduation gift: Arrow jewelry is great for graduation day as it reminds us that there are many big things on the way and things a person has to achieve.
  • Wedding gift: Arrow jewelry symbolizes promise and potential when gifted on a wedding day. The bow and arrow remind us that marriage is all about working together, and in order to move forward, they both must do teamwork.
  • Person in struggle: You can gift the looped arrow to parents, a friend, a colleague, or someone special who is going through a struggle. It symbolizes that the pains and sorrows are temporary and they will overcome the problems they are facing now. 

Arrow jewelry is definitely a very precious and special gift because it is full of symbolism and meaning. An arrow gift will not just prove to be valuable but your loved ones could stick to the message hidden in it and remember it for the rest of their lives. 

Summing Up

We may not notice it, but the arrow symbol is already much into our lives and it is all around us. By knowing the meaning and symbolism of arrow symbols, we can use them in new and innovative ways. They give a new meaning to life and add determination and passion to the goals and aims of life. 

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