When an upside-down triangle showed up in a recent ad for President Trump’s campaign, it stoked the fires of controversy that are often around him. The long-ago connection between the symbol and Nazi concentration camps angered President Trump’s critics, and Facebook took down the ads because they “violated its policy against organised hate.” On the other side, the President’s campaign leaders and supporters said that the symbol was just an emoji-like way to show antifa, which was the main point of the ad.
As the debate goes on, it’s making a lot of people in America wonder what the triangle really means and what it stands for. You might have thought the answer was easy, but it’s not. The simple triangle has been used as a symbol for many different things over the course of history. Its first appearances can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Let’s look at the very important triangle’s long and complicated history.
The Force of Three
Just like sometimes simple actions say the most, sometimes simple shapes say the most. The triangle, which is simple but has a lot of meaning, is the best example. Throughout history, a simple triangle has been used in so many different ways that it’s hard to keep track. As a shape with three sides, the triangle has always been linked to the number three, which is often shown in its many symbolic meanings. For example, the power of three is often used in mystical teachings to achieve their goals.
In numerology, the number three has a lot of meanings, one of which is that it can bring good luck. People believe that three is a lucky number, which is where the saying “third time’s a charm” comes from. The three-sided triangle also has a connection to luck because it has three sides. The spiritual meaning of the number three has to do with magic and intuition. It also stands for optimism, creativity, inspiration, and expression.
Most triads are based on the idea that two of the sides represent two parts that come together to make the third part. This is the most important part of the triangle’s connection to making things and being creative. In fact, the number is often associated with creativity, rewards, and doing things well.
It might not seem like a triangle has anything to do with the battle of the sexes, but in the past, that wasn’t always the case. In the past, men were represented by a triangle with a point at the top. This was called the “blade.” In the past, when men were in charge, the blade was a sign of male power, fire, dominance, ambition, and values. The straight point on the symbol, which is meant to show that men are in charge, also has phallic meanings.
The arrow in the male gender symbol, which looks like the point of a triangle, is also a hint at the blade’s shape. This symbol comes from the Roman god Mars, who was known for his strength and skills. From a modern point of view, rank insignia in the United States Army still look like triangles. When it comes to stripes, a sergeant has more than a private, a colonel has more than a sergeant, and so on. More triangle-shaped stripes show that a person has more power and authority.
On the other hand, an upside-down triangle with a point at the bottom looks like a wine glass without a stem and is called a “chalice.” In the past, the blade was meant to remind people of a phallus, while the chalice was meant to look like a womb because it was more open. Also, water is often used to symbolise women and femininity, which could also be related to the idea of a feminine chalice.
Venus, the Roman goddess of love, was linked to women in ancient times. So, women were expected to look good and have soft, friendly, and caring personalities. The link to the gender symbol for women isn’t as clear, but the cross at the bottom of the female symbol looks a little bit like four small chalices.
Effects of Religion
Religions from the past often used geometric shapes, like triangles, as symbols. A lot of triangle-based symbols were around long before ancient people like the Egyptians and Greeks used them scientifically in building projects. Pythagoras, the famous Greek philosopher and mathematician who came up with the famous theorem, thought that geometry played a much bigger role in the universe than just in simple math. He gave different shapes much deeper meanings, and his ideas had a big impact on the beliefs that grew up in western philosophy. Most of the most important and long-lasting meanings that grew over time had to do with religion or magic.
In the religions of many ancient cultures, triangles stood for different things. In the Christian religion, the triangle is used to show the Holy Trinity, which is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In Greek and Roman mythology, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades (Greek) and Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto (Roman) were also part of triangle-shaped groups of three gods (Roman). Osiris, Isis, and Horus made up another important religious trio in Egyptian mythology.
The Star of David is the most well-known symbol of the Jewish religion. It is made up of a triangle that is right-side up and a triangle that is upside down. Each triangle is a balance of two forces that are at odds with each other. If you think back to the idea of the blade and the chalice, men and women are like the blade and the chalice because men are strong and dominant and women are soft and submissive. When you connect the two triangles to make the star, it shows that the two forces are equal. Even though this is an important Jewish symbol, you can also find it in Hinduism and Buddhism, where it is also a sign of balance.
Throughout history, the triangle has also been used to represent different types of spiritual and metaphysical trinities, such as mind, body, and spirit; past, present, and future; life, death, and rebirth; waxing, waning, and full (moon); love, truth, and wisdom; and maiden, mother, and crone. Mahayana Buddhism focuses on three different bodies: Dharmakaya, which means “body of essence,” is the unmanifested mode (the supreme state of absolute knowledge); Sambhogakaya, which means “body of enjoyment,” is the heavenly mode; and Nirmanakaya, which means “body of transformation,” is the earthly mode (Buddha on Earth).
People who studied the occult and did occult rituals used triangles as symbols of summoning. The practitioner usually did rituals from the safety of a circle, but he or she expected the entity to show up within a triangle drawn on the floor.
Effects of the Mystical
After all those years of math classes, a lot of people only think of triangles in terms of math. The shape is very important in science, especially in the field of engineering. In the past, triangles were also often used to show mystical and magical qualities that go far beyond what can be explained by science. They show up a lot in historical texts and works of art about mysticism.
Strength is a key meaning of the triangle that comes from the field of physics. Triangles are the strongest shape in geometry. When you put weight on a triangle, it spreads evenly across all three sides. This makes it much less likely to fall over. In terms of mysticism, the triangle usually shows emotional strength and character, but it could also show physical strength.
Depending on how it’s used, the triangle can show themes of magic, wonder, and creativity. This is something that none of the other shapes can do. No matter which way you turn a square, it still means the same thing, and a circle can’t mean anything different at all. But when the triangle is turned upside down, it means something very different.
The ancient Greeks and Aristotle named four physical elements: fire, air, water, and earth. They also named one nonphysical element: spirit or aether. Alchemists gave these elements symbols that all looked like a triangle in a different way. Fire is shown by a right-side-up triangle, and its opposite, water, is shown by an upside-down triangle. Air is shown by a triangle that stands up straight and has a horizontal line going through it near the top point. The Earth turns that triangle on its side so that the horizontal line goes through the bottom point. The Star of David’s two overlapping triangles stand for the non-physical element of spirit.
In many cases, the way a triangle is turned changes what it means. Triangles that are straight and have a point at the top are built on a strong base. Because strength is usually associated with male energy, alchemists linked it to the fire and air elements. You can see this in the symbols they made. On the other hand, an upside-down triangle represents female energy. It is used in the symbols for water and earth, which are both feminine elements. When the two triangles meet in opposite places, they make the hexagram, which is also called the “Star of David.” The mix shows both unity and harmony as well as different things.
Triangles were often used in rituals, and the element symbols for triangles were often written into spells and magic. Astrologers also use the elements to describe the different zodiac signs based on how certain elements behave. People with fire element signs are thought to be brave, strong, and full of passion, while people with water element signs are thought to be able to heal and have a calm, pure personality. People who were born under an Air zodiac sign are thought to be great communicators with a lot of intelligence and creativity. People say that signs with the earth element show that the person is stable and grounded, and that they are also fertile.
In many of the most important civilizations, triangles were used as symbols that had deeper meanings. The Celtic culture, with its complicated knots, the Egyptian culture, with its pyramids, and the Freemasons, with their Eye of Providence, also called the all-seeing eye, which is encased in a triangle, are all good examples.
Especially in Celtic culture, there are a lot of references to the number three. It can be seen in the triskelion, which looks like three spirals that connect, the triquetra, which looks like a knot of rounded triangles, and other Celtic knot motifs. The Celts often talk about the number three, and they also divide the worlds into three groups: the other world, the mortal world, and the celestial world.
Pyramids are basically triangles in three dimensions. They have a base with four sides and four triangular sides, but the number of sides can change depending on how the base is shaped. The most famous use of triangles in history is in the Egyptian pyramids, but pyramids have also been used in magic and meditation for a long time. The shape shows up in many historical records, especially ones about how crystals were used to do things like heal and attract mates.
Archaeologists don’t know for sure why the ancient Egyptians built their tombs in the shape of pyramids, but many think it was because of the Egyptian sun god Ra. People thought that the god sat on a pyramid-shaped hill of dirt that rose from the sea of beginnings. This theory is also supported by the fact that the shape looks like the way the sun’s rays spread out.
A valknut is a tattoo symbol with three triangles that are locked together. The name comes from Old Norse and means “knot of those who died in battle.” The real meaning of the symbol is still being talked about. Archaeologists aren’t sure why ancient Germanic tribes carved the symbol into objects, but they think it has something to do with Norse mythology and the god Odin. The valknut symbol has been found on important objects throughout history, such as a golden ring from the late eighth or early ninth century and a Viking ship from the year 800 that was found in Norway. Valknut symbols can also be found on the famous image stones Stora Hammars I and Tangelgarda in Sweden.
Modern uses of the symbol often have to do with paganism and heathenism, but these aren’t the only ones. The fact that the symbol is linked to Odin and is found on things like tombstones and memorials suggests that it had something to do with death in ancient cultures. Some white nationalist groups have used the valknut as a symbol for their group, which has caused a lot of controversy.
In Hinduism, the Sri Yantra is a holy geometric shape. It is made up of nine triangles that fit together and spread out from a central point to make a total of 43 smaller triangles. The centre of the design represents the place where the physical and spiritual worlds meet. The nine main triangles all point both up and down. This shows how the masculine and feminine are joined. So, many people wear the symbol as a charm to keep their relationships strong.
Triforce of today
Modern gamers and fans of the famous The Legend of Zelda video games know that the Triforce symbol is a source of “ultimate power.” This is in line with how the triangle has been seen in many different cultures over time. In the game’s ancient writings, it talks about the Golden Goddesses: Din, the Goddess of Power, Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom, and Farore, the Goddess of Courage.
The Triforce is made up of three triangles, and each triangle has its own meaning. The Triforce of Wisdom is on the left, and its right base point touches the left base point of the Triforce of Courage, which is on the right. The Triforce of Power sits on top of the two and balances on their highest points. When you put the three triangles together, they make a larger triangle with a hole in the middle, like an upside-down triangle. In the game, the Triforce symbol is on the royal family’s crest, and getting all three Triforces brings perfect balance and providence.
Darker Modern Usage
In the past, triangles often stood for strength and power in a good way. Today, however, triangles can sometimes mean something darker. For example, in the past, upside-down triangles were often associated with softer, more feminine traits, but this wasn’t true in Nazi Germany. The Nazis put upside-down triangles on the clothes of different kinds of prisoners to tell them apart. For example, men with pink upside-down triangles meant they were gay. Red upside-down triangles meant they were political prisoners. It’s important to remember that the LGBTQ community has updated the pink triangle in recent years and uses it as a way to remember the bad things they’ve been through. Jews were marked by two yellow triangles arranged in the shape of the Star of David.
In everyday life, triangles on roads warn drivers that danger is coming or that they should be careful. In the U.S., the Yield sign is the most well-known triangle sign. It tells drivers to give way to vehicles coming from other directions. If drivers don’t listen to the warning, bad things could happen. In other countries and sometimes in the U.S., triangular signs show other warnings, like the important biohazard warning. Also, safety reflectors in car emergency kits are often in the shape of triangles.
Triangles of danger?
Some superstitious people on opposite sides of the world are scared of a couple of geographical triangles, even though they have nothing to do with symbols. The triangle-shaped stretch of ocean between Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico is known as the Bermuda Triangle. Many ships and planes have mysteriously vanished from the area known as the Devil’s Triangle over the course of decades. No one has ever been able to figure out why they went missing.
On the other side of the world, the Dragon’s Triangle is also well-known. It is the stretch of ocean between the Philippines, Guam, and Miyake, Japan. In stories about the area, which is also known as the Devil’s Sea, there is a dragon that pulls ships and sailors into the murky depths. The stories may be right out of a fantasy book, but the fact that people have gone missing without a clue is a cold, hard fact.