Universal Shapes

Posted by Heart Niagara on

by Cindy VanDyke

Today, our topic of interest is the five universal shapes used in all cultures. These shapes are the circle, square, triangle, cross, and spiral.

Research has shown that these five shapes share similar meanings across different cultures, hence why they are called "universal shapes." 

  • The circle represents wholeness
  • The square represents stability
  • The triangle represents goals, dreams, and manifesting
  • The cross represents relationships and intersecting
  • The spiral represents growth

As you become more aware of the universal shapes and their meanings, you will begin to see them everywhere. Doodles, art, buildings, business cards, logos, nature, religious symbols, and mythological stories. You name it! It is the artist in us that uses these shapes in our music, dance, and paintings to communicate and express our selves non-verbally.

For example, have you ever looked closely at a mandala (colorful geometric design), often in a stained window or piece of art? It has many shapes of different sizes that all come together to create one beautiful piece of art. 

Now let’s look at each of the aforementioned shapes individually and see what their culturally meanings are.

The Circle: Wholeness

The earth is round, the sun is round, the moon is round. Birds make their nests in a circle and the life of man is a circle from childhood to adulthood. In essence, the wholeness of a circle represents our journey of life.

The Square: Foundation

This is a symbol of stability and security with strength. When we see or use the square, we recognize consistency, accountability, completion, and congruity. We have 4 seasons, 4 elements, 4 directions, 4 noble truths in Buddhism, and 4 gospels. The square shows quality.

The Cross: Integration

This symbol represents relationships, integration, joining, and balance. It can be like the religious symbol or like an X where 2 things join together and share the same space.

The Spiral: Growth

The spiral moves and changes so that it can be viewed from different points and levels. It is a shape that reminds us that it is natural to grow, change, and evolve.

The Triangle: Goals

The triangle represents goals, dreams, visions, and manifesting. Think of pyramids, arrow heads, and sacred mountains. These things bring direction, revelation and discovery into our view. When we reach for a new goal, we tend to notice triangles. 

When you look around and notice these beautiful universal shapes that add meaning to your life, notice which ones you are attracted to, and which ones are your least favorite.

There may be a universal message in these sightings for you.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.


1 comment

  • Interesting post. I’d actually not heard a discussion of the meaning of the different shapes before __yet it makes perfect sense. Thank you. I’ll be looking for more shapes moving forward.

    Judy on

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