Ear Symbolic Meaning

The ear has strong symbolism in various cultures and teachings. It is associated with the spiral and the Sun, and the auricle itself with the vulva. Small ears can symbolize shyness or low self-esteem, while large ears – extroversion, ease and adaptability.

According to Hildegard von Binge, “Hearing with the ear shakes the inside of a person,” and since antiquity, the ear has been considered the seat of memory.

Long ears are attributed to wild exotic people living far from the civilized world. According to the ancient Pythagoreans, the ringing of the ears was a sign of divine inspiration, and today we perceive it that whoever has the ears ringing is out of his mind.

In early medieval art, the conception of Jesus was sometimes depicted as the penetration of the Holy Spirit (the dove) into the ear of the Mother of God.

The Conception of the Virgin Mary through the ear of St. Spirit

Interesting comparisons can be made with the shape of the ear and the spiral shell of the snail. Thus, the ear-snail was thought to be a symbol of birth, as their approximate shape alludes to the entry of sound into the ear and the exit of the snail from the shell. Thus, in some myths, one can find that heroes and gods appeared from the ear of their mother.

Earring Symbology Meaning

Earrings and gold ornaments are ritual ways to honor the lifestyle, culture and mythological characters of many cultures around the world. The lower part of the earlobe is pierced to hang ornaments, which can also be a symbol of nobility and merit. This is evidenced by the so-called orejones (“people with big ears”), named by the Spanish conquerors, these were the nobles of the Inca kingdom in ancient Peru.

The phrase “let it be in your ear” (“write it in your ear”) comes from an old legal custom of making a contract, where a boy was pulled by the ears and then rewarded with money to remember what happened.

Other expressions related to the ear: “go into debt, fall in love, smile from ear to ear”, “go through the ear of a needle”, “sharpen your ears”.

Sphinx-shaped earring, 2nd century BC

One of the oldest body modifications in ancient societies is the piercing of the ears and the stringing of ornaments that represent the beliefs and lifestyle of the wearer. Gold earrings, gold jewelry, lapis lazuli and carnelian have been found in Lothal (India) and in Ur (ancient Sumer).

According to Howard Carter, when he described Tutankhamun’s tomb, he claimed that the pharaoh’s ears were pierced, as were the ears of the burial mask, and the holes covered with gold discs – suggesting that only children wore earrings in Egypt at the time.

Early evidence of the wearing of earrings can also be found in the Bible, in Exodus 32:1-4, when Moses was at Sinai and commanded the Israelites to bring the earrings to their children. In Exodus 21:6, however, we find that the earring was a symbol of the slave: “…then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (Exodus 21:6).

In the Middle East until the classical period, earrings were considered feminine ornaments, as well as in Rome and Greece, although the latter two, in earlier periods, men also wore them (e.g. Plato).

The practice of wearing earrings is found all over the world. In India, they became a tradition since ancient times, in Japan, men wore earrings until the end of the 19th century, when it was banned by the government. This tradition is also found among nomadic Turkic tribes and Korea.

Before the age of 5 in the Hindu tradition, most girls and some boys get their ears pierced as part of a Dharmic ritual (Karnavedha). Similar customs are also found in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Laos, although in these regions the waiting period for men’s ears to be pierced is at a later age.

Earrings became fashionable during the English Renaissance in Western Europe in the late 16th century. In a document of 1577, we read from the Reverend William Harrison: “Some lustful courtiers and bold gentlemen do wear either gold rings, stones, or pearls in their ears.”

Among sailors, piercing the ear and wearing an earring symbolized a circumnavigation of the world – proof that one had sailed around the world or crossed the equator.

Gold Indian Earrings (Satavahana, 1st century BC)