Symbolic Meanings of Umbrellas

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Oriental umbrellas are among the most decorative in the world.

The device has been around for hundreds of years after originating in Asia. In its travels through Asia and Europe, its name has evolved and grown, as each language has left a mark on its etymology. Cultural and spiritual art features the umbrella many times. Its representations and symbology vary.


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Indian Buddhism

Buddhism features eight auspicious symbols, each individually associated with Buddha -- and the umbrella is one of them. The umbrella is a traditional Indian symbol of wealth and status, as is any ability to shield oneself from bad weather. To Buddhists, the vertical handle supporting the dome of the umbrella represents the central axis that upholds the world. If the umbrella is over an important person, it indicates indicate that the person or symbol below is the center of the universe. Umbrellas can also represent a kind of mobile temple. That is why depictions of Buddha will often display a large and elaborate umbrella above his head.


Oriental Meaning

In the Orient, the umbrella is a symbol of austerity and status just like in India. It represents wealth if you are able to shield yourself from the heat of the sun. Furthermore, the symbology of being able to shield oneself from the scorching heat, represents protection from spiritual suffering and other other harmful forces.

The Meaning in Dreams

There two ways of reading objects in a dream. The first is a psychological meaning and the second is a mystical or superstitious one. The psychological meaning of an umbrella can mean protection and as rain can mean a release of emotion, the meaning of an umbrella be that you are ready for this release of tension. In the UK, a pun says, "the bank manager will only lend you an umbrella if the sun shines. This could be a similar suggestion of security in a dream. The mystical interpretation states that losing an umbrella in a dream is positive. However, finding one is negative as it is a prediction of loss in business.


Ancient Greece

According to Aristophanes, in ancient Greece the umbrella was a necessary item for a lady to carry. If a man was depicted carrying one, it is though to have represented effeminacy. Similarly, in spiritual symbology it represented inferiority and subservience.