Everyone has a question that what does a skull symbolize and why it is so popular in the world of fashion, art, and culture. Skulls are even used for pieces of jewelry, especially in rings. So what do those skull rings meaning?

So, the symbolic meaning or we can say that a reason behind a skull has evolved over the years and recently it is symbolized as the “cool” emblem for tattoos, splashed across t-shirts, they are also painted on decorative items too.

In these examples, the skull image might nicely represent something different to the viewer and the wearer. And for some, it is a simple and stylish decorative feature, simply like a flower or a geometric pattern. However, the skull has a varied and long history of use with multiple overlapping interpretations.


What do skulls represent or the significance of skulls in different traditions

Many of us have a question that what do skulls represent and how they are originated from? They are commonly featured in the myths of cultures, from the Aztec or Mayan to the tribal grouping of North America.


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In most of the Eastern traditions, the skull is considered as the clandestine symbol which is used for the secret rituals. Some of the legends considered it as a powerful protector deity and in the traditions of Hindu, Chinese, and Tibetan, countless divine Goddesses and Gods wear skull necklaces and pendants, skull bracelets, skull weapons etc.   


Skulls in ancient India

Skulls play a particularly vital role in religious illustrations in India that gives us an answer to our question of what do skulls represent. Skulls often ornamented ancient goddess and gods as their bracelets, necklaces, rings etc. that shows their ability to conquer death. For example, Nataraja i.e. an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who dances the cosmic dance of creation with the necklace of skulls adorning him. The skulls garland around his neck spots him as death and time of all beings. For the Hindus, this is a Life’s natural progression; everything moves in a circular fashion.     

What do skulls represent in Buddhism

As the representation of skulls in Hinduism is straightforward but in Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism it is little deeper with their unique perspectives. As similar to Hinduism, generally, skulls are depicted as an ornament around God and Goddesses, which is commonly known as Munda malas. It depends on the viewer to reflect upon what actually this skull jewelry meaning to them. Although, instead of representing loss or death, it shows the vital Buddhist concept of emptiness. In the culture of Buddhist, emptiness is the quality of the universe.

Skull Representation

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In the culture of Buddhism, four canine teeth of the skull are depicted as the symbol of biting through of the four maras while the single skull represents different functions and forms in Tibetan iconography.

Representation of skulls in Celtic traditions

In the culture of Celtic, the skull or head is viewed as the seat of power and soul. Some texts tend to the skull as the soul house.

There are five openings in the human skull viz, a mouth, two nose cavities, and two eyes, thus special interest to Celtics. According to the mythology of the Celtics, the number five is considered to have magical properties. Practically, there are three main holes in the skull i.e. a mouth and two eyes. So that the number three is considered to be a scared number in their mythology. And when these three holes are connected, they come up with a triangle that popularly represents a Celtic theme known as Trinity. Celts always believe that the three openings in the skull show creation, magic, and transformation that endlessly happen across life.

Celtic mythology skull

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The culture of Celtic had a strong relationship with the circle. As the skull head and the eyes are naturally circular in shape. So, this shows life’s cyclical nature and also the feeling of togetherness in our communities.

In addition to these, the oracle shape of mouth and eyes of the skull viewed or represented as the gateways for receiving knowledge. The logic behind this belief is that everything that we see comes through our eyes and shows our strongest method of accepting knowledge and learning that we, the humans possess naturally.

Celtic skulls are spectacular and represent the boundless power in the life’s omnipresent cyclical nature, infinite and the eternal, and the entrances that allow us to rejoin with the spirits.  


To celebrate dead


In Mexico, skulls are decorated in garish patterns and colors to celebrate the dead. The Day of the Dead i.e. annual Dia de Los Muertos is the time for families to dress up, come together, celebrate and party for the lives of those they have lost. During this time skulls are decorated and placed around the gravestones of the deceased to make whimsical decorations that commemorate death instead of mourning lost friends and relatives.

Still, skulls have huge symbolic meaning and status around the world and are most likely we will continue to see sunken forms that appear in the mythology, art, and culture of all different religions and varieties.