I learned recently that originally, the anchor symbol was not used by those on the water, but actually people on land! During the early years of Christianity, Christians were under heavy persecution by the Romans. To show their religion to other practicing Christians under the watchful eye of the ruling people, they would wear anchor jewelry or even tattoo anchors on themselves. The anchor was seen as a symbol of strength as anchors hold down ships even in the stormiest of weather. It was also a popular symbol because of its close resemblance to the cross. Anchors were also used to mark safe houses for those seeking refuge from persecution. The anchor was a popular symbol because it was not only part of the ship, but because, just like Christians, sailors liked the connection this symbol had to stability and strength. For a ship, putting down an anchor represents the safe end of a long journey. If can also hold that meaning for a person.
Anchors are all about being strong and stable. I appreciate the deeper meaning of the anchor symbol – security, stability, and being grounded. Being anchored demonstrates that a person is in tune with themselves and is holding on to the values they believe in. For those who have had a stormy past, the anchor is a pledge to move on and have a better, brighter, grounded future. For some people it’s a sign they are letting go of their inhibiting ways and moving forward.
I have an anchor symbol tattooed on my right ankle area. My anchor is at the end of a heart and symbolizes several ideas. The heart symbolizes me allowing myself to love and be loved, to be vulnerable. It also reminds me that my heart has been broken, but it can be put back together with courage, faith and hope. This leads to the anchor symbolism. The anchor reminds me that I have the courage to face unthinkable hardship and still have the kind of faith and hope that encourages me to persevere. Broken, yet whole. Fearful, yet hopeful. Empty, yet fulfilled. Letting go, yet anchored.
I got the tattoo to memorialize my mom’s life. I got it the day before I boarded a plane to her memorial service. Mom left this earth peacefully, but I miss her every moment of everyday. She taught me a lot and I’m grateful for her legacy. She was a strong woman who believed in the power of patience. She taught me that failure is the promise of progress and that success is measured by progress. Progress is found through failure. If we fear failure, then we simply put our anchor down and show some patience in the learning process. Use the stability to strengthen you, then find courage to be bold so that you can move forward. Actually, it’s not simple, but it’s worth it.
Even if you don’t have sea legs, I hope you can appreciate the symbolism of the anchor, and I hope you’re encouraged by my thoughts.