As I noted yesterday, the cowrie shell was an early symbol of the feminine, particularly fertility.
The cowrie was also a symbol of wealth and was used as a form of money in some early seaside cultures.
Other shell symbolism found on the Internet:
In Buddhism, a conch shell is an emblem of power, authority and sovereignty whose blast is believed to banish evil spirits, avert natural disasters, and scare away poisonous creatures. It symbolized power and was used to call meetings in the Lord of the Flies as well.
From Wikipedia: "The scallop shell symbol found its way into heraldry as a badge of those who had been on the pilgrimage to Compostela. Among those whose family coat of arms included the scallop was John Wesley, and as a result the scallop shell is used as an emblem of Methodism."
Aphrodite is born from the sea and is depicted in art on a scallop shell.
The scallop shell can also symbolize a victorious naval commander. In the American Army the flaming shell symbol is used by Ordnance.
In Catholicism, the clam or scallop shell is symbolically referred to Mary, and means the divine conception of Jesus Christ in her body. You can see this in Italian Renaissance art.
Another Christian use of the scallop shell as a symbol is for baptism. If pictured with 3 drops of water, it represents Christ's baptism by John.
Shells left at a gravesite are symbolic of a pilgrimage to a sacred place, resurrection and eternal life. Three scallop shells symbolize the apostle James, the pilgrim. Anyone who has completed a pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has their pilgrim passport stamped with the image of a scallop shell. These shells can also symbolize any quest.
Give me my scallop shell of quiet;
My staff of faith to walk upon;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation;
My gown of glory (hope's true gage)
And then I'll take my pilgrimage.
- Sir Walter Raleigh
And finally, according to one online dream dictionary, a shell in your dream may mean any of the following:
* A hard outer persona or façade that is used too conceal or protect a soft pulpy inner core
* Going into your shell may indicate withdrawing from the outside world, recuperating, meditating or hibernating
* Seeking protection
* Feeling vulnerable
* Paying for something, shelling out
* Your home
I predict my art will contain some shell imagery soon.
joy and blessings,