Berber Symbols

The Berber people are the inhabitants of North Africa. Nowadays there are Berber groups from Mauritania to Egypt. They inhabit the mountain regions and parts of the Sahara Desert. Berbers refer themselves as the Imazighan meaning "The Free People". The Berber symbols, designs, motifs and tattoos originated from pre-Islamic beliefs influenced later by Islamic geometric patterns and ornamentation.

Textiles and other objects are created as an act for worship and tribute to Allah. Many objects may contain a baraka. The baraka does not exist only in amulets or talismans but in any kind of objects in order to deal with darker forces and curing illnesses. In North Africa there is still some symbols to be found such as, magic squares and geometric figures (triangles, spirals, crosses, eight pointed stars, circles, diamonds).

1.OLIVETREE: Strength because of its Berber name azemmur, diverted from the term tazmat (strength).
2.WHEAT: is associated with Life (because of it sheath) and Death (because of the seeds being in the ground).
3. TREE: is related to an easy life, happinness and fertility.It symbolises the centre of the world surrounded by Beings,objects and spirits. It also means Life (because of the roots) and knowledge (because of the leaves).
4. SEEDS: Male seeds and it is a symbol for Life and Fertility.
5. HAMMER: Power, natural forces and creative power. It is a very important instrument for the blacksmith because it enables him to change the iron into various shapes.
6. ANCHOR: Solidity, continuity, faithfulness, balance and lucidity.
7. AXE: A sharp instrument which represents anger and destruction, but as it does attack evil forces, it is a positive symbol. It is also associated with the lightning and rain therefore fertility.
8. ARROW: Cosmic projection. Associated with lightning and represents male energy and fertility.
9. SUN: Life, power. It is a source of Life, heat and light but could also be an evil force because it does drain the waters and can destroy the crops.
10. MOON: Associated with feminity and represents change, fertility and the perpetual cycle.
11. WEAVING COMB: It represents the movement of the world, balance, cohesion and tidiness.
12. SHIP:< Associated with water and means strength, blessing, wisdom.
13. CRESCENT: Change, revival, Openness, birth,death and resurrection of the full moon.
14. CROSS: movement, space with different directions: up/down - North and South, left/right -East/West.
15. SWASTIKA: Symbol for a bird therefore the creative taking off of Life.
16.CROSS WITH SIX BRANCHES: Movement and space but also solidity, anchoring and grounding.
17. DIAMOND: Feminity womanhood and fertility. It is associated with the snake and represents the union of opposites.
AMEL TAFSOUT (01.10.2003)
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