Skeletons are everywhere in art, religions, heritage, stories and legends, but what do they symbolize? Skeletons are used in festivals, put on t-shirts, jewelry and posters. Obviously we have lost the true meaning of the skeleton. To most the skeleton has to do with death, but the real meaning has nothing to do with death.
As early as the 15th century European churches were decorating their churches with bones and skulls. This stopped when most countries outlawed the exhuming of bones in the 19th century. A famous example of skeleton adorned church was Poland’s Chapel of the Skulls.
So if it is for death than why is it in churches?
In Korean tales and art the skeleton is a symbol of rebirth. Quite a few ancient societies seem to use the skeleton as a symbol for the death of the ego. In stories and tales the skeletons appearance represented coexistence with death.
Mexico has the Day of the Dead celebration in which they honor their ancestors. They have a tall female skeleton, La Catrina, that symbolizes these celebrations. Some say that the Aztecs worshipped the Goddess of Death and that she protected their loved ones when they departed and went to the next stages.
Have we become a race that has a death fetish? To start to understand the truth about the skeleton we will look at the artist who created La Catrina, Jose Guadalupe Posada. He made La Catrina because the Mexican people were trying to act like Europeans and he wanted the people to be themselves. His message was, “No matter how rich or poor you were, no matter the color of your skin, no matter what society you belonged to, you would all end up skeletons”.
The true meaning of the skeleton is it symbolizes the on going process of life, underlying bio energy and deeper intelligence. The world of appearance is skin. It is the underlying truth. The bones last longer then the rest of the body. They are the enduring truth. What is inside you is the truth. Your skin is what the world sees. In a way it is showing the we are all the same, we are all one. Peel away the illusion and we are all the same. We are all animated from the same bio energy. You as an individual get to choose your skin, so why would you want to be like someone else? Pull the skeletons out of the closet and be yourself. That is what the skeleton symbolizes.