DICTIONARY - J


Home Page    |    Flags    |    Logos & Emblems    |    Other Symbols
Mythological Deities    |    Shopping    |    Useful Links    |    Contact Us
0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Jackal The Egyptian jackal was regarded as somewhat sacred by the ancient Egyptians, so much so that one of their main and most important gods, Anubis, was depicted with the head of a jackal.  Anubis was considered a god of the Underworld, and was also the god who oversaw the process of embalming.

The ancient Egyptian jackal appears frightening if one is not aware of the spiritual benefits of the jackal spirit guide.  The jackal, as personified or deified in the jackal-god Anubis, is a psychopomp (a spirit that guides the newly departed souls to the next life or world).  The ancient Egyptians looked at death in a different way from those of us living today, and as such they valued animals they believed would guide the dead to the next world, e.g. the Egyptian jackal.

Archaeologists identified the sacred animal of Anubis as an Egyptian canid, that at the time was called the golden jackal, but recent genetic testing has caused the Egyptian animal to be reclassified as the African golden wolf, also known simply as the golden wolf or African wolf, a canid native to north and north-eastern Africa.




Jain Om This Jain Symbol is a modified version of the Hindu Om.  The five parts that make up the symbol represent the five lines of the Namokar Mantra, a daily prayer whose recital by believers is a central part of the Jain religion.  The Namokar, or namkar mantra honours the five Jain Panch Parmeshtis, or great entities, which are:

Arihantas, (Tirthankars or Jinas), the pure souls, the saints.
Siddhas, liberated souls who are beyond birth and death.
Acharyas, leaders of Jain congregations.
Upadhyays, initiated monks and nuns.
Sadhus and Sadhvis, male and female laypersons (householders).

The Namokar mantra is as follows:

"I bow to the Arahants, the perfected human beings.  I bow to the Siddhas, liberated bodiless souls.  I bow to the Acharyas, the masters and heads of congregations.  I bow to the Upadhyayas, the spiritual teachers.  I bow to the spiritual practitioners in the universe, Sadhus.  This fivefold obeisance mantra, destroys all sins and obstacles, and of all auspicious repetitions is the first and foremost.  Or: I bow to the enlightened beings I bow to the liberated souls, I bow to religious leaders, I bow to religious teachers, I bow to all ascetics of the world.  These five salutations are capable of destroying all sins.  And they are the most auspicious of all benedictions."




Jainism Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is one of the most ancient of all Indian religions.  The three main principles of Jainism are ahimsa ('non-violence'), anekantavada ('non-absolutism'), and aparigraha ('non-attachment'); it is also characterised by asceticism.

Followers of Jainism are called 'Jains', a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina ('victor') and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life.

Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as Tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who is believed to have lived millions of years ago, and the twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE.  Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal Dharma with the Tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

There are two major ancient sub-traditions within Jainism, Digambaras and Svetambaras, with several smaller sub-traditions which emerged in the second millennium CE.  The Digambaras and Svetambaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical.  Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions, with laypersons (sravakas) supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources.

Jainism has between four and five million followers, the majority of which live in India.  Outside of India, some of the largest Jain communities can be found in Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname, Fiji, and the United States.  Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, and Diwali.




Jerusalem Cross The Jerusalem cross (also known as the 'Crusaders' cross', 'Five-fold Cross', or 'cross-and-crosslets') is an heraldic cross and Christian Cross variant consisting of a large cross potent surrounded by four smaller Greek Crosses, one in each quadrant.  There are variants to the design, with either the four crosslets also in the form of Crosses potent, or conversely with the central cross also in the form of a plain Greek cross.

While the symbol of the five-fold cross appears to originate in the 11th century CE, its association with the Kingdom of Jerusalem dates to the second half of the 13th century.  The symbolism of the five-fold cross is variously given as the five wounds of Christ, Christ and the four evangelists, or Christ and the four quarters of the world.  The symbolism of five crosses representing the five wounds is first recorded in the context of the consecration of the St Brelade's Church under the patronage of Robert of Normandy (before 1035 CE); the crosses are incised in the church's altar stone.




Jesuits See Society of Jesus.



Jesus Fish See Ichthys.



Jiahu Symbols Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic settlement based in the central plain of ancient China, near the Yellow River.  It is located between the floodplains of the Ni River to the north, and the Sha River to the south, 22 km north of the modern city of Wuyang, Henan Province.  Most archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture.  Settled around 7000 BCE, the site was later flooded and abandoned around 5700 BCE.  The settlement was surrounded by a moat and covered a relatively large area of 55,000 square meters (5.5 hectares).  At one time, it was "a complex, highly organised Chinese Neolithic society”, home to at least 250 people and perhaps as many as 800.

The important discoveries of the Jiahu archaeological site include the Jiahu symbols, possibly an early example of proto-writing, carved into tortoise shells and bones; the thirty-three Jiahu flutes carved from the wing bones of cranes, believed to be among the oldest playable musical instruments in the world; and evidence of wine fermented from rice, honey and hawthorn leaves.

A broad variety of other artifacts indicates a fairly advanced settlement for the early Neolithic period, including residences, burial sites, pottery kilns, an assortment of implements made of stone and earthenware, and a large central structure believed to be a communal workspace.  To date, 45 residences have been excavated at Jiahu, most of which are small, between four and ten meters.  Most of these were semi-subterranean (partially dug into the earth) and with a single room; however, some of these had additional rooms built on later.  Rubbish pits and storage cellars were also excavated, and nine pottery kilns were identified.




Jin Chan The Jin Chan, also called Chan Chu ('wealth-beckoning toad'), is most commonly translated as ‘Money Toad’ or ‘Money Frog’.  It represents a popular Feng Shui charm for prosperity.  This mythical creature is said to appear during the full moon, near houses or businesses that will soon receive good news (most of the time, the nature of this good news is understood to be wealth-related).

The Jin Chan is usually depicted as a bullfrog with red eyes, flared nostrils and only one hind leg (for a total of three legs), sitting on a pile of traditional Chinese cash, with a coin in its mouth.  On its back, it often displays seven diamond spots.  According to Feng Shui beliefs, Jin Chan helps attract and protect wealth, and guards against bad luck. Because it symbolises the flow of money, Feng Shui lore insists that a Jin Chan statue should not be positioned facing the main door (outward).  It also ‘should never be kept in the bathroom, bedroom, dining room or kitchen’.

The money toad is associated with Liu Haichan, as the sennin's (the Japanese term sennin is a word borrowed from Middle Chinese SenNyin "immortal person", known also as xian "immortal; transcendent; genie; mage; djinn; sage; hermit" in Daoism) animal companion.




Jinn Jinn, also Romanised as djinn or Anglicised as genie (with the broader meaning of spirits or demons, depending on source), are supernatural creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology.  Like humans, they are created with fitra, neither born as believers nor as unbelievers, but their attitude depends on whether they accept God's guidance.  Since jinn are neither innately evil nor innately good, Islam acknowledged spirits from other religions, and was able to adapt spirits from other religions during its expansion.  Jinn are not a strictly Islamic concept; they may represent several pagan beliefs integrated into Islam.

In an Islamic context, the term jinn is used for both a collective designation for any supernatural creature and also to refer to a specific type of supernatural creature.  Consequently, jinn are often mentioned together with devils/demons (shaya?in).  Both devils and jinn feature in folklore and are held responsible for misfortune, possession and diseases.  However, the jinn are sometimes supportive and benevolent, and are mentioned frequently in magical works throughout the Islamic world, to be summoned and bound to a sorcerer, but also in zoological treatises as animals with a subtle body.




Jizo / Jizou (Ksitigarbha) Jizo is depicted throughout Asia as a simple, childlike monk, but he is especially venerated in Japan as a protector of the souls of children and the unborn.  It is common to see Jizo figures all over Japan, especially along roadsides and paths.  Offerings are left with the icons, most commonly caps or bibs, flowers, and stones, often pleas to reduce the suffering of children.

Jizo’s staff (shakujo) is a traditional monk’s walking stick, hung with metal rings, ostensibly to warn away animals on the road for the mutual protection of man and creature alike.




Jochim and Boaz Joachim and Boaz (Mercy and Severity) are the pair of symbolic pillars (with Boaz on the left) described in the biblical account of the Temple of Solomon and featured prominently in Masonic temples.

In the Jewish mystical kabbalah, Joachim (sometimes jachin or jachim) and Boaz are the left and rightmost pillars of the tree of life -- mercy and severity.  Jachim represents the male polarity of the universe, light, motion, activity, the electron while Boaz represents the female polarity of the universe, darkness, passivity, receptivity, and silence.  The pillars are similar in concept to the Eastern Yin Yang As in much Masonic symbolism, the pillars are described in the old testament story of King Solomon, as the most significant feature of a grand temple.  The story has traditionally been viewed as symbolic, and to Freemasons represents the spiritual development of man.  One Masonic legend avers that the philosopher Pythagoras discovered the pillars, and together with Hermes Trismegistus, used them to discover all of the secrets of Geometry.




Job's Daughters International (JDI) Job's Daughters International is a Masonic affiliated youth organisation for girls and young women aged 10 to 20.  The organisation is commonly referred to as simply Job's Daughters, and sometimes abbreviated as JDI (or IOJD, referring to its long time former name, International Order of Job's Daughters.  Job's Daughters welcomes many religions and cultures, the only religious standard being a belief in a Supreme being.  They are praised for their memory work and delivery.  They are not a secret society, as stereotyped by their relationship to Freemasonry.

JDI promotes itself as a sorority "where girls rule"; however, there is a large and multi-layered assortment of adult guidance and interaction.  To be eligible for membership, one must be a girl between the ages of 10 and 20.  The original age for membership was 13-18, as stated in "The Official History of the International Order of Job's Daughters", but has been changed several times over the years.  Until August 2015, the girl must be related to a Master Mason or Majority Member.  Now, she may be sponsored by a Majority Member and Master Mason if no relation is found.

If a daughter reaches the age of 20 or marries, and is in good standing in the Bethel (chapter), she is considered a majority member.  Majority members are not allowed to hold an office or vote on Bethel affairs; however, they are encouraged to remain active in their respective Bethel.  At age 18, they also are eligible to join the Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth, or The Daughters of the Nile.




Jormungandr In Norse mythology, Jormungandr, also known as Iormungand or Jormung, is the serpentine son of the mischievous god Loki and the frost goddess Angrboda.  He is a monstrous serpent, destined to die by Thor's hand at the Battle of Ragnarok.

According to legend, the god Odin, in an attempt to forestall the inevitable, captured the great snake and threw him into the ocean where he grew so large he encircled the Earth.  Because of this he is also known as the Midgard (Earth) Serpent.

Jormungandr is sometimes pictured with three heads, symbolic of his existence in all three realms of Norse Cosmology.  See also Ouroboros.




Jujube Tree In Taoism, the jujube tree is a symbol of pure nourishment, its fruit being the food of immortality.  The tree also appears in the Islamic paradise (Jannah) and is a symbol of the farthest limits of time and space.

The freshly harvested, as well as the candied dried fruit, are often eaten as a snack, or with coffee.  Smoked jujubes are consumed in Vietnam and are referred to as black jujubes.  Both China and Korea produce a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruit in glass jars, and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags.

Its thorny branches had protective significance in folk superstition.




Judaism Judaism is an ancient monotheistic Abrahamic religion, the Torah being its foundational text which encompasses the religion, philosophy and culture of the Jewish people.  Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel.  It includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organisation.

The Torah is part of a larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud.  With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth-largest religion in the world.

A variety of movements exist within Judaism, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which believes that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah.  Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the State of Israel.  Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly adhered to, whereas Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more 'traditional' interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism.




Julbock The Julbock or Yule-goat is a ubiquitous symbol of the winter holidays in Scandinavian countries.  A throwback to Pre-Christian times, the Julbock is another Pagan Yule symbol that was absorbed into Christian holiday customs.  In the Norse pagan religion, the goat was the conveyance of the gods -- early images of Odin in a goat-drawn cart are eerily similar to later depictions of Santa Claus.

As Christianity became the norm, the Yule-goat remained popular as a trickster figure, a stand-in for the devil who accompanied the elf Tomten, and later, St Nick, on gift-giving missions.  It became customary for men of the villages to dress up as the julbock and play pranks on the unsuspecting.  Today, the Julbock is most often represented in modern times by a straw figurine of a goat, traditionally made from the last grain of the harvest, bundled in red ribbons and kept as a token of hope for the New Year.




Jumis Jumis is a Baltic pagan god who personified the harvest.  His symbol is two stylised, crossed grain stalks, a glyph which may be associated with the Sanskrit word for 'twin'.  The symbol is one of prosperity and good fortune, and is often found on clothing and decorative painting.

The two tied stalks are reminiscent of offerings left after the gathering in of the grain; they represent the two faces of the god, who is related to the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, thereafter also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time.  He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.

Any 'double fruit' that occurs in nature or in cultivation, such as two cherries fused together or two ears of wheat on one stem is considered representative of the God Jumis.  If there is a double fruit or ear of grain, it should be left 'on the vine' to be used as part of the 'catching Jumis'1 ritual.

1 When reaping is over, a 'Catching Jumis' ritual occurs in the grain fields which is intended to capture his spirit and his fertility for the fields of a village.  A clump of uncut grain, (preferably one with a double ear) is left in the field.  This is tied in a bundle and the top is pushed down and weighed down with a stone or soil to press it into the ground.  This is thought to direct the fertility of the field back into the soil where it will be available for the grain crop next year.  Sometimes the sheaf is plaited into a wreath or braid and presented to a high-status woman in the community who keeps it until spring when any seeds will be rubbed out and scattered over the field and the entire wreath planted under a rock in the field.




Juno As the Roman Queen of the gods, Juno was Jupiter's wife and sister, sister to Neptune and Pluto, daughter of Saturn, and the mother of Juventas, Bellona, Mars, and Vulcan.  She was the protectress of the Roman state and the guardian of the Empire's finances, and considered the Matron goddess of all Rome.  The month of June was named after her.  Her Greek counterpart is Hera.

Juno's warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire.  She is often shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak, an aspect assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the Aegis.

The Romans believed that every man had a spirit which looked after him throughout his life; this was called his genius.  Some people believed each man had both a good and a bad genius.  Strangely enough, women didn't have a genius, but had a Juno instead.




Jupiter Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the ruler of the gods and the god of the sky, lightning and thunder.  He is the son of Saturn and brother of Neptune, Pluto and Juno, who is also his wife.  His attribute is the lightning bolt and his symbol the eagle, which is his messenger.  He was also considered the Patron god of Rome, and his temple was the official place of state business and sacrifices.  All other gods, apart from his wife Juno, were terrified of him.  Jupiter's Greek counterpart was Zeus.

Following the death of their father, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto divided up the world between themselves; Jupiter took the air, Neptune had the sea, while Pluto ruled the Underworld, the home of the dead.

In astrology, Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius.  In tarot, lightning or a lightning bolt often means divine intervention, seen as a direct message from the divine.




Return to top of page.


© signsandsymbols.co.uk