Spring is here (at least in the Northern hemisphere), and that means storms, thunder, and lightning so I thought I’d offer some symbolic thoughts about thunderbolt meaning.
The most basic definition of the thunderbolt (aka lightning bolt) is when a flash of lightning happens while thunder strikes at the exact same time. The occurrence of thunder and lightning clashing together simultaneously is uncommon. I think that, in itself, is symbolic.
When Nature tosses out something rare in our experience, it is worthy of a second look & worthy of pondering.
Thankfully, ancient cultures around the world have done a lot of pondering about thunderbolt meaning already. The following points offer some views about how the thunderbolt is perceived in different ways.
Thunderbolt Meaning in Various Cultures
Before meteorology and science explained away the wonder of phenomena like thunderbolts, we humans only had our imaginations to explain such epic events. Around the world, the occurrence of the thunderbolt was thought of as a colossal shout from big, magical sources. Whether angel, god, or goddess – the thunderbolt announced a message from an immensely powerful, divine source. Essentially, witnessing a thunderbolt was considered to be a message from the heavens.
It is ALIVE!
Symbolic thunderbolt meaning deals with the creation of life. Think about that singular, memorable scene in any movie version of Frankenstein. When the thunderbolt struck the creature, it animated Frankenstein’s vision of life. The Buddhists give us the idea of ‘the rolling Dharma thunder.’ Dharma is the order of life, the order of the cosmos. In this case, the thunderbolt is a symbol of liberating life and igniting the cycle of living. Whether you are inspired by Mary Shelley’s life-giving thunderbolt or follow the thunder of your dharma…either way, the thunderbolt is a significant symbol for life & creation.
Okay, maybe it’s not so alive.
With every ancient cultural view that sees the thunderbolt as a spark of creation, most of the same views also see it as a source of destruction. Look at Zeus (Jupiter). The thunderbolt is one of his symbols. He is considered a creator-father god in Greek-Roman myth. But he was also feared for his destructive tendencies. His thunderbolt was more about crushing creation rather than supporting it. In Native American myth, the thunderbolt is associated with the Thunderbird. This mega-bird is symbolic of the great Creator, it also represents some wicked-destructive forces. Depending upon the tribe, there are Native stories that describe the thunderbolt (and thunderbird) as a presence that could destroy crops or communities if displeased by tribal behavior.
Is that a thunderbolt in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
The idea of fertility is part and parcel with the creative aspect of thunderbolt meaning. This is fitting, as storms, lightning, and thunderbolts are seen in spring which is synonymous with fertility. In many ancient cultures, the thunderbolt is a symbol of libido, virility, and fertility. Anybody who drools over the Thor character in the Marvel comics movies can formulate exactly what I mean. In fact, a thunderbolt is one of this Scandinavian god’s symbols. I guess you could say Thor, and his thunderbolt are kinda like sex symbols. If you consider the shape of lightning, it’s like a rod. I don’t want to get too graphic here, but let’s just say it causes us to be ‘erect’ in our thinking about the thunderbolt. The simultaneous boom & flash is a very orgasmic feature too. I’ll let your own imagination do the rest of the work when it comes to the thunderbolt as a symbol of virility and fertility.
Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
You know that Nat King Cole song? “Orange Colored Sky” Nat croons that he’s just walking along, minding his own business, and then WHAM! He got stone-cold smashed with inspiration. In his case, he was struck by love. Thunderbolt meaning can certainly be symbolic of being blindsided by love. It is also symbolic of being struck by a bright idea. The thunderbolt represents a split-second moment of tremendous inspiration. In Hinduism, the thunderbolt of Indra and Krishna are synonymous with the awakening of the Third Eye. This is a fancy way of saying the thunderbolt represents enlightenment, a spark of intelligence, and getting groundbreaking ideas.
Closing Thoughts on Symbolic Thunderbolt Meaning
Whether perceived as a symbol of war and destruction, or an icon for creativity and inspiration – it should be clear thunderbolt meaning is surrounded by lots of smashing concepts.
I hope this post offered you some thunderously thought-provoking moments. I also hope you take your curiosity about thunderbolt meaning further by doing your own research. I’ve got a few links to other related articles that might keep your symbolic search energized.
As always, thanks for reading!