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Four great uses for the symbol of bamboo.


Do you ever feel like hiding from the outside world? Do you ever feel vulnerable or exposed in public?  Are you in need of metaphorical protection?

Bamboo is the perfect symbol to use if you want protection or you want to create a sense of privacy.

As mentioned in the previous post, bamboo might be a great gift for someone born under the sign of Cancer because many Cancerians liken their homes to a cosy den; a place to rest up with their family in private.

We have a lovely clump of non-running bamboo, which frames and creates a bit of a tunnel to the front door of our home. The imposing height of the culms and over-hanging leaves makes me feel like it’s standing guard as I enter my private space- just how I like it. Our bedroom window is right above the front door and sometimes I curse it for it’s noisy behaviour. Because of it’s great strength and flexibility when there is a little wind the bamboo will be out there dancing away madly making us think there’s a hurricane underway.

Bamboo is a symbol of protection because the native bamboo forest can be so dense it would be quite difficult to penetrate. Only the tiger (spiritual force of Buddhism) is believed to be able to navigate through the protective barrier of the bamboo clump.

Image by Ra 2012

In ceremony, I can imagine wielding some bamboo with leaves  still attached, like a noisy banishing stick, to frighten off bad spirits.

Or channeling the essence of Tiger whilst bashing two bamboo sticks together- that would send them running!

Strength of character and longevity

In Japanese symbolism bamboo represents strength of character due to it’s ability to withstand the harshest conditions and remain strong.

The chinese associate Bamboo with longevity and resilience for essentially the same reasons.

In my search for general information on bamboo I found this interesting reference to bamboo at Presentation Zen. It describes modern applications for embodying the qualities of bamboo for designers.

Here are a few of Garr Reynolds titles: The descriptions are even better:

  • Bend but don’t break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted
  • Remember: What looks weak is strong
  • Find wisdom in emptiness
  • Commit to (continuous) growth
  • Express usefulness through simplicity

Humble Grandfather
Your serene heart is empty
protection assured

 A list of associations I have when thinking of bamboo:
  • A temple full of meditating monks.
  • A temple of chanting monks.
  • Sapa, Northern part of Vietnam
  • A Japanese artist painting bamboo with a calligraphy brush, engaged in conscious ritual.
  • The peace of meditation- emptying the mind, contemplating the hollowness of the bamboo.
  • Gratitude for the privacy it gives me whilst still allowing to peer out.
  • The tiger. I love watching the graceful movements of the tiger. They are such magical creatures and should be partially hidden in a forest of bamboo.
  • A feeling of invigoration by their rustling sound of bamboo leaves in the wind.
  • Annoyance at it’s noisy and messy tendencies.
  • Fondness for it’s noisy and messy character.

*Please note if you are going to plant bamboo in your garden make sure you purchase a clumping variety not running variety which is like almost impossible to get rid of and will take over your garden. Here is a good FAQ sheet from Red Cloud Bamboo in Melbourne which gives you the run down on having a happy relationship with your bamboo.

Find these bamboo amulets for sale at my Etsy store


What do you think of when you contemplate Bamboo? 
Do you have another favourite symbol for protection?
  1. I think of strength & balance when I contemplate Bamboo. I love bamboo. It’s elegant, strong, beautiful and functional. I love walking amongst living bamboo. I love the sight & sound. I love holding bamboo. I love being surrounded by things made of bamboo. I love many plants but bamboo is special – it covers so many different needs & emotions.


    • Thanks for your comments Jason. I’m glad to hear of someone who loves bamboo as much as I do. Your comment on walking amongst ‘living bamboo’ particularly resonated for me, and yes it is so useful.


  2. I am working on a novel which uses bamboo in literal and symbolic ways and stumbled on your web page here. I love the Asian secion of the Melbourne Zoo with it’s shaded walkways encased in bamboo, cooled by its green shade. The Sumatran Tigers seem at home in it, exhibiting such sang-froid despite the hordes of gawking humans and their screaming kids. This is my only real experience with bamboo and I am relying on sources such as yours for expanding the theme of bamboo in my writing. Do you know of others?


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