What Do Scales Symbolize: Unveiling the Hidden Meanings

Scales are a common sight in our daily lives. Whether it is at the grocery store to weigh out fruits and vegetables, or at the gym to track our weight loss progress, scales are everywhere. But what do scales actually symbolize? More than just a tool to measure weight, scales carry a deep symbolic meaning that goes beyond simple arithmetic.

Scales are symbolic of balance and justice. Just think about the image of Lady Justice holding a set of scales in one hand and a sword in the other. The scales represent the careful balance of fairness and impartiality in the legal system. They remind us that every person has the right to a fair and impartial trial, where evidence and arguments are weighed carefully before a final decision is made.

In astrological symbolism, scales represent the sign of Libra, the cardinal air sign of the zodiac. Libra is associated with harmony, diplomacy, and balance – all characteristics that can be linked back to the scales. The symbol of the scales is a powerful reminder that everything in life needs to be balanced – our work and personal lives, our relationships, and our emotions. When the scales are tipped too heavily on one side, we feel off-balance and unhappy. Only by finding harmony and balance can we live truly fulfilling lives.

The History of Scales as a Symbol

The use of scales as a symbol dates back to ancient times when they were primarily used for trade and commerce. Merchants and traders would use scales to weigh goods and ensure that they were receiving fair payment for their products.

However, over time scales began to take on a more symbolic meaning. The ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that after death, a person’s heart was weighed against a feather on a scale to determine their fate in the afterlife. If the heart was heavier than the feather, it was believed that the person had lived a sinful life and their soul would be devoured by a monster.

In the early Christian church, scales were used as a symbol of justice and fairness. They represented the idea that all people should be equal in the eyes of the law, and that justice should be impartial. The scales were often depicted alongside the figure of Lady Justice, who held a sword to represent the power of the law and balance the scales of justice.

Symbolic Meanings of Scales

  • Balance and harmony
  • Justice and fairness
  • Weighing choices and decisions

Modern Uses of Scales as a Symbol

Today, scales are still used as a symbol in a variety of ways. They are often used in logos and branding for companies in industries such as finance, law, and healthcare, where balance, fairness and accuracy are important. Scales are also commonly used in art, literature, and popular culture to convey deeper meanings and themes.

For example, the scales of justice are often depicted in courtroom dramas where they represent the idea that justice should be impartial and unbiased.

Symbolic Interpretations of Different Scales

ScalesSymbolic Interpretation
LibraBalance and harmony
AquariusEnlightenment and understanding
ScorpioTransformation and rebirth
TaurusMaterial abundance and wealth

Overall, scales remain a powerful symbol of balance and fairness, and will likely continue to be used in various contexts for many years to come.

Scales in Mythology and Religion

The use of scales in mythology and religion is ancient, with many cultures adopting the concept of weighing ethical and moral values on a set of scales. This symbolism is widely recognized and has been present in various religions throughout history. It offers a powerful metaphor for the concept of judgment and balances, providing a visual representation of the importance of maintaining a fair and equitable system.

  • In Egyptian mythology, the goddess Ma’at is often depicted holding a scale that weighs the heart of the deceased against a feather, symbolizing the concept of justice. If the heart is heavier than the feather, it is deemed impure, and the soul is not allowed access to the afterlife.
  • The Greek God Asclepius, the God of medicine, was often depicted with a staff entwined by a serpent, with a single or double serpent representing balance in early anatomy and medical procedure, and therefore, justice.
  • The concept of scales and justice can be found in Christianity with the Archangel Michael, who is often seen carrying a sword and scales, which symbolizes judgment day, where people’s souls are weighed and judged accordingly.

Another example of scales in mythology is from the Hindu religion, in which the God of Justice, Yama, uses a scale to weigh a person’s virtues against their evil actions when deciding to re-incarnate them in the next life. The idea of balancing good and evil deeds reflects the philosophy of this religion when it comes to moral values and the journey of the soul.

The use of scales is also present in ancient Chinese philosophy, where the concept of Yin and Yang represents the balance of opposing forces. The symbol has a scale-like appearance, and the equal parts of black and white reflect the equal opposing forces in balance. The emblematic use of Yin and Yang reflects on the balance and harmony in all aspects of life.

Religion/MythologySymbolism of scales
Egyptian mythologyJustice in the afterlife
Greek mythologyBalance in early anatomy and medical procedure
ChristianityJudgment day and weighing of souls
HinduismBalance of virtues and evil actions in the journey of the soul
Chinese philosophyBalance and harmony in all aspects of life

Overall, scales are an important and widely recognized symbol of balance and justice that has been present in many cultures throughout history. It represents the importance of balance in many aspects of human life, from moral values to medical procedures, and it provides a powerful visual metaphor for the concept of judgment and equilibrium.

Scales as a symbol of justice

If there is one image that comes to mind when talking about justice, it’s the scales. A familiar sight in courtrooms and legal offices, scales have long been used as a symbol of the law and the principle of balance and fairness that underpins it. Here’s a closer look at what scales symbolize and the different meanings they convey.

Three things that scales symbolize

  • Balance: The most obvious symbolism of the scales is balance. As an instrument that measures weight, scales are all about precision and accuracy. In the context of justice, this means that the scales represent the idea that the law should be applied fairly and without favoritism or prejudice. Just as the scales need to be in perfect balance to give an accurate reading, justice should be balanced and impartial to be effective.
  • Weighing: Another important meaning of the scales is that of weighing. To weigh something is to measure its value or worth, and this is a crucial aspect of justice. When judges and juries weigh the evidence in a case, they are essentially assessing its worth and determining what action should be taken based on that assessment. In this sense, the scales represent the importance of careful consideration and evaluation when making legal decisions.
  • Measurement: Finally, scales also symbolize measurement. This can be interpreted in several different ways, depending on the context. One possible meaning is that the scales represent the idea that justice should be measurable and quantifiable, with clear standards and guidelines that are applied consistently. Another interpretation is that the scales represent the idea that justice should be objective and rational, based on evidence and facts rather than emotions or personal biases.

The scales and the law

While scales are commonly associated with justice in general, they are particularly prominent in legal settings. In fact, the use of scales in legal symbolism dates back to ancient times, when the Greeks and Romans depicted the goddess of justice (Themis and Justitia, respectively) holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other.

In modern times, the scales continue to be a central part of legal iconography. The blindfolded Lady Justice statue, for example, is often depicted holding scales to represent the fair and impartial weighing of evidence and arguments in court. Legal logos, crests, and seals frequently feature scales as well, serving as a reminder of the importance of balance, weighing, and measurement in the legal profession.

The scales in popular culture

Finally, it’s worth noting that scales have also found their way into popular culture and art. From the tarot card of Justice to the zodiac sign of Libra, scales feature prominently in mythology, esotericism, and astrology as well. In these contexts, the scales can take on a variety of meanings, including the need for balance and harmony in one’s life, the importance of objectivity and rationality, and the idea of judgment and accountability.

Scales in pop cultureSymbolism
Tarot card of JusticeObjective judgment, balance, karmic law
Libra zodiac signHarmony, objectivity, fairness
Dragon Ball Z character Krillin’s symbolPerseverance, balance, martial arts

Regardless of the specific meaning associated with them, scales remain a powerful and enduring symbol of justice and equality. Whether in legal proceedings or in our personal lives, they serve as a reminder of the importance of balance and fairness in all our dealings.

Scales as a symbol of balance and equilibrium

Throughout history, scales have been used as a symbol of balance and equilibrium. The image of a scale brings to mind the idea of an equal distribution of weight, of fairness and justice being exercised.

  • In ancient Egypt, scales were used during the weighing of the heart ceremony, where a person’s heart was weighed against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth, balance, and justice. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the person was deemed worthy of entering the afterlife.
  • In Greek mythology, the goddess of justice, Themis, is often depicted holding scales as a symbol of her impartiality and fairness.
  • In modern times, the scales of justice are often used in legal settings as a symbol of the court’s ability to balance the rights and interests of all parties involved in a case.

One interesting aspect of the symbolism of scales is the number 4. This number plays a particularly significant role in the representation of balance and equilibrium in the context of scales.

Firstly, scales typically have two sides, each with two points of balance. This forms a four-pointed structure that is inherently stable and symmetrical. This is why the balance point of most scales is located at the center, forming a perfect cross as the two arms of the scale extend outwards. This geometric arrangement reinforces the concept of balance and stability.

Furthermore, in ancient Chinese philosophy, the concept of balance is represented by the idea of the four heavenly animals, each of which is associated with a specific element – the dragon with fire, the tiger with metal, the phoenix with wood, and the tortoise with water. Each animal has its distinct characteristics and strengths, but they are all united in their importance in maintaining balance and harmony in the world.


Similarly, the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water in Western alchemy represent the balance of different qualities and energies that are necessary for the creation of all things in the world. The four elements were also linked to the four humors in ancient medicine, as well as to the four seasons, directions, and phases of the moon.

Overall, the symbol of scales serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of balance and equilibrium in our lives. Whether in legal, philosophical, or cultural contexts, scales have come to epitomize the quest for fairness, justice, and stability.

Scales as a Symbol of Measurement and Accuracy

Scales have been used as a means of measuring weight and quantity for thousands of years. From simple balance scales made of twigs and rocks to the highly sophisticated digital scales of today, scales have always been a symbol of measurement and accuracy. They have been used to weigh goods for trade, to determine the weight of precious metals for coinage, and even to test the strength of materials in construction.

  • Deliberate and Precise: The use of scales as a symbol of measurement emphasizes the importance of being deliberate and precise in our actions. It shows that we should not make hasty decisions and that we should take the time to weigh all the options before making critical choices. Just as a scale takes time to balance, the decisions we make in life should be deliberate and measured.
  • Equal and Unbiased: Scales symbolize fairness, balance, and impartiality. They operate without judgment or bias, and they provide the same accurate reading no matter who is using them. Scales remind us that in life, we should strive to be fair and unbiased in our dealings with others.
  • Steadfast and Reliable: A scale is a dependable tool that provides a consistent and reliable measurement. A good scale doesn’t waver or give false readings, it stands steadfast in its accuracy and reliability. Scales symbolize the importance of being consistent and dependable in all our actions and decisions.

Furthermore, scales also convey a sense of balance and harmony. Just as a scale balances two sides, bringing them into equilibrium, so too should our lives be in a state of balance. We should strive to find a balance between work and play, between personal and professional life, and between physical and emotional well-being.

Finally, scales have also been used as a tool for self-reflection and self-improvement. Weighing ourselves on a scale can tell us a lot about our physical health, and tracking our weight over time can motivate us to make positive changes in our lifestyle. Similarly, weighing our actions and decisions against a set of values or principles can help us to self-reflect and make the necessary changes to become better individuals.

5Balance, harmony, and the five senses

The number 5 is significant in many cultures, and it also has symbolism related to scales. The number 5 represents a balance between two opposites, such as male and female or light and dark. It is also associated with harmony and the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. The five fingers on a hand are also seen as a symbol of balance and harmony.

In conclusion, scales are a powerful symbol of measurement, accuracy, fairness, and balance. They remind us of the importance of being deliberate, unbiased, consistent, and dependable in all aspects of our lives. Beyond that, scales can also be a tool for self-reflection and self-improvement. As we strive to find balance and harmony in our lives, let us continue to embrace the symbolism and power of the scale.

Scales in Art and Literature

Throughout history, scales have been depicted in various forms of art and literature. The symbolism of the scales can vary depending on the context in which they are used.

One of the most prominent themes associated with scales in art and literature is balance. The idea of balance can be seen in various forms such as justice, equality, and harmony. Scales often represent the balance that is required to maintain order.

Another common theme associated with scales in art and literature is judgment. Scales are often used to represent the process of weighing evidence and making a decision. The scales in this context are often portrayed as being controlled by a judge or other authority figure.

  • In Greek mythology, the scales were associated with the goddess Themis who represented divine or natural law and was often depicted holding a set of scales.
  • In the Bible, scales are used to symbolize the judgment of God. In the book of Revelations, the scales are used to weigh the good and bad deeds of the dead before they are admitted into heaven.
  • In literature, scales are commonly used to represent justice. Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure portrays a judge holding a set of scales while he decides the fate of the characters.

The number 6 is often associated with the scales in art and literature. This is because it is the sum of both sides of the scale when it is in balance. Six represents harmony and balance, and is often used to symbolize the idea of fairness and equality.

Jan VermeerThe Art of PaintingThe painting features a set of scales prominently placed in the foreground. The scales represent the balance and harmony required for a successful painting.
William BlakeThe Ancient of DaysThe artwork depicts God holding a set of scales. The scales represent the judgment of God and the balance required for a just decision.
Paolo UccelloThe Battle of San RomanoThe painting depicts a set of scales floating above the battlefield. The scales represent the balance needed for a successful battle and the equal power of both sides.

In conclusion, scales have played an important role in art and literature throughout history. They have been used to symbolize balance, justice, and judgment. The number 6 is often associated with scales, representing harmony and fairness. Regardless of the context in which they are used, scales are powerful symbols that continue to resonate with people to this day.

Scales as a symbol of transformation and change

Scales have held great significance as a symbol of transformation and change for centuries. In many ancient cultures, scales were used as a representation of balance and justice, as well as personal transformation.

One particular aspect of scales that holds significant meaning is the number 7. In numerology, 7 is known as the spiritual number, representing wisdom and inner reflection. Here are some examples of how the number 7 is related to scales:

  • There are 7 notes in a musical scale, each representing a different pitch and creating a harmonious sound when played together. This symbolizes the importance of balance and harmony in our own lives.
  • In the Bible, the number 7 is associated with creation, as God is said to have created the world in 7 days. This can be related to personal transformation and the idea that change takes time and effort.
  • In astrology, there are 7 traditional planets that were known to ancient cultures. Each planet was associated with different qualities and characteristics, representing the various aspects of ourselves that need to be balanced and integrated in order to achieve personal transformation.

Understanding the symbolism and significance of the number 7 in relation to scales can be a powerful tool for personal transformation and growth. By striving for balance and harmony in our own lives, as well as taking the time to reflect and integrate the various aspects of ourselves, we can experience meaningful change and transformation.

Here is a table summarizing the significance of the number 7 in relation to scales:

Music7 notes in a musical scale represent balance and harmony
Bible7 days of creation represent the time and effort needed for personal transformation
Astrology7 traditional planets represent the various aspects of ourselves that need to be balanced and integrated for personal transformation

By keeping these interpretations of the number 7 in mind when working with scales in our own lives, we can tap into the powerful symbolism and potential for transformation that scales hold.

Scales in Astrology and Horoscopes

In astrology and horoscopes, scales are often associated with the sign of Libra. Libra is the only zodiac sign represented by an inanimate object, which is the scales.

The scales symbolize balance, harmony, and justice. Libras are known to be fair-minded, peaceful, and diplomatic in their relationships. They have a strong desire for balance and tend to avoid conflicts and confrontations.

However, scales are not just limited to Libra. They are also present in other aspects of astrology and horoscopes, such as numerology.

  • Number 8: In numerology, scales are associated with the number 8. The number 8 symbolizes balance, justice, and karma. It is also associated with material wealth and abundance. People with the Life Path of 8 are often successful, ambitious, and disciplined. They strive for balance in all aspects of their lives and are often seen as natural leaders.
  • Planetary Alignment: The position of the planets in the sky can also form a pattern that looks like scales. This alignment is called the Libra Constellation. It occurs when the sun is in Libra and the planets Jupiter and Mercury also align in a way that forms the shape of scales.

Furthermore, scales are not just limited to astrology and horoscopes. They are also present in different cultures and religions.

Christianity: The scales of justice are often depicted in Christian art. It represents the idea of weighing righteous deeds against the sins of the soul in the afterlife.

Culture/ReligionScales Symbolism
ChristianityThe scales of justice
EgyptianThe weighing of the heart against the feather of Ma’at
GreekThe scales of justice held by the goddess Themis

Egyptian: In ancient Egyptian religion, the scales were part of the weighing of the heart ceremony. It symbolized the judgment of the dead and the afterlife. The heart was weighed against a feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice. If the heart was heavier than the feather, it would be devoured by a monster, symbolizing punishment for a life of sin. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the deceased would go to the afterlife.

Greek: In Greek mythology, the scales of justice were held by the goddess Themis. She was a Titaness known for her fairness and impartiality. The scales symbolized the weighing of evidence in a court of law.

In conclusion, scales symbolize balance, harmony, and justice in astrology, horoscopes, and different cultures and religions. Whether used to weigh the heart in Egypt or balance the scales of justice in a Greek court, scales represent an eternal quest for balance and fairness in all aspects of life.

Scales as a symbol of commerce and trade

Since ancient times, scales have been used as a symbol of commerce and trade. The image of the scales is often associated with justice and balance, which is crucial in any fair transaction. In this article, we will explore what scales symbolize in the context of commerce and trade.

The significance of number 9

  • The number 9 is significant in the context of commerce and trade as it represents completion and accomplishment. It is said that after the ninth transaction, a cycle is completed. This is why some businesses often offer discounts or promotions on the ninth purchase.
  • In some cultures, the number 9 is considered lucky and is associated with success and prosperity. For example, in Chinese culture, the number 9 is associated with the emperor since it is the highest single-digit number and symbolizes supreme power. This is why many Chinese businesses have the number 9 in their phone numbers, addresses, and even prices.
  • Scales often have nine weights or divisions, which can represent the completeness and accuracy of the measurement.

Historical usage

The use of scales in commerce dates back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In Egypt, scales were used to weigh precious metals and gems for trade. In Greece, scales were used to measure goods for trade, and in Rome, scales were used to measure grain.

Scales have also been used as a symbol of justice and fairness in legal proceedings. The scales of justice, which depict a balance, is a common symbol in the legal profession. In ancient times, judges would use scales to weigh evidence and make fair and just decisions.

Modern usage

In modern times, scales are still commonly used in commerce and trade. They are essential tools for measuring and weighing goods, and they ensure that transactions are fair and accurate.

Types of scalesUsage
Spring scalesUsed for lightweight items such as food, jewelry, and letters.
Platform scalesUsed for weighing larger items such as luggage, livestock, and vehicles.

Scales have also become a popular symbol in logo design for businesses related to commerce and trade, such as banks, stock markets, and investment firms. The image of scales is often associated with trust, reliability, and precision.

Overall, scales have a rich history and symbolism in the context of commerce and trade. They represent accuracy, fairness, and completion, and continue to be an essential tool for measuring and weighing goods in modern times.

Scales in modern culture and iconography

The symbol of scales has been prevalent in modern culture and iconography, often representing the concept of balance, fairness, and justice. It has been used in various forms of art, literature, religion, and even language. The following subtopics explore how scales are represented and interpreted in different contexts.

The number 10

The number 10 is significant in the representation of scales in modern culture. It is the number of digits on our hands, making it a fundamental basis for our numerical system. The number 10 is also associated with completeness, perfection, and balance, as demonstrated in the decimal system and in the tenets of various spiritual and philosophical practices such as the Ten Commandments and the Taoist belief in the Ten Thousand Things.

  • In tarot cards, the Ten of Swords represents endings and transformation. The balancing scales indicate that an equilibrium has been reached, and a new beginning can emerge.
  • In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu often holds a mace and conch shell in two of his hands and a discus and a lotus flower in the other two hands. The discus represents the power of the mind, the lotus represents spiritual purity, the mace represents the power of reflection, and the conch represents cosmic sound and vibration – all of which are balanced within the hands of Lord Vishnu.
  • In Chinese culture, the I Ching (Book of Changes) is a divination system that uses 64 hexagrams, each composed of six lines. The hexagrams can be interpreted as an arrangement of two sets of scales, with each line representing either yin or yang, and the interaction between the two scales indicating a state of balance or imbalance.

The importance of the number 10 in symbolism is also reflected in the tenets of Freemasonry, where the tenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth are emphasized. The Seal of the United States depicts an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons, with thirteen stars above its head and a shield with thirteen stripes on its chest. The eagle is flanked by a banner with the “E Pluribus Unum” motto, meaning “out of many, one,” and a scroll with the number 10, representing the ten original colonies that formed the United States.

Decimal system10 digits on our hands, basis of our numerical system
Ten CommandmentsThe basis of morality and justice in Judaism and Christianity
Taoist belief in the Ten Thousand ThingsThe infinite variety and diversity of the universe
FreemasonryTenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth
Seal of the United StatesThe 10 original colonies that formed the United States

In conclusion, the number 10 plays a significant role in the symbolism of scales in modern culture and iconography. It represents balance, completeness, and perfection, and is associated with various spiritual and philosophical practices. Understanding the significance of this number can deepen our understanding of the interpretation and meaning of scales as a symbol.

FAQs: What Do Scales Symbolize?

1. What do scales symbolize in mythology?

Scales are often associated with justice, balance, and harmony in various mythologies. In Egyptian mythology, the goddess Ma’at is often depicted with a scale as a symbol of order and balance. In Greek mythology, Themis, the goddess of justice, holds a scale to represent the idea of equal treatment.

2. What do scales symbolize in religion?

Scales are also found in religious contexts, such as in Christianity where scales may represent judgement and measuring good and bad deeds. In Buddhism, the scales symbolize the way in which actions have consequences and are weighed against virtues.

3. What do scales symbolize in astrology?

In astrology, scales are the symbol of the zodiac sign Libra, representing balance, beauty, and harmony. Those born under this sign are thought to be diplomatic and fair-minded.

4. What do justice scales symbolize?

The scale is a common symbol of justice, often seen in courtrooms and legal settings. The idea behind the scales is to represent balance and fairness, where evidence is weighed equally on both sides to arrive at a just decision.

5. What do scales of justice tattoo symbolize?

A tattoo of the scales of justice may symbolize the wearer’s commitment to justice, balance, and equality. It may also show that the person is involved in the legal profession, or is an advocate for social justice causes.

6. What do dragon scales symbolize?

In mythology, dragon scales are said to be impenetrable and valuable. They are often associated with protection, strength, and power. A tattoo of dragon scales may symbolize the wearer’s strength and resilience.

7. What do fish scales symbolize?

Fish scales are often used in art and jewelry for their shiny, colorful appearance. In some cultures, the fish scale is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. In ancient cultures, fish scales were also used for their medicinal properties.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has helped you learn more about the symbolism of scales. Whether it’s through mythology, religion, or astrology, scales have long been used to represent balance, fairness, and equality. A tattoo of scales may showcase a person’s dedication to these virtues, or simply their love for the aesthetic beauty of scales. Thank you for reading, and be sure to come back soon for more informative articles!