Christian Fish Symbol

Which way does the fish swim?

The traditional church layout is in the shape of a cross, orientated toward the east. Should the Jesus fish follow suit?

Which way should the Christian fish symbol face?

Christian fish symbol
Christian fish symbol

The Christian fish symbol or 'Jesus Fish' is conventionally shown swimming from right to left. And there are two likely reasons for this:

  1. Christ overcomes evil with love. He comes from righteousness (symbolised by the right side) to confront evil (symbolised by the left side).

    If the symbol faces the opposite way (left to right) this is not 'wrong' or sacrilegious; it simply symbolises the complementary analogy of Christ carrying us from the left, evil side of life, to righteousness on the right-hand side of God. (Similarly in Western Christianity when signing the cross, the fingers trace a line from the left shoulder to the right shoulder.)

    In other words, the direction is related to the right side's traditional connection with righteousness. (See also Why is right, right?)

  2. And secondly,


    when text is added to the symbol, for example 'Jesus' or 'ΙΧΘΥΣ', aesthetically it looks better to have the first letter of in the mouth of the fish rather than its tail. (The opposite direction is true for right-to-left writing, such as Arabic or Hebrew.)

But no need to get into deep water about any of this. If you believe the direction of a symbol is in some way important, then there's a good possibility you are just being superstitious. The direction doesn't matter a hoot in comparison to the meaning you attach to the symbol.


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