Meaning of the Pagan Fish Symbol
The Pagan fish symbol
The 'fish symbol' is today instantly recognised as a Christian symbol but this symbol was in use by Pagans for many generations before Christianity.
Ask any Neopagan and they will explain the most common interpretation is its derivation from a simplified image of a woman's womb or vagina. The fish symbol was often drawn by overlapping two thin crescent moons, signifying a woman's monthly cycle. (See also Lunate Cross.)
In Babylonian mythology, a fish pushed a giant egg out of the river Euphrates, and from this egg emerged the mermaid and fertility goddess of the seas, Atargatis. The son of Atargatis was named Ichthys; a name later used by Christians to refer to Jesus. See the Ichthys Cross.
There are a few other Pagan goddesses and gods that manifest themselves as dolphin, fish or other sea creature, and most seem to be connected with sexuality. The oval outline of a fish was compared to the shape of the womb, and both 'fish' and 'womb' homophonously shared the ancient Greek word delphos. (See also Dolphin Cross.)
My older brother told me when I was a ten-year old boy, quite upset that a pretty girl at school had declined an invitation to my birthday party; "Don't be sad," he said, "there are many more fish in the sea." Now I wonder if he'd been reading Dr Irman's book explaining the fish as a symbol of female sexuality.
(See also Christian fish symbol)