Seashells from Seychelles? The Meaning of Cowrie Shells in Africa

Cowries are the name for a group of small to large sea snails.

So, what do cowries symbolize?

In African legend, a love of cowrie shells shows that one could be a member of the family to an ocean spirit of wealth and earth.

Cowrie Shells also represents the Goddess of protection in the ocean where they originate from in the first place.

Even now in parts of Africa as well in the Americas, the cowrie symbolized destiny and prosperity.

Across the Indian Ocean onto Asia, cowrie shells were among the devices used for divination by the Kaniyar Panicker the Asian astrologers of Kerala, in India.

But back in Africa, cowries remain prized as charms and are said to be associated with fertility, libido, sexual pleasure and good luck. Jewelry. Cowrie shells are also being adorned as jewelry.

Of course, cowries are not as evil as some religions ignorantly try to portray them.

In ancient times and even during our forefathers’ era, Cowrie Shells played the role of medium of exchange, or essentially, they used to be what ‘Money’ is now.

They are essentially the origin of the term ‘Money,’ because the Monetaria moneta, species of small sea snails are the type of the shells are known as the money cowrie.

African communities regarded and some still treat, cowrie shells as natural sea-born items that bring good luck.

They also believed that they protect the spirit of the wearer, and many tribes use them in spiritual ceremonies.

The shells sometimes were offered as dowries. 

Courage for Cowries

Actually even where cattle were needed for the bride, cowries would be used to buy them. Now wonder even the animals got to be known as ‘Cows,’ as they played the cowrie shells role.

They also are a sign of femininity and fertility, with women often wearing them not only to help them conceive, but to help them give birth safely.

Cowrie shells contain multiple meanings and use depending on particular cultures.

These are commonly being shown up in the form of jewelry and money. 

The shells are being used as one thing or another in almost every part of the globe.

Most commonly cowrie shells are found in the Indian Ocean. In fact this is how the popular saying ‘Sea shells from Seychelles,’ was coined.

Cowrie shells however gained tremendous popularity throughout ancient Africa, not only along the continent’s coastline or related Islands.

Traditionally these shells grew to contain specific symbolic meanings and hatched history.

Nonetheless, there are still various people all around the world who are unaware of the spiritual meaning and use of cowrie shells.

Because of which people more often misinterpret the cowrie shell meaning and misunderstood the facts about them.

As cowrie shells are not just meant to be a mere fashion, therefore, the people need to understand the cowrie shells’ meaning and importance in the best possible way.

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