In Hinduism, god Shiva dances in a circle of fiery tongues, portraying the life cycle of the universe. This dance represents the cycles of nature in her eternal process of destruction and creation. The light of the fire in the circle is meant to represent deep wisdom.
Among ancient Romans and Greeks iron rings meant authority and respect. Only a few worthy citizens were allowed to wear them. For the priests of Jupiter, golden rings were an essential part of their attire. This is where the episcopal rings directing a person to God find their beginning.
In the Hellenic myth of Prometheus, Heracles, with the permission of Zeus, released the bound titan from the shackles on the rock, but the titan was forced to wear an iron circlet with a piece of rock attached to it on his hand as a gesture of submission to the god of thunder.
In Christianity, the rings of the higher clergy symbolize not only their union with Christ, but also their spiritual obligations. The papal ring is also known as the ring of the fisherman because it depicts St. Peter who is fishing. Up until 1842 this ring was also used as a seal confirming the originality of the Pope’s private correspondence. There is a special ritual during the inauguration of a new Pope. A new ring is made especially for him, with his name. The ring of his predecessor along with his lead seal is destroyed in the presence of the cardinals to prevent any forgery of documents. At the moment of his selection, a cardinal receives from the Pope a sapphire ring with the Pope’s coat of arms engraved on the outer side. Bishops also wear rings with a precious stone, but this stone cannot be a sapphire. A simple ring in the form of a metallic band can also be worn by a nun to symbolize her spiritual marriage to Christ.
Two connected bands or two rings alongside one another in Christianity symbolize heaven and earth, while three rings are a representation of the holy Trinity.