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Our Best Theories About That Creepy ‘Yellowjackets’ Symbol

Is it my next tattoo?

Yellowjackets Symbol

Even though we are well into season 2 of Yellowjackets, many of the mysteries have yet to be explained. We know a handful of the girls made it out of the wilderness in the 1990s alive, but we still don’t know exactly how many survived. How did they finally get rescued? They were there for 19 months after their plane crash and Misty destroyed the black box. So how did they get back to civilization? And who the hell is Javi’s creepy forest friend?

A mystery that has persisted since the first episode is the strange symbols carved into the trees of the forest. The survivors also found the symbols carved on the floor of the cabin’s attic, surrounding the skeletal remains of the previous inhabitant. In the present-day timeline, the adult Yellowjackets got creeped out seeing the symbol on postcards. It popped up again at the site where Travis died. Lottie is even using it as the logo for her weird cult of purple people. What does the recurring symbol in Yellowjackets mean?

What is the symbol and what does it mean?

The symbol essentially looks like a circle on top of a triangle with two lines coming out of the triangle and a slash going through it further down. Coming out of the bottom is a curved hook shape. At this point in the series, we still don’t know what it means. It could be something meant to protect those near it. Or it could be an item that attracts death. In the third episode of season 2, when blood was accidentally spilled across the symbol, a flock of birds dropped dead around the cabin. That was scary, but it also gave the girls a food source that wasn’t other people.

We also don’t know who created the symbol. There seems to be a supernatural force in the forest. Maybe there is a spirit or something similar lurking around and creating the symbol. It is also possible the dead guy they found in the cabin went insane and made them all himself. However it came into being, it seems to hold some kind of power over those who are near it and use it as a talisman.

Nat (Juliette Lewis) shows Misty (Christina Ricci) a postcard featuring the creepy stick figure symbol in 'Yellowjackets'

Theories about the symbol

Much like the Citizen Detectives on the show, the internet is hard at work trying to figure out what the symbol means. When I first saw it, I thought it looked like a woman (like the public restroom symbol) with a hook on her feet to drain her blood like a hunted animal—a scene that has played out on the show. When you consider that the symbol was being used to blackmail the survivors, it seemed like there was a connection. However, the symbols were present before the girls arrived, so even if they continued to use it, they were not the creators of the symbol.

One of the most popular theories on the internet comes from a post on Reddit. According to this theory, the symbol is made up of several symbols from what’s known as the “Hobo Code.” The code, which was popularized in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was a pictorial language used by traveling laborers to let others know if a place was good or bad. Such symbols could offer helpful information to folks such as, “nothing to be gained here,” “man with a gun lives here,” “alcohol here,” “a beating awaits you here,” “doubtful,” and “halt.” Given what we have seen through the series, the warnings aren’t wrong. (It’s also worth noting that the popular idea of the hobo code is rooted in a fabrication, and that while travelers did use symbols, they were much different from these.)

Another theory is that the symbol in Yellowjackets is some kind of mathematical map. Throughout the show, they repeatedly connect the symbol to physical space. When Travis died, candles arranged in the shape of the symbol surrounded him. In the wilderness, Van makes a map of all the places where they found symbols carved into trees. When she connects the points on the map, the shape resembles the symbol itself. Does that mean the map could show them the way out of the woods? Or maybe it pinpoints something even more horrifying.

While watching an old episode of Supernatural, I (and some folks on Reddit) noticed a very similar symbol. It appears in season 2, episode 2, where the symbol is supposed to be of Ancient Greek origin and is used to bring people back from the dead. Is the symbol connected to resurrection in Yellowjackets? Or maybe the creators like Supernatural. Some have said the symbol might be a simple drawing of an actual yellow jacket. The slashes and “arms” would represent stripes and wings. Instead of a hook at the bottom, it is a stinger. With that in mind, it seems like some force wanted the Yellowjacket girls there.

Let us know what you think the symbol means in the comments!

(featured image: Showtime)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.