In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), a book, that sums up the beliefs of the Catholic faithful, part one, section two, chapter three elaborates on the part of the profession of the Christian faith (in the creed) that we say ‘I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT’. From paragraphs 694 – 701, it discusses the 8 classical symbols of the Holy Spirit:
1) Water: Signifies the Holy Spirits action in Baptism. Baptismal water cleanses which signifies our divine birth.
2) Anointing: Is the sacramental sign of Confirmation which refers to the primary anointing with oil accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus who therefore is one anointed. In Greek, the one anointed is called “Christos” & in Hebrew “Messiah”. (1 John 2: 20, 27 and 1 Cor 1:21)
3) Fire: Signifies the transforming energy of the Spirit. On Pentecost, the Spirit came in the form of tongues “as of fire” (Acts 2:3-4) & John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Lk 3:16).
4) Cloud & Light: The cloud, now obscure, now luminous, signifies the Spirit who reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory. During the Transfiguration the Spirit came in a “cloud and overshadowed everyone” (Lk 9: 34-35). At the Ascension, the cloud took Jesus from the disciples sight (Acts 1:9).
5) Seal:The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. It indicates the indelible mark imprinted on the soul by the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation & Holy Orders. Jn 6:27 states “The Father has set his seal” on Christ, therefore he also seals us in him.
6) Hand:Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them (Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16). In his name the apostles did the same, bestowing the Spirit by the laying on of hands which signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders (priesthood).
7) Finger: The Holy Spirit is known as the “finger of the Father’s right hand” (2 Cor 3:3), the instrument through which God acts. “It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons.” (Lk 11:20).
If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of God,” then the “letter from Christ” entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. (Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3).
8) Dove: At Christ’s baptism when he came up from his baptismal bath, the Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove. The dove is the most common symbol of the Holy Spirit.