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The Illustrated Book of

o Horseshoe

Centaur uellect

vs.

Symbol of Good Luck

y

Instinct

Tortoise Symbol of Long

TAROT

Life

^S

lard of Decision

Thousands of Signs and Symbols from Around the World Miranda Bruce-Mitford

CADUCEUS Tiblem of Medicine

Freemasonry Compass and Square


The Illustrated Book of

Symbols The essential reference for decoding signs and symbols The world around us is filled with signs and symbols. Those we have chosen to create, such as alphabets and

flags, are universally

recognizable, but others, of uncertain and ancient origin,

mean

Why,

different things to different peoples.

for example,

love, or a snake a

West and

a sign

a red rose the flower

is

symbol of

of wisdom

in

of

evil in the

China? Find the

answers to these questions and thousands of others in this comprehensive and stimulating visual guide

of signs and symbols. Specially

commissioned

illustrations

and photographs,

including artifacts, famous paintings, and sculptures, provide a

much-needed

visual

key to this mysterious language.

The ultimate visual catalog Showing thousands of

signs

symbols from East and West, The Book ofSigns

and Illustrated

& Symbols not only gives the

meanings of each, but also explores the symbols' origins in art, religion, literature, psychology, folklore.

and

For ease of reference the signs and

symbols are grouped by category, from flowers

and

religious

symbols to shapes and numbers, and

a clear cross-referencing system directs the reader

to related signs and symbols. to

waders of

into

ir>n

all

ages, this

Designed to appeal

book

is

a rich source

of

and an indispensable reference book

for interpreting

and understanding signs and

symbols

Do Azt

in

everyday

life.

eaded Serpent Associated with -ivingRain

re

$24.95


The

Illustrated

Book of

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The

Illustrated

Book of

Miranda Bruce-Mitford

ALLSTON BRANCH LIBRARY

n

>««««««.%«•%


AL BR

REF AZ108 B78 1996x

A DK PUBLISHING BOOK

Emma

Senior Editor

US Editor Camela I

Foa

Decaire

Senior Art Editor Sarah Ponder

iJREDTODK

Shamrock

Managing Editor Anna Kruger Managing Art Editor

Peter Bailey

Art Editors Joanna Pocock, Martin Wilson Editor Shirin Pahi Assistant Designer Ali Cobb

DTP

Designer Nicola Studdart

Picture Research Sharon Southren

Production Katy Holmes Index

& Glossary

First

Joanna Lane

American Edition,

I

468 10^75 Published b)

DK

m

the

I

I'M M1STR1

nited States

Publishing

in.

York 1001(1

Vk it

us on the

Copyright

Š

All rights reserved

Egyptun funerary stela

(detail)

Conventions. in a retnc,

Wot Id Wide Web Imp //www

1996 Dorling Kinderslej

I

ilk

com

muted, London

under International and Pan American Copyright ublication ma) be reproduced, stored transmitted in any form 01 b) an) means,

No pan

electronic, mechanical, phot>

rding, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of tl pyright ownei Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersle) imited. I

A CIP I

catalog record for this

bi

liable

from the Librar

Congress.

ISBN 0-7894-1000-1 Islamic

Colour reproduction by Colourscan, Singapore Pnnted and bound in Spain by Artes Graficas Toledo, S.A. 1)1. TO 1192- 1999

Shiva,

1

1

>rd 01

mi dani

i


Contents Introduction

Tools

6

Weapons

iSr

90

Mythologies

& Religions

& Mourning

Death

92

12

Architecture

Ancient Deities

94

H

l:\er\da\ Objects

Judaism

96

16 Christianity

Symbol Systems

18

Hinduism 20 Buddhism 22 Islam

24 Ancestor

& Nature Spirits

Sea Creatures

Picture Writing

Numbers

& Others

Insects

56 Reptiles & Amphibians 58

102

Shapes

60

Mythical Beasts

Birds

28

64

& Patterns 104

Color 106

Mammals

26

00

J

54

Alchemy 108

Freemason r\

Nature Sun

32

& Moon

Sex

& Sk\

Divination

&

34 Earth

70

\\2

72

Heraldic Emblems 114

Dance

& Theater 76

Magic

& Charms

40

78

Gardens 42

Musical Instruments

Trees

^strolog)

Human Body

38 Precious Stones

no

Fertility

36 Precious Matter

109

People 68

International Signs

116

Symbolic Gestures 118

80 Love

&

Marriage

(

rloSSCU

44

82

120

Plants

Clothing

Index

4d

84

111

Natures Foods

Jewelr)

48

86

I

lowers

50

Royalt)

88

\

urthei Reading

I

117 \

(

bicw ledgments IS l


Signs

&

Symbols

Introduction tO A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF HUMAN" NATURE not Onlv J survive and reproduce, but also to seek explanations for the mysteries of life. Because these mysteries are in

T

IS

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<SM^

|JX.

/

beyond explanation, we use the language of i symbolism to represent them. Whether we live in commercialized societies or communities relatively unchanged by time, we are surrounded by signs, images, and ideas that are often highly symbolic. Most of us are largely unaware of the meaning and significance - even the presence - of much of this symbolism, and an area of great richness is closed to us. This book sets out to examine the nature of symbolism and to present, in fact

simple terms, both familiar

and

unfamiliar symbols.

Signs or symbols? A sign is an object or idea that represents or

points to something else in a fairly straightforward Alcfo

kowing

i

way.

the

and

the

An advertisement,

for

example, reminds us of the product it is promoting; a

\rabia, the tuple sun.

m

road sign indicates conditions ahead; and a gesture expresses a mood, the

we

modem world

challenges our sense

ol identity

often adopt signs to define ourselves, for

example

by donning badges or brand-name clothing. A symbol is clearly linked in function to a sign, and the two words are often used interchangeably, but symbol generally has a deeper meaning. A symbol is something that through its nature or appearance reflects or represents another thing more profound than

itself.

A

the flames of the sun.

fire,

for instance,

which

itself

may symbolize

has qualities of

warmth, light, and creative power, and is thus equated with life force and masculine creative strength. The creator gods of mythology, who possess these very qualities, are usually linked to the sun.

On

a small scale, objects

such as the candle or lamp can

be also related to the imager) of the sun A symbolic -

image

is

thus linked to

many

interpretations.

Paul Dehaux's surreal painting seems to be a hymn to the goddess within her temple. The moon, night nine sea, flowers, and statue-head are all realm, and the lamp signifies the divine spark i


[NTRODl

(

%*%ÂŤ-<

SYMBOLS Symbols grow in meaning and complexity over A\(

II

\

I

changing according to their cultural context. But the subjects that have preoccupied mankind from the earliest times hawremained relatively constant: fertility, both of the soi and oi the human race, birth, life, and death. Like the sun. the symbol ol the moon has also always been recognized as significant because of

hundreds

qualities

it

ol years,

possesses that relate in

some way

to

deeper truths. The moon controls the tidal waters and passes through stages from new moon to lull moon. It is thus symbolic of water, pregnane), and the cycle of death

and

birth.

Women,

the dark, and things of the night

all

sea creatures,

belong

to the

hrist's sacrifice

sphere

the

ol

fo)

the laithlul

moon. The Temple, by Delvaux,

combines much of

moon

bears fruit of redemption

this lunar imagery,

down on

shining

with the

mysterious goddess Animals, birds, and trees all have a

lull

figure.

their individual associations, as well.

A

tree

may

and growth,

for

the Tree ol Life

represent

life

example, and is

a S)

mbol

the

world over. In the I6th-centunj engraving above, Christ is seen crucified on the Tree ol Life, and his crucifixion can be viewed as a s\

mbol

ol sac rifice.

The death

or sac rifice ol a god or king

common theme ol

is

a

- the shedding

divine blood ensures the

well-being

LO<

Kl

1)

mankind

ol

l\

(

OMB

\l

two reatures used widespread One form, represenl opposing for found almost universally, shows a hud ol pre) doing [mages

'

ol

<

perhaps the most symbolic ol the bird represents the sun and

battle wiih a serpent all

creatures

i

[ere

the heavens while the serpent, whic h w rithes on the

nd mk\

m

the water symbolizes the earth

and


&

Signs

Symbols -%s%s%sA

In

Henri Pierre Picou

s

Homage

to

Nature summei

i

lie

and

_

»

»

\

«/«»

s

di/-v theii />Ic'iimuc'->

life-giving waters. fertility

ct(

the feel

<>/

die i^ulili-ss

The two together represent creation

and die precariously balanced forces of nature.

Universal symbols The theme ol die Goddess, or Earth Mother, permeates world mythology and dates back thousands of years. Clay figurines depicting large-

breasted

women

in their

nurturing, procreative role have

been found dating from as early

20,000 he All human Life sprang from this symbolic mother figure and depended on her. The earth itself is regarded as feminine and nurturing because it is fertilized by rain, and life springs from its soil. Perplexed by the random, as

.

1

5th-century cherub with \kull

some cultures chose to personify woman. She is sometimes shown

often cruel, nature of fate,

form of a blindfolded to symbolize the arbitrary nature of her decisions. Along with the randomness of life, the inevitability ol death turns up in common symbolic images. These take many forms, from paintings showing a cherub juxtaposed with a human skull, to the more familiar image of sand ebbing out of an hourglass - all stark reminders ol the fate fate in the

1

*rtuna, pit*

thewhee!

I

hat

must

befall

us

all.


I

N

However, although certain images are recognized as symbolic by main societies, the symbolism ol a particular image may vary From place to place and over time. The forest, for example, is symbolic of retreat and meditation to many Indians, a place in which the soul may draw nearer tc> Brahman, the one true totality However, in the West, the forest tends to be a sinister place, harboring dangerous animals and robbers, us shadows representing the dark places of the unconscious.

C \h The

l\

MYTHOLOGY AND

ITU

l\l

U.l\

\l

In

[ON

captured our imaginations from ancient Egyptian times to the present day, although, like the

The Cat

thai

Walked

cat has

to

human)

symbolism has varied enormously. In farming communities the cat has always been a working animal, used to kill rats and mice, and there has been little mystique surrounding it: however something in the cats nature and appearance has given it associations with the night, mystery,

forest, its

.Ailutu Egyptiai

Tiu

and aloofness. Black cats, now considered luck) in main places, were once associated with witchcraft, and ^ats feature prominently in children's stories. Both the c heshire cal horn Alice's Adventures m Wonderland and Kipling's Cat thai Walked h\ Himselj emanate mockery and enigma In ancient Egypt cats were worshiped and the cull o\ Bastel centered around a cat goddess Images ol ^ats were revered, and domestic ^ats were mummified at death so that, like people, they

I

In

III

could enter an

afterlife

SYMBOl ISM ol DR1 SMS

main

parts ol the world

dream images,

interpret

dream symbolism

is

Wise men the gods, and people act on

treated with respect

often thought to be sent In

tin

West however dreams are nowadays thought to be relativel) unimportant, and the urgings ol the unconscious mind go largel) ignored In most he psyc hologist Sigmund reud studied the s\ mbolism ol dreams and found people interpretations

I

In the

I


Signs

much

of

it

fulfillment.

to

&

Symbols

be related to wish-

He

believed that dreams

our deepest desires, often rooted in infancy, and thought many had sexual or erotic overtones. His reflected

pupil Carl Jung believed that the

symbolism went deeper than the purely sexual to include a spiritual

dimension.

Jung was fascinated by the way which ordinary objects or people

Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces

Monsters shows how daytime fears can produce night-time terrors

in

appear in strange, often distressing, contexts in peoples dreams and sought to understand why. Many images, he believed, appear in our dreams as a direct product of the individual unconscious, which is a highly personal

amalgam

of

memories and

In this Indian miniature, men grapple with a giant trapped emotions buried deep within us. Often we are not conscious of in a well, representing "the shadow," or base desires we try these impulses and they can only surface in dreams. A hairbrush, to bury m the unconscious. for instance, might tngger memories of ones hair being brushed by ones mother in childhood, so symbolizing a caring mother; however another individual might have been

struck with a hairbrush in childhood, triggering very different associations. In Magritte's painting The Restless Sleeper, a figure

dreams about

mundane and are all somehow

a series of

apparently unrelated objects, but they

linked meaningfully in his unconscious.

Universal subconscious After analyzing the dreams of many

Jung concluded that certain images appear as symbols universally and are therefore part of what he called the collective unconscious, built on the cultural experiences and memories of our ancestors. Images of being pursued by a huge monster, of yearning for safety, or of patients,

dangers lurking in the dark, are very commonly experienced in dreams in all parts of the world. Jung termed these universal images "archetypes." There is the "anima," or female principle, which can manifest as the goddess, queen, princess, or witch; and an "animus," or male principle, which could be a god, king, prince, wizard, or demon character. These figures symbolize for us our image of male and female and could represent either an aspect of ourselves, a parent, or a loved one.

Other archetypes include the shadow, embodiment of feelings of guilt or fear, particularly about our hidden and unacknowledged feelings or desires.

Modern symbolism todays world, symbols retain their power to affect us, although we are perhaps less aware of their effects In

The images

in Magritte's Restless

Sleeper seem disconcertingly simple

10


INTRODI %^%s%^%sm

than in the past.

Some

symbols have remained constant for centuries,

some

have evolved new meanings,

and

yet others are entirely

new.

One dramatic symbol

have emerged during the course of the twentieth century is the mushrooming cloud of the atomic bomb. to

This surely

is

the ultimate

image of the great

shadow

V "a giant leap for

mankind"

ot

destruction that

humankind has brought upon itself by opening the Pandoras box of knowledge. A more positive image is the American moon landing from 1969. Witnessed by 600 million people throughout the world. it

film star

is

often literally largei than

life

has become the ultimate symbol of

mans indomitable

spirit

and urge

for conquest.

Today's gods, goddesses, and superheroes *

Some modern that

assume semi-godlike status similar to of the ancient Greek heroes. Creations such as Superman are not fictitious characters

thought of as real, yet they embody the classic male archetype o( the powerful and heroic force for good. In righting the wrongs of the world, such figures appeal to an innate

need

in all of us.

Also appealing to this need are the pop, sports, and film stars

who,

some, have supplanted the gods for

Since the death

largely ol old.

ol "the King

Elvis Presley, for example, his

home, Graceland, has become a shrine and place ol pilgrimage for millions ol

devoted

men

followers

Sports heroes, too attraci a

huge following, espec

among men identity -

<\\u\

I

he sense passion -

iall)

ol

group

tru

any football stadium as hordes ol Luis cheer their heroes on in moments ol shared admiration Similai instinctual urges can be seen ai rock concerts \\ hen members ol the audience strike matches, light lighters, and hold up candles to express nspire

is

evident

at

their devotion to then idols

lit

I

he resultani sea

(lames harks back to the symbolism

aupl

cultures throughoui histoi

I

I

ol flickei h

ol fire in religions

and


~**4


Mythologies

&

Religions Our search to explain what

our understanding

many myths and

is

lies

beyond

expressed

religions that

in the

have

evolved over the centuries. This quest has resulted in the

and faith religions

that

and

Greece

is

complex web of myth, legend, our inheritance - from nature

the almost

human gods

of ancient

to today's multiplicity of faiths.

f


&

Mythologies

Religions

Greek

Ancient Deities

second millennium bc, Aegean around the cult of the mother goddess, but later the center of civilization moved to the mainland, where the Greeks worshiped divinities who fought, squabbled, and loved, just like humans. In the

religion revolved

The classical religions of Europe and Egypt no longer exist as belief systems, but their mythology survives. Like modern-day Hinduism, these religions were centered around groups of gods who more or less controlled the lives of humans - and much of human activity involved the worship and placation of those gods. Many of these ancient gods live on in our imagination, and their symbolism has been absorbed into our language, our music, poetry, and art. It is hardly unusual to hear songwriters pay tribute to Venus, symbol of feminine beauty, or to Cupids arrow piercing a lovers heart.

Zeus's I

thunderbolt

symbol of powet

his

Egyptian Eg\puan gods developed from the merging of two earlier cultures, one with gods in human form, and one with animal-shaped

Zeus Zeus was king of the gods and god of the skies. His well-known amorous conquests reflect the Greek conquest of many outlying regions, and the absorption of their mother goddess cults

gods. Gradually a remarkable religion

evolved that centered around the cult of the dead.

Apollo .Apollo, twin brother ol

Ami n-re The creator god, Amun, was merged with Re. the sun god, to form Amun-Re. Known as "the hidden \mun-Re was the power ol the invisible wind and

Osiris Originally a powerful

god, Osiris was in the Nile River. His body was fertility

drowned ISIS

AND HORLS mother queen, and

as the

goddess, a

the sister of Osins. She

shown here suckling

Thoth

dismembered and

Depicted variously as an ibis-headed man

scattered over the Nile

and

a

her son, Horus. Her

animals sacred to him), Thoth is lord of

crown

the

is

is

in the

form of

a throne, suggesting that she

was

the throne of the

pharaohs.

rr

/*

jL'

^

O £.-3.

lord of

and reckoner of

the years.

He

is

-* * 2 £ £ ^ -^ -» ****

/

r

the

* >

r*

underworld. He

'

depicted

*

* *

m I

* 'A

T

all

of the earth to ripen.

His arrows were the sun's rays.

Athena

music.

The daughter of Zeus, Athena was the

He was also god of shepherds and

goddess of wisdom

and learning, but

things.

Even the other gods were unable to

also of warfare (hence

her helmet). Often depicted with an owl, she was the patron of Athens - her owl is the

penetrate his mysterious nature.

emblem

often

of that city.

in a

mummylike

«

is

the soul of

posture.

*

*

* Eros Known

9S>

2SS

Sky Goddess, Ni

ensuring the

growth of crops, which sprang from his flesh. He was later restored to life and became a symbol of resurrection, as well as the god of the

helper of the dead and protector of Osiris, ruler of the underworld.

a personification of

? flF\

moon,

time,

originally

valley,

baboon uhe two

Artemis and son of Zeus, was the sun god, and caused the fruits

Anubis JLl

Originally the jackalheaded god of the

dead. Anubis was supplanted by Osiris He was nevertheless the protector of the

i

Nut was the sky goddess of Egyptian mythology and she is often depicted touching the earth with her toes and fingers. The arch of her body represents the arc of heaven. The stars on her body denote the Milky Way, and she is sometimes surrounded by astrological signs.

dead and was often carved on rock lombs. ,

14

to the

Romans

DON

Cupid, Eros was a symbol ol earthly love. He was the son of Aphrodite, and carried a bow and arrows with which he pierced the

uhe Roman NeptUl was symbolic ol the power of the waters. He

hearts of his victims,

carried a trident,

causing them to

of creation,

as

passionately

in

fall

love

POSl

I

Brother ol Zeus and god ol the sea, Poseidon

protect

i

symbol

and could

hose

at sea.


s

Roman

Celtic

The Romans absorbed elements ol all the cultures they came into contact with. They adopted the Greek gods as well as those of other peoples they conquered, and had hundreds of different gods, goddesses, demigods, and spirits - each ol which

Although the pre-Roman Europe and the British Isles adopted some of the gods ol the conquering Remans they had

related to virtually every aspect of

I

their

beliefs in a creatoi trio

.

life.

They honored and worshiped the gods order to safeguard themselves - in this hie and the next

own

mother goddess, and nature ol mothei 01 fertility godd< s» sometimes presented together

-

are

in

Mini

r\

\

he warlike Minerva often wears am ike her Greek I

I

counterpart Athena, she represents the arts wisdom, and teaming.

M \Ks The son

ol

|up

Mars was much-respected god war He is usually depicted with in

a

one hand and

spear a

The

shield in the other

month

March

ol

ol

ci

Irom his name.

Merc

i ry. Jt im m r. Jl no. Apoi lo Mercury was the god ol commerce He appeared late in the pantheon, at a time when trade flourished He is sometimes equated with the Greek god Hermes, messenger of the gods Here he weighs Trojan against creek to decide the i

the Trojan

Jupiter

i

War With him

are

Greek Zeus); |uno, wife and goddess of light, marriage, and childbirth, and Apollo, son of Jupiter

the

ol lupiter

Cerm nnos emunnos is found throughout Mere he is shown with antl surrounded by animals In his [eft hand he holds The horned god the

Flora

Bacc

Flora was the goddess

l

of spring, the vine, flowers,

and

grain,

she symbolized i

estivals in her

fruit,

and

fertilit)

honor

were otten wild events

in sualh depicted as beautiful south. nis was ''

a

(

eltk lands

ram-headed serpent, symbol

ol fertility

a

wine, and his worship leatured much

drunken

(

Norse I

revelry

he Nordic people,

who

lived in a harsh

climate, worshiped gods ol the elements

and nature

The birth of Aphroditi /Venus name Aphrodite means myth the goddess was said

The em

ni a

scallop shell.

B) respecting

the gods, they

bom

from the loam, and in Creek appeared from the The image captured the imagination

hoped

and honoring some

to exert

control over the fierceness ol the weather

to have

and painters through the ages English poel Alfred Tennyson wrote ol Aphrodite beautiful hesh a\phrodite symbolized love and beaut) Hei Roman equivalent, Venus, is equalh famous Below in Bottieelli s painting, the god ol the West \\ ind is gently blowing the beautiful Venus toward the shore, where a nymph awaits read) to cloak her ets

I

hen.

Odin,

l

hor,

I

un Si

i

\LSO

i

Oon

I

ght:

HOI

i

>

binh

»»*»%.»%.%,%


&

Mythologies

Religions

Judaism Judaism emerged

in

about the 14th century bc and has

evolved into a strongly monotheistic religion based on a dialogue

between God, or Yahweh, and

people, the Jews.

The

chosen

his

patriarchs of Judaism are the

ancient leaders Abraham, his son

and grandson Jacob, whose

Isaac,

M

11 deeds are recorded in Genesis, ,-

i

i

Jk

book of Bible. Today

the

first

the

Jews are scattered throughout the world, but

inked by

are

all

a culture

centered on Jewish

and

history, law,

family

life.

Jerusai

Star of David Allied to Jewish

d to light the

mysticism, the star of David

is

\i

i

|udaism, Islam.

\\o\\ to

and

(

hristianit)

Jerusalem was the

A.

made up

capital ol the ancient

two triangles, the upward-pointing being the sun, fire, and ol

kingdom and

Jewish

site

the second temple,

ol

000 years ago To Jew- the

buih

masculine energy; the

>

c

downward-pointing the moon, water, and

ii

to symbolizi

ie

[ewish nation

female energy.

Aspects of pram

r

H Wl KKAH Tin- 8-armed is

Pram menorah

used to celebrate

Hanukkah,

the festival

of light- Candles are lit

on 8 consecutive

and

-

More time

supply of sacramci oil lasting 8 days, when

celebrating a

boy

starts

liberation

from I

age

ollu

1,1

o

at

thirteen.

r) and Jewish

slavi

a

s

coming

he

sabbath marks the Israelites

the eternal light in the

temple of Jerusalem was relit in 164 u

I

BOOK

probably a Bar Mitzvah gift,

the sabbath

sunset on Frida)

R

In- silvei prayei

book was

lews say

ill

on

which at

in

home

at

ferveni |ews pray three

rs

nights to mark the miracle of a da

[udaism both

pari in

the

I

i

BOO!

nation.

SlIOl \K

The shofar horn Rosh Hashanah,

Mezuzah

Jewish

si{

Boy at prayer

the

New Year, and

I

Ins bo) has the

i

on the Jews

Traditionally the

calls

mezuzah

repent their sins bi the Day ol Atonement.

is

positioned

by the front door. It contains a tiny scroll, >:cma, with words

from the Bible. This calls on God's people

him totally, and sums up the heart to love

of the Jewnsh faith

The shofar

is

to

made

horn as a reminder of the animal

KlPPAH

God

Male lews wear

Abraham

to sacrifice in

place of Isaac

around his arm and on his forehead he wearingol God's words" m this way is I

of

a ram's

gave to

strapped

ritual telillm

\\

l

s|

This

i<\ \\ \|

|

is

Temple

70 itself

and

Jerusalem, destroyed by the It

is

a

symbol both

ol

ol

Romans

the temple

and is the pilgrimage and worship

of the Jewish nation,

most hoi) place

a skull-

cap, or kippah, as a sign

|

the onl) wall that survives from the ol

& TEFILLIN

In

ol respect tor

God The

small leather boxes, or contain passages /('lillni

From the rorah and are also worn while praying.

thought to foster humility he boy also wears a tallit, or prayei -haw which I

I

lias a tassel at ea< h

cornei symbolizing the lour comers ol ,

the earth.


J I

[•

I^» rORAH The

Tor.i:

commandments - God

insti

s

nt the

ol Isra

word ___

^fter

The birth of Jewish

i

ol

God

they are

d thai

(

no one may toueh them They may be unrolled only bv means of the handles

Dor

/hi

Torah because

w

During the Jewish people's long journey Irom where they had been slaves, God spoke heir leader, and made a pact, or

/i>uh

the

is i/i

ToKAIl MANTL1 Torah

covenant, with them His Ten Commandments to the Jews were written in lire on tablets ol stone and set out a moral and religious code duct for his chosen people

-.re

traditionally

often

an

t

embroidered mantle, which both protects them and reinforo their aura ol p

Sukkot

Passover '

The

>mmemorates

:

Passover

the

meah

Jus ol the |ews Irom Egypt, when the angel ol death the Israelites sparing their lives At thi ler, or ritual

eaten

in

lamb

da I

at the

Si

The

meal, all the foods symbolic of that journey

KKOl '

koi

commem

in the

wilderness on

S\l IU VII k

A

dish of saltwater

shed

by

:mg

th-

in

their

Hou

captn

\kk

\/M>

Si/ I

I

1

V*

\| M/VII \l\i flat,

ned

Passovi

k

n

I

\ii Hill III

th.

;h

un

which the

l

in the

HI

1

1

WISH

|

<VS

••


&

Mythologies

Religions

*-%s%-*s%^s%s%^s**

Christianity Christianity has

its

roots

m the Jewish faith and

its

belief of the Bible

prophecies of a Messiah (savior). Chnstians believe these prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus,

who

they believe

teachings, recorded in the gospels of the

love

and compassion, and

New

the

Son of God. His

Testament, stress brotherly

are rich in symbolic meaning. Since

2,000 years ago the Christian church has all

is

its

binh

many denominations, but

split into

Christians are united in the central belief that Christ

died to redeem the sins of the world and that his resurrection offers salvation.

Sacred Lamb The

lamb is a symbol ol John the Baptist described him as the lamb of God that taketh away the-sins ol the sacrificial

Christ.

world." In this crazier (bishop's crook) the lamb stands lor the salvation ol the faithful.

A

Fish The fish

a

is

symbol of

ROSAM The rosary is

both the

repetition of the

prayer "Hail

and

Man

also the string

ol beads used to count each incantation. It takes its name from the

rose,

symbol

ol

Man

Christ because in

Greek the

first letters

words Jesus Son of God,

ol the five

Christ

Jesi

s

This

modern Russian icon shows Christ ble.-manner of the Eastern church. The thumb

m

1

the

forms a circle with the founh finger and the middle and index fingers are crossed This represents Chi and Rho, the first two Greek letters of his name. Icons are seen as embodying spiritual truths

III

\ IRGIN

M

\R1

Christ,

and Roman Catholic churcl is worshiped in her own right She intercedes between man and God. and is often called Mother of God. The cult ol Man is similar to some mother goddi In the Eastern

Man,-. Jesus

mother,

out ol the need for

ami

Savior, spell Ichthi

or

fish.

Three fishes sent the

Trinity: the Father, the

Dovi

Son. and the Holy

John the Baptist saw the Hoi) Spirit enter |esus in the form ol a dove

Spirit.

The Cross

T:ias many

forms St. Peter was crucified upside down. Constantine s combines th< two letters for Christ in Greek; an anchor combines the cross with mbol Man: and the Russian cross inclui.; .

I

the inscription

and the

footi

the crucifix

CRl IH\ The image of Christ on the (

cross, the crucifix,

an object of Christian devotion. It is

is

the most rful

symbol of Christian;'

reminder that although Jesus died on the cross he rose again, triumphing over

(

I

I

The

IK

ROSS on a Celtic

(

ring

nbol of Irwh -

F

Christianity, slant!

death.

in

and

eternity.

C

R<

III

.1

ol a

18

refers )lace

both to Christian believers of worship The central part

church, the nave, flip,

"+>^%s%s%s%.

II

The church and

symbol

ol the

i-

named

church

alter the Latin

usell


CHR

I

*â&#x20AC;˘

T

1

A\

I

"n

Saints Christian saints were particular!) devout people who lived -and often died - for the Christian cause and have since been canonized

hy the church. There are thousands of saints, and main are depicted in sculpture and paintings

ol

them

carrying attributes related to their life or manner of death. St. Francis, for instance, is seen with birds or animals, and

St.

Catherine

carries a wheel.

sometimes St. John the

M \ki

Baptist

carries his severed

A

head on

si

a platter.

Mac. dai

i

\i

pn isl Mary Magdalene

former,

represents the penitent sinner

\ John the

Baptist

in

coming

He

and him He was

beheaded

at

it)

ind his whole life humble beginnings

5u< h

ol his

-

I.

foretold the

of Christ

baptized

simplic

emphasize the spiniujl nature opposed to matt rial rii hness.

the

disciple.

bom in

was the

Old Testament prophets and Jesus' tirst ol

\ii\in

Jesus was

John mt Baptist

COMMl NK)N

A

the wish ol

his last supper with his disciples |esus broke bread and poured wine, which he blessed and shared among them, saying that they were his body and blood By imitating i

Herod's wife and her daughter. Salome, and his head was presented to

them on

St. Ciiristophi r St. Christopher

a plate

his actions at the

communion

Juki across - the Juki was

carried a a river

Chnst. s

01

bod)

ritually ol the

the world

Christopher the patron ol travel itself

service,

hristians partake

c

i

and

bio, >d ol

i

Iiim

is

Bri \d symbolizes the ol

hrist

c

communion

it

In

takes

the form ol a wafei

(

Mill

St

ho

KlM's Will

I

\\i\i

The wine drunk

communion blood

ol

c

is

at

the

shed

hrist,

mankind

fol

I

atherine died for

i

(

hristian beliefs,

flaming wheels -

hence net symbol the whi

is

\i\ I

IGIOI

1

s

HOOKS Si

he Bibl

||M ith

I

Ol h

I

preach the Gospel 10

St

him

Ik

|ohn

\N(

is

01

Assist

the

l

\LSO

i

C

MHI

I

A

lil'

\cosii is hrist to

Ml \

IK. .IN

Ml.

I

I

Pi

Hole

hold letter,

the

s

symbolizing n

i

hi-,

hi-

manner

right

ol

Mark,

man

like |onn,

holds the

<

to the Huils

iospel

then

ileum %.--%s%s%^-+

19


&

Mythologies

Religions

Hinduism Hinduism

is

the major religion of India.

It

has evolved over millennia and

complex range of traditions, religious beliefs, philosophy, and mythology: The roots of Hinduism can be traced to the Aryans, who arrived in India with a pantheon of male gods in the second millennium BC. The encompasses

a

indigenous Indus valley peoples already had strong religious beliefs centered on fertility cults

and

a

Mother Goddess. The Aryans adopted many of

their beliefs,

including the Goddess. All the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, including Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), Shiva (destroyer)

and the Goddess

are aspects of

Brahman, the one eternal

principle.

The conch,

The chakra, whet

symbolizing

oJc\

and

creation

transience

Brahma The four heads of Brahma,

Krishna An

incarnation

ol

Vishnu. Krishna

embodies divine

love.

His adventures are recorded in the Purana. Here naughty child

the creator, symbolize the four quarters, the four Vedas,

or religious texts, and the four castes of Hinduism. Brahma has

become

less

important than Vishnu, Shiva, and the Goddess.

at

lu

i-

.1

stealing butter

Tht

man) hand

symbolize the

man)

aspet

q) ih,

deit)

ts

Lotus,

symbol oj creation

and

purity.

Hanuman 1

lanuman, the mighty

monkey

general of the

epic Ramayana,

represents loyalty, religious devotion,

Shiva

and courage.

Originally a mountain god, Shiva, meaning auspicious, is the god of destruction. But, in a world ol endless rebirths, destruction precedes creation.

He may be worshiped as a linga, or phallic symbol, as an ascetic, as a teacher, or in his form as dancer in the great

dance of creation and destruction.

Ganesha Many

Ganesha overcomes all obstacles and is the god of new

signs

represent the

arm.

-

Club,

contained

symbol of

within the god

ventures.

authority

the head of an

elephant, and so can forge through

DURGA Vishnu

Durga

Originally connected with the sun, Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and the embodiment of love, truth, and mercy To his worshipers he is the supreme being from whom everything emanates. He rides on Garuda, the fabulous bird, or rests on Ananta, the cosmic serpent. Vishnu has been incarnated on earth in nine avatars, or incarnations, some human, some animal. The tenth incarnation, the

Mother Goddess and wields

horse avatar,

is

yet to

come.

is

oi

the ferocious

the

various weapons in her ten hands. She stands for the more active, destructive aspects of feminine nature

20

He has

le thickest jungle

myth Shiva mistakenly

In

beheaded the god, and only an elephant's head could be found as a replacemeni


.

H

ISM

l\ PI

Objects oi worship Hindu worship

In

*

ind involving the

>.

form and

ide in the ol Ri

d air.

clarified butter. Ritual

i

sprinkling rose water and scent, burning ir other n inc<

St

SHAW

\l

I

K

This ivor) sunt shaker is shaped like the

Om This

is

perfumed symbol ol

a sacred

syllable thought to

lotus,

shaped \si Bl R\l R The incense Inc

and future

exist

is

a ate

Sensuous nymphs like this are found on temple walls. They

shrine in a

symbolic

sacred to Hindus, and even the

Swastika

as a symbol of well-being.

specimen must not be harmed. Valued for us milk and its dung, which is used as fuel, the low

Count ere lock v.

probably represents

swastikas are

Mother

In India the swastika

is

an auspicious mark

worn as jewelry or marked on objects

lowliest

purification

''/JJtillx.

The

Hindu temple The central tower represents mouniatntop, because mountains are the sacred abodes ol the g The image ol the god is in

architecture ol a

Wheels is

the

.1

iky-chariol qj

tnbolic

.

thai this

personify rain clouds and mists and are associated with

is

i

around a

Temple

Apsaras

The cow

used to

sprinkle

gods with sweet smells.

Sacred cow

like

a flower,

i

burner is waved back and forth in the shrine. Wafting the aroma around welcomes

The sound, pronounced A-U-M, is thought to be the one eternal syllable, in which the past.

the sun

god

and growth.

fertility

k

sprinkler.

creation

be the seed" of all mantras, divine and powerful words or sounds

present,

KOSE-W \n M'RINKI ER The »

headily

the cavelike inner

sanctum, the earthy or

womb cnamb ibolism

Earth.

sometimes considered inauspicious The symbol, which predates Hinduism, is associated with the sun and the wheel of birth and rebirth, and is f

an emblem of Vishnu

Shrine

DrvALi The fall

The household shrine

Divali, the festival of

is

an important focus

light, is

festival ol

celebrated in

(.

WGES

honor of Lakshmi. consort of Vishnu and goddess of abundance and good fortune It

The

also celebrates the

to visit holy sues,

of fresh flowers, fruit,

return Irom exile of

and cooked food

the hero

Benares, birthp lliva [*o she on the banks ol the

of daily pu)a. or I

worship This is where the gods are invited. welcomed, and worshiped Offerings are-

placed before an image and ino may be burned

of the god,

.

iv.it. ir

.'I

Rama

Himalayas, home sonified by the goddes!

:

Pilgrims

.111

Vishnu,

lamps were

holiest of the rivers ol India, the

rises in the

when

come

Ganges and ashes

relit all

over the kingdom

to

llo.it ,iw.i\

to the

(

ol the

*

gods h

ranges

such as

hav on

its

the best ol deaths for a

current

is

Hindu

Vncieni

II

Sm

M illy

\\^\> This

MAM

tain

suJK

I

1

i

1

KJUSHNA

a fol

t •

Smi\

i \

milL

Ihenu, the

Sw IMIk

n his >l

later life is 10 live

r

as

indicated by the horizontal lines on his ind the buffal

Brmimv Ganesh

\/s<>

in

1

Him!

•nan

2

1

the

\ IMIV

I

>

I


&

Mythologies

Religions

Buddhism Buddhism

is

based

ox nonviolence, compassion, and

chanty.

Its

goal

is

Enlightenment, which ends the cycle of birth and rebirth and leads to

blowing out, or absorption into the cosmos. Buddhism developed from the teachings of Gautama Buddha, born Prince Siddhartha in northeastern India in the mid-6th century bc. He renounced his worldly Nirvana,

literally,

life

in search of

an existence

free of suffering.

When

Siddhartha achieved this goal, through meditation and asceticism, he

was

called the

Buddha, or the Enlightened. Rays

on elephant

Bodhi tree

enlightenment

oj

Wang

n \ and Lao Tzv, Shu-Ku, 18th century

Three Great Truths The Mara and

Footprint

Folding book

The Footprint of the Buddha is marked with 108 auspicious

In

signs.

These include

the swastika; the mace,

symbol of the

force

Burma books

that fold up, called parabaiks,

tell

troops dejeated

the story of the

Buddha

with words and pictures From left to right, this parabaik depicts the Buddha on his way to the Bodhi tree where he attained enlightenment; the Buddha meditating and worshiped by the gods; the approach of Mara, the evil spirit, on an elephant, and his defeat; the Buddha radiating enlightenment and being worshiped by gods and creatures.

great Chinese sages Confucius and Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, welcome in their midst the

infant Buddha, symbolically representing the acceptance of Buddhism in China dunng the 4th century. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are known as the Three Great Truths, and together have molded »Chinese thought over v thousands of years.

^-^^3k

that breaks lust; fish, for

freedom from

all

restraint; the flower

vase, for

supreme

intelligence; the conch, for the voice of the

Buddha; the wheel of law or life; and the crown of Brahma, for Buddha's supremacy

Aspects of Buddha '

Buddhists do not worship the Buddha but pay homage to his teachings and example in front of his effigies. These portray various postures, or asanas,

with a

number

gestures.

They

of mudras, or all

hand

The great snake Muchalinda protecting the

Buddha

"^

have a particular

significance, appropriate for teaching,

meditation, or blessing.

Reclining Buddha

Laughing Buddha

After a lifetime of teaching, the

Buddha

died and entered Nirvana, never to be rebom. This is usually symbolized by the parinirvana asana, in

Wheel of law With his first sermon, the Buddha is said to have set the wheel of dharma, or law, in motion. The wheel,

r

which the Buddha

is

reclining

nght

shown on his

Mi Lo Fo

is

the future

a form of Maitreya,

Buddha The name

means Friendly One who laughs at fate and whose obesity contains the wisdom

Dhyana mudra,

(he

gesture of meditation

of the universe

side.

Marble reclining Buddha, Burmese, 19th century

Buddha Muchalinda

therefore, represents

While the Buddha was engaged in deep meditation there was a violent storm and torrential rain. The great serpent Muchalinda raised the Holy One onto his coils and protected him from the rain with his many hoods.

the teachings of

Buddha, and the eight spokes the Eightfold Path that leads to

enlightenment.

22


)

Buddhism l'

%s%-

Shrine This Buddhist shnne

shows Buddha images surrounded by candles and incense, both part of the act of devotion in

Buddhism, as

in

other religions The light

produced

the

is

light of the doctrine

and the smoke from the incense wafts the truth of the doctnne toward the devotees, carrying Shrine at Blddhist Temple. Wimbledon.

London

their devotions into

the heavens.

.../inml

Terraces symbolize

CMS

stages oj spiritual

enlightenment

development

Shwe Zigon Pagoda. Pagan,

Bi rma.

1

1th

^

in

Chorten

BURMESE PAGODA

A

Pagodas are stupas, which were originally bunal mounds erected over the remains of important men in India After the Buddha's death his ashes were divided and placed within stupas, and later his few possessions were similarly enshnned Stupas act as a symbol of the Buddha's entry into Nirvana and a reminder to all of the possibility of enlightenment In Burma, as in China, the stupa is known as a pagoda

this

miniature shnne, Tibetan silver box with mystic symbols is

worn

keep

to

spirits at

a tablet

bay

evil It

holds a

molded from

V

the ashes of a lama

1

BODHISATTVA

Buddhist monks Buddha established the The sangha. or monastic order,

so that people could devote

t

KOYASAN MONK This monk from

M

Japan holds the traditional alms

themselves to his teachings. *fLjfl The majority of Buddhists Irfa \c:lr f. think that enlightenment Lan only be attained by following ~~ the monastic, meditative life -

bowl

in

which

people place food as an act

^^^|

free

to one school of Buddhism, Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who put off Nirvana to assist others to enlightenment - the ultimate act of compassion Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, is shown here with eleven heads and a thousand arms, so he can reach out to all conscious beings. Each hand holds an object that symbolizes an attribute of

According

The

of merit

bowl

from distractions - on the

a

path to complete awareness

is

the

Buddha

thus

Prayer wheel

symbolic

Mantras, or sacred verses, are inscribed on prayer wheels I-ach rotation of the cylinder stands for one recitation

receptacle for

gathering good

deeds

Thai monk A Thai monk

probably studying texts that

V

mantra Some wheels are powered by windmills of the

sits in

the

of a monastic building

iZSnvT

surras,

window He is

large

Buddhist

young monks have

See also

to master Hi

DOHA ÂŤ4

B ;

Till

*

GREAI DlPARIt

Rl

Ml

Confucius

Pnnce Siddhartha. the future Buddha, leaves the palace (left), having renounced worldly life and determined on a life of meditation and asceticism This Burmese boy right symbolically reenacts the momentous scene before donning monk's robes and entenng a monastery as a novice monk

I

TREE

i

w

ootpmni or 1

21, 105;

Brahma 20

I

I

v.N

PRAYER ÂŤ

ioism

w

t


Mythologies

&

Religions

Islam Islam

is

the faith of about one-fifth of the worlds population.

It is

based

on the revelations uttered by the Prophet Mohammed who lived in Arabia (c. ad 570-632). These were later recorded in the volume called the Koran. Followers of Islam are Muslims. Like Jews and Christians, they worship one god, whom they call Allah, and they see their faith as an act of surrender to the will of Allah. Actions of devout Muslims are dictated by the Five Pillars, which call upon the faithful to declare their faith publicly, pray of

five

times a day give alms,

Ramadan, and make

a

fast

&

ÂŽ

during the month

pilgrimage to Mecca.

Prayer rug A Muslim usually

performs salat, or prays, on a prayer rug. This 16th-century Ottoman example has Islamic pillars woven into the design.

I

Star

.,;

& Crescent

Thought originally to have signified the waxing moon, and once associated with the goddess Diana, the crescent was adopted as a symbol of Islam in the 14th century. The star, a symbol of sovereignty and divinity, was added later.

ASCE.VT OF PROPHI

Hand of God

Mi IHAMJ

1

I

'

I

Known

I

Muslims at prayer

as the

Hand of Fatima. after Mohammed's daughter, this represents the Five hilars of Islam.

The Night Journey In a dream Mohammed was

led to heaven by the Archangel Gabriel. His face is veiled, according to Muslim convention, and he rides the hall-

human

steed Al Borak,

symbol of

light

and

truth.

Adult males pray side by side in the mosque. As they kneel, fa< ing Mecca, they touch their foreheads to the ground and intone the words Allah is great." their actions symbolically mirroring their spiritual submission to God.

The

i

ubelike shrine

around

huh

the sa< red stone,

probabl)

meteorite

./

Ka'bah The Ka'bah

Mecca

in

is

the

which

central shrine of Islam, to

the faithful

must turn

wherever they are

Thus

it

in pr.r

world.

in the

acts as a point of

communion between God and man. Muslims are enjoined

make

the pilgrimage henleast

once

to

al

in a lifetime if

they arc able, and

symbolically circle the shrine seven times,

each circuit signifying an attribute ol God.

:

24

BAH, Mi

i

I


[SLAM Ornamental border

Verses from the Koran

(o dccorati

Compass Since Muslims need to

Mecca when they pray, they often use a qiWah, or special compass, to find the direction.

lamps indicates the

Many modem

prayer mats have integral

Mosque lamp The interior of a mosque is lit up by lamps. The light of the

compasses,

with an image of the Ka'bah at the center.

presence of the divine within the mosque. It is wisdom and truth and lightens the

darkness of ignorance.

Koran Some

Islamic countries reject the portrayal ol living

thought to challenge the word itself has been immortalized in art in the form of Koranic texts. Exquisite examples of calligraphy have been produced, one of Islam's greatest

creatures in art because perfection of Allah.

Calligraphy Beautifully inscribed

Koranic verses are used to decorate any number of objects - a symbolic and constant reminder

i Prayer beads An Islamic rosary is made up of 99 beads

of the

word

of

God,

in this steel plaque.

as

As

it is

a result, the

lo

prayer from lop of the

minaret

contributions to an. They are usually in Arabic, the language of Islam. These texts, often surrounded by beautiful borders and scrollwork, illustrate the authority

and truth of the word

of

God.

This is because they stand for 99 of the Divine Names The

hundredth, the

.n calls

Muslims

Ceramic

Minaret

Name

The minaret is attached to the mosque, and from its summit

of the Essence, can

only be found in Paradise

the muezzin, or crier, calls the faithful to prayer five times a day.

Muslims believe

dawn

that

one morning

prayer will be called by the Angel of the Resurrection the

The

tile

mbol

-i

of divinity

and

supremacy

in Islam Islamic decoration is characterized by the

use of ornamented tiles,

many

ol

them

star-shaped.

Dome heu

See also DOMI

01

Koran

mi

R.

i

\r85.

i

Mohammi ii Paradisi

Prayer

I)<>M! Ol

nil

i

Roc K

The

vhere the Temple ilcm.

making

the

sil '

ihru-l foi

to

Solomon on and Muslims which Mohammed was hroughl of

heaven

li

bed nind

ri

i

it.

one symbolically passes into anothei

si \k ,mi

c

kim ist tr


:

Mythologies

&

Religions

& Nature Spirits

Ancestor

In every part of the world, at one time or another, there has been a belief that everything in nature possesses a soul or spirit. In spirits of the trees,

mountains, crops,

rivers,

such

and rocks

a belief, the

are ever present,

honored so that man and nature can exist in harmony. Ancestral spirits, too, have been central to the faiths of many people, believing that when someone dies, they join the ancestors and watch over the community's links with the past. Some spints have a protective character and serve to guard a community or individual in times of danger. They may appear on the prow of a boat or on a weapon, and may be very fierce looking in order to frighten away evil or an enemy in battle.

and

are

'"iY'*!*."

1

Totem pole

A

The totem pole symbolizes the relationship between a tribe or clan and its ancestors. Human and

Punng

animal ancestoi figures

of

with the clan,

weai

power

an< estors

represent

Kuba

among

the spirits

from one

spiritual

and natural order

ol all

existence the Dreaming, or

Dreamtime.

It covers all time, and includes stories ol ancestors who

created

human and animal

Australian Aboriginals

with nature, and

and

spirit

life.

one music

feel al

ritual

expressions of the

art are vital

essences of the Dreamtime.

Bark painting Paintings of ancestors are filled in with markings known as nink.

Australian Aborignals believe these patterns reated by Dreamtime i

spirits,

Wmjara

can release

SP1RI

,

\\

\

' I

i

fertility.

i

20n

Uluru Named

Avers Rock by European Uluru is sacred to Australian .Aboriginals, who imbue such sites with p& ial powers Ihey perform rites to ttlers,

ai

quire this powei and also to

w

Ancestor figure

War god

male ancestor figure from Papua NewGuinea, painted in

This Hawaiian war god, with his threatening and

sacred colors, stands for a clan father.

would protect

terrifying

rice,

a

panicular group

in

war

2 6

it.

for

represents ugliness.

Australian Aboriginals call the

ancestor.

life

The sacred

ancestor.

The Dreaming

whom are descended

rituals.

are symbolized by stylized features. This elephant spirit mask from Nigeria

and all

brought to the

spirit

During ceremonies young boys symbolically meet this ol Zaire.

initiation

shaman would assume the

ol

this,

the spirits ol the

his to

i

Elephant

African masks represent sacred spirits

such as

mask

divination

rituals a

caned on the pole and offerings are made to these sacred figures. This shows solidarit)

MASK

\SK.\N

represents the essences ol various beings.

arc

respect fori he ancestors

I

This Alaskan

Zairean mask Grass-skirted masks,

powers


Ancestor

&

Nature Spirits

Shinto which means Way of the Kami," is the oldest religion in Japan. According to Shinto belief the world is populated by millions of Kami, spirits that inhabit am Shinto,

^P

.*%

person, place, or object that possesses strange qualities. may dwell in rivers, rocks, trees, and animals, and a

Spirits

%

nature is regarded with awe and respect. In the sixth century Shinto blended with Buddhist philosophy to produce a vast pantheon of gods, including a mixture of

-

nature

spirits,

guardian deities, and Buddha incarnations.

Gateway The

torn

God

of wealth

d of abundance and thus Daikoku grants a good

fertility.

harvest

is

the gateway to a Shinto

Some

shrines ma) be approached through more than one torn. The ends of the honzontal bars reach toward heaven. shrine.

and bnngs prospenty

Mount Inari The white fox is the messenger and symbol of Inari, the Japanese

god of crops and

\\ kus Ama Terasu,

wealth. Otfenngs of soybean curd, believed

Si

goddess of the sun, is the supreme Shinto god, and Japan's emperors claim descent from her. Legend says that, angered by the Storm God, she hid in a cave. The other gods tned to lure her out with jewels and a mirror, hung on a tree outside. Fascinated by her own reflection, she emerged toward it. symbolizing the daily emergence of dawn alter night.

to be his favorite food,

are

made

to

him, and

his bib signifies thanks for prayers

answered

Fuji

The unpredictable nature of volcanoes has evoked feelings of fear and worship in many countries. The many volcanoes of Japan figure in its religion and shrines are often built on their slopes. Japan's Mount Fup is said to be the most beautiful mountain in the world It combines the symbolism of heaven, earth fire and thus inspires the feelings of awe. danger, and yet peace elicited by nature. Mount Fuji embodies the spirit of Japan and is

a place of pilgrimage.

Confucius Confucius, who lived in the 6th century BC, remains a great teacher for the Chinese. He propounded a doctnne based on loyalty and duty to parents, clan, and â&#x20AC;˘ state. By stressing loyalty to clan, he underlined the importance of the ancestors and strengthened ancestral cults, already popular in China. Images of Confucius can be

found

in

many

traditional

hold shrine-,

especially

among

the

overs t

f

hitii

ClllMSI l,\NOS<

â&#x20AC;˘ing

the popular

resp

U'l

he innei serenm ol faoist philosoph expressed in landscape paintings Such

See also

I

(

h

to

him

Monarch of

tinj

made

'he to

human

him temple

I

\ 1

\1\-kv

Shim I

in

POSTV

*-%^m^*-i

17

15

i.i

Dwi wiisc.

i

hta

* c

II

figures are placed within the

landscape, stressing both the insignifican man against nature and his place within the universe Both raoist philosophy and nfucianism have influenced modem hinese though) raoism stresses the spiritual ordei within nature, and fucianism the nnu.il unlet within society

tl

the

\M>->

paintings portra) not just the features ol ihe land, but the very essence ol nature Often

rded

Ocean monaju

HINESI

I

I

I

Hav

i.-


&

Mythologies

Religions

is+S%s%s+^^^s%s+s*s^*^s*S^ls^%S*S%^^%S%s^

Mythical Beasts Many fabulous

creatures originated in the valleys of the Tigris and the

moved both

<&

and west. The phoenix and the many-headed serpent for example, and the image of a great bird with a serpent in its talons, are all found in the iconography of many parts of the world. Mythical beasts that are half animal and half human represent both animal instincts and human intellect. Monsters that are part bird and part land or sea creature take on the symbolic associations of both, representing perhaps the sun and the waters in addition to their own innate symbolism. Euphrates, and from there

east

Double-headed serpent The double-headed serpent is a common image in the Americas and is associated with life-giving rain. It was part of the ntes of Tlaloc, .Aztec god of the mountains, rain, and spnngs, to whom children were sacrificed in times of drought.

The Lion and the Unicorn, France.

The horn can

c.1500

detei

and count ei a,

i

I

poison

Loch Ness Monster The

Ky-lin

unicorn

e

(he

a lion, the

Odin, the Teutonic magician-god of war. Sleipnir could overcome

stag,

all

obstacles and gallop across both land and

and

from China generally

minine

has the head of a dragon, (he mane of

and

moon

body oi a and the tail ol an

ox It is said to appear during the reign of

vinuous monarchs and to herald the birth of

great people lin

Unicorn

First sighted in the

Middle Ages, the Loch Ness Monster allegedly bit a swimmer to death in AD 565. Over the years there have been numerous sightings and

This fabulous beast

represents

Sleipnir The swiftest of all stallions was Sleipnir, eight-legged mount ol

The Ky-

often accompanies

mount of the god, he was associated with the power of that sea.

As

the

god and also symbolized the wind.

countless investigations, scientists

have

tried

make

sense of these eyewitness accounts. Originally a symbol of danger, Nessie is now to

a

benevolent monster.

Chinese sages and

The unicorn is pure and incorruptible. In China it represents gentleness, good wall, wisdom, and longevity; in Christianity it represents Christ. According to medieval lore, a unicorn's horn was a powerful antidote to poison, but the animal was so wild that no hunter could capture it. Only a virgin could lure a unicorn to her and tame it. Here a unicom looks into

wisdom

the mirror of truth, representing the

immortals.

It is

gentle,

and symbolizes good will and kindness as well as

The Aii Theseus

fertility

of self-knowledge.

visible

heads

Hydra Centaur With the torso and head of a man above the body of a horse, centaurs combine the

her

A

creature of

fire,

the salamander

breathing

Mooded

flames

unhai

that

re

it

!

ied

from the

fires

i

instinctual nature of an

with

animal with the

A formidable

judgment and virtue of a man. In Greek myth

one head were cut off, two more sprang up in its place. In Greek myth it was killed by

Chiron, a respected

us'

is

or surro

he flames. As a symbol righteous soul, whu

repre

+ -ÂŤ-

fire

teacher, i

ii

nerge

of tempta

Linked to the manyheaded naga of India, the hydra was a nineheaded serpent, sometimes depicted

was

a centaur.

a cloglike

Centaurs are also a

Hercules.

Christian symbol of man torn between

the

good and

to truth.

Ii

body.

foe,

if

symbolizes

many problems

that obstruct the path

i<'Âťs%^**' *^s%' ,

28

Minotaur This creature, with the upper half of a bull, lived in the famous labyrinth of Crete. Ever)' year it devoured seven youths and seven maidens chosen by lot to try to appease it. The hero Theseus decided to challenge the beast and end the reign ol terror. The minotaur represents the baser instincts ol man


Mythical Beasts s%s%s%s**

Mermaids and sirens

\|

\k\RA

In India this sea creature

is

the

mount

of the sea

god Varuna and also ol Ganga, goddess ol the Ganges It is part fish and part crocodile or elephant, and is symbolic of the waters ol

woman,

often seen in conjunction with

is creation solar creatures, the It

two together representing fertility. The makara also represents the duality of good and evil

Nag a The naga is a manyheaded serpent deity found widely in the an and legend of India and Southeast .Asia It

also

known

monk and

a large,

Although the king wanted to keep it, he relented when the creature pleaded to be

reflects in

the real balance

returned to the waters. On being released, the bishop fish made the

rain,

essential for the

sign of the cross.

soil.

The lure of dangerous women

the Sirens,

Ulysses is forewarned that he must beware the sirens of the waters, whose voices have the power to lure men to their deaths. He orders his crew to plug their ears with wax, but to tie him firmly to the ship's mast so that he alone can hear their song in safety. The artist has

represented two ol the sirens in human form, but the third has the tail of a fish.

Carved figurehead This mermaid graces the stem of a barge designed in

Triton jewel Hall man and hall was the son have been Late

a

fish,

Triton

King

Ifcl^iik.

ol

Hippo imp mount

ol

Poseidon drawing his chariot across the oceans It has the bod and the forelegs ol I making it symbolic ol both s and i

I

heraldry to denote In the he i us in

i

repn

a

laudable

ol Belfast

ii

le

29

II

of

ind

H the

i

Neptune and may god ol seafarers

of Tritons

is

7 $2

ol

a race

hippocamp

1

Frederick, son of

myths

speak

the

KINE

as the

body Legend has it that one of these creatures was captured in the Baltic in 1433 and presented to the King of Poland.

with garuda. the bird

!

Japanese

fishlike

of the sun. This

the

19th-century

the shaven head of a

control the rains and are in constant conflict

fertility of

half fish. In their fish

mitered bishop, has

wholly animal Nagas

between sun and which are both

woman,

Bishop fish

serpent heads or as

myth

half bird, or half

form they can be mistaken for mermaids. They represent temptation and seduction, the luring of man from his true purpose.

This curious creature,

may be depicted with human torso and

enmity

Mermaids and sirens appear in the mythology of main countries. A mermaid has the body of a beautiful woman and the tail of a fish. She is a creature of the waters, symbolic of fertility and the unconscious. Sometimes she carries a mirror, which represents truth and the soul. Male equivalents are rarer, although the Tritons of Greek myth - embodying wantonness were mermen. Sirens may appear in two forms: hall

mermaid

kt Draper. 1905


(

Mythologies i

-%•%--».

-*.-%,-K%^V»^^-%^V-%^%

&

Religions

-»».-%.-%.%--%-%..-%..-». ^.-1-1

-*^%^»^»-^-^-%--%--%^%--i

Dragons Combining

air. fire, and water, the and dark, the sun and moon, masculine and feminine, and the unit}' underlying these opposing forces. The dragon possesses the wings of a bird and the scales of a snake or fish. It breathes fire and often guards a hoard of treasure in its lair. In the East and in pre-Christian Europe the dragon was seen as helpful and kind - indeed, the red dragon is the emblem of Wales - but Christianity which saw the serpent as a symbol of evil, also viewed the dragon as a creature of ill-omen, representing destructiveness and inner chaos.

characteristics of the four elements, earth,

dragon symbolizes

Basilisk

light

Usually depicted as a

form of serpent, the can also have

basilisk

the legs and wii a dragon. In medieval

Viking dragon Norse myth the biter," Nidhogg, devoured corpses and

Europe its breath or gaze was believed to be

fatal. It is

In

dread

a

symbol of death.

gnawed

The

he roots of the ash tree Yggdrasil, the tree

ceaselessly

at

i

five

claw

s

this

garment belong

the

Emperor

ot life.

Nidhogg

symbolized

The pt immortality^

evil.

.

Embroidered irn to

silk

square

denote rank

Chinese dragon A symbol

ol the

Emperor, of male energy, and of fertility, the Chinese dragon is a benign animal and the

fifth

creature of

the Chinese zodiac

It

guards the East and represents sunrise, spring,

DRAGON This stylized

dragon is from an Anglo-Saxon shield. In its it

carries

dragons

mouth

ol the air.

the

and the spirit. Dragon dances and dragon

what looks - perhaps

the pearl of immortality.

boat races are still popular in China.

WD

GEORGl

DRAGON

III!

The spiraling

Christians equate the dragon with the serpent, the tempter of Eve in the Garden of Eden. The dragon, too, was evil,

rains

earth, the water,

like a pearl

ST.

and the

Indeed, torrential rain is known as "dragon rain." There are four types ol dragons in Chinese legend -

cloud l^7"^•s,|U^

divine

an embodiment ofman's lower

assistance

nature. By slaying the dragon, the victor overcomes heresy and evil and also his

George

is

own

primitive drives.

St.

patron saint of England, and of

soldiers.

all

n\

on batlike

mbol

(lii

q/

tnumph

i

d ovei

(hough to be evil

proi

The d the 1

inn.

I

ilinih

I

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-%s%*

r^S%S%S%ShSl

30

u

-%]


Mythical

Bi \sts

Phoenix The phoenix, sometimes known as the tiro bird, :^elf on fire every one hundred years, dies m the flames, and then rises again from the ashes. It is a universal symbol ol immortality, death by fire, the sun. and resurrection. It is also a symbo" of gentleness because it lives only on dew, not harming any living ereature. In China u represents the empress and, with the dragon. stands tor inseparable fellowship In Mexico the phoenix accompanied the great god Quetzalcoatl and to early Christians it symbolized Christ.

Sphinx A popular symbol originating in Egypt anc

The mount of Vishnu, Garuda is usually portrayed as part man, pan eagle, and often

this is

either

heavenly musician

part ol the celestial

the principal deities

Indian beliel h is an auspicious symbol, times found on

he-

a lion

m

and

a

human

head. The Greek sphin

was that

by

chorus surrounding

and is a bird ol life The garuda is often shown doing battle i

human and

Half

half bird or half horse,

has a golden body. It is a huge, noble ereature that represents the sun

with its enemies, snakes

Babylon, the sphinx usually has the body o

klWARA

lemale monster devoured passers-

a

who

lailed to

answer her

riddle

In

SlMURGH

differeni cultures the

sphinx symbolizes the

wisdom, and

ruler,

This fabulous Pei

the

c

reature, a mixture ol

peacoi

temple doorways.

k

lii

griffi

Russian and mythology With <

of heaven

Griffin

II

he gi iiim was a guardian reature with the head,

the mosl

winged ol the

hero Belleropl

st

blood

ol

Sat red to

Medusa and earned

/<

ted with speed I

m

Aih

i

the

and

hippogn

I

i

hundred eagles

Igllaiue,

wisdoi

%^^S%S%S%S%s%S*<^%S*^s%S%^S%S< 51

III

\D 14'

i

/

(\KI IM

I

woman,

and the wings and the

I

sudden death

i

HYDRA N\c\

i

winds, causing storms and whirlpools and

md

ph,

evil inl

.uh\

legs ol a vulture

is

I

larpies

Apollo and griffin

I)

uso

K.I Kl

Dragon

had the head

a

m

desti

ol

light

\K\I

i

I

the female

mgei than

(

m

an ea .1

Si

ek mythology the harp) symbolized

and talons ol he body lion It was sail

earth.

\nn

I

t

and

ol

Mism

turn PHOI SIX

I

i

/


+-^'+s%s+s\*%s%s%s%s%s%s%*%s%-^'%s%s%s\s%s%s±s%^s%s%s%s%s%s%.

I


Nature The

natural world provides a vast and

rich store oj symbols.

and

The sun, moon,

stars are widely seen as symbolic,

affecting every aspect oj

our

lives.

and

Plants

flowers have diverse meanings, from flowers oj love tojruits ojfertility,

and animals,

too,

have

particular associations linked to their characteristics

and

cultural importance.


i

& Moon

Sun

The sun and moon have always played a powerful role in image ry. For many cultures all over the world the sun is the embodiment of male energy, li^ht and warmth; the moon of female mystery and creation. Both are symbolic of death and rebirth: the sun because of its daily rising and setting; the moon because of its monthly waxing and waning between new moon and full moon. The suns energy warms the land and ripens crops, while the moon's gravity influences the waters, controlling the flow of tides.

Man Clock u i

this

It

has long been believed that the

full

bnngs on or aggravates the symptoms of madness. In this painting Diana, the Roman huntress and goddess of the moon, is seated in the clouds above a group of lunatic followers. The word lunatic comes from the Latin luna, meaning moon, and originally meant moonstruck.''

\\

I

I

moon

-

Ec

1

An

eclipse ol the

IPSE

moon

an eclips< ed by the bodiless

devouring the moon or sun. which then passes through his neck and back into the sky

they reflect the dark or sinister force

\

to the

demon Rahu

at a full

moon

of the

was nailed

that

influence overcreai ol the night When

wolves howl

moon. myth a man

in the

or the sun is regarded by many with fear and seen as a portent of evil. Hindu myth says

Baying \i mi \kxin The moon exen

moon

man

to atone for his

i

Moons rm tk madness

is

In popular

the

19th-century clock link time to the movements of the heavens.

Her Fou

moon

on as feminine. people often speak ol

The moons on

I

moon

the

in

Although the

moon.

R

White purity

cloal

and

Symbol

r>

Personification of sun and mucin

'

ie -1-

n

-

K

-

1908

oceans are governed by the moon, so, like the moon, water has associations with d with the feminine creative principle. Water is central to many creation myths it

flood"

is

a

common

an from which

all life

theme. The sea represents the unconscious and infinity has emerged and into which u must eventually dissolve

34

In this illustration from a 16th-century alchemical treatise, the sun and moon are personified as king and queen The moon (Diana) wears white, in contrast to the red of her twin brother, the sun (Apollo). The flames beneath the sun s feel reflect alchemists' belief that the sun is the innate fire present in all mauer Diana's foot rests on the moon, ol which she is both goddess and symbol


& Moon %--».•.».«.»«»

Sun

<•-%.

square,

«^«^%. -«.%-%.-<

ass and emblems

TV

hey within

the triangle

represents the heart as keepet

Bl

\CK SUN

[his sun adonis an

I8th-centurj house in Prague known as the Black Sun. In alchem the black sun. or

sol

symbol of Saturn and stands for niger, is a

the dark, destructive aspect ol the sun

Freemasonry This sun-headed

freemason

is

Al'OI LO Apollo. Greek god ol the sun, is the slaw darkness. In this mosaic from Corinth his head, surrounded by flames, symbolizes his divine nature and the ultimate power ol the sun.

made up

ol the materials of his

lodge, with symbols relating to his order.

S< \RAB The Egyptian sacred Tablet

is a form ol the Min ^od Khepn. depicted here in

beetle

ilu

I

lighting irld

i.

(

mil

o)

sun

beams, with to i

and

the 7 continents

Art deco mo hi

Many countries have adopied the sun as their

known

^

1

represent

ieas

Flags

national

ndence

J night as ^\"

o) the

Declaration oj

Torch blazes

winged form, clasping the solar ball and representing new life

Fl\goi

I

date

emblem as the

Sunbursts were popular

japan.

land

Associated

in stained-glass

windows and

ol

has a plain rod disk, while Uruguay has a more decorative sun face the rising sun,

sieel

decoration

1920s and

with the

also in

sun

ol the

fire is

purifying,

30s, sui

the tiered root ol New York's Chryslei Building

destructive

revealing

it

is

spintuai

power ana

main

rituals and world lhe Statue ol iheriv, with her crown ol sun s rays stands at the entrance to New York harboi She holds alofi a burning torch, whk h is a he flame symbol ol safety and assurance was literally a ra) ol hope to the thousands ol homeless who sailed into the haiboi s.k rifice,

and pla\s

a part in

religions throughout the 1

I

iLSO

Sej I

I

IGS

M5 FREEMASONI (

\l

I

M)\R

MOM

Thi-

I

Moon minis «r

ne

with a

sun

S!

i

Si

the year divui IS

into 18 short I

spill I

Si N

he

MASK

\ EMB1

his

1

emblem on

cathedral in

emph.i

Ameri< an spirii mask from h ( olumbia, tl the spirit ol the sun It il to Us tube s be! nortlf

in the

i

I

Siena

s

SUN

DEITIES

H

Ital)

In this Native

in

\|.

M

ili\

nis lirits

within the flames ol the sim It was designed as

mbol

ol p'

Si s

\l

i


Nature

Earth

&

Sky

The relationship of the earth and the sky is vital for the well-being of humankind, for it is the combination of sun, rain, wind, and soil that brings life, warmth, and nourishment. The sky is symbolic of transcendence and the heavenly realms, and gods of the sky are linked to the masculine power and the creative aspect of the sun. The earth symbolism complements that of the sky and represents the Great Mother, receiving fertilizing rain, producing crops, and nourishing animals. Rivers and lakes represent the bountiful properties of the earth and share

nurturing qualities. India, are

Some

rivers,

its

feminine,

such as the Ganges

in

viewed as sacred.

Satellite photograph

Earth from space Far from demystifying

our view of the heavens, space exploration has heightened our sense

awe at the vastness and magnificence of of

our world.

Volcano Volcanoes, with their terrifying

powers of

destruction, have

always been sacred and highly symbolic to the people who live in their

Rain forest

shadow. An

eruption

may

be

interpreted as a sign of

River

the fury of the gods

A

In

parts of Southeast Asia a

human

sacrifice to a

volcano used to be made in an attempt to avert such wrath.

river

is

both a symbol of

fertility,

of the neverending flow of time.

soul with the Absolute.

since

Its

it

and an image merging of the

irrigates land,

delta represents the

Meandenng

slowly to the sea, the river can also symbolize a journey into death. Journeys to the Underwotld often involve the crossing of a river, and the four nvers of Paradise are a source of power and spiritual nourishment.

The lorest is a magical, heroic realm of danger and enchantment, and it can represent the unconscious mind. The forest is either the fearful haunt of spirits, wolves, and goblins, as in European folklore, or a place of seclusion where pursue spiritual contemplation, as in Indian culture In the latter part of the 20th century the rain forest has come to represent the vulnerability of our planet, which is rapidly being destroyed by human encroachment. ascetics

'. I

i

18

36

..


Earth

<Sr

Sky

Weather Every culture has had an explanation

whims

for the

S\OWI

p

mi

i

Si

Pi ren's,

Romf

Sky Probably because the sun, stars, and moon are above us in the sky, the sky has always been associated with creator gods and the forces of creation.

The domed

mosques

are often painted blue to resemble the

sky. symbolically

roofs of cathedrals

reminding the

and

I

folktales personifications such as the North Wind and Jack Frost are blamed for miserable weather, while storms are traditionally attributed to the storm god in China and Japan.

\KI

Snow represents coldness and hardness in human nature, but the fragile beauty of a snowflake symbolizes truth and wisdom. The snowflake is

also a

Wind cherub This cherub blows the wind, probably to guide a boat on its course across the ocean. Such cherubs

were a popular way BalU

ol q)

representing the

winds

thtindei

in

Western

art.

symbol of

individuality, since

two

of the weather. In

no

are alike.

faithful of

Thunder and lightning

heaven above.

This Japanese god of thunder takes the form of a strong man beating his drum. The circle of balls around his head represent the reverberations of the thunder

Chinese clouds Clouds symbolize the mystical and the sacred.

Drumstick

Japanese Thunder

to

God

The Chinese

beat

traditionally

formed from the union of female and male, yin and yang. believe they are

out the railing

thunder

Dove of peace

Noah's Ark, Gabriel Loire, 1975

Rambow, <

lod's

.

sign of

ovenanl

Noah's ark,^

symbol of the Christian

Chunh

A London Fog. F.D. Bedford, 1902

Rainbow

Fog many

cultures the rainbow bridges th( and heaven It is often seen as a message ol h

Fog, like cloud, is a symbol of the mystical and mysterious It stands for the confusion Irom which the soul must emerge to attain enlightenment

In

from the gods. In the Bible God as a sign ol

sent a

Hisco

iftei

rainbow

the

I

See also (Rl

M MOIHIR ÂŤ" H.

River

a

FJtf ALL. Zl'

Watebfau In Ch: xilism a waterfall represents the feminine while a mountain or dill is the

ine

Its

downward motion is the mterpan to the upward-striving the

any

Vou wi 1)1 SI

A

pi.

figun

the mn;l

i

Rl

ndonment and desolation, the mplation In the Bible

["he

Hid

"l Isi

57

and

desert also repres

gi (

bust was tempted

in

children

the

d<

Waterfai

i


Precious Matter The world's mountains, lakes, and waters are the repositories of hidden treasures - revealing the unexpected presence of pearls inside craggy oysters or substances such as metals and minerals that can be mined and transformed into objects of extraordinary beauty In the past, the fascination with these materials stemmed from their colors or brilliance, but durability also played a or corroding,

and

part.

Gold could

last forever

without tarnishing

and polished, seemed equally impervious uncertain world, such beauty and permanence

stones, cut

to change. In a fragile,

must have appeared

to

have magical, almost divine, properties. Natural

Coral

pi \KI

rhis Italian

was believed that the only way to cross In rivers safely or to calm a raging tempest was to cam' a piece of red or white coral. But the alleged powers oi coral went far beyond this. Coral was thought to staunch the How of blood from a wound, cure madness, imbue the wearer v> uh \\ isdom, and offer protection against enchantments. Sprigs freshh gathered from the sea, such as the one hanging above the Madonna in this picture, are deemed the most powerful. To this da) many people give children coral jewelry to protect them from hai m the 16th century

i

hild's

it

bracelet with I

was

its

hand clasp dt signi

.1

to

\ard the

IN

>YSTER SHELL

Peari Prized in East and West alike, the pearl is a universal symbol oi beauty and perfection. It

is

linked to the realm ot the feminine - the moon, chastity, patience, and purity, Chinese dragons are usually portrayed clasping a pearl,

wisdom, immortality, and once thought

to

light. Pearls

symbol of were

be the tears of the gods.

Amber MOTHER-OF-PEAR]

With

he shells symbolism

I

is

clear

- u

from

its

name

mother oi the much-prized pearl and as such represents fertility and birth lis is

the

luster .\nd iridescence

make

it

perfeel for

honoring the gods 1

[ere, tiny casts

amber was

thought to be congealed sunlight; in ancient tiieeee n was sacred to the sun god, Apollo.

Norse and Greek myth amber was thought to be tears In

Vikings

lor the

have

bright golden

its

sheen,

been placed into the

Svipdag, .uu\

shell of this pearl

Creeks

mussel images

ol

to

(

it

loi

was

i

In'

tears

shed over the death Phaeton

reate

oi the

was

it

Freya's tears for

Buddha.

Ivory \\

hen

contact

in direct

Virgin; n

to ll

1

496

38

I

or purit)

symbol and so is

is

material

a

was loi

c

a

ol

favored

rue ifbees

also assoi iated

could protect against

Ivory

poisons, illnesses, anil

with moral strength. An ivory tower represents detachment from the world, possibly through

In the jet

Nth

became

associated with death ITS

ol its color,

assot iated with the

storms century

,

ause

and soul and

safeguard the wearei

CORAI

Be<

with the skin, jet was believed to become a part of a person's body

and mourning, and was worn as a symbol ol love loi a losi hiend

,u

is

rogani

e

or piiismts

inlellei lu.il


Preciol

Matter

s

Gold Regarded as the most precious of metals, gold

is

a

symbol of

all

that has the highest value or is die hardest to attain. The ultimate prize-winners are gold medalists, perfect times are"

known

S \ lR Linked to the 1

weight

moon

of

as color.

but also

silver is bright,

vicing turns the corruptible side ol

human

which

nature,

Olympic cold Awarded lor excellence

needs cleansing. In

in a given held, the gold

China

medal

silver

is

the

lunar, feminine yin. in Christianity chastity,

it

is

punty.

and eloquence

in

is

gold

light, lire,

radiant

and treasured items as worth their most cultures gold is linked to the sun, giver and life. The sun god Apollo, symbol of all that is

as "golden eras,

1

and

In

beautiful, rode a chariot of gold across the skies. The

EMBI

oj the King's

XIV,

the most highly

sun's

powei

In the

TH! S

i

k

a<

as positive

.ell

symbolism, representing the sins of idolatry and gi eed - as in the legend of King Midas.

lifestyle.

the

\

thousands ol fortune hunters panned riverbeds for gold. Gold's power to corrupt lends it a negative

St N KING Louis \1Y of France was known for his extravagant

Nicknamed

i

the American continent as

achievement

and opulent

i

1850s and

"gold fever" spread

K

sought alter pi symbol ol exceptional

Gold

symbolize the extent :

Sun King

sun god Ap he adopted the golden

alter the

Copper The power

of copper to conduct has made it symbolic oi connection In alchemy it is in the sphere ol Venus, and

.inked to warmth and femininity Among

emblem

of

the sun to

symbolize his power

and

his

imponance

in the world.

North American u copper denoted status

fft

U

Golden offering

MW-SIZEDJAR

In Thailand worshipers

This Chinese ornamental jar. made ol beaten gold, is as tall as a woman The detailed scenes depicted on lt^. surface took a team ol goldsmiths more than a year to complete

\n

Lead's cheapness made il for pilgrims

honor Buddha by pressing tmi leaves of pure gold onto h image Over the years, th layers of gold render

Buddha

lorm almost unrecognizable

mmemorating

Crystal

shnne As the hea\ metal, lead

symbolizes purity. clarity, and also the >all represents the mind. In Christians a Jsare widely world ol the light o alian thought to have magical pow real aboriginals a rystal is a symbol spun Crystal ball of the future, and wearing a rystal is thought to promote health

symbo

il

well as a in or a rx

burdened by

sin

<

<

LODI lis

MOM

magnetic properties

S/l

imbued lodestone with

Iron

quasi-sexual pow< In ancient ility .

man

rule with

be

R(K K and

In the Bib:

igth

the ÂŤ.\mhol ol In

the ru

ting

and

from the Greek

r.

unih. â&#x20AC;˘ted

wife s faithfulness In plaintone under hei pillow while the

ti

ish a

huge

that a

word

is>

*

I

h

Pi Mtl

'

i

In Sanskrit lor

li

meai i

ILSO

\|

GOLOH

could ensure his

she slept

S

ms!

(

was believed

and

C

hinese the

J in

word

Si \ kin.

i


Nature -*ije'i***di-**?*?**?^fc>*^*'*******-%^

Precious Stones and talismans have played an important part in ever)' culture and continue to do Diamond, symbol of so to this day. From the early Egyptian and South power and wealth American civilizations to the oldest cultures in the East, people have imbued stones with supernatural powers. There are stones to control the elements, calm the winds, and still rough seas, and others to work directly on the body, stimulating vital organs or creating a sense of well-being. There are stones for particular days of the week, and stones for the different months. Stones that capture and reflect light, such as moonstones and star sapphires, are deemed to bring good luck. Agates, Fetishes, amulets,

Bt'FFALO FETISH

with central wTiite rings carved into watchful "guardian eyes," can neutralize the

power

At one time, Native

Americans used

fetishes to

help control the lorces of nature and to tackle problems in their even-day lives. The fetish did not contain any innate power; its spirit force was given to a by us owner.

of the evil eye.

The meaning of gemstones The symbolism of stones varies depending on their color, their form, and the use to which they arc put. For example, cut and faceted gemstones symbolize the soul set free from ihe base exterior of the

human

body.

Lapis lazuli In Mesopotamia

blue stone symbolized the heavens and so was used to decorate the tellings of temples In

:OND v

CADUCEUS BROOCH

this

Wings transcend)

pi

11

was used

adorn statues M<

r<

v

1113

's

bnnj>

ol the

from

it

was viewed as a cure for melancholy and level In China symbolized vision, and was used to

wit

han

strife

Amethyst

lake lapis lazuli,

This

sapphire symbolizes the blue ol the heavens

humility, peace of mind,

and also the heavenly attributes ol truth, chastity,

to

gods, while in Europe

Twin snakes of good and evil _

Sapphire

11

diseases of the eye.

and

contemplation. The star sapphire is a powerful good-luck i

harm

three shafts

Its

ol light are

represent

thought to hope,

faith,

and destiny.

is

the stone of

and resignation. was associated with Bacchus, god ol wine, and was thought to piety, It

cure drunkenness. It became a symbol of sobriety, possibly because water in an

amethyst jug looked like

wine, but had no

intoxicating effect

i f

Ruby

Emerald

In India this

of stones

is

and

the king

is

generally associated zeal,

Topaz

Legend has it that emeralds are found

royalty, dignity,

Diamond brock

and power. In rubies were

The most prized

h

as well

I

the nests ol griffins

poor

Revered and powerful stones, emeralds are thought to enhance the memory, sharpen the

to Si

Burma

as the hardest stone, the

thought to confer invulnerab especial!;.- if they were

diamond

with incorruptibility

wits, and,

and

under the tongue, help

embedded

transparency and

in the teeth or flesh so that they

ame

a part of the

allegedly

wounding by

ward and

1

associated

invincibility. Its

purity

make

it

also a

symbol of constancy and sincerity. Here,

diamond snakes

pi

swords, or guns as jewelr

is

Worn may

entwine a staff of emeralds in a winged caduceus, symbol of medicine as the healing union of opposites.

his stone was also widely believed to cure

in

when placed

had to place a topaz m wine for a period of three days. lien, on going to bed, he had to rub his eyes I

the moistened

The emerald

sti

has been used as an antidote for poison and a treatment of eye disease, dysentery, and leprosy.

Due

color, the

ti

me

century topaz was thought to heal plague sores.

A Roman

physic ian

claimed man)' successes is

Ql

to effect a cure.

open sores with a stone thai had longed to two popes.

a

ing

symbol of spring, of fertility, and of ram.

li'

40

I

:>

In the 15th

1

emerald

According

llildegard, the

patient

in predicting the

future.

vision.

l/AU OAU. \M> EARâ&#x201E;˘

Aztec turquoise mask Turquoise was highly valued in Mesoamcru a and was often used in representations ol gods, or

weapons

to ensure accurac y lie Aztec s stone of the gods In ancient Egypl turquoise was thought to lie protective Ihe stone is symbolic ol courage, fulfillment, and success. tied to

(ailed

it

the

I


Precious Stones

Agate

Opal The opal

is

the national

stone ol Australia, as

symbolized by this brooch Shakespeare

Wearing one's birthstone

is

viewed the opal as a symbol of inconstancy. although its Christian

thought to be lucky These are the most

common

birthstones:

associations are fidelity,

January - Gamet February - Amethyst March - Aquamarine April - Diamond May - Emerald

Sjrayer,

and

children"*,

June - Pearl

- Ruby ..List - Peridot September - Sapphire October - Opal November - Topaz December - Turquoise

July

although

this

belief almost certainly

comes from

the fact

Wu

Jade In

were carried as

stands for courage,

Mesoamencan

and prosperity. red for long life and

the

it,

and

their misgivings turned

into popular

myth

ove. Jade

vigor,

Maori lucky charm, that keeps fail spirits away

spiritual love.

little

it.

The

Crucifix Large and small crosses ensure

mbract

Chnstian symbols Contains spices to

safeguard

infection

power* against magic

spell*

Muldihifr lozenge I'cn to help spirits at

Cornelian

Moonstone

Red stones were

So named because

thought to be

captures the sheen of the moon, this stone is sacred in India and is Widely believed to bring good fortune. Legend has it that a person who places a

stimulating to the

Pamandei

of coral

bed

who adorn

gods with

to dispel the

against

tern

Indians,

of their

and magic

by her patron saint

(

masks

is

Spanish amquistadores believed it healed hip and kidney complaints.

hel tiki amulet,

Patron saint The child is safeguarded

.1

their fiancees jade

magic properties of stones.

a host of

let with

the most precious

similarly valued by

the evil eye. Black agate

working with

is

butterflies to represent their eternal

of salvation

Spng

this

Bridegrooms give

guardian spirits to counter the effects of

Jewelers began to include pectoral crosses and rock crystal reliquaries in their range, and it was not uncommon in Spain and Italy to festoon children with protective jewelry. This Spanish child is armed with an allpowerful red spng of coral, a protective

and

China

stone, symbolizing purity, perfection, andirnmortalit)

that opal breaks very

The nse of Christianity did

fist,

Year dragons

emblems of good luck

easily Jewelers disliked

Religion, superstition, belief in the

religious

error It is generally held to be unlucky (except lor October's

Agate has been thought to cure insomnia, to ensure pleasant dreams, to protect the wearer from danger, and to endow a person with a bold heart. Its popularity has been widespread. In Sudan, agate amulets - black with a white circle to look like an eye -

them

circulator)-

system and

was

the cornelian

deemed

particularly

valuable to those timid in speech or weak of voice. In the West it is viewed as a stone of

see into the

it is

fist

the

will

futi

symbolic

It is

moon, and ol

*

moon

be able to

is full

and health

In the East

in his

mouth when

self-confidence, courage

thought to protect the wearer from other people's envj

I

moonstone

it

ol the

tenderness,

ol

lovers

gainst

See also \/lli

II

RCM Ols|

MVskli

Diamond bkocx

i

BlOODSTONE I

his stone

was

thought to contain the blood ol |eSUS Mis' be magical

li

allegedly cause thunder, lightning, i

m

\/l

I

I

I'mi 101

STONI

s

i

a practical level,

and hemorrhaging

mwmum

Mis

and tempests

bloodstone was used to stem nosebleeds

w^>~/*^rvvy:

1

could

When made

u

jewelry,

symbolic

it

is

Rlin. ion

\Mi MACII

si 1

PERSTTTION, I

peace and understanding

r

ol

% â&#x20AC;˘%-%'%^^'*--%^%^%^ 4

I

k-^,'%^%-


i

Nature

Gardens The literature of Europe, full

the Middle East,

and Asia

is

of the imagery of the garden: the garden represents

Paradise and the abode of the soul. Chinese and

Vietnamese emperors had tombs built in exquisite, tranquil gardens,

which they

visited

during their

lives

and where they were eventually buried. The biblical Garden of Eden symbolized the state of perfection from which Adam and Eve fell, while the walled garden with a narrow opening was a visual representation of the wall of purity that surrounded the Virgin Mary.

Walled gardens medieval walled garden was a -a mbol The-

of the

womb

and the

feminine, protective principle.

It

symbolized

and The walled garden had powerful religiou> symbolism, privacy, secrecy,

virginit)

representing spiritual

enlightenment Chinese and Roman tomb gardens were the earthly counterparts of the gardens of heaven In medieval literature

was an allegory foi courtly love (as here), with symbols of lo\ beauty, and other

e

pleasu

15

ry

French mam

s<

rim

Gardens of Spain I

\rabs living

"i

desert, a garden

the

the

in

was

arthly symbol oi

i

uni Paradise, des< ribed in the Koran as a place oi spreading

shade, "I

with

fountains

gushing watei he .ii n was a symbol I

i

everlasting

life he ourtyard, garden with a lountain i

fi

'I

'Hi

fold

oi

I

(

in the center spread with the Moors to 1> n southern Spain 1

The Garden' of Earthly Df

i

some

;

1510

This

panel from a triptych, a three-paneled painting, by the Flemish painter

Hieronymus Bosch depicts the biblical Garden of Eden. Here, the first humans. Adam and lived in harmony with nature and the animals in a state of natural innocence until they were banished from Parad right

he Fall. is

nature

a detail rur.

On

showing

the

i

of the lowliest

examples can be seen in the grounds ol the Alhambra at Granada.

Grotto In

ancient Greece

sacred

rites

conducted

Fountains

were in grottoes,

and so grottoes were created in (..reek and

In Babylonian tradition, four rivers

Roman gardens

watered Paradise, and

artifu

i.il

as

ta\es in

in the Bible, the

reinforce the magical

Fountain of Life is source of the rivers.

between tin garden and nature

This symbolism is d in lormal

the grotto

'ink In

-pean gardens in which four paths lead

Renaissance times,

was

reintroduced as an essential elemeni ol lassical garden design

to a central fountain

(

42


Gardens Formal

irdens

through

itOtUS c>/

the

ordering

I:

I

LOVl KNOTS

needlework designs. Knots, representing and binding, are

links

symbols of love and matrimony. They also symbolize fate and

ward

off evil

I

Fi.

Versailles have a SlLXTR BAY

TREE

political significance.

Known

as the Sun King. Loin- wanted to

show

his supremacy by conquering and

century, and reflected

contemporary-

nature

The Orangery at Versailles,

s VERSAI1 The formal grandeur of Louis XI V's paku c and gardens at

Kn

Knot gardens are made up o( interlaced bands of shrubbery, each with a central motif. They were popular in England in the 16th

oj

Bai tree The evergreen bay tree is a symbol of immortality and victory. Small bay trees are

irking the natural

landscape so that his surroundings reflected

own

his

WlSHlNC, Will

The

status.

\

symbol

ol the

feminine, life-giving

cultivated in pots as a

grand scale of Versailles was a conscious

symbol of honor and

symbol of the power

often been believed to

longevity.

of absolute

principle, the

monarchy

have magical properties A ^oin tossed into its

depths could make a wish come true

Ornaments A garden

an be seen as a symbol of the natural world, and <

Is I

considered

honu kinds

all

lbbot's

Garden of

1

from the

thesi

Zen garden Beautiful, bare rock

gardens are i reated in Zen Buddhist monasteries in |apan

'.! !

I

has

irdens

only since the

m

r The columns thai Man enclo "./(. or court) B(

it

hoed

m

gnome

ol

elik origin

c

See

microcosm Some have

aj s<>

Hour

a

garden with r*.-li overhung with t

I

I

Bonsai

pebbli

he Japanese an

ol

growing minial

and

provii

1

irney

,ii.

womb;

ration, thi

th<

mbol

this

4

5

ol immortalit)

in

(,\kl>l\

islands I

his illusion

intended

from generatioi the

ite

EOEl

.'F

miniature the unpi

symb

mastery ovei natui

nto red

nid

Kyoti

â&#x20AC;˘

t

I

evil

I

raked sand, the Dr) andscape garden in I

alment

humb *

to represeni the universe in

i

and

gods Koine to the

I

ni

ultimate truth, and h is an aid to

meditation

I

1>\I

kSl'l

I

is

MAZI

I

\iKs\im I

i

'


Nature

Trees fu#ÂŁ

The tree has symbolic

throughout the world.

It

significance in cultures

represents the Great

in her nourishing, sheltering form.

Rooted

Mother

in the earth,

it

draws water from the ground and reaches up to the heavens Ouve branches: and eternity, acting as a world axis. It is closely linked to the symbols of peace symbolism of the pillar and the mountain. Individual trees, types of trees, and groups of trees all have particular associations. For example, evergreen trees symbolize immortality, whereas fruit-bearing

Willow n the Weste weeping willow is associated with death and mourning, and it the

is

trees

often depicted in

China and Japan however, it is a symbol oi spring, funerary

are often seen as trees of

life,

and

forests or groves

tend to be magical places

where mysterious or momentous events occur.

In

art.

Palm As an important food source the palm was equated with the tree oi

life

in the

Near

In ancient Egypt

the fertility of the

and

crops. In

Taoism

the willow, pliable in strong winds,

represents strength.

was

sacred to the sun god, Re, and represented

of feminine beauty, grace. In

East.

it

an

Judaism

it is

emblem

of Judea; in Christianity of Christ's entry into Jerusalem

Cherry Sycamori maim

In

i

cherry

form ol the sky goddess, Nut Its leaves provide shade, which svmbolized peace and

blossom

1

tree, a

Tree of

km mi

-

edge

rest in the afterlife

Symbol of temptation, the tree of knowledge grows in Paradise and bears the fruit of good and evil. As Adam succumbs to Eve's enticements and takes a bite of the apple, he defies the will of God, signif) ing both his loss of innocence and his downfall - Adam falls from grace and "mankind is doomed. In this Spanish painting. Eve blames the serpent, her tempter and itself a symbol of evil

China and |apan the

To ancienl gyptians, this was a celestial

fruit yields a

the

milky

substance, and so was associated with fertility

and nourishment

is

a national

emblem and

its

symbol ol spring, femininity, and is

a

youth. In English lore a cherry nee planted near the house brings luck,

and the

luckiest

lovers are those

who

meet for the first time under a cherry nee

Laurel Sacred to Apollo and a

symbol of immortality and victory, the laurel was said by Greeks and Romans to be physically and spiniually cleansing, and to repel lightning

Worn

as a wreath,

it

symbolized the poet

and excellence in the sciences and arts.

The Christmas tree Widespread

throughout Europe and North America the Christmas tree is a symbol of Christ as redeemer ol original sin he ornaments on its branches represent the apples from the tree in the Garden of Eden The custom of decorating an evergreen tree goes back to the pre-Christian period ol taw nights" (December 25 to January 6), when people would hang green brain lies m their houses and light candles to keep evil spirits

17k candles an- symbolit

1

Beech Associated with death, the beech is sacred to Hades and Cybele, the mother of Zeus, and represents prosperity, divination,

PlNl As an evergreen the pine symbolizes immortality. In Japan it has come to signify strength of

character and

and

immortality. Because of its leather)'

leaves

and

bark the beech durance, and the Freemason's i

hammer

made of beech wood. The beech

is

tree is the

emblem

of

vital

lue to its

Denmark.

.ithstand

strong winds. In both East a

the

pinec

and

an Greek god Bacchus, and an emblem of Jup Venus, and Diana. ft

attribute oi the

is

at

Yew The yew

bay

has poisonous seeds and needles and so represents death. It has become symboln. ol tree

mourning and found

is

often

in English

Holly In Roman

churchyards; however, as an evergreen it also symbolizes immortality

and was grown

times holly was

part of the Saturnalia festival

in

Celtic sacred groves. In

the Middle Ages it was used as an antidote to

celebrated in mid-December In Christian lore it symbolizes both the crown thorns, due to its spiked leaves and bloodi

'I

red berries,

enchantment

44

and the joy of Christmas

oj Jesus, the

light o] the

world"


Trees -%^%^%^%^%^*^%^

Sacred trees A

reverence For trees, and even tree worship, is widespread thoughout

Main life -

a tree that

the central point

and pivot

the world. ol a tree

of

traditions speak is

of the world. This tree links

OR

L.IM1

I

IND1 N

Europe the lime, or

In

linden, tree represents

beauty, and

sacred to the ancient

German) and Scandinavia was femininity

In

it

believed to repel lightning and to cure

touched by someone w ho was sick. ase

Ac \CTA With its red and white (lowers, the acacia was

it

Egyptians, symbolizing

and death Thengods were said to hawbeen born beneath an birth

The sacred wood ol the Hebrew tabernacle was that of acacia tree.

the "shittah," or acacia tree. In

Europe

it

symbolizes immortality

heaven and earth since it is rooted in the underworld, but its branches reach up to the heavens, symbolizing man's striving for perfection

The Scandinavians have Yggdrasil, Buddhists have

and Muslims kneel on carpets embroidered with trees of life when praying toward Mecca. Christ is sometimes shown crucified on the tree of knowldge in the Garden the bodhi tree,

of Eden, symbolizing

redemption.

Ml This

BERR^

I

Mali vol

tree's berries

npen

nt

serpent

attach the roots

in three stages white-

represents youth, red

gorous middle and black the npeness ol wisdom, age, and death This tree symbolizes the sun

Yggdrasil

years,

and

is

a tree of

life

in

China. In Greek myth it is a tree of misfortune.

Pi

l

Yggdrasil is the evergreen ash tree that, in its mythological form, represents the entuc world lis trunk represents th<

M plur

ie

and from beneath its roots bubble the rivers - the waters ol wisdom.

central axis ol the universe,

wit an emblem ol winter In Japan the tree l

represents the fleeting joy and innocence youth, its beautilul

:hl. 01

'"(in, eru irele

blossom a symbol ol spring triumphing over winter, and virtue and courage triumphing

Buddha's

bod")

Pr.NA

I

R

HANGING

difficulties.

In this 19th-

century example stylized tree ol is

a

life

intricately

woven

into the

design.

Muslim

prayei rugs often

Buddha under

a bodhi tree

todhi tree, a type ol

Buddha

ol the

s

fig, is

depict this

powerful symbol

symbolic

Enlightenment,

ol asceni and salvation The

which he attained while meditating hes Bodhi trees are monaster) grounds as remindei ol this event

faithful kneel

in<

often

grown a

(

ypu

ss

M\Rll

d with Pluto. death. !

|

I

immortality

n in

hina it h but 'he feminine ilm

peace

eel

and

iii

to the

(

the earth elik

m

god Donai

In

i

in

th since

mam

ii

is.i

In

dreams

signit a rijx-

ol

(

hrisi s

while

cull

ludaism the gods

hristians

i

symbol

ol the

it

ii

is

divine

a

4 3

m

symbol

:

irope the oak ism stand

rity

old

i

ILSO

Beei

'

ii

wind and

in the

so bi

.md

Si

luno, lupiter, lima n represents

d

it

and

a tree ol lite

Often associated with the thunder gods, the oak

ol

ne, happiness,

(

on

and

prayers

theii

Oak

ish bridal

immortal,'

In

.

(

d ie Venus and to the Egyptian godd< Hathor, myrtle brii luck to lovers and

mhol

Is

in

t>I Ml R Iki

As the seed ol the mighty oak. the acorn videspread symbol ol

H

i

!>R\

\(

ndina\

lit'

is s.u

red 10 ol ol

life,

I

hoi,

Palm SVI

i

UMOU

'

ia

and

fertilii

and immonalit)

>....Hk\s|| I*

'.


Nature *-***^

Plants Plants echo the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. They were closely

connected with the mother goddesses of many cultures and with

Myths from around the world often

feature a

human

into a plant, or a plant sprouting from the dead

body

fertility

If

or a god changing

of a god.

Wheat and

grew from the body of the Egyptian god Osins. Often the symbolism of plants is more direct, based on their shape, color, smell, or herbs, for instance,

habitat.

The

fact that ivy for

A:

many old university term "ivy-league" now symbolizes a respected

buildings has meant that the

and long-established place of

./ '

example, covers

f Acanthus

learning.

This thistlelike plant has large, thorny leaves and takes

its

name from

the

Greek

meaning

akc,

sharp point. The distinctive leaves, caned in stone or marble, are commonly seen on classical buildings, particularly capitals (.shown above).

on Corinthian Acanthus

leaves signify the arts, or a love of the arts,

while in Christianity the thorns symbolize pain

and punishment

Reeds

Bamboo

Rushes and reeds symbolize flexibility because they sway in the wind. Pan's pipes were made of reeds.

mbol of pliability, and strength because it bends in the wind but does not grace,

break,

bamboo

Shamrock Once an Arabian The pi.

is

central to the cultures

of the Far East.

shoots are green,

it

As

its

'hcaddi the mart

alv.

Christians.

Bamboo's stem

Trinity: Father, Son,

straight, jointed

and Holy

symbolizes the path

plant

and the steps toward

Ireland

Mandrake's odd-shaped

Also

in paintings.

roots gi\c the

bernes. the fruits of this plant look edible, yet

Symbolic of

are highly poisonous.

fertility

symbol of deception and

growth

a

is

Spirit

the

and

of

leaved clover to

bnng the

The

emblem its

saint, St. Patrick. is

of

patron

A

four-

thought

finder luck.

impression of a man's bods

and I

It is

Its three-

leaves signify the Holy

enlightenment in Chinese philosophy, and it is often depicted

\m\ nightshade known as devil's

religious symbol, the shamrock, or clover, was also adopted by

form th

symbo

longevity.

Di

for sin.

.

FROM

12TH-1 ENTURY

,

MEDICAL

TR!

danger.

\es

dog's bach

on a

-

to the met!

uprooting

Wheat For the ancient Greeks wheat was the symbol of the goddess Demeter, while the Egyptians associated it with the resurrection

Ivy Like most evergreens, ivy is associated with Lmmortalit) but it is ,

M

also a plant of death,

\N DRAKE

This plant, with

its

human-shaped

god Osiris. Ears of wheat motifs in

roots, has been considered magical since the time of the ancient Egyptians. When uprooted, it was said

Christian churches

to utter a shriek that killed

of the slain

signify Christ's

and

body

also his rebirth.

it

^s

dog was used to carry out symbol of enchantment,

anyone

the task. fertility,

46

in earshot,

so a

Mandrake is a and prosperity.

drawing vital moisture from trees. Sacred to Dionysus, the Greek god of wmc shown above trailing ivy), it was thought to cure drunkenness when i

1

wom

as a garland


\NTS

Pi

Mistletoe

Thistle

Europe tnisdetoe, once considered

The

In

I

l

Gourd

\\ll

In old herbals, fennel

he gourd, with

1

d was thought to improve eyesight and

abundance

to cause

ol fertility. In

snakes to shed

their skin

symbol

was thus a clarit) and li

ol

.

ol

renewal

and

revival

ol seeds.

to

is

widespread symbol

a

is

China

it

associated with long

while

life,

now linked Christmas To stand

magical,

its

is

the idea that mistletoe

power

womb.

from

lives

of

Hyssop

plant causes pain but

This scented herb was used as a purgative and so represents

and

so symbolizes both e\ il and protection It also

is to nunc a kiss. The custom may stem from

in Africa the

emblem

al>o repels enemies,

beneath the mistletoe

gourd represents the

national

Scotland, this prickly

represents ChriM suffering

s

appear

people

s

and may

in paintings at

the foot of the cross.

restrictions.

and

purification

regained innocence. ssop grows on poor, stony ground,

it

a plant ol humility.

is

The language of herbs â&#x20AC;˘

Although

to

many people herbs

are simply plants to use in

cooking, they have long been an indispensable source of medicine. Their effects can be powerfully healing or harmful, so many acquired magical or sacred powers, while others became associated with evil and suffering. Shapes and scents can be important factors in determining a plant's symbolic meaning.

Ginger According

to

i

hmese

superstition, eating this

M

Sage

whi pregnant was harmful and could produce a fingerlike root

This popular garden herb was so highly prized for its healing powers that regular use was reputed to bestow immortality In medieval Christian

Bl III In southeast Asia the betel nut is associated with love and marriage Betel shavings are I

paintings, sage

is

a

symbol

six

fingered child

ol

the Virgin Mar)'.

Fungus

traditionally

chewed with

In the Far East fungus

lime

is

doves, and other mild

an important symbol

longe> it) and in the Taoist religion fungus ol

I

sedative

is

.

the food ol the

immortals h

is

therefore a sacred plant,

and caned

Fungus decorations can n on precious ts sikh as the antique |apani

boxwood scepter shown above

Sm

lisp

(.i\si\..

I

t

HING 111

HlKI

(||\S| \(, his herb.

(

(i \KI

iinseng's fori

P\KM

fidelil

included

in bridal

r

tapping with it

woul

membrance n planted

I

>

herb is so slow n> germinate that people imagined its went down to the devil Parsley w symbol "I death lor the andeni creeks, who I

his

i

:

sprigs in

w

re. litis

iidered a

life

giving herb Ginseng's l hinese name means

man

rool

and

masculine reputed unliiv <â&#x20AC;˘

it

is

.i

ancient

Greeks with

its

pungi

spun-

issroads the

i

47

foi

fiina garlic

is

ol garlic

the feared

wen

I

European myth the ward oil vampires In considered a luck) plant that

underworld

lo\.

will bless

Other plantsi

^

I

prote< lion against evil

i

IVYH

garlic,

smell

I

I

1(

le

mandral symbolizes the human body 01 this reason ii like the

or

In

t

entral

parents to-be with main children

Shammm

I


Nature '%s%s%sÂąs%s%s%s**\

Nature's Foods Food

gives us life

and thus unity with

all

Porcelain dish,

Qing

DYNASTY

other living things.

grows

It

through the interaction of the earth, the sun, and water. Foods that must

be harvested,

like

corn and

rice, are

linked to the gods of abundance

and fertility. Water is symbolic of life and purity, and milk represents the nourishment of mother earth. Food is part of life's cycle: all that lives must die and return to the earth, fertilizing it for new growth Peach, s\mbol of immortality

Peach The peach

is a symbol of immortality. In China brings joy and protects against evil. In the hand of the infant Christ it represents salvation. it

Ll

Fig The fruit with

its

of the fig tree,

many

seeds,

represents the feminine

realm,

MO\

A symbol

fertility,

and

A

basket of igs symbolizes woman as goddess or mother. The fruit has erotic !)rospenty.

symbolism and was sacred to Bacchus, god of wine and vegetation. Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves from the fig tree.

Apple The apple,

especially

was

if

and lemon

of purity

faithfulness, the

traditionally

red, symbolizes love

Orange

thought to have

and

Sometimes shown in the hand of the infant

protective properties

and desire. Its round shape indicates eternity and also the

Chnst, the orange

magic spells and poison. In Judaism the

earth. In the Bible the

Like the apple,

apple represents temptation, although as an attribute of the Virgin Man-, it means redemption.

symbolizes eternity

sacrifice, particularly

and immortality, and due to its distinctive

in relation to

color

ol

and is an Venus as

fertility

emblem

of

love

that could counter

good fortune and fertility represents

its

lemon represents the

human

shape

heart.

and may be same

sexuality,

in

Sweet

Italian

GRa

in ;

the blood

of Christ.

Bacchus, god of wine,

in the

dreams.

it

appears

a

symbol of

fertility. In

Rome newly

depicted

women wore pomegranate wreaths, and pomegranate juice was used as a remedy

of the infant Christ.

for infertility.

are

sometimes in the hands

married

of fertility

is

and a symbol America pineapples were a and sailors would place a

a life-giving fruit

In parts of

sign of hospitality,

pineapple on the gatepost to

tell

neighbors that they

In

Christianity the

were home from

plum

sea. In the late

represents

1800s, the Scottish

fidelity

Lord Dunmore echoed this

with his garland of vine leaves.

Red wine

symbolizes the sun, life, and blood, while its many seeds make it

Christianity cherries

Pineapple

symbol of

a

way when

is

color,

ancient

The pineapple

is

chosen

it

its

pomegranate

their blood. In

In the Far East the

viewed

to Christians

- the red flesh lam symbolizing

plum

ripening female

is

and

samurai

the

Plum

the drink of the Paradise,

the

and

to the Israelites.

wine

Because of

are a fruit of paradise

wine and are a symbol of revelry and immortality, but also of blood and sacrifice. Grapes brought back from the Promised Land symbolized the promise of a new In Islam

Pomegranate

Japan the cherry is associated with selfIn

warriors

associated with the sun. it is

Grapes Grapes produce

life

Cherry

custom with fruit -shaped

summer house to

announce

Overripe

his return

pomegranates.

to Scotland

and apples

from

symbolize

America.

excess

Date In the desert

North

regions of

Africa, clusters

of dates traditionally

represent

life

and

Because of their shape and abundance, dates are seen as a symbol of male fertility fruitfulness.

,

Cara.

Till

Pineapple,

Scotland

% 48


Nature's Foods

Food of the gods

The

seen below gathering

ol Israel arc

people

God from heaven

m

to sustain the |c\\s

manna, food

sent by

the wilderness during their

long journey from gypt In the Bible it is described as white, like coriander seed, and tasting ol waters made with hone) Manna is also mentioned in the Koran, and i- a symbol ol God s love I

Nectar was the name used by lomer lor the beverage ol the Greek gods, which conferred immortality and beaut) 1

Sai

i

Because

Egg as origin ol

is lound myths throughout the world. The

alter Salus.

in

goddess of health, was once used in ceremonies in her

contains the potential for

life

and so represents

nourishment

C

honor A grain

hnst bread

is

seen as the " Bread

ol life

communion

body

represent the virgin birth

suffering

breaking ol bread may symbolize the death of

is

It

also

symbol of hope and and in

of the

of immortality,

Christianity can

Greek myth

in

symbolism, where

human soul with the infinite In Chnstianity salt has come to represent

and

birth,

gods

the lood ol the

churning mythology

the

in Indian

Bread is particularly important in i hristian

salt

at

womb,

the universe

Ambrosia was

and was consumed by the gods

is

dissolving in the ocean symbolizes the union

the

emerged during

the elixir ol immortality that

is

the milky ocean

the lood ol the body and ol the soul

h

Roman

the universe

Amritsa ol

spiritual

ol its purity,

represents immortality Named

salt

The egg

Briad Bread symbolizes

Hie

the

service represents the

of Christ

and

its

consumption represents oneness with c hnst. The ceremonial

leek,

ymbcA

the sacrificial victim.

oj

Wales

Honey Honey

is

the lood

ol

the

O'ds and represents immortality, rebirth,

Queen's

and

fertility.

Ii

is

associated with the moon and the lemn

Leek and was thought to protect against wounds It appears on the British pound coin as the emblem of Wales, and is also

The

leek represents victory

an attribute of

St

To ancient Greeks it represented wisdom. and to Christians il

symbolized Christ's gentleness and compassion. Paradise was known as "the land

David, patron saint of Wales.

of milk and

i

honey

•V

v> Rk

i

Rice

is

Corn

<:nts

immortality and -hment. both

many

and

In the

I

The

Americas

tnbol ol In

literal

pari

it

is

com

is

life,

especially when ii is intact as com on the

and

it

motif in potters

lirsi

and mosl

In

V

<ual

hummingbird

rid

symbolized the Sun Her.* and new growth the

moon

I

dawn

UH

the mot!

link-

unit)

and

the

lamp and foi menorah in the ..il ol Hanukkah

immortality

(

nd

town

ol

wild

worn by

'.aid

/

Foodoi mi GOD

I

II

recedii

%%»«%«%%%%»% 4

ol

tl

-

I

I

tw the PlNI Mil

seni b)

I

o the

ollVl

influences

Ml

ive

his i

I

the victoi

N\M

ud lo be is

I

returned to the ark

and.

pailu ulai

IC

olivi

in olive

time In the

so

a/

I

In

In tin- Bib

smeli

MIKKl

in

representing

In round shape symbolizes the

.

(

I

the layers to re

immortalit)

ol

fruitfulness

ant ieni

the centei

the n

|udaism, n is consider and is used as fuel for the

In

See

also symboli;

oil

'he lood

ol

own symbolism

Athena

attribute ol

nbol

i

O'ds In Hindu nd Vishnu reclines •-mil milky in from which the wondi ition

Bibli

their

Ii

o| the

repr-

from the olive

is

l\l s

main layered

onion represents

dui

II

the happir

The

symbolizes spiritual nourishment and immortality Ii is often ated with he-

and

oil

Onion

nutritious lood, milk

I

urn plant depicted with a

ancieni

In th

Ol An

Mil K

an cs^/mial

spiritual

Ou\i on

Ri<

and reconciliation

«%»»»«%

ill

c-

I


Nature

Flowers From in

earliest times

our hearts and

and

lives.

in even- culture flowers have held a special place

In ancient times certain flowers were viewed as

them in worship, bud is symbolic of

earthly forms of the gods. People treasured them, used

and imbued them with magical powers. A flower in new life and potential, but flowers also accompany the dead to the grave. Flower motifs adorn churches and temples, are incorporated into jewelry, and decorate even-thing from fabric to furniture. Flowers have even wound their way into our language - we view the world through "rose-tinted glasses" or see life as "no bed of roses." Many flowers have taken on particular meanings, but what a certain flower means can differ vastly from one culture

Anemone From

the Greek memos, meaning wind, this

flower denotes the

Poppy An opiate,

transitory nature of

Greek myth anemones sprang from the blood of Adonis and represent death life.

to another.

In

poppy

the

In Christianity they are

symbolizes the ultimate sleep ol death. Popular lore has it that the red poppies that sprang up

the blood of the saints.

after the Battle of

Waterloo grew from the blood of the dead.

Violet

A

Greek nymph was

spared Apollo's Iris

Named

after the

Greek

Pi

by becoming a

violet.

In Christianity

it

Passion flower

is

who

flowei

transported women's souls to the

his

emblem during

Crusades, and it evolved from the

the

fleur-

de-Louis to the flew -delis, the three leaves

symbolizing

faith,

wisdom, and

valor.

is

a

t

hristian

I

Carnation

it

In Renaissance

around the

and good fortune, and as the adopted

symbol

Imperial flower. In

particularly

hina it was related to marriage and fertility

m

cross,

of Jesus, and some viewed us flowering as God calling foi converts the

form

its

wounds

Prj -Raphai

i

portraits, this

it

others saw in

this flower for his beloved. As he went under, he shouted, "Forget me not'", so the flower is a symbol of desperate love.

evil spirits at bay.

he |apanese linked

to masculinity, riches,

FORGET-ME-NOT

picking

I

S)

European legend has it that a youth drowned in a river after

nines this flower was thought to have magical properties he Greeks used it to

keep

this

mbol. The Spanish believed it grew

were

placed on graves. Louis VII adopted the iris as

stained-

windows,

glass

irises

m

Often used

tied to humility

goddess of the rainbow,

underworld,

ONY

In ancient

lusl

i

i

i

t

and much used as a motil on temple walls.

ii

o\\

i

r

is

a

ol betrothal,

when

held

the sitters hand. In

(

hina the tarnation

a

common symbol

is

of

marriage.

imagery: Shakespeare's Ophelia

Cyclamen Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the spot at its center symbolizes In bleeding heart. On used in love potion is now- associated with voluptuousness. i

Pansy The word stems from the French per

(thoughts), and the flower is poetically

"

1

Hyacinth The Greek god Apollo created this flower from

the blood of his beloved friend Hyacinthus,

who

murdered while

linked to thoughts, thoughtfulness, and remembrance, as well as love. Placed over the eyes of someone asleep, the pansy can

Orchid

the

impel the dreamer to fall in love with the first person to appear. It is said to be sacred

China the orchid is a symbol of perfection In England the purple spots on an orchid's

The willow represents forsaken love; the nettle growing in its branches represents pain; and the daisies near Ophelia s hand are symbolic ol The chain ol violets around her neck is assix iated with k ence faithfulness, chastity, and untimely death The poppy is also a symbol ath; other (lowers floating in the water are linked to sorrow; and the forget-me-nots on the bank are an entreaty not to forget Ophelia

throwing the discus with him. It is a

to St Valentine,

Christ

a Christian

prude

bol of

the Tnn:i

and

emblem

is

of

Oh

D In

petals are said to

represent the blood of Christ

50

i I

M

1852

madness by her beloved Hamlet's murder ol her lather. drowns herself in a stream. The garlands in her hair and flowers that surround her are all charged with symbolic meaning riven to

phelia


F

1

O V,

i

R

S

*^s%--%*+>*s%s%s%s%s%sÂą^>*

The language of the rose More than an) other How or.

the rose

and

its

symbolism have

has it entered the human consciousness. come to represent youth, purity, perfection, earthly love, and rebirth. It is the flower ol courtship, ol marriage, and even of In different cultures

death.

Its

essence has been distilled into love potions,

and medicinal remedies In the West there was a custom that a rose suspended over the dinner table meant that all confidences were to be held sacred, hence the central ceiling rose ol Victorian architecture, ami the white rose as a symbol oi secrecy. The rose is also intricately linked to Catholieism - the rosar) was originally made of rose hips strung together. perfumes, cosmetics,

teas,

Pi

I

Rl D ROSl

Keel roses

to

like

.less

and beaut)

- archetypal symbols I

ol love

today these associari

veil

make

face packs in the banishing wrinkles; -is ai banquets dropped petals into (hen wine to stave off drunkenness, and victorious armies return streets strewn with petals. to

hope

sacred ^H^ W^^ Venus and were - the

ials

Roman

times rose petaU were a valuable rency ad them in

ol

continue, roses being considered the messengers ol love In Christian

grew from blood and the Madonna is sometimes deputed with a red rose in her hand. Also associated with war. the red rose was adopted by the tradition the red rose

drops

ol Christ's

.!

Lancastrians in the English Wars of the Roses.

point oj the

Madonna and

The

L

Virgin Mary. \\

Fr.\

White rose sidered the flower ol the moon or ol the light, the white rose symbolizes

punty. virginity, charm, and secrecy. red rose

York

It

in the

It

in contrast to the lire ol the

r

was the emblem

Wars

ol the

ol the

House of

Roses.

The

rose

ROSl WINDOW window, so named because

adorn

ol its

human

wholeness and coherence and the realization ol those same desires Rose windows, which lust appeaietl m Jth-centi Fram be s\ mbols ol etemit) he) have been likened to mandalas - Eastern objects ol meditation - for then perfection ol geometry and he main paths thai lead to the eniet are ol form like the paths that lead to enlightenment aspii

this

>m hei

petallike shapes ol glass, represents both the

hat to the

Tht carnation

behind

(Ins

on hei ,

IS

thai

1

I

<

I

I

rhis

i

I

DOR ROSl

mi

embroidered with a K

he udoi rose With Us red outer petals and white inm mbolized the union ol the two royal hou he white rose and ancastei (the red rose Henr) ud his standard when he adopted tin married lizabeth "I V<rk in 1485 I

I

Vl

I

IOW ROM

I

the yell ited

infidelity

In 1"

mainly

with

i

l

ind Ideti

l

I

foi

->

I

I

ihed


X ATT RE

4k '&J

The lotus One

of the

most ancient symbols

stem

is

the umbilical cord that holds

its

lotus emerges

unsullied from

swamps

and lakes. For this reason, and because its petals open and close with the passing of the day,

it is

highly

in

Asian art. long

punt}'. Its

Man

to his origins,

perfect flower represents enlightenment

the

The

and

and the The thousandpurit\ to which petaled lotus represents the sun emerging from the cosmic ocean, the sun and the waters being \ ual to growth. The lotus symbolizes divine birth, since the god Brahma emerges from Vishnu's navel sealed on a lotus, and then creates the universe. It also symbolizes the sun and the cycle of birth and rebirth, since its petals open at dawn and close at sunset. while

Flower of perfection

appear

to

the lotus symbolizes both creation

human

soul aspires.

Fertility symbol This 3rd-century Indian figurine represents a mother goddess, shown here squatting in

She has a lotus - a symbol of

childbirth.

-

fertility

for a head.

symbolic in the East.

In China and Japan the chrysanthemum is an emblem of fall and

long life, oi scholarship and

contentment. It was thought to hold the key to eternal life. The Japanese have adopted

*^*

Floral inlaj iind

Chrysanthemum

it

mold

as a national

and

as the

emblem

badge of the

Imperial family.

Šif@) First flower of Egypt Often appearing in decoration, the lotus embodies royal power. It is associated with the god Nefertem and the sun god, Re, who is sometimes depicted as a child lying on a lotus. Capitals of Egyptian columns are often carved to resemble lotuses, either in bud or full flowei

Protective loius

round the Buddha's halo

stand

lotuses

In (his typically

I

Buddha namcnled

imple, ihc

Marigold In

with jewels

Chinese

mangold Hl-lll In

GODS

China the lotus represents purity. perfection, and spiritual gra< e combined with fertility and the

ripeness of summer [ere, both ol the he twin gods ol prosperit) can a i- in a jai he garment worn b) I

li

I

,

I

the god on the lelt is also decorated he [e-he themselves with a lotus 1

|

symbolize

i

on< ord and

harmony

emblem

is

ol

belief the

the

long

life

-

"the flower ol ten

thousand years Mexicans claim the flowei

s

color

by the blood

is

tinted

ol the

who were massacred by the Spaniards in their

Aztecs,

quest for gold

between married couples

Bl

DDHISl [EWE1 IN

IIII

#

LOTUS

cosmolog) the lotus symbolizes both purity and the primordial waters from which all life is ueated. Because the beautiful flower grows out of mud and water, it is associated with human aspiration and iddhisl

ntial.

The Buddha

is oft<

n

â&#x20AC;˘ented as the jewel in the lot lis. seated on a lotus throne, the pinn ol perfection.

The

li

nslhcBuddhi ml

A

Tibe

:

Sunflower Greek myth, t lytic turned into this sunworshiping flower as a consequence ol her In

is

blind love lor the sun god, Apollo, hence the flower s assot iation with blind infatuation

Nome

environmentalists have adopted the sunflowei as their symbol because absorbs air pollutants. ii

52


Flowers

?3 Magnoi This

i\

IL

Chinese symbol ol feminine beauts' and leness. In ancient

LllY A white lily is the most widely accepted symbol ol puntv and

Narcissls

in

Greek myth

Echo I

â&#x20AC;˘

perfection in the West

tail),

symbol of peace, divinity, and It is

\\

\\

Greek mythology the youth Narcissus spurned the love of the nymph Echo who could only repeat the last words spoken to her. and she wasted away until only her voice remained As punishment, the gods condemned the vain Narcissus to fall in love with his own image. When he saw his reflection in a pool of water he was unahle to tear himselt away and died He was changed into the narcissus flower which grows at the waters edge.

also a

innocence

In

In

the

was believed to have come from the milk of the goddess lera/Juno. To the Jew lily

I

the

is

it

emblem

the exclusive

Lin

Ol

VALLEY

llll

This is the flowei ol Ostara, Norse goddess of springtime.

Throughout Europe it represents spring and new life, and so al

Greco-

Roman mythology

beautiful

China, the plant w

S)

mbolizes the advent

ol Christ. In

France,

it

of the

A

of a magnolia plan a subject was then a sign

i

'I

HistoncalK n is al associated with a celebrated heroine who shares her Chi name, Mu-lan, with

the workers' flowei traditionally given to

that of the flower

employees on Labor

a

is

s

prop

of the emperoi

tribe of Judah.

man

in

ink-

i

on behall

1st.

ol

her lather

M and Lippo MEMMl, 1333

:

Crocus People once believed wearing garlands of crocuses would ward off drunkenness. that

Narcissi

s

The sweet, intoxicating the narcissus >nce believed to cause mad: "Narcissism mi vanity, and the flower symbolizes the dan

The species saffron was highly prized in medieval times when its pigment dyed garments a brilliant yellow, a light

and

symh

HONI

YSt

(

Kl

1

Given by the French to their loved ones to symbolize then union, the honeysuckle represents

mo

broadl) generous love.

nobility

li

Christians, the flower

was once used

medicinal!) to

symbol ol divine In China its

charm

away boils

fortune

â&#x20AC;˘I* iii

I

The

in

i

VND

lily is

J

\s\ll\l

ilds

prized

is

in

India

It

r

i

ied in

.d is

purity

In

c

hi.

Annum or

It

iation

HRVSANTHEMI

(

eithei held by

ti

Iris

ibol

It

is

,m

emblem

iani(

I

( >

I

I

n s I |

i

with

hi

Peoni

R

i

chastii

attribute ol the \ in

i

Lily

I

il

ol the

R.'M

mother

neni the

lilies "I

th

WINDOW

i

to by I

ti

of

heavenly happtl

i

5

1

hn

bol ol sunplu n\

I

ntings

is ofti

ii

ludgment, tin innocence and guih

represents inn and is sometii

china jasmine will find

the

iabriel

tl

re]

is

Hindu

emblem hidden

i

an end

:

assov

ol

I)\|S1

lined flov

win

associated with

whiteness untainted by sin its

PRIMKOM

HRIST1

(

and

ol purity

Mu-

lan disguised he is,


Grapevines,

Sea Creatures One of the most important symbols

in

aUrxbuu

s

oj

Dionysus, god oj

world myth, the

wine

fish represents

and death, and is generally auspicious. It is associated with the mother goddess, the moon, and the primeval waters from which all life grew It is one of the earliest symbols in Christianity, signifying both Christ and the faithful, swimming in the sea of life. Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, and similar stories abound in other cultures. In Hinduism the god Vishnu's first 1PORARY incarnation was in the form of a great fish fertility, life,

Chinese

mankind from

that saved

carp

the flood.

*£fe£

PlIcKt's

turned into dolphins

DOIPHIN o-Roman myth

In Gre(

noble fish < onducts souls to the world beyond, saws the shipwrecked, and symbolizes safety and speed. It is associated with the sun god, Apollo, this

and is linked to Dionysus, god ol wine. The dolphin is a widespread symbol ol virtue.

Symbol oj courage and goodjorlune

t^CF

I

I

I

The

Sea horse The

delicate sea horse

Carp

is

is an important symbol in the Far East In China it represents perseverance and success owing to its ability to leap formidable rapids.

Poseidon/Neptune, the

n

Greco-Roman god

In

In general, the carp symbolizes patience,

in heraldry, often to

determination, and long life. Its armorlike scales are linked to valor; in Japan it is a symbol of the

signify bravery at sea,

and

Samurai and of courage.

to

This

the

mount

the sea.

It

of

associations. In Tahiti is

an ancestor figure

China

is

it

a

symbol

nnal love, while in mi the term slippcr\ as an eel

also appears

as a civic

show

eel plays a part in

Polynesian flood myths and also has erotic

emblem

signifies a

overseas trade.

person

who

wriggles out ol trouble.

I

WllAI

i

IRVING

I

[onah was swallowed by a great whale, and disgorged alive onto probably drj land three days later. A similar legend exists among the Inuits he whale has thus come to ignify death and rebirth, and darkness before the light. In Arctic Slav, and Russian myth the earth rests on the back of a great whale. When the whale moves, there is an earthc|uake. In the Bible,

fish,

.1

I

.

^\»Oi

Salmon Like the carp, the salmon swims determinedly upstream in search of its birthplace and so symbolizes perseverance and courage. It is associated with the moon, and is a symbol of death and rebirth.

SWORDFISH

imiliai

Sepik region of New Guinea the swordfish is a totem figure, and swordfish-shaped masks are worn during sacred dances. The Ainu of Japan worship a sea divinity that takes the form In the

Shark One

of the most potent symbols of terror, the shark is revered as an ancestor figure in the Pacific regions of Polynesia, Melanesia,

Solomon

and the

Islands. In Hawaii, as in parts of

Africa, sharks are also

held sacred.

V

of a swordfish.

sij^ii in I

3 4

bc

Octopus Because

ol its spiraling tentacles,

the octopus

symbolism ol the spiral - air, u.tui and rolling thunder and lightning Ills also a symbol ol fickleness and changeabilit) alters color when under threat since related to the

it

-%^»^<

1400

art

is


-

CREA

\

1

U

The language of shells Shells share water's symbolic associations to the

moon and

and

are linked

to the feminine, yin principle.

Venus, goddess of love, was born in the waters and transported to land on a scallop shell. In China shells

symbolize a successful journey and good Fortune, and in Christianity they represent the baptismal waters, perhaps because shells were sometimes used to earr\ water. Those shells that

Crab Because

symbolic

and

ot secrec)

shellfish

such

are

womb

the

as a

ruled

is

moon Due

to

In

W

signifies pilgrimage, particularly to the

|ames in the Spanish city ol Santiago de c ompostela, where pilgrims Si

wore the scallop on their clothing The she was jU>> adopted a- an emblem in Siena.

powi

habit ol walking

Buddhism

the sh in Christiai

sideways the crab also has associations ol evasiveness and de

1

lsll

the

ol

which

zodiac,

The scallop shell is an emblem ol Venus, and also represents the female sexual organ In Christianity a often shrine ot

the

STARI fourth sign In the

1

ith

is

li

thought

as oysters are

its

SHI

and w

motherhood

or sexual passion,

to be aphrodisiacs

SCALtOP

its

associated with

is

two halves fused together

consist ot

ol

tive shell, the

repn

\

-

through the storms ol love

the faithful

is

it

linked to the periods of cosmic nighl

between the ages of Brahma, or the sleep ol death between one incarnation and the nexi is

In Africa

considered a symbol

ol evil.

Chs[ER

Ceri MONLAI

eminine realm - the jk

^

the

In Mayan culture it represents the waters It is the emblem ol Neptune,

the waters, and the sealed shell.

symbol

11

as well as ol the

tightly

its is

also a

\

ishnu as

l

Si

\

m\

R(

t

tk lore ihe sea

.

ord

known

in is

ol the \\ alers.

seen

ol

II

shape

fertility ol

moon. With

ON(

The conch shares the symbolism ol the spiral owing to in convoluted

Possibly because the oyster nurtures the pearl, u represents the

womb,

(

lis

as the

and

serp

in

p

viewed as a s) mbol ol the world li is

EGYPT! \\ The

I

(

I

GIRDLE

KN

iughi to be abl

K

believed thai the cowrie shell had rve powers because h resembled the female this reason n was deemed

particular!) effective as a fertility

nanc)

down on

a

.

S

ol a

attaches

charm,

when worn

woman

approach storm when it

foretell the

itsell

I

rock, using n as an

low

anchor. Blind and

body

largel) defenseless, ibol ol all

LOBSII

weak creatures

K

In the Easi the lobstei is

view

God

eood

omen and

often

is

Si

without

Jaws

in ancieni (

nt; Uf<

was simil valued and was e

ft

'

COWRII

>

sill

I

I

in

s

\/so

i

Ui

I

ii

s

(

red

i

I

REMON1AI CON

I

In i

se small shells used as a torn

fa

n< lent cultures

-_

In

t

hinese an

is

it

I

n

the

ai

umber

eurrei

\

we

(

(

Kuan

lima the

Yin,

and

it

KM l nus

DOI

i

symbol i

dill |

i

'I

the shell

became ,

ney

(

writ:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

then

in*

:

s

m

V|

LOP SMI

Sea Creatures

he

with

in

I

I

I

|apan n

appeals on I

i

K

irital

In

in the

OVSTI

harmon

the

bol ol

r

and

i

itulation

and.

i

Sl irittle

mblem

ol

fom long

life

\

HORSI

i

I

it

is

\


>

Nature

r

&

Insects Insects, snails,

and

Others

spiders differ biologically but are

commonly

referred to

- lowly animals usually shunned and even feared. In however, they were the focus of much interest. The Egyptians

as "creepy crawlies"

ancient times,

singled out the beetle as a creature to be revered, incorporating

form of a scarab

in their art

and

For other cultures the spider

is

their jewelry,

and even

in the

it

both because of its

many

In

in funerary offerings.

particularly important,

due

in part to

its

abilities,

cultures the

evil and and sometimes represents weakness or fly is

and the bee often has powerful associations poisonous sting and its life-giving honey

remarkable weaving

Fly seen as

corrupt,

insignificance, but in

Earts of Africa there

Dragonfly Probably so-named because of its long, sinuous body, this

a

beautiful insect shares

and among the Navajo ol America the

butterfly, representing

is

y god,

Big Fly

is

a heroic figure.

The ancient Egyptians wore fly amulets to keep real flies away

the

symbolism of the

immortality and regeneration.

It is

the

emblem of which is known

national

Japan,

as the "Island of the

Dragonfly." It also represents unreliability

and instability, perhaps due to its hovering and darting movements. In China the dragonfly

Ladyblg Egyptian scarab

Named

which take popular good-luck charm because it mimicked th

The

scarab,

struggle to roll balls ol

i

from the humble dung beetle, was the most

in ancient Egypt.

The

beetle

was deemed sacred

n across the heavens in us

dung containing

its

own

becau.se ol

heroic

long distances. The young emerging from the earth. Scarab r

hatched from these balls, representing new life amulets were commonly buried with the di

alter

ithe Virgin

Our Lady

Mai) its

I,

good

works

in

pi. mis

of pests, the

ladybug

a

illusion,

symbol of

good luck

aeration.

the dragonfly

symbolizes change and

ridding is

and

also

speed, a whirlwind.

and

The significance of bees Bees evoke feelings both of fear and admiration. The bee widely seen as a symbol of immortality and rebirth, as

is

symbolic of summer, but also of weakness. To Native Americans

activity.

Butterfly OJ H'\

is

and social organization. It is an of several Greco-Roman and Indian gods, including Cupid and Kama, both gods of love. Kama is sometimes depicted with a line of bees following him, well as of diligence

emblem

representing the sweet pain of love.

Bees In Christian allegory a

in

Christianity

queen bee sometimes

represents the Virgin Mary. As Mar, birth to Chnst, so the

queen bee prodru honey. The hive ^^ is then a symbol SM, of the Church.

YBEE

*^

Bi

I

1

1

Ri

i

Pope Urban Mil's \k\is The

coat of

arms of Pope Urban

the butterfly

VIII

features the keys to the kingdom of heaven, plus the Barbenni bees,

resurrection.

il

represents the soul leaving the body. To ancieni Greeks the butterfly represents the soul, and to the Chinese and Ja] ol both immortality and joy In Chinese art, butterflu - combined with

symbols of his family. These same bees grace a 7th-century fountain in Rome, Fontana delk Api, designed by Bernini to honor the Pope. 1

;

metamorphosis from a caterpillar, seen as a symbol of rebirth and As it emerges from its chrysalis

is

plum

bli

i

mbolize

li

butterflies together indu. i!<

5

6

.

i

and two happ) man:

!

'


[NSEC

I

-

O HERS

Osr

1

re of lih:

The transitory nail

Snail emerges from a withdraws into shell, the snail

its is

associated with the

waxing and waning and s) mbolizes i

:

rebirth.

It

is

general 1\ viewed as

and folklon

luck) i

il

places a

a girl

on a piece ol slate w ill w rite the m ot her husband-to-be. snail ii

Spider spider myths occur in

main

cultures. In

China

der sliding down a id symbolizes good fortune des rom heaven. In get the spider repn sun, or a Great Mother I

as

weavei

"1

destin

spidei controls

web

its

the center just as

the sun generates from in fierj enti

i

i

Worms I

Spidei

worm

listork all) the

A

It

the de\ il, and it continues to have

myths

the

I

the

in

Native

ol

d in mis.

|apan

a

dei

sii

it

radation and

humiliation

reatoi -da

sun, appears

1

i

sinisti

In the Bible

i

unwat

M

generall) this legless

The

insects in

Dutch flower painting? often enhance the symbolisi rblown roses peonies tulips, and a variety

the earth oi lowl)

ol the flowi thful other blooms illustrate the transitor) nature ol worldl) inguishes and fades love loses its innocence richescannol beaul lived fly crawl the white rose in be taken toth the center bol ol transience; the centipede and bugs amid the

Butterflies

symb

M

signs ol

ifler

i

ess

ommon

hour

hope and renewal

i

W

\f ITH

Am I

il

mbol

is

Lo<

\\ VSP ;ii

the

rom bul also

ol thrift

rid

is

hard

.

diligent

truth

\\ asps

a

I

Ii>

and

thi

a-,

did

tted

vora< ious eating habits ,uu\

death, th

to strip

1

symbolizi is

In the Bible

tried

in)

ILSO

VN

1

s.

\U

-

I

1

Spidi

Ancient rshiped

*

i i

Sii.mii. \s.

1

Ol BEESI

kel in the

tl

an instru

plag

i

turned

II

ind

lion

Mie 1

pion

punishmi life

.1

.

i

ated

widi

with calan

is

'

Si

with

USI

desti

Mind

ORPION

evil, destruclii

linked the

in

ah Chinese repn vim.

S(

\\ idi

lis

mi

inity :

M 'I

communil However, an<

within

i

repres

1

1" the

proteel tes

Ml

01

IHANSITOM v Ml III!

1

'

HI

t +


1

Nature k-%--v%-

Reptiles

& Amphibians

Amphibious creatures, animals that

on the symbolic associations

take

both on land and in the water,

of water, the source of

are mostly associated with the earth

symbolism of the

live

all life.

and therefore assume the

earth, although their

Reptiles

fertility

appearance often inspires fear and

*

disgust. Reptiles that hold a special place in the

\

dinosaurs, ancient inhabitants of the

popular imagination are

symbolism is mixed they are both giant monsters, terrifying to behold, and among the most fascinating of all the earth. Their

creatures

known

Tyrannosaurus A formidable 47ft

t.

is

certainly the best

The newt

Crocodile The crocodile has long been both feared and revered. Living on land and in water it carries

to us.

Kl \ 1

the

5rr0 high. T

known and most

feared of the dinosaurs.

popularized in films,

It

far

in

is

has been

are false tears,

from the

fiction.

and children's cartoons, and although a symbol of extinction,

symbolism

ol each, thus very powerful ( rocodile

and

rex

beliel that

generally

was

its

reputation that

Macbeth, Shakespeare listed "eye ol newt as one ol the ingredients in the witches' brew in

designed

conjure up

to

evil spirits that

would

reveal the future.

weep while

odiles

devouring

is

thought ol as an evil, harmful creature. Such

their victims.

Japanese symbol

is

from extinct people's minds.

Frogs and toads Frogs and

toads are both associated with water and the therefore with fertility and the feminine realm. Both undergo the process of metamorphosis, from tadpole to frog, and so are symbolic of resurrection. The frog was an emblem ol Aphrodite, and Heket. Egyptian goddc birth, took the form ol a

moon, and

id,

Tortoise or turtle

howc

ated with

and with -mister symbolism. witchcraft

a

more

(

Ql\(. ROG In China the

frog represents

the lunar yin principle

and the frog

Zuni bowl

Frog bow

spirit

evered a and bring

i

The frogs modeled around this Southwestern bowl indicate the high

Maid

k

They

wil

l

l

ON

rit)

changing color symbolizes inconstancy

is

and changing fortunes. It-- eyes, which can see in different

directions,

see into both the past

and

future. In parts of

viewed as magical and hung- rain

Africa

regard given to frogs in the Americas.

II

The chameleon's

I

it

is

Linked to the moon and water, the tortoise and turtle symbolize fertility and long life. Various world myths speak ol a tortoise supporting the world, and in linduism a I

man-tortoise was the ancestOT ol mankind.

Ac-op-

In

Fables the

tortoise represents

-teach determination.

are

esteemed as harbingers of rain, and for their cleansing and purifying

powers.

\\\SAZI FROG The widespread association of the frog with fertility v particularly strong

among

Native American peoples The ancient Anasazi people who lived on the borci

:

1/

See also

\RD

sun-seeking habit symbolizes the soul's search awareness. The Romans believed that the lizard hibernated, and so it represented death and resurrection o Native Americans, lizards have magic pow

ma and i

ornan

I

The

lizard's

fi

and

g the

impor

I

KlK.s

Rod

i>i

Ss\ki

\ist

i

u-n

I

S i I

I

58

VM> rOAD

I

III

I

Ml

t

-

I

!

I

S 1


Rett

1

1

r -

&

Amphibians

Snakes probably the most \\ idel) revered of all creatures because it embodies so many forces. Its underground lair allies it with the underworld and it is associated with the primal waters from which all life was created. The serpent symbol was widespread

The snake, or serpent,

in agricultural societies

the

is

where

fertility

it

was used

of the

to represent

soil.

Sn \ke stick

Among

the Pueblo peoples ol America, the snake is associated with

19TH-i ENTURY

L

Sri

thunder and lightning Snake sticks such as the one above were used in annual rituals to call

that

down

& ladders

Snakes

represents

the rain

lile's

journey. Ladders are

a good The snake were

ensured

mbols of

harvest

positive

sticks

success and

S)

achievement,

themselves

symbols

game

This childhood

kes

ol

represenl the

lightning

slip]

misfortune. ifces

banish e\

il

that

spirits

SNAKl

Egypt In ancient

I

a

Egypt the

serpent was feared

1)1

his Sri

Naga m,

1

MON

\l

\SK

ankan mask

ol

Rassa, or snake is

worn

in

and worshiped spirits causn \agas, or sacred snakes, have the powei ti both pn mil

Several deities are depicted in the form of

a snake - in this tomb painting a worshiper is

destructive

seen kneeling betore the serpent goddess Meretseger the guardian of the Valley ol the k

Tin Fall The ol

fall

\il.iiu

from grace and Eve is

inextricablj linked

I

with the serpent. It was a serpent, here in female form, thai tempted Eve to tasi forbidden fruil ol the tree he serpent is then loir viewed

.is

.1

symbol ol smooth-tongued and deceitfulness, and as

evil

embodimi

the

ptation

Rod

Ol

\i

m

i

i

sin

M'li s

Mi

ind a rod was â&#x20AC;˘

and

mblem and symb I

Di s\

With

o|

ol

writhing

ion with healw she.

hideous

ng il

d

ind â&#x20AC;˘ion

In

alchemy

stone

a serpi

the

In

ai

thai all I

ii-

1

who

tumi

addition to being she

embodied enchantment and cunnii

19

1


t

.

Nature â&#x20AC;˘*s%s^*s%^>^%s%s^%.

Mammals

Egyptian cat Egypt cats were revered, and was an emblem of the sun god. Cats were also sacred to the goddess Bastet who had the head of a cat and who represented the power of the sun to ripen crops. So valued were eats that thousands were mummified after they died and buried in special graveyards in honor In ancient

the male cat

Because of their complex and often intimate relationships with humans, animals have always played a prominent part in our imagination and in our mythology, literature, and

art.

Manx;

been worshiped and credited with protective powers. Names of animals were given to the constellations, and people even claimed descent from these especially predatory species, have

powerful creatures. Certain animals have been paired in

conflict -

the lion

and the unicorn,

,

of Basic

traditionally

for instance,

Black cat

which

Being largely nocturnal.

^^

are associated with the

sun and the

the cat

associated

is

with the moon. It is also credited with supernatural powers, both good and evil,

moon. This may represent a balance between the opposing forces in nature.

and

is

companion

the

witches. In Norse

of

legend, U a black cat crossed your path it

was a sign that Satan was thinking about you

Hari

Moi

A

In

nocturnal animal, the hare is widely associated with the moon, and also with lust and fertility. To Name Americans the Great Hare represents opposing characters: part clown and part god. creator and transformer of our animal nature. In China it is yin, symbol ol the feminine principle. The hart. ation with lemhty probably accounts for the Easter Bunny. representing spring and the growth ol new life.

51

Western mythology,

the

In

America, a

black cat crossing your path brings bad luck.

but in England and

|apan this

iated

ii

is

omen

with the powers ol darkness The Bible considers u unclean

pattern o\

and devilish Elsewl however, ihe mous viewed as orderly and methodical

Ass OR DONKEY lurden the ass, or donkey, is a symbol of poverty ol stupidity, and also ol lemhty Creek ni loolishness, and writers used the ass ,

lly a

us, the

wild ass

I

"i

the an< ieni

some

ol the desert

is

blessed

it

humble

ass

bore Mat I"

\

shape

its

and

Jesus into

the be<

in

order to

I

the fox can

ast,

ome

a beautiful

trouble Also, like the I

woll

DOG, PROTECTOR VNDLOYA1 FRIEND

in little

//(>0(/,

irberus was the three-headed dog that guarded the he dead and acted as a spirit guide. In Judaic and considered unclean, while in Zoroastnanism

symbol of dience. The dog l

has

maiden who creates

lerusalem.

Edwin

it

de< eive, lor instance in

to

ililehem

traditions

the powei to transform

bolized loneliness and isolation In Christianit) the

Fox The fox universally represents cunning and deception. In

most

pitiful

and "

rable

Romai is

the Chinese zodiac

Brayp.

^%^%^%^

60

Red Riding

sometimes

dresses in the clothes

ill-stai

quadrupeds,

a fox

ol a

m

trustworthy person

ordfii to

eaten

me

pre)

s,,

tribes

and

unwary

Native .Americans have fox (

lans.


\\

% %

Âť-%-*. -%.-%-%

^MMALS

%^%s-%.-<

Rwi The ram embodies

virility

and

creative energy.

It

is

associated with many gods and is a common sacrificial animal, its blood symbolically

Horses speed, grace and The horse represents both solar lunar

soil

fertility to

The Hebrew

the s)

ritual

the feast of Rosh Hashanah, is made from a ram's horn

at

(

hariots oi Apollo

BlCKINC. BRONCO and Canada men

Hedgehog

In parts ol the I IS

compete

In antiquity the

lect grap'.

at

riding untrained horses,

the goal being to complete a

hedgehog was reputed

itching

mbol: the heavenly

and the Indian sun god Surya were drawn by lier\ or white horses, as was Neptune's ocean chanot.

horn, the shojar, blown

rolling over

and

a

It is

lilit)

returning

round

without being thrown This challenge emphasizes the horse's reputation as a wild and noble creature.

s

them and them on us

spikes Christianity ciates it with the

iped

Devil and with evil, as

was

this practice

herald the Jubilee

likened to stealing people - souls. The

Hands feepl draw bow while '

hedgehog sometimes symbolizes witchcraft, were thought to assume the - to form ol dnnk milk from cows as witches

1

"ibol of

Baccl

drunken revelry

MONGOl In

IAN HORsi \| \\ Mongolia herdsmen had expert

when

they raced without harness This custom probably originated their warlike ancestors rode horses into

battle

and had

cavalr) skills

and

reins.

to

keep

their

hands

tree to tight

L,0\[ Because

ol

and urge

ol the ox has much in common with and the buffalo While clearl) symbolizing male power and strength, all three animals, because ol their

The symbolism

us agility

thai ol the bull

to climb, the

symbol

ol the

seeking quest for

S

truth

However, the

now-

mount

ind

human,

and the

and

Acre

femlir

is

how

'K.

and d in '.

ilh

er

umals.

and

ir.

itv

it

is link.

**

1

%^%^%.-v--%-^

1

is

iding an ox to represent the

laming

often

depicted with the horns

and

in

ol the

shown

h

devil

The bull is the Hindu god Shiva .101-111 the sage Lao Tzu

attributes

rue

urwli

half

crescent-shaped horns, also have lunai hence feminine,

Âť.'%.-%â&#x20AC;˘

v-w^

oi th<


.

Nature

Lion, king of beasts The

lion

most parts of the world. Its mane, and great strength associate it with the sun

the king of the beasts in

is

golden color,

fiery

although the lioness

moon and

may also be

linked with

mother goddess figures. Lions have often been carved into thrones and are also sculpted at entrances, where the

1

N FAMILY,

13th-century Arab manuscript

great

r ,-C/j

*

TW\

.^H

they act as guardians.

Oriental lions In antiquity lions were tound

not just in Africa, but also in the Middle East and India. They were kept by kings as a symbol of royal power and were used in hunting. The lion is also a symbol of the wisdom of

Ik. IK.

SI

1

5m

CENTURY

Tiger

the Buddha.

Like the lion, the tiger

symbolizes royalty, courage, and strength.

HERA! DIC ion

is

1

ION

the mosi importanl

animal

because wished to be

ibabl)

associated with

its

valor

and strength. is

*

It

shown

"ramp standing on us hind tegs, or

\RDl\\

l

beasts

where

In il

is

hina,

i

emblem

the

West, il a tiger devours a man. thai man's soul becomes

and upon other men

the tigers slaw

preys

sejant,

Jackal The head

lion's image is often placed on bulk perhaps to add protection. As a gargoyle it carries water away from the roof, its solar nature combining with water as a symbol

Egyptian god Anubis is that of a jackal |ackals were thought to haunt graveyards and were reputed to see both by day and night. Clear-sighted Anubis was a pathfinder, guiding spirits to the next world. ( anopic jars, which contained embalmed organs, had Anubis-shaped stoppers.

jant" position, seated with

one pa* raised

fertility.

i

replaces

it

ol the

ION

St. Jeromi and hi ion There are several stones of a fierce lion helped by a devout man whom it then befriends. Like Androcles in Aesop's Fables, St. Jerome is said to have extracted a thorn from a lion's paw. In return the lion renounced its fierce nature and lived peaceably with him. This symbolizes man's mastery of his own animal nature.

Far

in the

where

the lion as king ol

A

of

particularly

seated

draining m

Cil

is

East,

in heraldii

nobility

It

important

ol the

i

horn

AlKR AN MASK.

Leopard symbol

ol

"fj

age cruelt)

and untamed instincts, the leopard is

greatl) revered in '

where

it

also represents the light ol the

eopard skins denote royalty and are worn to ward oil (.Linger Because its markings reseml the leopard is times known as the ( ,ivat Watchei ing sun

I

i

f>2


M.wi

\i

»»»**»%....,,

•%^»^i

Si u. ociated with

hunting, the stag

is

\lo\ki

rhe swift-running

The monke)

gazelle

.i

is

symbol

a

beaut) and

animal and an

ar

enemy

Gazelle

ol the serpent.

ol

ol

The shape

ol its antlers

literature

recalls the

Tree

be used as a metaphoi lor the beloved In

ol Life,

and because the antlers are renewed each year, the stag

It

is

a

In European and Asian mythology stag hunts

gazelle

is

it

is ai

represents mischiel and

it

Hanuman

can also

monke)

-

Hinduism

highl) regarded in

is

rom

I

ll-known motil

Monkeys, which and speak no evil.

the three Mystic

when the shown fleeing

Al

figure,

n

inquisitiveness, but the

hear no

Christianity,

regeneration.

kjI ol

rally

particularl) in Arabic

some West

sacred to

is

whom

foi

-

the soul.

i

evil,

see

>l

no

evil,

from an animal ol prey such as a panther ,

or lion,

it

represents

often lead to a super-

the soul fleeing from

natural encounter

earthly passions

Bl \R In

northern

king

.'I

-

the beasts

the bear replaces the lion as

was an ancestor

It

ol

the

apps,

I

Because n hibernates, the spring, it symbolizes

andfathei

and then wakes

KANGAROO Amcx

Australian

Aboriginals the kangaroo is an ana spirit that protects

in

The bear

resurrection.

also represents

power, and

to the Celts, warfare

the national

emblem

ol

It

-jw»^- 'V

is

^fi^_J~ =3* '

Russia

-

and

guides them and plays

major part in their myths fia^h Aboriginal

a

Eleph

wi

bulk and strength, the elephant symbol ol power It also signifies patience, wisdom, and chastity - probabl) use ol

animal ancestor and i

kinship with that

species •or

he kangaroo

1

left

man)

Bl

umey the tin

at

ition,

today in featui landscape

*

its

nerally a

\\

I

K

According to Native American myth, the beaver brought

mud

Irom the ocean bed to create land There are man\ beaver clans and the beaver

€. «*->

is

because, according to Aristotle, a bull elephant remained celibate during the two-year long gestation period ol his mate The Hindu god Ganesha has an elephant's head and. with his

and

iresents p

benevolence The white elephant ol royalty

and

is

is a symbol associated with the Buddha.

-

Watei

In

/'/.nil

denoting habitat

symbol

<*'

^g

ol

Camel

and

f

<%

J&

*JP

indusi

Sm use

ship ol

the desert,

is

valued in Middle Eastern cultures Arabia

!>

highly

BEAI

Mohammed

The b I

said in have

ind the

<

now

lural

animal, the camel ana.

well as earth, the

with

fertilit) lile,

and

It it

was known played

to

tl

a particularly

and

Lion

i

MONKI

i

i

the

holiesi spoi in Islam

s

I

I

the flighi

Hippopoi \mi

Horsi

|un:

aIr-ic Ins can

with

PHANTI

the

-

id is

M IH

I

prophet

I

In

ii

Bats

i

Hi

114

OTHI

l

K \\l\t\l s

m

Rw mbol

ol

.'

J

iid

temp

I

Ih.

i

i

I

i

I.)

i


n

Birds There

is

a widespread and ancient belief that after

body in the form of a bird. Consequently the bird is a symbol of the spirit. Birds can be mediators between gods and men, and can act death, the soul leaves the

as vehicles for the gods.

Many

religions

have heavenly

beings or spirits with wings: angels, cherubs, and

seraphim

example. Birds are seen in myths involving

for

and

sometimes depicted fighting with or carrying a serpent, symbolizing the uneasy balance between the sun (as bird) and the waters (as serpent). In a Tree of Life,

Chnstian an

are

symbolizes the struggle between good and

this

evil

In general, the falcon

symbol

Cuckoo

Sparrow

Because of its habit of laying us eggs in other

the sparrow

birds' nests, the

In the

view as a symbol of solitude and loneliness, while in the New Testament

cuckoo

sometimes regarded as evil. It is a symbol of is

unfaithfulness in marriage and, in Japan, of unrequited love. But it

is

The cuckoo

aid rain.

spring,

and

heralds the arrival of spring and the sowing of crops. If it is heard too early, it is taken as a sign of frosts and a

poor harvest.

sociable nature.

renewed

fertility.

the swallow

wuh

and in Creek mythology it is linked to Aphrodite, goddess of love. In Japan the sparrow is traditionally a symbol of loyalty, perhaps because of its

habitat

Because almosl

parts of

fertility,

nature

important

an stands

peli<

and

According

killed the

chick-

in

A

then

symbol ol purity it does not soil its leathers by walkm.

as a

the ground. In Chi

foi

end

popul.it

nale

Moms

serpent

newbi n C male

mourned

thi

m

which she stabbed her u

i

to

marital happiness.

represents Christ,

:

-In.

il

was

form

ol

the god

Like the eagle, the falcon, with its strength

and high fn

w

i

dom

In.

h

flight,

represents

the spirit,

ol

perhaps explains

its

his

blood

who

Renaissance Europe In hina the falcon has both

in i

together reprc

II

il

popularity as a sporting bird

till

:m with her blood. Thus foi nans, the pelican

two swallows

Egyptian

n d to Re, Egyptian goc ol the sun It was also a

fi

I

in

a.

to earl)

a

particularly

is

11

mythology where

devol

ital

pelican 01

is

always airborne,

Pelican

eithi

life,

oi the

The

self-sac rifice

I

and insignificance. However, it is also associated

summer

only with the arrival of warmer weal swallow symbol

lowliness

associations, linked to

first

its

this small bird

also has positive

song of the

Sw \| io\\ Returning nori

Old Testament

is

sun and the mas< uline powers in a

Hi.

sun

li>

aline

.\iu\

power

the

ol

the

X

destructive

powei

oi

wai

'i

fi

ind and was

Roosters and hens

R

raised

and hens have long been u In some places roosters are sat

.ritual.

so that their blood returns

and

fertility to

seers foretell the future

from the dead days he

threi

oosters

bird

is

i

ifti

I

n

carved

i

on

the soil,

i

huri h

lei

terns

from

the entrails of the hen.

Crane

Rooster The rooster

In is

associated

with courage and battle, with masculinity and the

symbolizes the victor)' of light

over darkness.

and part of

equated w ith sacrifice forms

It is

its

many

harvest rites, anity the rooster '

lervane in

on, it

is

hina, as

good omen, a messenger ol the gods, and a bearer 01 maternal love mk\ happiness It bungs

sun. Its crow heralds the dawn and

SAIC,

(

elsewhere, the crane is seen as a

ill N The hen

Raven

is widely seen as a symbol of maternal care and

Although often seen as an evil omen and a sign ol war, Him ;s ..I death, the ravi n was viewed in md Pel ia as a messenger ol the gods and as a symbol of the sun in Noi -\ idin is ai companied by two raven and; rding to Native Amei an myth reated b) a raven thai dropped pebb ake lands in the sea

protectiveness. In Christianity thi

â&#x20AC;˘

with its chicks represents Christ

and

high status, longevit)

.md immortality,

mm.\ \ mbolizes spiritual

enlightenment, p. hi

i

ii

his believers.

i

64

i

i

.'I

Africa

in

and

North America the pane was associated

with

wisdom


Birds

Doves of love and peace is a symbol of the and ol peace, innocence, gentleness, and puntv Two doves together are considered a sign of marital love and fidelity Doves are held sacred in many countries. In Creek legend the dove was linked to Aphrodite, the infant Zeus, the Fates, and

The dove soul,

Crow

the Furies

The black crow

is

widely regarded as a bird of

ill

omen and

Seven gifts of the Spirit

to

Chnstianuv the while dove is a symbol of the Holv Spirit and sometimes of martyrdom. Seven doves encircling a cross represent

many

Native Americans, a crow's black feather spells death to

enemy To

In

an

the Chinese

the seven gilts of the

the black crow paired

Spirit:

represents the yin/yang,

counsel, fortitude, know ledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

male/female principle, and in Japanese Shintoism the crow is

Talon holds the

Greenpeace dove Greenpeace, the international

a messenger of

movement

the gods.

"shenu

1

wisdom, understanding,

with the white heron

lor protecting the

en\ ironment, has adopted a bearing an olive branch as its

nitv

i

emblem. It is symbolic of peace and also ol hope

Condor To the Incas condors were revered and were thought embodiment ol the gods ol the air Con. leal hers were prized and used in

to

be the

Parrot

Kingfisher

The parrot symbolized spring and fertility, as well as imitation and mockery due to it^ gift of mimicry It is held sacred by the Hopi peoples of North America In Hinduism

In the East the

the bird

Kiwi rid,

the kiwi, flightless

which is and without ited trom

is

religious ornaments.

kingfisher denotes

married

bliss

and

its

feathers are prized for their color

and

are

thought to be magi .Wording to medieval legend, after the Flood the kingfisher flew

associated

and

with Kama, god ol and also with

close to the ^un

prophecy and

while its back took on the color of the sky

scorched

ra

making

its

breast red

CoosE

Polynesian anc< It

is

the

emblem

(

mbolize watchfulness and love In Hinduism the goose

mount ol the god Brahma and in is

\(,l>ll

The magpie bird ol

(

ill

omen

m

world

Pi

tCOCK

A-

circular

tail

i.

o!

the sun. Us

k

myth

myth Zeus

took on the form ol swan lo seduce the beautiful eda The is

also asscu

i.ileil

with Venus/Aphrodite her chariot is sometimes borne through the an

I

Hebrew

to

swans in Native American lore the swan is a s\ mb trust and submission he song ol the dying

Buddhism

tradition

the due k symbolizes

b)

immortalitv. while in

lima and |apan it repn tentment,

C

marital bliss,

I

and

Rdelil

tall

the prospect

i

SlOKk

the

In ancient

afterlife

I

gypi and

young

represents the vauh ol heaven and the

irticularly

American

the

mediator between the sk\ and the water, and n was ,me ol the itures that helped renew the earth aitet the lood According

a

I

swan

bean "I

in thi

lima and lap iled with the

moon and

+

This royal bird with But

the

,iss,h

in

In i

V The goose is a bird of the sun II was associated with many ireek and Roman gods and was kept to guard temples h thus came

caland

M

Duck Name

Sv\ \\

ne, a

sti

weie believed to treat then elders kindh and so they symbolized filial

the mat

.

.â&#x20AC;˘lit

rm

lo be unlu

the

ol the

moum

dut)

In

1

mope

the stork

:i

pride that â&#x20AC;˘ui\

it

has

with

bmh

babies aie said lo

brought by

tl

is

spnng and

d with the

i


Nature

symboisof power and

Universally viewed as the king of birds.

cfe-VKv

ÂŁB|

is a symbol oi the sun. royalty, and the gods, especially sky gods. It

ihe eagle

represents authority, strength, victory,

Jay

and pride, and in China the male yang principle, keen vision, and fearlessness. The eagle is often identified as the mythical Indian garuda, seen in deadly combat with the serpent. Like the hawk, the eagle is reputed to gaze straight at the sun as it flies upward and so. in medieval Europe, it came to be associated with prayer ascending to God, and with the ascension of Christ. In Australian lore the sea eagle carries the souls oi the dead hack to Dreamtime.

Although \ iewed as a chatterer and a sign oi bad luck, to Native Americans the

is

|.i\

creator bird

a

helped recreate the world alter the Flood It is a guardian

that

of some tribes

spirit

and warns of the approach ol an enem)

Napoleonic eagle Perhaps inspired by the Roman practice, French regiment in Napoleon's army carried bronze standard in the form oi an eagle The

Bird of paradise he leathers of this magnificent bird. I

found

New

in

Guinea,

are so beautiful thai

was thought

in

that the bird

came

from paradise. The

bud achieved mythical

i

a

status

- people

believed that

it

lived

example shown here was the emblem ol the 105th regiment, and was captured by the

on dew chops and would moan in pain

British at Waterloo. In us right talon the

captured

eagle holds Jupiter's

emblem

it

Europe

of a thunderbolt

Its

il

leathers

were prized and were once wom as a fashion item.

US In

BAl D

I

\GLE

1782 the United s adopted the

bald eagle as a national emblem appears both on coins and paper

money and

is

GOl

It I

s

INCH

Ol

ssentially a

I

hristian

(

symbol, the goldfinch represents both the

symbolic

power and strength The eagle's outstretched wings demonstrate ngth, and it rests above an olive

soul

branch of peace.

thorns, and so the bird has become associated

se< n as a

w nh hrist's suffering on the loss he red spoi on in throal is

through

said to represenl the

bird that represents

drop

beauty, harmony, and enjoyment. he Azte< war god, luitzilopochtli, and

ol

,\\x.\

hrisl

(

(

ilic

passion

ol

ioldfinches

like to eat thistles a\h\

others

(

t

hunting and war

.is

a

l

blood

oi

thai

lell

the goldfint h drew

thorn from

(.

hrist's

brow

Hi mmingbird he hummingbird

is

I

|o\

In

,

symbol

oi

giving pleasure its

loveliness.

Native American

myth

a

is

a truthful

I

1

Quetzalcoatl, the Mayan god, both wore us leathers, which were

w tdely thought

to

have

magical properties.

m

orwmi

Lip

["o thi

ilized

bi

and

he eagl

'

cele

er. It

associated with I.

i

and

ins,

I

tin

was

..II

this eagle

ii'

n

head was

protective jewelry

i

Eagle

sun

rising

'.In

fi aiiii

ks

the Sioux the spotted eagle

ii

;ents the

il

all

lifi

iri

rded

a

ra;

of

thi

;un

and the eagle-feathered mbol ol :

nderbird putting the the warrii

power

>oul

ersal Spiril

i

ire

I

tdi

i

'I

1

1

B)

battle

ruined himsell with thi n and strength eagl god. Âťi

Egypl the ibis was a symbol ol the was sacred to the lunai denies [sis and [hoth, and represented the moon (with the hawk

In ancienl

'

1

1

as the sun

lowevei the ibis also had a solar seen in battle with serpents, emblems ol the watei In In nan an the ibis . mbolizes devotion and perseveram I

significance

I

when

(

i

i

66


Birds » % » »

Ow LS ancient Greece the owl was sacred to Athena, goddess ol wisdom and night. and came to symbolize the city named alter her, as well as wisdom. The owl was then incorporated into the design ol Creek c and was so popular that countries such as

In

PB

i

Bl

NtGHIlNt.M

ACKB1RD

The much-lowd blackbird was sacred

1

tal) I

to

he song

song, but because thi>

particularly meaningful

The dodo, which was

where u was seen a?- a symbol of love, longing, and pain Because its song heralds the dawn, it is said by Christians to

hunted

is

also a

symbol of

some

In

flesh

was

plaintive,

in Persia,

the temptations ol ihe

Christian

writings the black

plumage makes the blackbird a symbol

to extinction in

the 17th century, has

become final

symbol of

a

death, hence the

phrase dead as a

do

sent the soul's

yearning lor Christ.

of evil

coil

Dodo

and

bird

and Turkey issued similar

gypt,

nightingale, both sweel

the i.rcck- Fot us sweet

alluring the

I

ol the

Bird Ol mi NIGHT Because of its association with the night, the owl is widely seen as a bird of ill omen with a cry that heralds death and misfortune. To the Celts the owl was a night h linked to corpses In parts ol Africa it was associated with magic, and its head was used in preparing spells

30

Wri n Although killing a wren is considered unlucky, it was not always so. In England and France it

Robin The robin

is

symbol

a

•mpassion.

Its

red

-aid to be the

scorching when it carried water to the parched souls in result of

hell

pan

ince a

of

Christmas ntes to hunt and kill wrens, burying them in the churchyard as a symbol of the ending of the old year.

Alternatively, the

robin was pricked when trying to remove nails

from Christ's cross.

Hawk This predatory bird

one of the great

is

solar

birds, with similar

Albatross

associations to the eagle

Because of

To Greeks and Romans

fly

and the

falcon.

it

was the messenger of Apollo. The god Horus was also depicted with the head ol a hawk In Native American myth the

hawk helped

the sun

and

fire

recreate

the world after the

Flood. The eagle hawk is a deity and totem for Australian Aboriginals.

M« i)POE

**

nown

journeys. When it circles a ship it is thought to herald the

widely believed to have magical powers and to bring good luck. It was Mars, Roman god of war, and was seen as a symfo

weather. In the West is an ancient

there

belief that the albatross

embodied

as

is and in Arab literature messenger of love However, it it

in

Europe

it

is

a

It

is

ii

nt

the soul of a

Marinei

ostrich

The woodpecker was

it

one, as reflected in Colendge's Rim. qj the

alive associations

and

Woodpecker

advent of a storm and mbolic of rough

medieval limes the was reputed to leave its eggs to hatch In

symbol of the sea and long ocean

kill

tor bird,

Ostrich

is

extremely unlucky to

In

ribed as a

to

a

sailor and so was considered

conflicting

symbolism

water, the albatross

dead

The hoopoe -

its ability

great distances over

lightning and

lire

by

Germanic peoples. The Ainu of Japan viewed it as evil, but also believed that the

in the heat ol the sun.

In some cultures this was seen as a sign ol

crueltv to its young; in others as a symbol of

power of The

belie! in the

the heavens

ostrich

nis

ai

those who hide Irom the truth, owing to its . it ion for burying

woodpecker was sent iod to show them bj

An

how

symbol

(

to hollow out tree trunks to make boats.

its

head

in the

ostri< h

.

-and

i

ol rebirth

said to betr.n

symbol

of the devil

and of witchcraft

Ql \n In Russian lore the

quail symbolizes the

sun. with ihe hare as the mi ion The quail

was Ml RON The heron, like the stork and the

also a

the izars.

symbol

To

ol

the

Chinese, as to the

mbol

Down

H

t*

presents both the sun

and water and

in battle,

although

when 1

_ht to predict

ii

eather In

mat

'he

hen m was and il

the annual return ol

I!

»ul

symbolized imprisoned

Vl

I

It

Kl

gyptian

in

IN

d<

the vultun

the b ited

with

.

luck and ihe spring, and MI tO

Peuc<

maternal instinct, as vultures were supposed to Iced then young with their own blood '

ite

purifiers left

amorous nam: nrdahi'

Rvu

i

i

ROOSTEBI Vulture

a

H

are is

appetite

^%-


People ncient societies believed that our very

\

bodies were microcosms of the universe,

A- and

that our actions, particularly in

ritual, reflected Still

today,

much

our relationship with nature. oj our behavior can be seen as

symbolic, from donning ceremonial

gowns and

dressing baby girls in pink to participating in the

complex

lituals

surrounding birth and marriage.


Sex

&

Fertility

For many people nowadays,

fertility

of the earth,

fertility

Fishoj

ft

fertility

I KV\

charms

Silver

^

the earth's bounty.

garland

lis

flowers are silver keys, a

ol

pomegranates, grapes, and

Fl Rill 11V DOLLS Dolls siuh as these were

young

LlNGA AND YONI of Shiva,

god

its

as the

phallus-shaped

pillar

male creative principle. Here fertility

symbol

it is

and

creation.

PlNl APPLE QUI This American bridal quilt is ornamented with pineapples, symbols of life I

fertility,

with

and

worn by women and enhance

variously

their fertility.

com

ol

ol fertility

set

Sex symbols

The

symbolism

and

meadow

also

lilies

"I

sex

from

itl)

\

<

ulture to

and Western world classic sex symbols tend ind glamorous, and are often him stars or music ians )bjec is that symbolize male sexuality lend to be assoc iated with a phallic shape and with powei whereas female sexuality is related to rounded shapes. nd abundance culti

and

made

to

fish,

tambourine.

representing the

into the voni, the vulva-shaped feminine element.

Together they represent

Angola

a festive

cubs or forked ks and beeswax - the corn cob being Usell a

sin.

most commonly worshiped form

girls in

he) are

I

linga is the

ios

i

irding to

lifest) u

;oi

ial

etiquette,

In the

<

which

tulips,

nbolize love. Quilts are traditionally

made

Marilyn

Elvis

as part of a

Known

bride's trousseau

when

she marries, and are often

as

pelvis," the

n

designed to

roll

muc

promote

Elvis the

Idolized by millions,

kmgol

Marilyn Monroe was Lassie lollywood sex symbol,

was revered

roc k

as

b for his gyrating

hips and simmei ing good looks as his voice

"fruitfulness."

1

i

j

doomed

ki

"the roi kei

is a

<

il

In

accentuating

lassie

shape and an ibjec gn ai powei and thrusl

phallic i

i

addition

il

â&#x20AC;˘

"'he

what is essentially a male urge to conquei man-the-hunter sets oui to

oi

trate the in mtiei

70

levels

il

the leg, thereby

I

ultimate new

- space

1

a

Western symbol ol

femininit)

and

its

spiky

heel suggests

domination

elongates

to

die young.

he high-heeled shoe operates

I

on two

I

.

1

Stiletto shoe

Roc

I.)

womanhood This richly decorated waist ornament includes many items connected with fertility and mav have been a gift to a young bride. Hanging from

qj

The

US]

a

is

and thus the continuation of the species, was the greatest preoccupation of humankind. All societies have had fertility gods and goddesses. And there are countless images imbued with sexual symbolism, which thus essentially have to do with fertility. Many arc straightforward sex symbols and relate to the union ol man and woman; others have to do with Three stripes along with

'A

qj

(ruitjulness

especially city dwellers, the fertility of soil

rather remote concept. But for thousands of years the

human

Brazilian \ranat


&

Sex

Fi

rtilitv

Sprout-.-

Birth

nty

Giving

birth

is

the ultimate

symbol ol creation, and such is mythologized throughout the world- In the West babies often appear as tl b\ miracle, snatched by storks from the cosmic waters In other parts ol the world the process is more dire - resulting From the blessed as

union of

man and woman Birth plate commemorative

plate a stork delivers a baby to us crib. In this

In folklore storks

became

asscx iated with birth because of

then renowned devotion to

young.

their

Peruvian childbirth A

single act of creation mirroring the whole ol creation, childbirth is seen as a moment

.Mill

CATHEDRA:

Grej\ m

w

The

head has continued

foliate

to be a

symbol

ol hie

and

I

tertihtv

from pre

ecological

symbol

for preserving

and

ol spiritual vulnerability

Christian times well into this century In church architecture it stands toi the regenerative force of Christ More recently it has been adopted as an

often

accompanied by

is

ritual

The umbilical cord is treated with respect as a link between worlds and sometimes, as m

and protecting nature

Peru,

*!â&#x20AC;˘>

may be

preserved

by the family

Goddess

01

fertility This gold

figure -cnts Astarte, the

Pl\l ( ONI This vast bronze pinecone is pan of an

tree

it

Roman

fountain

A

the pine

corn

a

is

symbol

I

it

ol love

a

well-known

ol the fertility

and ol growth and abundance

with Venus,

and

it

emblems

of her

is

of the earth

The Romans

associated

goddess

and

sheaf

sheaf of wheat or

symbol

powerful

ol life

fertility

rie

goddess

Wheat

fruit of

ancient

As the

Canaanue

It

represents the

fruitful union of the sun and the soil

CORM

symbol ol

Icmlity.

-

ol

vegetation

bi

Although highly

and the gods

Its

The

loth century bc. stylized, with a

ol fertility

an attribute

ol

and dates from the

OP1 \ The cornucopia i> the horn of plenty, spilling over with fruit. It is a (

pubic triangle set within a largei one, the sexual organs an

shape,

-

a hollow horn - is both female and male

clearly defined

ks

>-\i

;

This Japanese print

pubu

is

an illustration from an lMth-ccntury "pill rolic

paint

WSi>

S/(

ting

i

the union ol male

Km

and

female The union >..m a purely

I

I

i

H

u III

I

i

It

ÂŤ

SYMBOLS

the

male and

combined mholk j

principle

cnil

ig their

u

men

I'M

pleasure

highlv popular time

at

the

1

Mil!

s*

Villi

'i

I


People

Human Body The human body is seen by many people as a microcosm of the universe In some parts of the world buildings are laid out with this symbolism in

mind.

A

correspond

most

Southeast Asian house, for example, has sections that to the

human

head, body, and

sacred. In other parts of the

"temple of the soul."

Composed

frequently appear in

made man

in his

own

the

world the body

metaphorically

head area being the referred to as the

is

of the four

elements,

it

and linking gods and humans. Gods, in human form, and the Bible tells us that "God

can be seen as representing fact,

feet,

life,

image."

Eyes The eye symbolizes

Skull

the sun, the all-seeing eye ol

God, and

power of evil. It is the oi the soul and the light of the body. The eyes on Buddhist shrines symbolize wisdom and omniscience, whereas the widespread belief m an e\ eye" - and the

eternal watchfulness, as well as the

window

In this famous scene from Shakespeare's play. the prince holds the skull of Yonck, a former servant The scene stresses the impermanence of life and the pointless vanity of worldly matters, both symbolized by the skull.

il

Sklll-andcrossbones

consequent need for a "luck\ eye' - reflect the tear that curses can be transmitted with a single glance.

In the L600s,

variations of the

Lunar

eyi

skull-and-crossbones

Egypt the eye of Horus, the

emblem were

In ancient right

adopted by pirates warning

sky god. was his solar eye, and the left eye his wadjel e of the moon. This wadjet mbolizes the powi f

as a sinister

ol their evil intentions

.

he

1

emblem

hlled sailors with dread,

signaled death lo

all

who saw

and

it.

.

light

and was one of the most sacred and

powerful protective amulets

in Eg) ptian

magic

All-seeing shrim Four pairs of eyes mark

this Buddhist stupa in Nepal. These represent the eyes of the all-seeing Buddha, gazing out in all directions. The question-mark-like

nose is a symbol of unity, and slightly above each pair of eyes is a third which represents the Buddha's clairvoyant powers.

Eyi 01 wisdom This 15th-century eye

is an Islamic illustration based on an almond-shaped mandahi li

represents the spiritual the soul and to ultima'

Eye oj sea monster wards

thai leads to

ind wisdom.

Within the soul- outei in le smaller, hum which stands foi a prison's

off evil

(

i

Prow of boat The prow

of this

Portuguese fishing boat is painted with oculi,

Eyi idoi This alabastei

or great eyes,

which see the dangers that lie ahead and ward off evil. The eyes cause the boat to

fi

ized eyes

'0-3000 BC) is thousands ol similar such idols found at the Eye Temple ai i

ol

Tell Brak, in pre

i

ni

day Syria. The temple derived its name from its cat he

look like a great sea monster, thus deceiving the dangerous spirits of the ocean into keeping away.

ol

visionary figures.

I

ON(,l

1

The tongue is likened to a flame because ol its color and qui< k movements can be a fertility symbol and also represents the voice ol the deity li

some churches, devotees speak in tongues Here the Indian goddess Kalis protuding tongue is a symbol ol her reative and aestru< tive energy In

i

72


Human Body

Ears n the East, large earrings were once

worn

and The Buddha usually shown with b) kings

princes.

is

long ears, perhaps stretched by such earrings during his youth as a prince

Long

ear lobes thus

signify

and

both royalty

spiritual authorit)

Nosi he nose may signif) arrogance it it is raised or wrinkled In

Ti

I

In

i

in

many

parts ol the

world teeth are ritually filed at puberty as a

literature

is often it linked to the phallus its size used as a \

sign of beauty. In the

animal world baring

<

reference to male

the teeth

prowess. In the story big nose symbolizes dishonest) since the puppet s nose grew with every lie that he told

defence

is

oi

a sign of

but

threal

in the well-kni

story ol Dracula the

fangs of the vampire

draw blood from innocent victims.

Brain The brain with the

is

equated

intellect

gives the head \\

and

location in the skull

its

its

cstern connotation

as being the seat ol the intelligence.

^P

Head

The head is widely seen as the within us and so as the most sacred

seat ol the

life

Force

body Head which was equated

part ol the

hunters sought to capture this life force, with fertility and power. People in authorit) are known as the head of an organization, and in Japan heads are bowed in greeting as a sign of respect. This golden head is thai ol an in Ashanti king killed in battle.

Mm I

he

the

III

mouth gives judgment and so symbolizes word can represent the all-devourii It

n into the realm ol the unconscious. The demon above, from a Baroque Italian garden, unites passers-b) into his cavernous mouth

earth

Hair

Hair as

DR] \m ot ks

and energ) ol the both In popular ol spiritual powei Iree spirit, even wantonness

is

often seen as holding the strength

it

grows from the head,

seat

worn loose denotes a although in Christianity it represents pÂť saints ( Uten when hair is covered n is a sign "I respeel ( hristian nuns cut their hair short to symbolize thÂŤ ii stones, hair

>rn

\utl\ to

show hip in the

rgin

Rastafa foi

i

communit) which, though

renunciation ol worldl) vanity

ni.

to the ancient

Swiso\

\\|)

In the Bible,

Ml Samson performs |)|

I

trength that his .

s

culture ol

||

ng nid mai

teats ol

Delilah dis< ovi

powei lies in his long hail and him to his enemies by lilting (

I

thii

hair

the it

long

norms .ion

oil

while he sleeps, thus

rendering turn as weak

and vulnerabl

SlIWI N In

III

M>s

many Buddhist

sects

monks and

en head;

othei

ll

is

nhiaicd

7

5

long hail a lik

when

he

ism

\ f \


1

Nature *-*--%--V*-Âť-1

,

Spleen In

The heart

European and Arab countries the spleen

is

the seat of the humors: laughter, anger.

ill-humor, and

To Christians the heart is the source of love, joy, sorrow, and compassion. Many Christian saints hold a heart as an vs or crowned attribute, sometimes pierced by arrows art was the A with thorns. In ancient Greece, the heart

melancholy. To be "splenetic'' is to be melancholy.

center of thought, feeling, and will, while in Islam, it is the spiritual center.

Liver In

China the

liver is

^

Sacred heart

^, This French greeting card

Jesus within a stylized crucifix. It .

v

*-

filial

Love

combines a

is the classic symbol of love: Cupid's arrow pierces a heart and his victim is struck by the

unexpected pleasure and pain of desire.

is

As symbol of fertility the male sexual organ

to

be cowardly.

represents the generative

Intestines The twisting

the Creator

nature ol the

the art of

intestines gives

countries as a powerful symbol of regeneration and renewal. This English chalk figure

ihein the

phallus

ii

symbolic relationship with the labyrinth ol life In

of

thoms with other

some places the intestines are associated with compassion

Christian imagery

180ft

Playing cards

Skeleton The personification the skeleton

ol

often

is

and erect

depicted in

many

is

(55m) high.

Death,

shown

carrying a scythe or an hourglass as a reminder of the speedy passing of time.

Ribs n the Bible, after created .Adam, he

Him

\\ sacrifice Mesoamerica, human

was ntually practiced

communion re

is

An

from Cerne Abbas

Hearts are one of the four suits in a standard pack of playing cards. 1 represent warmth and the heart of the world. The queen of hearts stands for love. The king is more powerful than her, but the ace is generally even more so, and to be "ace" is thus to be best.

In

halk man, England

forces of nature

flaming heart

own

<

Phallus

duty

"lily-livered"

surrounded by :

Early

and

Elsewhere, to be

This

depicts the sacred heart ot

ÂŁ*

linked

to courage

needed

as a form of

le

therefore caused

to fall into a deep sleep and, according

cosmic order. For the Aztecs

took out one of Adam's nbs and fashioned it

to Genesis,

was the center of life force, and it was this that had to

the heart

into a

be offered to the gods to ensure the

companion,

a

nm

with the gods; the deities

periodically fed to maintain

the

Adam

de< ided thai sacrifice

God

I

fertility

and the renewal of crops.

woman

-

The rib is thus a symbol of wife, born from the body ol man. \

e

Navel The ancient Greeks placed this huge stone carving in

Breasts Nowadays

the sacred city of Delphi to

mark

the center of the

erotic.

world They believed that

two birds

breasts are

often seen as simply-

However,

the past, and

many

flying

still

in in

cultures, they

from opposite ends of would meet

have primarily symbolized

here, and so erected the omphalos, or navel, to physically represent the center of the world, from which all creation

motherhood and abundant Fertility goddesses thousands of years

the earth

i

old arc depicted as Large-breasted women. sometimes in the acl

rounded symbol of the

originated.

Its

top was a point of connection between the realms of the gods, of humans, and of the dead.

giving birth, making the link with treat ion fear <.

I

74

KIA

Coco-di -\ur. South India

Vulva This strange palm nut,

known as a double coconut or coco-demer, is seen as a symbol of the female genitalia and so of fertility and creation. In India it was worshiped as a manifestation of the vulva of the earth goddess, and thus of all creative energy.


Hi MAN BOPY

Hands Hands, b)

their gestures,

protection, justice,

and

can

signify blessing,

authority. Healers often

work through the "laying on of hands," and we speak of giving a "helping hand" when we assist someone Two people holding hands is a sign oi love

and

affection.

1IWDS

Joim h>7

In

)

a special

fifty-pence piece

was minted

^Tjy\ o^s%'^

to

commemorate

Britain

joining the European

Economic Community

Hand

oi

mi

1

1

rum

9-14-29

This Roman hand was used in divination It bears

"â&#x20AC;˘

h features a series of

hands clasped continuous

symbols such as a roost* head and a pinecone, which were linked to the cult of Bacchus and the visions ol

in a

circle of

friendship.

Handprints of the stars in

H \nd of God

the future that arose out of

Hollywood film stars leave then handprints wet cement as a lasting testament to thentame Thousands ol tans tr\ out the impressions

drunken

lo see

This Jewish symbol of strength and power is worn as a good-luck charm.

In

revelry

how

they match up to their idols

1

(,S

I

The three-legged symbol has various

Arms

meanings U represents

signify supplication or

the swift-footed sun as

prayer The)

rises, sets,

it

each da) i

It

and ebbs is a symbol

z,ood luck, like the

'I

swastika, symbolizing

and regeneration continuous cycle ol footsteps, and it is also the chosen emblem ol Sicil) and ferulit)

with

the

mi is

its

Man The the Me ol Man

Isle ol 'ii'

i

"I

Quocunque Stabit - whichevei way is thrown, /â&#x20AC;˘

it

it

will

stand

It

raised, the

arms ma)

may be

raised in battle

(bearing weapon-

or surrendei (openpalmed). Generally, the 1

in

arm symbolizes action. The arm ol justice

common

metaphoi

as

strong arm ol the law In [astern is

the

religious

.inn-

r<

Thus

a

SlMNI I

hi-

I

pillar

g)

pnan

backbone

iconography

presi rtt power man) -armed

djed-

i

ol

symbolizes

c

the

>siris

and

stability

the stability ol the

and that the heaven-, which

Pharaoh

-

rule

deity represents the

ol

man

the pillar supported

I

nature

ol tin

I

he spinal column

the central support the

symbol

I'

ol thi

Sn Eyi

fill In the YA

humihts and p

is

part ol the

I)

pointing

at

pilgrims

1

ING1 KN

\ll

S

In the l^th centir

in

wealth

anolhi

i

Hani

i

ol

implied

in

.\n

In the

M Leosi

i

auspii ious symbols "I the II

f*S\

in

l

,>!

i

sc II

Mean

e

lib

i

tin- belief,

although

often restricting the practice to the hide linger

III

III

1

w..so

\


People

Dance

&

Theater

Dancing is movement, energy, excitement. It is symbol of pleasure and as a ritual of courtship. associated with initiation ceremonies,

a part of

even-day

War dance life

In different cultures

fertility rites,

Native American tnbes of the plains, such as the Hidatsa. were

as a

it is

ram. war, and death.

lormed into military "Dog

It

war rituals to induce a state of frenzy. Many of today's dances have developed from earlier rituals; the maypole dance, for example, has its roots in Greek and Roman rites of spring. Drama, with its more controlled actions and gestures, provides us with a symbolic representation of the world we live in. is

used in harvest

festivals to

improve the crop and

in

Societies."

Dog

Pehriska-Ruhpa

(Two

Ravens), enacts a war

dance

^Stofe^t

V

to enlist

the aid of spirits

jfee&fe

The

dancer,

and

^ to prepare the warrnors for battle.

Lord of the d \nc Encircled by a ring ol lire and on the back ol the dwarl ol ignorance, the Hindu god Shiva dances out the end ol one age and the start ol another. He enacts death and rebirth in one frenzied dance. With his drum. Shiva beats out the pulse of the universe and the pounding of the heart i

Whirling dervishes In their ecstatic dances the whirling dervishes (holy men) of Turkey pace out the turning of the earth on its axis as it orbits the sun. Through the dance, a dervish symbolically brings the spiraling of the universe into being.

The Ganges River in (hi-

o)

Puppets

hair

Shiva

-

hand

drum

Puppets are scaleddown versions of men and women, or the gods they believe in, and their

Sword

performances often concern human behavior.

The design

of the puppets, their clothing, and their

actions are

symbolic.

dan<

i

Dances involving swords occur all over the world They were probably originally used spirits and to t

all

\l\RIOM LIES Burma string

strengthen the power of the sword in batik-

puppets are used to

Some sword dances end with a motion

In

act out epic stories

involving princes and deeds of valor.

These moral fables leave their

audiences with food for thought.

symbolic r. cutting off of a head, suggesting a link with ancient rites of sacrifice. The ribbons form a pai:

around

the

pole

Shadow pi ppet The famous shadowpuppets of Java and Bali enact the great epics of Hinduism.

The

flickering

shadows, projected onto a white screen, create a world of mystery in

which the stones of the gods and heroes are filled with olic

meaning.

•^»--v-%--*^»^-m-«

M VYPOLE DANCE The dance around the maypole has been performed since Greek and Roman times to celebrate

with

spnng.

May Day

It is

often associated

The maypole represents the earth's axis and also acts as a phallic symbol, representing male fertility celebrations.

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v+s\s±^^s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s\s%s±^s%s*+

76


Greek tragedy In ancieni

Masks

Greece

L drama presented HW a powerfully *

l^ w

Because

-\mbolu

masks dance and drama

behavior and emotions. By resolving huge

gods

issues such as

and incest, such performances enabled the audience to identify with the

characters and overcome anxieties in the

process Thus

drama

often

in

sacred

ancestors In lapanese

theatei the actors are

love,

Noh

masked ami

tl

he danct th moments ol greatest intensit) masks an lized and gefulness. types, or moods su< h as rag l

M [Ml Mime form

i

is

oi

a

symbolic

drama

that

is

enacted without words It uses onh expressions

and gestures to convey meaning, and so can he

healing effect.

01

mam

in

wot

rituals the) aic

I

a

where

.is

human

had

ol tii

portrayal ol

isy,

the) present

read' universally

Thai dancers

Fltirr. .

mboliZC

The costumes of

ami

Thai dancers make them look like heavenly creatures. Their stylized dance

purification

destruction oj .ill'-

movements reinforce this

impression.

Classical Indian dance gestures Hand gestures used in classical Indian dance are also used in modified Form in Southeast Asia.

They represent moods, anions, and

objects or creatures. Every

dancer

is

movement

ol the

symbolic and has meaning.

NOH MASK Noh

Japanese is distnn

lit

theatei ts

i

ol paii

n.isks

'

II

in

Iroquois dancers

iden

!

i

deities,

as w<

\sK

im husks

The masks

repn sent mali groups -

use

M

SK

Nativ

a

i

nidwinter

ra)

when and monsters motions

on

the) call

spirits

harvest

i

SM WM> ll\M>

ORD

I

"I

\t\SK-

Bum

i.lsll HI

im

-

I

DANl

'

I

MAYPOI

I

DANl

»

i

i

!

I

ike othei

dance forms, ballet costume and gestun onvej meaning \ ballerina fluttering in white lulle, foi example

SWORD

i

'%^V%^%^V%-

W

J

com *%•*.•%»

77

ii

»

wan

DAN(

i

i


h

People

Magic

&

Charms

we become aware of the world of magic and ritual at an early age. As adults, many things in life remain mysterious to us what we cannot explain by rational means we may try to explain by magic. Similarly, when we find ourselves powerless to control the forces that affect us, we may look to J magic. Many people still use spells to cure illness, to harm enemies, or to ensnare a lover. Even the skeptical among us may wear lucky charms, avoid Through

fairy tales

1

walking under ladders, and consult fortune

tellers.

Magic

though disparaged by some as superstition, are practiced by many people throughout the world.

and

ritual,

still

Feng Shui compass Feng Shui

an ancient based on living m harmony with one's surroundings. Using this compass,

Witch

Chinese

According to folklore, witches could fly on broomsticks, brew magic potions, and

Feng Shui diviners

Once

they were thought to be in league with the devil and thus were symbols of evil. Women healers cast spells.

is

art

locate the right

combinations ol elements, such as time, wind, and water, whi< determine the best sites for homes, temples, or burial grounds

were often branded as witches. By 1700 more than 200,000 had been put to death.

Serpent

-

'

armed

'

\

with

â&#x20AC;˘

\

-

COIN

5E

SWORD

Egyptian knife Ibis curved knife of animal bone was used in ancient Egypt to

strung

strengthen the covei sword

shape

drawn

FlVE-POINTED SI AR An upside-down fivepointed star was a

against the

relevant area to create

magical protective The various animals and patterns depicted on it endow tlie knife with their collective power. a

barrier.

Money

symbol of evil. Rightside up, as her

CURES Money is

and and was painted on houses to ward off witches.

symbolized

weak

house It would have been parts of a

light

spirituality,

a

symbol of power, and so by extension it tome to be imbued with lias

spiritual, as well as

practical, properties.

In

China

a

sword

made of coins was hung over the bed

ol a

sick person to dispel

,/

Mirror of

the

Mirror

POTJON

i

M

demons

or evil

spirits that

might be

causing the

illness.

Love dolls i,

1903

hese male (right) and female (left* dolls are traditional Native I

The mirror symbolizes divine truth and the wisdom of the universe. This "vision" if a mirror broken, and it is a popular superstition n years' bad is

shattered

is

Whenmagic

unsuccessful lovers often reson to to beguile the object of their desires literature. This could take the form of love all else fails,

in

made from phallic-shaped ingredients mandrake root, ginseng, oi ginger, plus

potions, usually

such as the an appropriate

Many

foods are reputed to be aphrodisiacs or love enhancers, and are used in much the same way as the age-old love potion spell.

will follow.

78

American medicine charms In the

Menominee namt

make

tribe, the dolls

were given the

uple and tied fac ing ea< h other to sure they remained laithlul to one other

In the Potawatomi tribe they were used charms to draw two people togethei

as love


\1

u, IC

&

Charms ~^%S%S%^^^%s-%S%S%S%S%^%S^^%,

1

Magic carpet Riding on a magic carpet is the stufl ol many dreams. Flying symbolizes release ol the spirit

fiO^

and the overcoming ol all physical limitations. king Solomon had a flying carpel that d him, his throne, and both hi- armies wherever he wished.

1

In

I

he 1,001

Nights,

Fot/R-LEAF CLOVER