“Nature is a temple where, from living pillars,
Confused words are sometimes allowed to escape;
Here man passes, through forests of symbols,
Which watch him with looks of recognition”
Sacred symbols are the symbolic language of the soul. Carl Jung theorized that we are able to go beyond the artificial barriers imposed by language to speak directly to our unconscious. These symbols and images allow us to become time travelers as we connect to our past as well as connect to other nations and religions.
Jung recognized that the universal sacred symbols common to many world religions are archetypal products of humankind’s natural religious function. Two of the most important universal symbolic images that he studied were the circle, or mandala–a symbol of unity and eternity–and the cosmic tree, which can be regarded both as a symbol of the self, or as a cosmic axis linking the underworld, earth and heavens.
Some other cosmic sacred symbols are:
Seed: potential of life
Dot: Supreme Being
Sun: male principal
Moon: female principal
Spiral: cosmic force
Wheel: solar power
Square: manifestation, foundation
Rainbow: a bridge between earth and spirit, the celestial serpent, the highest state of spiritual attainment before enlightenment.
Cross: cosmic axis, union of Earth and spirit, union of Opposites, spiritual union, sacrifice
Star of David: the downward –pointed triangle-the solar masculine principle-life. The upward pointing triangle-the lunar, feminine principle.
The Interlocking Triangles: as above, so below.
Egg: source of life
Water: unconscious, the feminine, the Great Mother, birth, purification
Fire: transmutation, purification, power, passion, illumination, and inspiration
Air: breath, thought, communication, and intellect
Earth: The Great Mother, fertility, nourishment, physical body, foundation, solidity
Cosmic Mountain: creation of the world
Ying/Yang Circle: represents opposition and synergy to the Taoists
AUM: the Hindu sacred syllable, the essence of all sounds
The Ankh: the ancient Egyptian sign of life, which seems to prefigure the Christian cross
Sacred symbols contain cosmic beliefs and therefore can be used as powerful tools in our own spirit journey. By honoring them we gain access to enormous resources which we then can use in our personal and collective rituals and spiritual practices.
As Clare Gibson in Sacred Symbols (Saraband Inc.) so elegantly writes, “Because sacred thought involves the intangible and supernatural, it cannot help but be expressed symbolically. The primary function of a symbol is to express a concept by employing a means of visual shorthand A symbol has many advantages over the written or spoken word: it transcends the barriers of language; its message can be instantly registered and absorbed; and most importantly in terms of the sacred, it encourages a mystical or metaphysical reaction in achieving a closer communion with the sacred. Symbols are powerful and complex forms of communication despite their graphic simplicity.”
“In any kind of inner work, whether it be in dreams, meditation, contemplation, guided imagery, or creative visualizations, symbols appear to us as signposts or keys and they function as containers, revealers, or concealers of meaning to enable us to penetrate deeper into the mystery of life.” –Angeles Arien, The Tarot Handbook (Arcus Publishing Co).
Sacred Sybols the Tarot
According to Angeles Arien “the tarot is a symbolic map of consciousness.
Here are some of her interpretations of the Major Arcana or the twenty-two universal principles or laws:
The Fool: one who walks without fear
The Magician: the communicator
The High Priestess: the independent self-knower
The Empress: the nurturer, comforter, beautifier
The Emperor: the pioneer, builder, doer, visionary
The Hierophant: The teacher, counselor, and consultant
The Lovers: synthesizer of dualities, polarities and oppositions
The Chariot: the generator, motivator, and traveler
The Adjustment/Justice: the mediator, adjuster, and arbitrator
The Hermit: the mediator, philosopher, sage, wise man
The Wheel of Fortune: abundance prosperity, fortune
Strength: passion, awareness, and aliveness
The Hanged Man: the transformer
Death/Rebirth: releaser, eliminator, and expander
Art/Temperance: the creator, the alchemist
The Devil: the joker, worker, and stabilizer
The Tower: restoer, healer, and renovator
The Star: self-confident,self-esteem
The Moon: the chooser, the romantic
The Sun: the originator,co-creator
Judgment: the analyst, evaluator, and seer
The Universe: the completion, the initiator
(Continued In Sacred Symbols Pt 2…)
Authors Details: Sacred Symbols – Barbara Biziou, America’s foremost ritual expert, teaches us how to restore ritual to its rightful place as food for the soul. Web Site