By J. E. Cirlot
At each level of civilization, humans have trusted symbolic expression, and advances in technological know-how and know-how have merely elevated our dependence on symbols. a necessary a part of the traditional arts of the Orient and Western medieval traditions, symbolism underwent a twentieth-century revival with the research of the subconscious. certainly, symbolic language is taken into account a technological know-how, and this informative quantity deals an critical device within the examine of symbology. Its alphabetical entries--drawn from a various diversity of assets, together with all the significant global religions, astrology, alchemy, numerology, heraldry, and prehistoric art--clarify the fundamental and unvarying meanings of every image. even if used as a reference or browsed for excitement, this informative quantity deals a important key to elucidating the symbolic worlds encountered in either the humanities and the historical past of rules. 32 b/w illustrations.
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Additional info for A Dictionary of Symbols
But on the other hand one cannot deny those psychological interpretations which point to sexual ends. When a man, in the Talmud, ‘sprinkles an olive tree with olive oil’, he betrays symbolically an incestuous desire. The distortion of symbols inherent in any method of psychological interpretation derived from abnormal minds and applied to abnormal conditions may be seen in the patterns of meaning evolved by Volmat in his L’Art psychopathologique. For him, the symbol ‘grows around a dynamic system, that is, around a structure within the dimensions of time and personality’.
Another reason for not stating clear-cut conclusions is that in our opinion it is not always possible to accept the particular views of some writers, however estimable they may be as compilers or even as interpreters of symbols. For example, Loeffler says that in oriental and Nordic mythology, each symbol, myth or legend contains ‘four superimposed moral lessons: (i) an historical lesson, that is, an epic narration dealing with real facts and people and serving as a kind of “material backing” for the symbolic teaching involved; (ii) a psychological lesson, depicting the struggle between spirit and matter on the human plane; (iii) a lesson bearing upon life on our planet; and (iv) a lesson upon the constitution of matter and cosmic order’ (38).
The sun slays the monster’ or ‘The hero overcomes the darkness’. To take another example, in the parallel expressions: ‘The sun shines with golden brilliance’ and ‘Gold shines with golden brilliance’, the common predicate allows not only the interchange but also the identical equation of subject. ’ This equation occurs not because of the intrinsic value of its components but because of the significance of their position, for the relationship is concerned only with the dynamic or, in other words, symbolic, position of objects.
A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot