Symbolism (...and how it works)
symbolism in literature and the ancient world,
is used in reading, healing and the creative arts.
An understanding of how symbolism works is necessary in order
to use it properly in writing, interpreting for a reading,
for healing, creating artwork for designing a Tarot deck or an
online project and for interpreting a card reading for oneself.
I have used this knowledge to create websites, advertising, art
in all media, photography, poetry, and a free online interactive
Tarot program using active server pages.
1. AS ABOVE SO BELOW
Man Woman Snake Tree
What appeared to be true in the heavens was assumed possible if
not probable on earth. Events are foretold and can be predicted
by the stars and planets. After all, they move on their own and
have a schedule - they must be alive. They have always been
around and seldom fall - they must be immortal. They must know
things human beings cannot know. Their wisdom must be greater
than all the elders. Such was the world view until three
To look up and see earthly life reflected back at us was the
impetus for all the imagination, art, and spiritual joy to
come. This way of thinking was the world order since the beginning of
human society. The fact that it could be manipulated into a humbling, crowd controlling fear and self
doubt that held small groups together, did not fare as well
in larger communities. Urban plight has always been urban
plight, a cauldron of ever growing fears, doubts, myths and new
symbols. Rumor and innuendo have been the creator of fearful
belief systems, that is until a savior comes along and he
becomes the new symbol of hope and prosperity. In primitive
settings that would have been translated or interpreted to mean
a new hope for survival.
What does a savior have that no one else has? They are usually
heroes of wars and or sports, champions of causes and
overcoming, beings who do things in the name of those who
struggle. They are dead in some cases, their deeds chiseled in
stone, their statues cast in bronze. Temples rise up to them and
are eternally honored in flame, smoke and offerings. Often the
flame and smoke take over and saviors as history points are
often martyred, murdered, or die sacrificially. The ensuing movements however can
change the world order and the way the planet thinks.
A. E. White, author,
expert on the Tarot and inventor of the universal
Waite deck, believed that the new world-wide symbol of money was
so powerful that it could cause rejuvenation and healthful
change, could in fact, save souls. Money is not new but its importance and our reliance on
it IS new. We literally trade and exchange symbols instead of
gold and silver. We trade their values electronically everyday.
If this is not the stuff of god-like myth and symbol then how
else do you keep faith in its continuing productivity? Growth
and trust are extraordinary beliefs.
Economists will tell you a different story of how it works the
same way I am going to tell you how symbolism works. There are
some mechanics, moving parts, and what symbolists like to
describe as operating principles that grow and act upon the mind
of society as well as the individual. Symbols are seen as authority and truth, virtue and
simplification of something very complex. While seeming
out-there, they are after all, human symbols. They work for
humans, not dogs and cats, although one could re-adapt any
symbol. Hopefully this essay
is about the kind of symbolism you can sink your teeth into
and at the same time see yourself eating. Symbolism is an
everyday, round the clock experience that mirrors every
aspect of life.
After seeing the film Idiology, the premise that man will
de-evolve, I am thinking that if technology puts all of our
icons and symbols onto cyber buttons and mental hyper links, that
language and literature could disappear along with cultural
institutions of higher brain functionality. Traditional
cultural interest could stagnate and become background
We have already turned much of the cultural effort to
strive, express and communicate into an
environmental soup so non-descript that hardly anyone
would be able to talk about it unless
it suddenly disappeared or became illegal, judged to be
detrimental and decadent. We have
all read that futuristic novel and see the relevance to
more closed and controlling societies.
other hand cyber tech could totally envelope us as we envelope
it. Prosthetic parts and super downloads to the brain could turn
language into high speed wireless access, a Wi-Fi linked society
prone to becoming a Wi-Fi controlled society. We could become two
worlds, one organic, the other AI. (artificial intelligence) The
organics could revolt or move underground.
Symbols of the past and those of the future could be similar yet
have an altogether freshened look, a revived and rejuvenated
usefulness. Symbols have always undergone this process whether
for the ideal or the savior, king or demon, cultural icons or
nations. It's usually about origin, being from or out of
something, cosmically connected and made from instant nothing.
Science will point to *S. A. P. It ran up the tree and made us
its fruit. (*sub-atomic particles)
Our knowledge of the cosmos has obviously branched out
since ancient times with our present concept becoming a much larger and
more complex entity than the mirror-like heavens we gazed at for advice. We will need much more vibrant,
resonating symbols to convey the new relevance
of the universe, ones that
simplify but do not lose sight of what we once thought
was infinite and may, as some scientists agree, still be.
Allot will depend on what we learn of black holes, dark
matter, dark energy and dark flow. We are still staring
at dark bowls of emptiness and debating the question,
"What is nothingness, is that something?"
AS ABOVE may change into AS OUT THERE, so
2. AS IN SO OUT
WARNER DESIGN, © 2014
Richmond, VA 23235