Occult Symbolism
derived from symbolism in literature and the ancient world
 


Sources:

TAROT

ASTROLOGY

Zen

Greek Mythology

The Bible

John Senior

Joseph Warren Beach

Joseph Campbell

MIDI Sabria

 


BY JIMMY WARNER

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2. AS IN SO OUT
                             Fish Eye Crystal

By searching the heavens for clues to life on earth it became relevant to think that what went on inside one's mind could manifest itself in the real world. The creative process, making things, making babies, combined with hunting and gathering, could have reinforced the idea that if one could think of an item one could have it. With the right materials it could be fashioned and forged, strung together, made of clay and baked, mass produced by tribesmen and craftsmen. It has been discovered that cave painting may have been a form of astrological religion where people gathered for the solstice. All the constellations are there. Of course the anthropologists tell us, the genes that distinguish us from apes have to be in place. Symbols may not have had much to do with evolution though the use of language and hand signs may have led us there in some way. Symbol signals can only trigger what is already in place. As they say, once you put on makeup, jewelry or lay flowers on the dead - you are modern, not ape.

It may have been the ability to substitute, make a model of one's impulse, vision, or idea, that led to complex human beliefs, worship and ceremony. Even hunting implements could have an impact - but we know now that women were the more likely inventors - especially in producing the artifacts needed for child rearing, tying knots into slings, pouches for gathering berries and roots, storing and even freeze drying food in clay jars.

The mind and the brain of course were not recognized as being part of a process going on in the head, rather perhaps in the heart expressed or felt as desire, and probably attributed to the will of the gods. This is what the gods want me to do. The Greek word NOUS, (noh-us) is loosely translated to mean mind, but culturally is more like soul, where a bit of flying and messaging goes on with the help of spirits such as Hermes.  As *McKenna points out, following a list of instructions may not have been possible until our brains became larger and more enriched by a variety of proteins both animal and vegetable. I won't get into his (whacky mushroom) theory, though even that could have led to a spiritual awareness. (*Food of the Gods - his theory isn't whacky , just the mushrooms)

Julian Jaynes in his Origin of Consciousness believed that sculpture and statuary based on the size of its eye holes could have induced an auditory hallucination in a believer if he or she were under great stress, i.e. a ruler faced with problems, however, Jaynes favors a later period of civilization for this to occur, a period of new learning, such as the appearance of written tablets and letters to foreign kings (1000 - 500 BCE). It is not known if that part of the brain existed in primitives.

Even though it is not clear how people learned ultimately to communicate complex ideas, we do know that man 50 to 80 thousand years ago had vocal cords and probably used them. They also had oil paint and dyes, even rouges from stone, earth and pollen. They could disguise or enhance at will, create artworks on cave walls and imagine the hunt in ritual. Some very scary initiation rites took place, each candidate venturing deep into the caves alone. They took these activities seriously as part of a sense of survival, not  just playing around. Spelunking was a spellbound religious experience, rite of passage.

There was never a time when ritual images, or stick figures scratched into rock were just symbols to be dismissed as figment or irrelevant scrawls and muttering. The sound and fury did not come until later when codes and customs demanded conformity. I don't mean Jean Auel's Ayla (Clan of the Cave Bear) being allowed to hunt, but rather when huge populations slaved and toiled to build stone civilizations. That's when the trouble began - urban chaos.

'As in, so out' did not have as much impact on society until people began living closer together, stepping on each other's gods and ancestors, touting the symbols, mocking the customs, dress and practices of newcomers. It continues today. Tolerance is a new idea created on paper and news of it spread throughout the world. "

'As in, so out' became the interest of writers, artists, the curious, investors, and the church. Before that it was the realm of the temple roster of gods. I.e. An Egyptian priest and priestess would couple every morning at sun up, in front of the altar, to make sure the day got off to a good start. It is not clear whether they actually did it ON the altar, however, in a rush of enthusiasm they could have or at least bumped into it a few times.

Symbols are generally reserved for the larger things we tolerate for the greater purposes of life. One afternoon retrieving my son from the airport I realized that having not seen him for seven years I must break the ice. I asked him what he liked to talk about in general. He said, "whatever you want." "How about birth, death, sex, religion, politics and money", I ventured. He answered, "All the things they say you're not supposed to talk about in polite conversation". The big symbols test our inner limits.

The whole idea of privacy and private thought, opinion and even the idea of an individual is new. These tendencies came along with the printing press, broadsides, and book reading. There was no such thing as a "child" before the 19th century romantic novel. The idea of legal rights and freedom of thought was unthinkable until after the smoke cleared from all the plagues, church wars and witch burnings. Approx. 120, 000 people were burned alive as witches - 40% were men. The very act of looking into a crystal ball would have brought you up on charges and stood you before the inquisitors. Your nakedness, humility, your inner child - useless at your trial.


                 3 . Everything Moves. Breathes, Corresponds