Occult Symbolism
derived from symbolism in literature and the ancient world





Greek Mythology

The Bible

John Senior

Joseph Warren Beach

Joseph Campbell

Dream Chase










A Freudian slip of the tongue could break the sexual ice or expose an untidy mind at work in the devil’s playground. Herr Doctor Sigmund Freud, 19th century psychiatrist, exposed the Victorian age for all its deep dark secrets, all the taboos of thinking or talking about, and God forbid, having a sexual relationship or anything vaguely associated. Freudian symbols were phallic and primitive, lying in the baser motivations of the human compendium. Complexes evolved in Freud’s casework about “Daddy went to prostitutes” or dreams and concerns about mommy’s undies and privates. The whole hollering birth, death, sex enigma was unfolding, disrobing for new generations that previously tried to hide it under the rug. Of course, we know now from history that Victorian appetite was far from Spartan. They just didn’t discuss it openly in parlors, waiting rooms or alcoves. Not even to Doctors.

Houses of sex, in this context, is not about prostitution although antiquity did not make such a big deal over it. Sex symbols hung in every Roman house and kept fertility and the embers of appetite alive and ready to roar, not too dissimilar from Viagra today. Astrologically the houses of sex are loosely associated with Cancer, childhood and home life, Leo, creativity and pleasure, 10th house male axis for fathers, but especially Scorpio, which also covers secret stashes, legacy, money and intense emotion.

Scorpio’s water connection is as unclear as Aquarius’ non water carrying connection. A scorpion was believed to have crawled out of the water sometime in its life whereas old man winter or Urania were involved with watching the heavens, up in the air. Scorpio was not always a scorpion, its various avatars were eagle, salamander and lizard. Its original planet was not Pluto (now demoted from planet status)  but Mars, referred to as Scorpio’s night ruler – with a tie to the watery salamander once believed to have been born in flames. (reddish color and flame shaped gill fins) Symbols behave as they appear and not as catalogued by modern science, although even that catalogue retains much of its original astrological associations – the starry attributes have been replaced by family-like physical anatomies.  Again, you cannot dismiss irrelevant symbols as unscientific. They were the only science in a time when the church forbade dissection and inquiry.  Church symbolism was considered more relevant than pagan because of the soul saving aspect and the income / job security generating aspect. 

If a global conglomerate ran the western world in such fashion today they would get very bad reviews. The business of sex iconography is so intense, Scorpionic, and sales-relevant that debate over naked lady ads is only a matter of degree, its salaciousness or inappropriate marketing (to a conservative demographic). We are much more Roman and cosmopolitan in the west than at any time in the puritanical periods of preceding history. Items that would have caused one to be arrested thirty to fifty years ago are openly sold coast to coast and across the free world. People in more tightly controlled communities tend to view us as in league with Satan and don’t always get along well with western natives or converts. If our enemies insist on boinking our financial blankets it is only a matter of time before they are boinked in return. Boinking the economy is something the west does very well with global results.  The market should be praised for its long term qualities and not the uncertainty of the short term.

How all this relates to sex is focused on how a culture reproduces, casually, or reverently. Oddly western openness leads to lower birth rates and reverence to higher. A culture’s bottom line is manpower and income per family. A large family in one economy may have the same advantage as a small family in another. The expense of survival is the critical factor and as historian, James Burke points out, the weather. Astrologers were mainly concerned with stuff going on overhead. Stars were a good source of information about weather, when to plant, when to harvest, when to celebrate. So in one sense the stars told us when to procreate - usually by throwing a party. Nine month periods seem to line up with vacations, holidays, and you guessed it, snowstorms. There's a new demographic now, people conceived during outages.
No one ever suspects that he or she are part of a demographic – literally a people picture.  Nor has anyone discovered that this type of research, (who you are, what you do, how old you are, list is endless), is contributing to the rise of a kind of symbolism only found in primitive tribes. The mud people, the skin people, the head hunters, the red states, blue states, the hippies, the yuppies. We are making more of a big deal about our demographic handles than our kinships. I’m upper, lower, middle class. What would a symbol for that be, Bart Simpson? Symbolism is an aggressive, opportunistic, force in the free world. It drives the economy, the political scene – humor especially, tests our sensitivities, even our market shyness. If you think symbolism is only for comic book readers look at all the movie makers getting into that shark fest.  The rights to what was so-called trash, pulp, stuff that was bad for you back in the 40’s and 50’s, is now being fought over like rotund 40 something gals at a millenary basement sale on 80% off day.

Symbolism controls what we eat, wear, look at, read, want to be when we grow up, who we make love to, have kids with, type of person we depend on, institutions we work for - yell at - blame for everything. It controls our sense of morality, good drugs, bad drugs, types of heroes and saviors, and wow, makes us feel like, hey man, we can really exist! We blame advertising and TV for all the demographic and paradigm shifts but never see the symbolism that we attach  to it, never see our own urban plight in a comic or a sci-fi show. Who’s going to save us, super hockey mom? Why does the world depend so much on saviors? We could arbitrarily worship a stick figure or Keith Herring’s chalk outline man, a scarecrow, drapery man, insignia man, or great cosmic being from infinity and beyond. It’s life saving and life threatening who we choose. The world could come to blows over a keystroke or a button press.

Why is it that some people see these heroes and saviors as real flesh and spirit on the one hand, and empty masks we wear at a glam costume ball on the other? Could it be that when we put them on for size they make us feel better, more comfortable hiding behind a mask, more fulfilled because we have simplified our dreary lives by becoming something recognizable, something to help us fit in, belong, stand in line for, join with, be accepted.  Conformity is a failed experiment, fascist horror film, death trap, yet, if there is more variety of conformity to choose from we are more at ease. What ever happened to being individual and unique? Oddly enough that conformity went out with the 60’s and 70’s and was replaced by healthy greed and self interest. Without love, sex and money America would not be a super power. Our symbols are nourishing and keeping us alive. Our glimmer is hope that there's an album where every song is unique!

Why not choose a savior that is primal, sexy, good looking, herculean, omniscient, and more powerful than the wealthy. Candidate should fly spaceships, rope and eat buffalo, wrestle alligators, make clothing out of bark and rawhide, make a home from trash, drive a 0 emission vehicle and of course, shit ice cream. Why not a healer or a doctor, a philanthropist who gives away billions to the poor. How about a sexy nurse who takes in the homeless, a banker who distributes free food in the park? Oh, here we go – a policeman who serves as a moral symbol for kids. I know, a kid who wants to be morally developed and mature when he grows up. The cosmos is open to all suggestions.

Joseph Warren Beach, Obsessive Images,  characterized the modern hero as someone you would not likely know or want to meet, a solitary soul with parts missing. He belongs to a fraternity of dower beings who cannot be socialized beyond their injuries, or folded back into society. Needless to say I mined and excavated this book like a trog in search of soul treasure.

Writing about and speaking to my uncle (artist and painter) back from WWII, my post war hero is similarly different. He often relied on a ball capped, t-shirted guy as a (gay - to die for) symbol of himself in many of his works:

   Exalted to a symbol, he stars in every one of your paintings, brush technique erasing identity, scraping curiously as if to scratch the flesh, but not the soul. An  exclamation mark of sanity, he is a caricature, as typical as you can make him, breathing only as much life into him as your economy of form will allow because the hero doesn’t crack or turn and run, exposing his back.  

   He is not a Promethean creation, nor is he Adonis, tragic and startled,

but the almost familiar mannequin on which gently hang the gestures of sexual confidence. He seeks the ultimate relationship, like your fellow creature, ghost twin, someone so like your genteel self that were the two of you to meet the couple to die for would be complete. Artist conception, portrait of the dead, a biblical sense of survival, made you a god who breathes life into everyone. Xenephon, Adonis, Narcissus, the average guy creates a movie star from the self-image; but for the medium, the paintings, a fantasy induced by the need for one.     

Symbolism offers a seat of power for any penchant you enjoy working with, relying on, can’t get enough of. Hollywood actors who pose in front of typewriters balling up paper and can’t make a basket on each try are wasting an opportunity to give creativity a better image; we all use laptops now. We also get lucky on our first novel. Writing doesn’t have to be caffeinated or expensive, just virile. Hats off to the vid shooters who have abandoned pens and pencils all together, go for the homemade viral video. If your symbol catches on and spreads like wildfire you have hit the ultimate glory hole, problem is there are no permanent symbols. They must be continually buffed and polished. The Egyptians had the right stuff, get it on every morning at sunrise and jump start your day.

7. Walking Liberty