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EAR OF CORN
A symbol of height, of the spirit as the sun, and of the spiritual principle in general. In the Egyptian hieroglyphic system, the letter A is represented by the figure of an eagle, standing for the warmth of life, the Origin, the day. The eagle is a bird living in the full light of the sun and it is therefore considered to be luminous in its essence, and to share in the Elements of air and fire. Its opposite is the owl, the bird of darkness and death. Since it is identified with the sun and with the idea of male activity which fertilizes female nature, the eagle also symbolizes the father . It is further characterized by its daring flight, its speed, its close association with thunder and fire. It signifies, therefore, the 'rhythm' of heroic nobility. From the Far East to Northern Europe, the eagle is the bird associated with the gods of power and war. It is the equivalent in the air of the lion on earth; hence it is sometimes depicted with a lion's head (cf. the excavations at Tello). According to Vedic tradition, it is also important as a messenger, being the bearer of the soma from Indra. In Sarmatian art, the eagle is the emblem of the thunderbolt and of warlike endeavour. In all Oriental art it is often shown fighting; either as the bird Imdugud, who ties the terrestrial and the celestial deer together by their tails, or as Garuda attacking the serpent. In pre-Columbian America, the eagle had a similar symbolism, signifying the struggle between the spiritual and celestial principle and the lower world. This symbolism occurs also in Romanesque art. In ancient Syria, in an identification rite, the eagle with human arms symbolized sun-worship. It also conducted souls to immortality. Similarly, in Christianity, the eagle plays the role of a messenger from heaven.
Theodoret compared the eagle to the spirit of prophecy; in general, it has also been identified (or, more exactly, the eagle's flight, because of its swiftness, rather than the bird itself) with prayer rising to the Lord, and grace descending upon mortal man. According to St. Jerome, the eagle is the emblem of the Ascension and of prayer. Among the Greeks it acquired a particular meaning, more allegorical than properly symbolic in nature, in connexion with the rape of Ganymede. More generally speaking, it was believed to fly higher than any other bird, and hence was regarded as the most apt expression of divine majesty. The connexion between the eagle and the thunderbolt, already mentioned above, is confirmed in Macedonian coinage and in the Roman Signum.
The ability to fly and fulminate, to rise so as to dominate and destroy baser forces, is doubtless the essential characteristic of all eagle-symbolism. As Jupiter's bird it is the theriomorphic storm, the 'storm bird' of remotest antiquity, deriving from Mesopotamia and thence spreading throughout Asia Minor on Roman coins it occurs as the emblem of imperial power and of the legions. Its fundamental significance does not vary in alchemy, it merely acquires a new set of terms applicable to the alchemic mystique: it becomes the symbol of volatilization. An eagle devouring a lion is the symbol of the volatilization of the fixed by the volatile (i.e. according to alchemical equations: wings=spirit; flight=imagination, or the victory of spiritualizing and sublimating activity over involutive, materializing tendencies).
Like other animals, when in the sign of the Gemini, the eagle undergoes total or partial duplication. Thus arises the two-headed eagle (related to the Janus symbol) which is usually depicted in two colors of great mystical significance: red and white. In many emblems, symbols and allegories, the eagle is depicted carrying a victim. This is always an allusion to the sacrifice of lower beings, forces, instincts and to the victory of the higher powers (i.e. father principle, logos). Dante even calls the eagle the bird of God. Jung, ignoring the multiple significance of its symbolism, defines it simply as 'height', with all the consequences that flow from a specific location in space. On the other hand the constellation of the Eagle is placed just above the man carrying the pitcher of Aquarius, who follows the bird's movement so closely that he seems to be drawn after it by unseen bonds. From this it has been inferred that Aquarius is to be identified with Ganymede, and also with 'the fact that even the gods themselves need the water of the Uranian forces of life' .
Ear of Corn
An emblem of fertility and an attribute of the sun. It also symbolizes the idea of germination and growth of the development of any feasible potentiality. The sheaf has a symbolic significance which confirms that of the individual ear: it adds the ideas of integration and control inherent in the symbolism of a 'bunch' to that of fertility or increase implicit in the single ear. Generally speaking, all sheaf's, bunches and sprays stand for psychic forces which are integrated and directed to a proper purpose (Plate VII).
The Northern hemisphere is regarded as that which represents light, corresponding to the positive principle Yang; the Southern is linked with that of darkness and corresponds to Yin. Hence, cultural movements pass from the Northern to the Southern hemispheres.
Most primitive and astrobiological cultures attribute the cause of the earthquake to a theriomorphic demon. In Japan, the earth is supposed to be supported by a huge fish; in Sanskrit literature by a turtle; in North America by a serpent. The earthquake partakes of the general significance of all catastrophes the sudden change in a given process, which may be either for the better or for the worse. On occasion the earthquake is thought to promote fertility. Basically it is an application of the universal symbolism of sacrifice and of cosmic Inversion .
Every effigy, as an image of a being, expresses the psychic aspect of that being. Hence, given Jung's contention that the magic and the psychic are practically the same thing, it becomes easy to understand the importance of effigies in magic. The burning of a person in effigy an ancient practice that has still not been totally banished does not, then, betoken merely the impotent spite of one who is unable to attack the real person although this may well be a secondary consideration but is an act against the image of that person, that is, against the impression that he has made in the minds of others against his memory and his spiritual presence. One can explain keepsakes and portraits on a similar basis, for they are linked in the mind not so much with the real person they pertain to, as with the imago or projection of that person within us. The effigy, consequently, is a symbol of an image rather than of a being.
According to Evola, is a symbol of the force of the undifferentiated, or of dissolution.
A great many prehistoric tombs in Russia and Sweden have revealed clay eggs which had been left there as emblems of immortality. In the language of Egyptian hieroglyphs, the determinative sign of the egg represents potentiality, the seed of generation, the mystery of life.
This meaningpersisted among the alchemists, who added explicitly the idea that it was the container for matter and for thought. In this way was the transition effected from the concept of the egg to the Egg of the World, a cosmic symbol which can be found in most symbolic traditions— Indian, Druidic, etc. The vault of space came to be known as an Egg, and this Egg consisted of seven enfolding layers betokening the seven heavens or spheres of the Greeks.
The Chinese believe that the first man had sprung from an egg dropped by Tien from heaven to float upon the primordial waters. The Easter egg is an emblem of immortality which conveys the essence of these beliefs. The golden egg from which Brahma burst forth is equivalent to the Pythagorean circle with a central point (or hole). But it was in Egypt that this symbol most frequently appeared. Egyptian naturalism the natural curiosity of the Egyptians about the phenomena of life must have been stimulated by the realization that a secret animal-growth comes about inside the closed shell, whence they derived the idea, by analogy, that hidden things (the occult, or what appears to be non-existent) may actively exist. In the Egyptian Ritual, the universe is termed the 'egg conceived in the hour of the Great One of the dual force'. The god Ra is displayed resplendent in his egg. An illustration on a papyrus, in the Oedipus Aegyptiacus of Kircher (III, 124), shows the image of an egg floating above a mummy, signifying hope of life hereafter. The winged globe and the beetle pushing its ball along have similar implications.
The Easter-time custom of the 'dancing egg', which is placed in the jet of a fountain, owes its origin, according to Krappe (who refers only to the Slavs), to the belief that at that time of the year the sun is dancing in the heavens. The Lithuanians have a song which runs as follows: 'The sun dances over a mountain of silver; he is wearing silver boots on his feet '.
A traditional symbol of the animal in man. Hence, 'to go out of Egypt' is to abandon the sensual and the material and to progress towards the Promised Land across the Red Sea and the desert: to progress towards a superior, transcendent state. The symbol is a Gnostic one.
The The four-part distribution of the Elements, which, strictly speaking, corresponds to the three states of matter plus the agent which, through them, brings about the transformation of matter, corresponds to the concept, so often illustrated in symbolism, of the stability of the number four and its derived laws. Earth (or solids), water (or liquids), air (or gas) and fire (the temperature which brings about the transformations of matter) have been conceived in the West from pre-Socratic days onwards as the 'Cardinal Points' of material existence, and, by a close parallel, also of spiritual life. It is for this reason that Gaston Bache]ard observes: 'Earthly joy is riches and impediment; aquatic joy is softness and repose; fiery pleasure is desire and love; airy delight is liberty and movement.' Jung stresses the traditional aspects: 'Of the elements, two are active—fire and air, and two are passive earth and water.'
Hence the masculine, creative character of the first two, and the feminine, receptive and submissive nature of the second pair.
The arrangement of the Elements in hierarchal order of importance or priority has varied from age to age and writer to writer; one of the factors influencing this has been the question of whether or not to admit a 'fifth Element', sometimes called 'ether', sometimes freely designated 'spirit' or 'quintcsscnce' in the sense of 'the soul of things'. It will readily be understood that the hierarchical progression must proceed from the most spiritual down to the most material, since creation is involution or materialization. Beginning, then, with the fifth Element at the Origin, identifying it with the power of the demiurge, next comes air (or wind) and fire, next water and lastly earth; or, in other words, deriving from the igniferous or aerial state comes the liquid and finally the solid. The connexion of th`e fifth Element (considered simply as the beginning of life) with air and fire is self-evident. Schneider, commenting upon Hindu tradition, observes that: 'We can establish the equation: sound equals breath, wind, the principle of life, language and heat (or fire).'
Now, Schneider goes on to say and his criterion is here mainly psychological that the orientation of the Elements is an important factor always to be held in mind; for example, fire oriented towards earth (or towards water) is an erotic Element, yet pointed towards air it stands for purification. He mentions the four mystic beings of Chinese mythology who express the fusion of two Elements: the phoenix combining fire and air, the green dragon air and earth, the tortoise earth and water, and the white tiger water and fire. Bachelard suggests that, within the psychic life (or artistic inspiration), no image is capable of accommodating the four Elements, since such an amalgamation would be tantamount to neutralization or insufferable contradiction. True images, in his view, are unitary or binary; they can mirror monotones of one substance or the conjunction of two. By virtue of the theory of correspondences, the Elements may be associated, up to a certain point, with the four ages and the points of the compass.
Elephant-symbolism is somewhat complex for it embraces certain secondary implications of a mythic character. In the broadest and universal sense, it is a symbol of strength and of the power of the libido. Indian tradition has it that elephants are the caryatids of the universe. In processions, they are the bearers of kings and queens. It is interesting to note that, because of their rounded shape and grey colour, they are regarded as symbols of clouds. By a twist of magic thought, there arose first the belief that the elephant can create clouds and then the mythic postulate of winged elephants. A mountain-top or a cloud, elephantlike in outline, could represent an axis of the universe, and this idea clearly primitive in origin is probably what lies behind the use of the elephant in the Middle Ages as an emblem of wisdom, of moderation, of eternity, and also of pity
The The fourth mystery in the Tarot pack. Here it takes the allegorical form of a figure seated upon a throne which is a cube of gold. Above him is a black eagle. In his hands he holds a globe of the world and a sceptre surmounted by a fleur-de-lis. The crest of his helmet includes four triangles, emblems of the four Elements. The predominantly red colour of his garments signifies invigorating fire, or intense activity. This Tarot mystery is closely related to the image of Hercules holding his club and the golden apples which he has taken from the garden of the Hesperides. The golden cube of the throne represents the sublimation of the constructive and material principle, and the fleur-de-lis on the sceptre, illumination. In sum, then, the symbolism of this card concerns magnificence, energy, power, law and severity; and, on the negative side, domination and subjection.
The third enigma of the Tarot. She is shown full face, drawing herself up with hieratic stiffness. A smile plays upon her face, framed by fair hair. Her attributes are the sceptre, the fleur-de-lis and a shield with a silver eagle upon a purple background (an emblem of the sublimated soul in the bosom of spirituality). In the positive sense, this playing-card denotes the ideal, sweetness, domination by affective persuasion. In the negative sense, it stands for vanity and seduction
This is an abstract idea, the antithesis to the mystic concept of 'Nothingness' (which is reality without objects and without forms yet nurturing the seed of all things). In the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs, the hollow is defined as 'that place which is created out of the loss of the substance required for the building of heaven', and is thus related to space. On the sarcophagus of Seti I, there is an image of emptiness consisting of the half-full vessel of Nu (or Nou) which forms an inverted semicircle completed by a second semicircle located towards one side of the first.
In alchemy, the enigma alludes to the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm. This means that, so far as traditional symbolism goes, the enigmatic aspect of a thing is expressive of its transcendence. Eliade bears out this point with his comment that the surprising thing about kratophanies and theophanies is that they have their origins in primitive societies and also, we might add, in the A11. But, more than this, since the enigma is in a way synonymous with the symbol, it also confirms the metaphysical nature of all symbolism.
A symbol which is related to that of the net and that of bonds. It has been used as an ornamental motif right from prehistoric times, either in the form of entanglement or of a bunch or knot of ribbons. Sometimes vegetable and animal forms appear to rise like grotesques out of a mass of abstract nerve-cords resembling vegetable stalks or animated cords in the form of volutes, or coils or knots or interlacing lines; or sometimes and this is a more advanced motif clearly formed beings are shown enmeshed, as it were, in a cage. Entanglement-symbolism takes its place in legends, folklore and myths alongside primitive and Romanesque art. Thus a giant is enmeshed in trees, or the castle in the Sleeping Beauty story is hidden under an inextricable mass of vegetation. Jung has studied the question of entanglement with special care, recalling that Osiris is brought up lying in the branches of a tree which completely cover him. There is also the Grimm tale of a girl imprisoned between the wood and the bark of a tree. Again: while he is stravelling by night, Ra's ship is engulfed by the serpent of night, this giving rise to a number of later mediaeval miniatures and tales. Jung also observes that entanglement is often associated with the myth of the sun and its daily rebirth. However, this is nothing more than a variant of the devouring symbol mentioned by Frobenius in connexion with sun-heroes- In the key to dreams of the Hindu Yagaddeva, one reads: 'He who while dreaming twines round his body lianas, creepers, cords or snakeskins, string or fabrics, dies', or, in other words, he returns to the maternal bosom . According to Loeffler, a thing which, on the psychic plane, is entangled, represents the unconscious, the repressed, the forgotten, the past. On the plane of cosmic evolution, it is the collective dream which separates one cycle of life from the other.
The In the classical tragedies, the erinyes sometimes appear in the form of dogs or serpents, which is an indication of their infernal character as chthonian demons . They personify remorse; that is, they are symbols of guilt turned to destructiveness directed against the guilty one .
The coins of several Roman emperors bear an allegory of eternity depicted in the figure of a girl holding the sun and the moon in her hands. And, in alchemy, there are comparable images, alluding to the opus as a 'conjunction' or a 'marriage of opposites', which illustrate the essential principle that the eternal order can be achieved only with the abolition of antithesis, separateness and change. Eternity has also been represented as infinite time, both in the 'Mithraic Cronos' and in the Ouroboros (the serpent or dragon which bites its own tail). The phoenix is another symbol of eternity .
An alchemic symbol representing the nigredo or the initial stage of the alchemists' work. It can be seen for example in one of the images of the Splendor solis of Solomon Trismosin (1582). The Jungian interpretation of the figures and images of Negroes, Indians, savages, etc whom he considers as symbols for the shadow or the darker side of the personality does not contradict the first meaning, for, within the moral approach of alchemy, the nigredo is a precise illustration of the initial state of the soul before embarking upon its path of evolution and self-perfection.
Specific geographical features sometimes form part of traditional symbols; the river Euphrates is an example. It is the equivalent of the fluid cosmos passing across the material world (or Babylon) in the two directions of involution and evolution . In a broad sense, the river, and indeed every river in the opinion of Heraclitus without going into esoteric doctrine is a symbol of time or of the irreversible nature of processes as they move onward.
A symbol of the material and formal aspect of life, of Natura naturans, or mother-of-all-things . From the spiritual point of view, Eve is the inversion of the Virgin Mary, or the motherof-souls. Inversions of this order have sometimes found a parallel expression in the contrasting use of similar names, such as Eros (the god of love) balanced against Ares (war, destruction and hate). This antithesis between Eve and Our Lady has been examined by Antonio de Sousa de Macedo in his Eva y Ave o Maria triunfante.
Gubernatis in his research into folklore, and Freud in his work in experimental psychology, have observed that what is almost worthless is often associated with what is most valued. So, for example, we find in legends and folktales the surprising association between excrement and gold, a relationship which occurs also in alchemy, since the nigredo and the ultimate attainment of the aurum philosophicum form the beginning and the end of the process of transmutation. All this symbolism is contained within Nietzsche's phrase: 'Out of the lowest the highest reaches its peak.'
The essence of the question involved here is contained in the saying of Plotinus that the eye would not be able to see the sun if, in a manner, it were not itself a sun. Given that the sun is the source of light and that light is symbolic of the intelligence and of the spirit, then the process of seeing represents a spiritual act and symbolizes understanding. Hence, the 'divine eye' of the Egyptians a determinative sign in their hieroglyphics called Wadza oo, is the way the Egyptians defined the eye or, rather, the circle of the iris with the pupil as centre as the 'sun in the mouth' (or the creative Word). René Magritte, the surrealist painter, has illustrated this same relationship between the sun and the mouth in one of his most fascinating paintings. The possession of two eyes conveys physical normality and its spiritual equivalent, and it follows that the third eye is symbolic of the superhuman or the divine. As for the single eye, its significance is ambivalent: on the one hand it implies the subhuman because it is less than two (two eyes being equated with the norm); but on the other hand, given its location in the forehead, above the place designated for the eyes by nature, it seems to allude to extrahuman powers which are in fact in mythology incarnated in the Cyclops. At the same time the eye in the forehead is linked up with the idea of destruction, for obvious reasons in the case of the single eye; but the same also applies when there is a third eye in the forehead, as with Siva (or Shiva). This is explained by reference to one of the facets of the symbolism of the number three: for if three can be said to correspond to the active, the passive and the neutral, it can also apply to creation, conservation and destruction. Heterotopic eyes are the spiritual equivalent of sight, that is, of clairvoyance. (Heterotopic eyes are those which have been transferred anatomically to various parts of the body, such as the hands, wings, torso, arms and different parts of the head, in figures of fantastic beings, angels, deities and so on.) When the eyes are situated in the hand, for example, by association with the symbolism of the hand they come to denote clairvoyant action. An excessive number of eyes has an ambivalent significance which it is important to note. In the first place, the eyes refer to night with its myriads of stars, in the second place, paradoxically yet necessarily, the possessor of so many eyes is left in darkness. Furthermore, by way of corroboration, let us recall that in symbolist theory multiplicity is always a sign of inferiority. Such ambivalences are common in the realm of the unconscious and its projected images. Instructive in this connexion is the example of Argus, who with all his eyes could not escape death. The Adversary (Satan, in Hebrew) has been represented in a variety of ways, among others, as a being with many eyes. A Tarot card in the Cabinet des Estampes in Paris (Kh. 34d), for instance, depicts the devil as Argus with many eyes all over his body. Another comparable symbolic device is also found commonly in demonic figures: it consists of taking some part of the body that possesses, as it were, a certain autonomy of character or which is directly associated with a definite function, and portraying it as a face. Multiple faces and eyes imply disintegration or psychic decomposition a conception which lies at the root of the demoniacal idea of rending apart .
Finally, to come back to the pure meaning of the eye in itself, Jung considers it to be the maternal bosom, and the pupil its 'child'.l Thus the great solar god becomes a child again, seeking renovation at his mother's bosom (a symbol, for the Egyptians, of the mouth).