Whereas hair on the head, because it grows on the top of the human body, symboli es spiritual forces and can be equated, within the symbolism of water, with the 'Upper Ocean', body-hair is equivalent to the 'Lower Ocean', that is to say, it denotes the proliferation of the irrational power of the cosmos and of the instinctive life. This explains why the priests of many religions, the Egyptians among them, shaved off all their hair. And it also explains why the god Pan a prefiguration of the devil was depicted with hairy legs. Despite the above generalization, there are some traditions in which the hair of the head as well as on the body takes on a malign significance.
In general, hairs represent energy, and are related to the symbolism of levels. That is, a head of hair, being located on the head, stands for higher forces, whereas abundant body-hair signifies the prevalence of the baser forces. Sometimes these two meanings have coalesced: on a Romanesque capital at Estibaliz, Adam is depicted beardless before the Fall and with long hair and bushy beard after he has fallen into sin . Hairs also signify fertility. Origen used to say: 'The Nazirites do not cut their hair because all that is done by just men prospers and their leaves do not fall.' In Hindu symbolism, hairs, like the threads of a fabric, symbolize the 'lines of force' of the universe .
A full head of hair represents elan vital and joie de vivre, linked with the will to succeed . Again, hairs correspond to the element of fire, signifying the burgeoning of primitive forces . A highly important secondary meaning is derived from the colour of hair. Brown or black hair reinforces the symbolism of hair in general, that is, dark, terrestrial energy; golden hair is related to the sun's rays and to the whole vast sun-symbolism; copper-coloured hair implies a Venusian or demoniacal characteristic . Hairs, then, come to symbolize the concept of spiritualized energy. Phaldor, in his Libro d'oro dew sogno, comments that they 'represent the spiritual assets of Man. Abundant, beautiful hair, for both man and woman, signifies spiritual development. To lose one's hair signifies failure and poverty.' Now, the reverse of loss brought about by forces outside Man's control is, in part, willing sacrifice. For this reason, Zimmer points out that all who renounce and defy the principles of procreation and multiplication of life, in order to embark upon the path of total asceticism, are bound on principle to cut their hair short. They must simulate the sterility of the aged and hairless who form the last link in the chain of generations. Some religions, as for example that of the ancient Egyptians, used to prescribe total depilation . Hair, wigs and beards were used by the Sumerians to ward off evil spirits (as was smoke).
The aureole, nimbus or halo is a luminous circle like a crown with which the ancients invested their deities and which Christians accord to the holy ). It is a visual expression of irradiating, supernatural force, or, sometimes, more simply, of intellectual energy in its mystic aspect; the fact that the Ancients almost invariably equated intelligence with light is proof enough of this. Other kinds of halos are spherical in form: the Moslems, for example, often made use of the pearl to represent paradise and their belief was that the blessed, each one united with his houri, live in pearls. The halo is equated with the cage and, in particular, with the sphere itself . Jurgis Baltrusaitis, in Le Moyen Age fantastique, has collected a host of mediaeval drawings and paintings of beings enclosed in transparent spheres apparently made of glass. Many of the works of Hieronymus van Aecken (Bosch) contain examples of this.
The halo, in this case, is a simple visual expression of a kind of determinism enveloping each man within his mode of being and his destiny, whether it is favourable and paradisiac, or adverse and infernal.
An instrument proper to the smith, endowed with the mystic power of creation . The two-headed hammer is, like the twin-bladed axe, an ambivalent symbol of the mountain of Mars and of sacrificial Inversion.
In the Egyptian tongue, the term designating the hand was related to that for the pillar (or a support, or strength) and for the palm ). In esoteric doctrine, the position of the hand in relation to the body, and the arrangement of the fingers, convey certain precise symbolic notions . According to the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs, the hand signifies manifestation, action, donating and husbandry. An eye in association with a hand as for example in some oriental mythic beings symbolize 'clairvoyant action' . Schneider concedes a major role to the hand 'because it is the corporeal manifestation of the inner state of the human being' and because 'it expresses an attitude of mind in terms other than the acoustic' or, in other words, a gesture. It follows, then, that the raised hand is the symbol of the voice and of song; the hand placed on the breast indicates the attitude of the sage; placed on the neck it denotes sacrifice; two hands joined signifies mystic marriage the Jungian individuation; the hand covering the eyes represents clairvoyance at the moment of death . of great importance is the fact that the hand has five fingers, firstly, because of its broad analogy with the human figure (composed of four extremities plus the head), and, secondly, by reason of the symbolism of the number five (denoting love, health and humanity) .
In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the open hand signifies any specificially human task as well as magnetic force an idea also characteristic of preColumbian America. And a very similar belief lies behind the widespread use of the hand as an amulet in Islamic cultures. According to Berber thought, the hand signifies protection, authority, power and strength; the manes had the same meaning for the Romans, symbolizing in particular the authority of the pater familias and of the emperor, and is sometimes to be seen surmounting the Signum of the legions in place of the imperial eagle. In the Islamic amulets mentioned above, the figure of the hand undergoes various modifications or appears in association with other symbols, as, for instance, the star, the dove, the bird, the fan, the zigzag and the circle, forming emblems comparable with those of the Christian West . The familiar emblem of the 'linked hands' is expressive of a virile fraternity, or solidarity in the face of danger . In Jung's opinion, the hand is endowed with a generative significance .
The difference between the right hand and the left is usually ignored, but when the distinction is made it appears merely to serve the purpose of enriching the basic significance with the additional implications of space-symbolism, the right side corresponding to the rational, the conscious, the logical and the virile; the left side representing the converse . There are alchemic images which represent a King clasping in his own left hand the left hand of the Queen. Jung suggests that this may refer to the unconscious character of their union but that it may also be indicative either of affection or of suspicion .
This figure has a profound and complex symbolism. It is enigma number twelve of the Tarot pack of cards, but its fundamental significance has wider implications. Frazer noted that primitive man endeavours to keep his deities alive by isolating them between heaven and earth, thereby placing them in a position which is immune to ordinary influences , especially terrestrial ones. This and every other kind of suspension in space implies, then, a mystical isolation which is doubtless related to the idea of levitation and to dream-flight. On the other hand, the inverted position is in itself a symbol of purification (because it inverts, analogically, the natural, terrestrial order) . Both the legend of the Hanged Man as a figure endowed with magic powers, and the Odin myth, belong to this symbolic system. Of Odin it was said that he had sacrificed himself by hanging.
The relevant verses of Havamal read: 'I know that I have been hanging from the stormy tree for nine consecutive nights, wounded by the spear, as an offering to Odin: myself offered to myself.' Similar sacrifices are part of normal cult-practice in many parts of the world . Jung explains this symbolism in purely psychological terms, saying that 'hanging . . . has an unmistakable symbolic value, since swinging (hanging and suffering as one swings) is the symbol of unfulfilled longing or tense expectation' . The Tarot card mentioned above depicts a figure like the Minstrel hanging by one foot from a rope tied to a crossbar supported by two leafless trees. The interpretation is that the Hanged Man does not live the ordinary life of this earth, but, instead, lives in a dream of mystical idealism. The strange gallows from which he hangs is yellow in colour to indicate it consists of concentrated light, i.e. concentrated thought. Thus it is said that the Hanged Man hangs from his own doctrine, to which he is attached to such an extent that his entire being hangs upon it.
The two trees between which he hangs are related like anything that is connected with the numerical symbolism of 2 to the Boaz and Jachin pillars of the Cabala. They are coloured green tending to blue (natural or terrestrial nature tending towards heaven). The Hanged Man's clothing is red and white, these being the mystical colours of the two-headed eagle of the alchemists. His arms are tied together, and hold half-opened bags out of which gold coins are tumbling, this being an allegory of the spiritual treasures to be found in the being who performs this self-sacrifice. According to Wirth, the mythological hero closest to this symbolic character is Perseus, the personification of thought in action, who in his flight overcame the forces of evil in order to free Andromeda, who symbolizes the soul chained to the dull rock of matter, rising from the waves of the primeval ocean. In the positive sense, number twelve of the Tarot pack stands for mysticism, sacrifice, self-denial, continence. In the negative sense it denotes a Utopian dream-world .
In the Egyptian series of hieroglyphs, the hare is a determinative sign defining the concept of being, and symbolic in consequence of elemental existence . Among the Algonquin Indians, the Great Hare is the animal-demiurge. The myth was also known to the Egyptians. In Greece, the lunar goddess, Hecate, was associated with hares. The German equivalent of Hecate, the goddess Harek, was accompanied by hares . In general, the hare is a symbol of procreation; it is ambivalent in that it may be considered as naturally amoral or moral. The Hebrews regarded it as an 'unclean' animal (Deuteronomy xiv, . For Rabanus Maurus, it symbolized lasciviousness and fecundity. However, it had also become, by Gothic times, an allegorical figure of fleetness and of diligent service, for it is to be found on many Gothic sepulchres as an emblem in this particular sense a sense subsidiary to that outlined above .
A feminine character is inseparable from the fundamental symbolization of the hare; hence it is not surprising to find that it was the second of the twelve emblems of the Emperor of China, symbolic of the Yin force in the life of the monarch ). The Chinese conceived the hare as an animal of augury and it was said to live on the moon.
Equated with the white horse ) and the mystic ladder. It acts as a bridge between heaven and earth. This is why, in the Edda, heroes express their desire to have a harp buried with them in their grave, so as to facilitate their access to the other world. There is also a close connexion between the harp and the swan . It might also be regarded as a symbol of the tension inherent in the strings with its striving towards love and the supernatural world, a situation of stress which crucifies man in every moment of the anguished expectation of his earthly life. This would explain the detail of Bosch's Garden of Delights, where a human figure hangs crucified on the strings of a harp. Music being a symbol of pure manifestation of the Will (Schopenhauer), the harp would seem to be a particularly intense and characteristic embodiment of sound as the carrier of stress and suffering, of form and life-forces (Plate XIV).
Fabulous beings, daughters of Neptune and the sea, usually regarded as allegories or personifications of vice in its twin aspects of guilt and punishment ). At a deeper level, they have been defined as a representation of the 'evil harmonies of cosmic energies' . Sometimes the emphasis is entirely on their dynamic nature, in which case they are depicted in the well-known attitude of 'swift movement', reminiscent of the swastika. This is also the case with the Erinyes and the Gorgons . In mediaeval decorative art they sometimes occur merely as emblems of the sign of Virgo in its musical aspects. In heraldry, the figure of the harpy has no sinister associations .
The symbolism of the harpist follows from that of his instrument. He frequently occurs in literature, one of the most famous examples being in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. In a German poem Die Krone Guinevere arouses her husband's jealousy by telling him of a knight who rides past every night, singing.... Celtic folklore tells how Yseult was abducted by a harp-player. The tale of the Pied Piper describes how the children follow him as he plays a tune on his pipe. All these figures are personifications of the fascination of death, that is, Freud's death-wish. Also, in Greek mythology the psychopomp Hermes is the inventor of the lyre and the flute .
According to Jung, the hat, since it covers the head, generally takes on the significance of what goes on inside it: thought. He recalls the German saying 'to put all ideas under one hat', and mentions that in Meyrink's novel The Golem, the protagonist thinks the thoughts and undergoes the experiences of another man whose hat he has put on by mistake . Jung also points out that, since the hat is the 'crown' and summit of an individual, it may therefore be said to cover him, an idea which carries a special symbolic significance. By its shape, the hat may be invested with specific significance; for example, that of the Minstrel in the Tarot pack . To change one's hat is equivalent to a change of mind or of ideas. The choice of a hat associated with a particular social order denotes the desire to be admitted to that set or to partake of its inherent characteristics. There are hats, like the Phrygian cap, that have a special phallic significance, and others that can confer invisibility (symbolic of repression).
An emblem of the soul in ancient Egypt, with the implication of solar transfiguration . Nevertheless, Pinedo maintains that it may have been a mediaeval allegory of the evil mind of the sinner. In the cloister at Silos there is an illustration of hawks tearing hares to pieces, and it appears to carry this significance , although, given the negative significance of the hare (it symbolizes fecundity, but also lasciviousness), the hawk might be taken as a symbol of victory over concupiscence (since it destroyed the lascivious hares). But this kind of struggle is better represented by the mythic and legendary motif also frequent in folklore of the griffin composed of various parts all struggling one against the other, so that it appears at once as executioner and victim.
In the Zohar, the 'magic head' stands for astral light ); in mediaeval art it is a symbol for the mind and for the spiritual life, which explains the frequency with which it appeared in decorative art. On the other hand, Plato in Timaeus asserts that 'the human head is the image of the world'. In corroboration of this, Leblant points out that the skull, the semi-spherical crown of the human body, signifies the heavens. Clearly, the head-symbol here coalesces with that of the sphere as a symbol of Oneness. It had the same significance in Egyptian hieroglyphics . The eagle's head has been used as a solar symbol and an emblem of the centre-point of emanation that is, of the cosmic flame and the spiritual fire of the universe ). Two, three or four heads shown in juxtaposition symbolize a corresponding intensification of a given aspect of head-symbolism. Thus, the Gemini, a symbol of the duality of Nature, or of the integrating (but not unifying) link between the two principles of creation, are represented by beings with two heads or two faces, like the Roman Janus for example.
Hecate is depicted with three heads she is called triform for this reason a symbolism which may be related to the 'three levels' of heaven, earth and hell, as well as to Diel's three 'urges of life' . The juxtaposition of four heads or faces, as in the image of Brahma the Supreme Lord, stems from the same symbolism as that of the tetramorph . A factor of major importance bearing upon the symbolism of the head is mentioned by Herbert Kuhn, in his L'Ascension de l'humanité (Paris, 195. He makes the point that the decapitation of corpses in prehistoric times marked Man's discovery of the independence of the spiritual principle, residing in the head, as opposed to the vital principle represented by the body as a whole. Kuhn adds that Neolithic thought was very close to the mediaeval in its conviction that an eternal and invisible essence underlies all appearances (Plate XV).
In ancient, oriental cultures, and especially in Mesopotamia and India, there is always a formal and significant relationship between all the objects and edifices related to any one particular cult. For example, as Eliade notes, there is an inner and outer analogy between head-dress, thrones and palaces in Babylonian traditions: all three refer to the 'Centre' . And Luc Benoist has observed of Hindu cults that the altar, the temple, the throne, the palace, the city, the kingdom and the world are all by implication images of the 'Centre', their direct model being mount Meru (the centre of the world). The processional carriage is a temple-on-wheels ), with all the 'correspondences' implied.
In the vertical scheme of the human body, the focal points are three in number: the brain, the heart and the sexual organs. But the central point is the heart, and in consequence it comes to partake of the meanings of the other two. The heart was the only part of the viscera left by the Egyptians in the mummy, since it was regarded as the centre indispensable to the body in eternity; for all centres are symbols of eternity, since time is the motion of the periphery of the wheel of phenomena rotating around the Aristotelian 'unmoved mover'. In traditional ways of thought, the heart was taken as the true seat of intelligence, the brain being merely instrumental ; hence, in ancient attempts to explain the profound and continuing analogies between concepts, the moon was said to correspond to the brain and the sun to the heart.
All representations of the 'Centre' have been related in some way to the heart, either through correspondences or through substitution, as in the case of the goblet, the coffer and the cavern. For the alchemists, the heart was the image of the sun within man, just as gold was the image of the sun on earth . The importance of love in the mystic doctrine of unity explains how it is that love-symbolism came to be closely linked with heart-symbolism, for to love is only to experience a force which urges the lover towards a given centre. In emblems, then, the heart signifies love as the centre of illumination and happiness, and this is why it is surmounted by flames, or a cross, or a fleur-de-lis, or a crown. )
A form of 'domestic sun', a symbol of the home, of the conjunction of the masculine principle (fire) with the feminine (the receptacle) and, consequently, of love .
For Jung, heat is an image of the libido . Any representation or even the mere mention of heat always bears a symbolic relation to maturation, whether biological or spiritual . In emblems of the sun, it is portrayed as wavy lines alternating with the straight lines representing light. We should also bear in mind all the correspondences which exist between heat and tones, sounds, colours, the seasons, etc.
Here is Luc Benoist's version of a passage about heaven taken from the Chandogya Upanishad: 'In the beginning, all the universe was non-being. It became being. It grew and formed an egg, which remained unbroken for a year. Then it broke open. Of the two halves of the shell, one was of silver and the other of gold.' The latter was heaven, while the former became earth. In Hindu architecture, these two halves are represented by the altar and the stupa ). One can clearly see in all this how the myth arose from converging formal analogies. Heaven has always been considered, except in Egypt, as part of the masculine or active principle, associated with things of the spirit and with the number three, whereas the earth is related to the feminine, passive or material principle, and the number four.
Mircea Eliade has something to say about the symbolism of heaven which is rather less abstract and therefore fails to be so cosmogonic: the azure of the sky, he suggests, is the veil which hides the divine face. The douds are his garments. The light of heaven is the ointment with which he anoints his immense body. The stars are his eyes . Again: among oriental peoples, the dome of heaven is associated with the nomad's tent quite apart from the usual heaven/earth association as if they had a presentiment that three-dimensional space is only a kind of lid which prevents Man from penetrating into the mystery of the other world. Celestial space, then, ceases to be a container and becomes content of hyperspace, or rather, of trans-space. A terrible aspect of heaven can be seen in the myth of the cosmic catastrophe which William Blake appears to have had in mind when he wrote of 'the angry religion of the stars' ). we must also remember that, from the earliest times, heaven has been thought of as consisting of several heavens, owing to the tendency of primitive logic to assign a separate, cellular space to each celestial body or group of bodies, a tendenov which anticipates the theory of gravitation, the gravitational field and the laws of organic structures, and which illuminates the very essence of the relationship between the qualitative (the discontinuous) and the quantitative (the continuous) (Plate XVI).