Within the symbolism of landscapes, the valley, which, because it is low-lying, is considered to lie at the level of the sea, represents a neutral zone apt for the development of all creation and for all material progress in the world of manifestation. Its characteristic fertility stands in contrast to the nature of the desert symbolically a place of purification, of the ocean which represents the Origin of life but which, in relation to man's existence, is sterile, and of the mountain the region characterized by snows and the ascetic, contemplative life, or by intellectual illumination. In short, the valley is symbolic of life itself and is the mystic abode of shepherd and priest .
In the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs, this is a determinative sign corresponding to Nu or Nun or Nou, the god of repose, immanence and acceptance , The 'full vase' is associated with the Plant of Life and is an emblem of fertility . The golden vase or pot filled with white lilies is the common emblem of the Virgin Mary.
According to Leo Frobenius, in prehistoric and protohistoric thinking, every vault represents the union of the sky-god with the earth-goddess. The separation of the two deities created the void .
Vegetation, in all its forms, has two main implications: firstly, pertaining to its annual cycle, whence its symbolism of death and resurrection following the pattern of winter and spring; and, secondly, that of its abundance, giving rise to its significance in connexion with fertility and fecundity. Vegetation rites are celebrated in many different regions, and on dates ranging from Carnival Shrove-tide to the feast of St. John (24th June) . In every case, the aim is to encourage the cosmic forces to continue to bring about the annual regeneration of life.
The various ancient and modern vehicles are corruptions of the essential symbol of the chariot. Those that possess some individual characteristics are connected with existence itself; those that are generic in character pertain to the collective life According to Jung, the particular type of vehicle that appears relates to the individual's characteristic movement—whether lively
or slow, regular or irregular—or the character of his inner life or his mind, or whether his ideas are his own or borrowed, and so on. Every vehicle is an expression of the body including the mind and thought or, in other words, of the spirit in its existential aspect.
Thus, from the symbolic point of view, to see in the imagination, or in dreams, a chariot or a car on fire has the same significance as the vision of a man in an orange-coloured tunic since orange is the colour of fire.
In addition to partaking of the generic symbolism of fabrics, the veil signifies the concealment of certain aspects of truth or of the deity. Guenon draws attention to the double meaning of
the verb 'to reveal' 're-veil', which may mean either to pull back the veil or to cover again with a veil. The Bible tells us that when Moses came down from mount Sinai 'the skin of his face shone' so that he had to cover his face with a veil while he spoke with the people because they were unable to look upon his shining face
The planet Venus is, in alchemy, related to the goddess of love and also to copper. In astrology, it is associated with the Moon in particular and with Mars. Its spiritual significance has two aspects: that of spiritual love and that of mere sexual attraction, so that some writers have come to regard its true symbolic signifi cance as physical and mechanical in character.
Every verb denotes an action, a passion or an operation, and its symbolism is a direct consequence of the transference of this material sense to the spiritual plane. For example, to take food is symbolic of receiving spiritual or intellectual nourishment; to kill is to eradicate a given being from the mind; to travel is to move, by exercise of the imagination and awareness, away from one world and towards another; and so on.
Since all symbolism is, in essence, dynamic, the idea of verticality is closely related to upward movement, which, by analogy with the symbolism of space and with moral concepts, corresponds symbolically to the tendency towards spiritualization dealt with in connexion with the symbolism of Levels—q.v..Symbolic theory attaches such importance to the level or height of a given figure in relation to the norm that it can even define the significance of this form or being solely by reference to its vertical 'height'. Bachelard corroborates this and even goes so far as to say that 'it is impossible to ignore the vertical axis in expressing moral values' .
In the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs, a determinative sign corresponding to the idea of receptacles in general. It is a symbol whose immediate significance is that of the context in which the intermingling of forces takes place, giving rise to the material world. From this sense arises a secondary symbolism—that of the female matrix l.
The crown as an expression of fulfilment, and the palm in the sense of elevation and exaltation, are the two outward attributes of victory. When Victory is personified as a winged figure, the allusion is to its spiritual worth. Whether, as in the Mithraic mysteries, the victory is over the bull, or whether it is over the dragon or some other such monster, as in the exploits of Hercules, Perseus, Bellerophon and St. George, the significance of the act of conquering lies in the disarming of the adversary and his subjugation to the will of the victor. In addition to the objective and cosmic sense of victory, there is also a psychological implication: confrontation with another force presupposes resemblance, and therefore the conquered force is the very inferiority of the conqueror himself.
Just as the grape has an ambivalent symbolism, pertaining to sacrifice and to fecundity, so wine frequently appears as a symbol both of youth and of eternal life. In the earliest times, the supreme ideogram of life was a vine-leaf. According to Eliade, the MotherGoddess was known by the Primitives as 'The Goddess of the Vines', representing the unfailing source of natural creation .
The sixth sign of the Zodiac. For the Egyptians it was identical with Isis. Since it is governed by Mercury and corresponds to the number six, it is symbolic of hermaphroditism, or that state which is characterized by dual—positive and negative—forces. Hence Virgo is sometimes depicted with the symbol of the soul or the Seal of Solomon two triangles, representing fire and water, superimposed and intersecting to form a six-pointed star . In mythology and in religions generally, this symbol is always associated with the birth of a god or a demigod, as the supreme expression of the dynamic consciousness
In mythology, the volcano is invested with antithetical powers: on the one hand there is the extraordinary fertility of the volcanic earth in such regions as Naples, California or Japan; but
on the other hand the destructive fire of the volcano is linked with the idea of evil. This accounts for the variety of ideas associated with the volcano. For the Persians, for instance, it was quite simply the Great Adversary, Ahriman, who, in the form of a huge dragon or serpent, was shackled as in the comparable myth of Prometheus to mount Demavand, the volcano of Elburz, there to await the Day of Judgement . The volcano is symbolic not only of the primary force of nature and of the fire of life representing creation and destruction , but also of the original 'site' of the 'descent' of the Elements—involution, that is to say; here, in the bowels of the volcano, the Elements of air, fire, water and earth are intermingled and transformed .
Hence it becomes feasible to relate the volcano to Shiva, the god of creation and destruction. As a psychological symbol, the volcano represents the passions which, according to Beaudoin, become the sole source of our spiritual energy once we have managed to master and transform them. An examination of the 30th symbol of the Ars Symbolica of Bosch in relation to the legendary motto Gelat et ardet, points to the conclusion that there is a profound significance of the volcano touching upon the coincidentia oppositorum. Another important sense of the volcano arises from its peculiar characteristic whereby a long period of latent, enclosed and occult labour is followed by a sudden and terrible eruption. By analogy between this process and many other similar processes in the lives of individuals and social groups, the word 'volcano' has come to be used as an image of this dual tendency of tension and distension .
Vulcan, as a symbol, is related to the smith who has his forge in the mountain-cave, and hence to the demiurge. Indeed, the ancients explained volcanoes by reference to underground forges and supernatural smiths. The cult of the Hephaestia festival was connected with the volcanic activity of the Aegean islands . But Vulcan, the demiurge, is characterized by negative qualities as ascribed to him by the Gnostics and the doctrine of Mani. He is lame and this is symbolic of his weak or corrupt soul. According to Diel, he bears a family relationship to the Christian devil. His deformity was a consequence of his defiance of Jupiter—the spirit— who punished him by hurling him down from mount Olympus. Diel also suggests that Vulcan, Icarus and Prometheus are symbolic of the intellect—understood almost in its technical and 'merely human' sense—in open rebellion against the spirit .
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the sign of the vulture—like the wavy line which is the sign for water—stands for the idea of the Mother . According to Jung, the 'mother'-symbolism of the Egyptian vulture is probably derived from its necrophagous habits . It was believed that the vulture, because it fed upon corpses, was related to Mother Nature and to death. The Parsees place their dead in specially built towers so that vultures will consume them, believing that this facilitates rebirth . A sublimation of this meaning—mythic rather than symbolic in nature—is found in India, where the vulture is the symbol of the tutelary spirits which watch over the individual in lieu of the parents, denoting abnegation and spiritual counsel .