A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot

By J. E. Cirlot

At each degree of civilization, humans have trusted symbolic expression, and advances in technological know-how and know-how have simply elevated our dependence on symbols. a vital a part of the traditional arts of the Orient and Western medieval traditions, symbolism underwent a twentieth-century revival with the research of the subconscious. certainly, symbolic language is taken into account a technological know-how, and this informative quantity bargains an integral software within the examine of symbology. Its alphabetical entries--drawn from a various diversity of resources, together with all the significant global religions, astrology, alchemy, numerology, heraldry, and prehistoric art--clarify the basic and unvarying meanings of every image. even if used as a reference or browsed for excitement, this informative quantity bargains a worthy key to elucidating the symbolic worlds encountered in either the humanities and the historical past of principles. 32 b/w illustrations.

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Diel shares this view, applying it to myths, such as that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, where he points out that the Eleusinian Mysteries imply three levels of meaning: the agrarian, the psychological and the metaphysical, the mystery lying in the integration of these three levels of reality; and these three levels correspond to the levels of all forms of sense-perception and knowledge. Hence, interpretation becomes the selection of one level as predominant, leaving aside the question of interaction, symbolic degradation and over-restriction within the particular.

Similarly, the only ‘original’ numbers are the first decade of the Greek system or the numbers up to twelve in the oriental system. The rest come under the rule of ‘multiplicity’, which is merely a reordering of the basic series. Besides, the place of symbolism is within the archetypal pattern of each being, each form, each rhythm. Within this archetypal pattern, thanks to the principle of concentration, all like beings can be presented as one being. And in addition, by virtue of this oneness, the predominant rhythm transmutes all that might appear to be separate; so that, to give an example, not only do all dragons stand for The Dragon, but any symbolic daub resembling a dragon is also The Dragon.

Here we must interpose a distinction and a clarification. Erich Fromm (23), steering his course along the normal channels of symbolic knowledge, lays down three kinds of symbol which are different in degree: (a) the conventional, (b) the accidental, (c) the universal. The first kind comprises simple acceptance of a constant affinity stripped of any optical or natural basis: for example, many signs used in industry, in mathematics and in other fields. The second type springs from strictly transitory conditions and is due to associations made through casual contact.

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