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Symbolism

Introduction

"As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional "unconscious identity" with natural phenomena. These have slowly lost their symbolic implications.. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied."

Carl G. Jung - Man and His Symbols (1964)

Modern Living - Life without Symbolic Meaning

In 1964, Carl Jung reflected upon humankind's lost connection to nature and subsequently to their natural state of being. Now almost 40 years later the dehumanized world that he described has only worsened as the frenzy of our modern day life grips us all to: 'do more', 'be successful', 'work longer hours' or 'sit in long traffic line-ups'.

The concrete jungle of downtown TorontoThese 'requirements' for living in an urban setting have created a convoluted maze of distractions pulling us further and further away from our natural way of being. Where we once lived in harmony with nature, we now live in urban concrete jungles, which are becoming increasingly congested with the rapid growth of the earth's population.

Ray & Anderson (2000) in their book The Cultural Creatives summarize these modern trappings:

"...there are times in our experience when we are living lives which contradict and deny the best truths that we claim for our selves.we are crippling ourselves, damaging our spirits, but have grown accustomed to the process."

The ill-fated and blind acceptance of maintaining this modern lifestyle has disconnected us from each other and ourselves in addition to creating increasing rates of burnout and stress related illness. These modern 'dis-eases' and their correlating lifestyles have skewed what is meaningful in people's lives, resulting in a lost connection to our soul, inner passion and light.

Unfortunately, this dehumanized way of existing is being compounded by the lack of accessible green space. Urban crowding and increasing technology demands have depleted the natural wild areas where nature may have been enjoyed and her restorative energies taken in.

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Ancient Wisdom - Symbols and the Cycle of Life

Our ancient ancestors understood the interconnectedness of their world. They lived in harmony with nature and designed their lives in accordance with the changing seasons. Surrounded by these natural changes, our ancestors understood the sacred order of things.

The Medicine Wheel, representing the 4 seasons and the Cycle of LifeThe Native Americans recognized these sacred changes and symbols in everyday life such as the butterfly's transformation from a crawling worm to a beautiful winged creature or the bear's quiet disappearance into the harshness of winter to be reborn in the spring. These biological processes occurring around them reflected the changes and rites of passage within their world and told them when it was time to rest, time to sow and time to reap. These shared life similarities reflected interconnectedness between nature and the ancients thus giving them a sense of their place in the great order of things.

The ancients also recognized the importance of symbols as a form of communicating and enriching meaning in their lives. For our ancient ancestors 'symbology' and metaphors became the language of the soul. As students of nature, the ancients observed external symbols as clues often using them as guidance and a means of increasing awareness of life's deeper meaning. These observations became a part of their stories and traditions passed on to further generations. Sacred symbols derived from nature became an integral part of their day to day existence and their cultural heritage.

Learn more about the medicine wheel.

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Symbols and Meaning

A variety of ancient and modern symbolsA symbol implies something more than it appears to be, something that has a deeper and meaningful resonance that defies a surface explanation. The ancients became adept at translating symbolism to reveal the hidden and unspoken meaning contained therein.

Unfortunately, those of us who live in modern times have lost some of the knowledge of symbolism. Ray Grasse (1996) wrote The Waking Dream: Unlocking the Symbolic Language of Our Lives, describing this modern affliction. He considers "life as a sacred book of symbols" that can be unraveled to access the themes, patterns and hidden meanings. These meanings may illuminate deeper knowledge which, Grasse states, may be overlooked "by contemporary preoccupation with literal meanings and surface interpretations."

In addition to the rich and complex meanings contained within symbols, they also evoke a truth, a pureness of intent that bypasses the misconceptions and prejudices of surface interpretations. Therefore, if life is a sacred book of symbols, symbols inspired by nature have only to be noticed and honoured for their deep resonance to the natural order of life and the sacred. Bringing an increased awareness of symbols into our lives will then foster our reconnection to nature, enhance a deeper sense of meaning and strengthen our connection to the great dance of life.

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Creating Sacred Space Through the Use of Symbols

In order to bring the modern dehumanized discord, identified by Jung, back to harmonious balance this reconnection to nature and sacred values is paramount. Ray and Anderson described the need for forming soul-nourishing connections:

"We need living images to be anchored in our bodies, so we can be anchored to life and trust our connection to each other and to the great round of being - circle of life."

gardenThey further describe this sacred connection as a means of feeding that place inside with "imagination and rich images" instead of creating an inner vacuum of emptiness common in today's modern world. It is human nature to seek out and discover the meaning and purpose of our existence and maintaining our connection to the sacred will support this innate drive.

Therefore, when considering the 'fast pace' of today's society a 'time out' in nature or a retreat to a sacred space created within our homes may offer some much needed respite and healing quietude. Patricia Telesco, author of Shaman in a 9 to 5 World, acknowledges the challenge of creating a sacred place within modern mayhem, but also offers many suggestions on how retreat and sanctuary may be accomplished.

Pond One of many practical ways of creating soul nourishing space within your home and workplace is through the use of symbols representative of nature and the ever-present energies of the divine. Surrounding yourself with these powerful symbols will enhance your energetic connection to the great dance of life and attract positive and life affirming vibrations which will envelop you with protective, positive and nurturing energy. Along with these harmonious energies flowing through out your space, this reconnection will foster a deeper, more meaningful resonance with life.

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Numerology

NumerologyNumerology is the science of numbers and recognizes that each number has its own vibratory influence and characteristics. Numerology is utilized to enhance the potency of the other symbols used in the light catchers by matching the numerical vibration, through the number of beads used in a pattern, to the catcher's purpose. The numbers regularly used in design include the following:

Primary Numbers

'1' - Creativity, courage, leadership, inspiration

'2' - Balance, attraction, peace & harmony

'3' - Expression, success, versatility

'4' - Patience, solid foundation, steadfastness

'5' - Freedom, change, adventure

'6' - Vision and acceptance, balancing perfectionism with practical reality

'7' - Spiritual, meditation, peace, enjoyment of nature

'8' - Abundance and power, community, organization, reaching goals

'9' - Integrity, wisdom, inspiration

Master Numbers

'11' - Spiritual Messenger/Illuminator - inspirational, uplifts humanity and brings light

'22' - Master Builder/ Spiritual Master - visionary, dreams into reality

'33' - Master of Healing Energies - mystical, nurturing, protective and loving

Some numerology examples used in the light catchers include the Feng Shui Light Catchers.

For additional references please see our bibliography of books or links page.

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