Just as language changes from country to country, and even within certain districts of the same country, the language of symbolism changes with movement and time. Some symbolism is Universal, meaning it is recognized by all. We all know the symbol that allows us to find a public restroom in any place we find ourselves. It is also one of the first phrases we learn when entering a country that speaks a different language.
Then there are Cultural differences. In much of the Western Hemisphere, the color black is first seen as depicting death and sorrow, perhaps the unknown. In some Eastern cultures, like India, it is the color white that means the same thing. Those meanings can change within the established communities within a culture.
Church belief has allotted the color of deep purple as belonging to funeral and grieving processes, while at one time, purple, because it was an expensive dye to create, heralded ones status within the community. And today, in many places, little old white haired women wear it simply because they can and its a change from black.
Which actually brings us to the Personal level of the language. I think, perhaps the most important. We each see things through the filter of our own experiences. I happen to love the color purple. It means all sorts of things to me. I find it a rich color, one that immediately attracts the eye, and gives depth to whatever else surrounds it. But it also clashes with a great many other hues. To me, it is a symbol of personal, but limited power, meant to be used carefully and reserved for special occasions.
I came by that definition through several different paths. I like history and find it very informative. The history of the color purple actually tells an interesting story about the development of a portion of the human experience, and I may actually explore that in another article. But, I also just happen to like the color itself. That personal preference, in time, experience, as well as opportunity, goes a long way toward explaining my definition of the color and what it represents to me.
Each of us has personal preferences in many, or most, areas. When dealing with the language of symbols, it is important to allow that preference to be integral in ones own definition. Take Dream Interpretation, for example. There are a great many dream dictionaries out there, and each one is based, to some extent, on the author’s personal experience, as well as preference for the definitions he/she has chosen. That is called bias. I have made it very clear that I own a personal bias about the color purple. That is true across the board for what I will be writing here in this blog.
In my first article, I wrote about a hawk and explained that its symbolism was due to Native American traditions. I am of Native American descent on my mother’s side. What has always intrigued me is that I was drawn to those spiritual traditions and perspectives long before I knew of my own lineage.
Someone else might view the hawk in very different terms. It is a predator and extremely fierce, being territorial and often a loner until it mates for life. Because it is a bird, it speaks to flight and an element of freedom that humans, under their own power, might never be able to experience. Thus it can symbolize many different things to different individuals. That doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else, is wrong about our choice of definitions. It simply means that the language of symbolism is fluid and changing, constantly evolving, and can be terribly personal.
When I first set out to learn about hawks in general, I had no idea that I was opening a door to an entirely different way of seeing things, thus interpreting the meaning of those things. I didn’t take notes, just read and trusted my memory to do the storing of all these odd bits and pieces for me. Although my journal holds a great many of those pieces, there is no organization or cataloguing involved. Lucky for me, that writing does have a tendency to lodge information in the memory function.
What I am getting at is the making of ones own personal dictionary of symbols. I didn’t do that. I had no idea that this particular interest was going to become a side-line hobby, and later, a way of life. I have considered doing it many times over the years, but find it absolutely daunting in nature. I firmly regret not taking up the practice since the beginning. And, in a very real sense, this blog is yet another attempt to do just that.
If you are at all interested in this subject, I would encourage you to keep some form of notes, perhaps in a small notebook easily accessible to you. We will be exploring a rather wide range of topics, some of which will be: Nature Mythology, Classic and Universal Mythology, Cultural Mythology, Personal Mythology, Dreams, Dream Language, Dream Work, the Tarot, maybe some numerology, Color, Imagery and Imagination, and more. I intend to start doing just that as I work through the subjects I choose to write about. I didn’t do that at the beginning, but its never too late to start anything.
Furthermore, if you find yourself in disagreement with my opinion, or choice of definition, please leave a comment in the section below so that we can both grow from this experience. This blog is about enhancing intuitive skills through the learning of symbolic language. I mean that for me, as well as for you.