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Symbolism

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Introduction Chakras
Modern Living - Life without Symbolic Meaning Rainbows
Ancient Wisdom - Symbols and the Cycle of Life Crystals
Medicine Wheel Gemstones
Symbols and Meaning Feng Shui
Creating Sacred Space Through the Use of Symbols Numerology
Colour  

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."

This 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.

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Medicine Wheel

It is time to embrace the old ways and renew our lost connection to sacred wisdom. The Medicine Wheel is one of many ways you can achieve this. We invite you to read more about the Medicine Wheel and about our own experience with creating a Medicine Wheel garden.

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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."

Pagoda in Laurie's BackyardThey 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.

Pond 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.

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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Colour

All living things on the planet require sunlight to grow and survive and humans are no exception. Within the pure light of the sun are the seven colours of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Each colour emits a different wave length and energy frequency. These energetic frequencies range from red - the lowest vibration (longest wavelength) to violet the highest frequency (shortest wavelength). These different colour frequencies effect the wellbeing of the spirit, mind and emotions.

The Colour WheelThe use of colour as a symbol reflects an integral part of our lives and the language we use to describe our physical health and emotions, as well as mental and spiritual states. For example "looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses", "green with envy", "feeling blue" or "he saw red with anger".

In addition to these symbolic expressions, each colour emits a subtle energy vibration that interacts with the energy system of the human body to help balance and stabilize physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions. The human energy system includes the seven chakras, which are the key regulators of the energies coming into and going out of the body.

As a symbol, colour plays an integral role in our wellbeing and can have a powerful effect in reconnecting us to nature and bringing balance and harmony into our lives.

Chakras

The ChakrasThe human energy system includes the seven chakras, which are the key regulators of the energies coming into and going out of the body. While the chakras are not a part of the physical body, they are connected to the subtle energy fields surrounding and influencing the body. Each chakra has a corresponding colour, and gemstone which resonates with its vibration, and they are:


Root Chakra - Red

Anchors your connection to the physical world. It is key in creating overall strength that supports the physical body.

Sacral Chakra - Orange

Represents creativity, sexuality and happiness. Aids with power and control in material matters.

Solar Plexus Chakra - Yellow

Centre for personal power, self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. The main "receiver" of first impressions.

Heart Chakra - Green

Centre of all chakras. Major focus is love, warmth, compassion and understanding.

Throat Chakra - Turquoise Blue

Is responsible for communication and self-expression.

Brow Chakra - Indigo/Royal Blue

Chakra of "intuition" helps to blend intuition with logic. Encourages spiritual outlook and perception.

Crown Chakra - Violet

The entry point of the life force - universal energy, which nourishes the body, mind and spirit.

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Rainbows

RainbowRainbows symbolize an arc of energy with the divine. Each light catcher contains a prism made of refined lead crystal, which refracts the sunlight into the seven colours of the rainbow.



Crystals

Quartz CrystalCrystals are part of the earth itself and of nature. They are comprised of quartz and silica, which are also a major component of the human body. Like colour, crystals also emit a vibrational frequency, which matches the electromagnetic field of both the earth and its human occupants. The most widely used crystal today is clear quartz and it can be found powering watches, computers and radios to name a few. Within the light catchers, the sympathetic resonance of the quartz crystals is used for its healing properties and to amplify the energy of the other stones.

Gemstones

Variety of GemstonesGemstones come in multiple forms and colours. Their different colours resonate with the body's energy system and although their energetic effect is more diffuse than crystals, they are extremely useful for harmonizing an environment or wearing on your person as jewelry. As with colour and crystals, gemstones also provide a symbolic connection to nature.

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Feng Shui

Bamboo Feng ShuiThe ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui or 'placement' works with the circulation and flow of chi, which is the basic energy (life force) of the universe. The balance of chi in living and working environments supports our interconnectedness to the Earth and all her life.

The discipline of Feng Shui was developed over 3,000 years ago with a great respect for all of nature including the movement of wind (Feng) and water (Shui). Feng Shui is no longer applied as a set of hard and fast rules. Allowing for personal preferences, climate, lifestyle and family situation permits the principles of Feng Shui to be incorporated into modern living.

Feng Shui has a symbology based in ancient Chinese culture but the power of these symbols lies in their intention. Often symbols that have meaning for you and represent your intention work as well or even better than traditional Feng Shui symbols.

Where we are is as important as who we are. Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. Through out life, interaction with the world is impaired when our surroundings are not nourishing. The objects in our lives have such an influence on us that their placement can be as important.

The Bagua

In Feng Shui, the bagua is a mental tool or map that is used to determine the placement of nine life issues as they are represented in your space. Feng Shui is based on the principle that your space reflects your life. The nine areas are laid out below.

Feng Shui Bagua

This map can be placed over a building or home, a garden, an individual room or even a desktop. The front door, entrance, or door to the room or the location of your chair determines the orientation.

Look at your space as though you were floating above it and align the entrance with what is traditionally the north position (N). The entrance does not have to be in the centre of your bagua map, just orient it to the N side of the bagua.

You can then use the principles of Feng Shui in the area of the bagua that you want to make positive changes. Remember that your intuition is always your best guide. If you feel that a placement or change needs to be in a certain area trust that feeling - even if it does not correspond to the bagua.

Need Help?

If you would like some help Feng Shui’ing your home or improving an area of your life – for example; romance, career, prosperity, health – Suzette Laqua of Feng Shui your Life can help! In person or by distance Suzette offers personal Feng Shui consultations and useful tips for enhancing the energy flow in your life. She can be reached by e-mail suzette@fengshuiyourlife.ca or visit her website at www.fengshuiyourlife.ca.

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Yin & Yang

Yin & YangChi is divided into yin and yang - two opposing forces that are absolutely essential to each other. Yin and yang are two different but balanced aspects of one whole and neither is better or worse than the other.

The Yin Yang symbol in the centre of the bagua represents ever constant, ever changing activity. It shows that each half contains an element of its opposite to show that they are in a state of balance and harmony.

Think of yang as active energy - masculine, hard, fast, bright and light colours, warm, loud and dry. While yin energy is passive - feminine, soft, dark and muted colours, curved lines, quiet, dim lighting, moist, cool and still. Both are equally important in our lives. Keep in mind the use of a room or area when making adjustments. An office should be more yang whereas a bedroom should be more yin. Balancing the chi in our environment assists us in finding the balance and harmony we seek in our lives.

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

'2' - Balance. Attraction, Peace & harmony

'3' - Expression, Success, Versatility

'4' - Patience, Solid Foundation, Steadfastness

'5' - Freedom, Change, Adventure

'7' - Spiritual, Meditation, Peace, Enjoyment of Nature

'8' - Abundance and Power, Community, Organization, Reaching Goals

'9' - Integrity, Wisdom, Inspiration

Master Numbers

'11' - Spiritual Messenger/The Illuminator - Inspirational, uplifts humanity & 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 Ethereal Messenger Catchers: Angels & Faeries, which are comprised of the Master numbers 11 and 22, symbolizing peace inspiration and light. Other examples are the Wealth and Buffalo Catchers, which carry the number 8 representing abundance and power.

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