Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense. Symbolism can take different forms. Generally, it is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant. Sometimes, however, an action, an event or a word spoken by someone may have a symbolic value. For instance, “smile” is a symbol of friendship. Similarly, the action of someone smiling at you may stand as a symbol of the feeling of affection which that person has for you. Symbols do shift their meanings depending on the context they are used in. “A chain”, for example, may stand for “union” as well as “imprisonment”. Thus, symbolic meaning of an object or an action is understood by when, where and how it is used. It also depends on who reads them.
Common Examples of Symbolism in Everyday Life
In our daily life, we can easily identify objects, which can be taken as examples of symbol such as the following:
The dove is a symbol of peace.
A red rose or red color stands for love or romance.
Black is a symbol that represents evil or death.
A ladder may stand as a symbol for a connection between the heaven and the earth.
A broken mirror may symbolize separation
Symbolism Examples in Literature
To develop symbolism in his work, a writer utilizes other figures of speech, like metaphors, similes, allegory, as tools. Some symbolism examples in literature are listed below with brief analysis:
We find symbolic value in Shakespeare’s famous monologue in his play As you Like It:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
they have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,”
The above lines are symbolic of the fact that men and women, in course of their life perform different roles. “A stage” here symbolizes the world and “players” is a symbol for human beings.
Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights presents almost every character, house, surroundings and events in a symbolic perspective. The word “Wuthering”, which means stormy, represents the wild nature of its inhabitants. The following lines allow us to look into the symbolic nature of two characters:
“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it; I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”
The phrase “foliage of leaves” for Linton is a symbol for his fertile and civilized nature. On the contrary, Heathcliff is likened to an “eternal rock” which symbolizes his crude and unbendable nature.
Function of Symbolism
Symbolism gives a writer freedom to add double levels of meanings to his work: a literal one that is self-evident and the symbolic one whose meaning is far more profound than the literal one. The symbolism, therefore, gives universality to the characters and the themes of a piece of literature. Symbolism in literature evokes interest in readers as they find an opportunity to get an insight of the writer’s mind on how he views the world and how he thinks of common objects and actions, having broader implications.
HEALING SYMBOLS AND THEIR MEANINGS
Throughout the ages there have been many symbols which have signified healing. These symbols represent healing, and they have a positive effect when you visualize them. As time went by just seeing these symbols brought about a positive outlook for many people. Healing is something that everyone does at some time in their lives. These healing symbols invoke an ancient remembering, and they can instill some peace within you.
Many of these healing symbols invoke feelings of love, peace, and tranquility. Many of these symbols can also help boost your energy level, and make you feel better. If you want to express healing to a loved one or a friend, you can print healing symbols on cards and send them to your friends or family. Following are some of the most important healing symbols and their meanings.
Throughout the East, writing is held to be a gift from the gods, and the divinely inspired letters and characters are objects of the highest veneration. The religious significance of calligraphy has thus led to a unique development of the art of brush and ink in Japan, China, India, and Tibet.
Sacred geometry involves sacred universal patterns used in the design of everything in our reality, most often seen in sacred architecture and sacred art. The basic belief is that geometry and mathematical ratios, harmonics and proportion are also found in music, light, cosmology. This value system is seen as widespread even in prehistory, a cultural universal of the human condition.
It is considered foundational to building sacred structures such as temples, mosques, megaliths, monuments and churches; sacred spaces such as altars, temenoi and tabernacles; meeting places such as sacred groves, village greens and holy wells and the creation of religious art, iconography and using "divine" proportions. Alternatively, sacred geometry based arts may be ephemeral, such as visualization, sand painting and medicine wheels.
Japanese name: Cho Ku Rei
Intention: Light Switch
Purposes: Manifestation, increased power, accelerated healing, healing catalyst
The power symbol is used to increase power, and decrease power (when drawn of visualized in reverse). This symbol looks like a coil. The coil is meant to expand and retract, regulating the flow of ki energies.
Sometimes a subtle energy flow is needed, where as other times a blast of energy is better. Praised for its manifestation power, this symbol is a wonderful law of attraction focusing tool.
AHNK - REGENERATION OF LIFE THROUGH WATER
This Egyptian symbol represents eternal life and provides magical protection, also represents the regeneration of life through water. Many other wisdom traditions use this symbol with some variation in the vertical and horizontal cross. Often the loop at the top is used to represent holy water circulating the body
FLOWER OF LIFE/SEED OF LIFE - THE PATTERN OF CREATION
This symbol represents patterns of life as they emerge from the great void. Everything comes from thought by the Creator. As expansive creation continues, so do the interlocking rings. This symbol is found in all cultures on the planet and variations of it have been used to represent equations that define mathematics, music, religion, evolution, and medicine.
THE ILLUMINED MIND AND UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE
This symbol represents the illumined mind and far-sighted wisdom. The words and sounds of the Gayatri Mantra comprise the most powerful of Vedic affirmations. using this symbol removes the possibility of making wrong choices in life by empowering all truth. It ocalizes complex and cosmic wisdom about all earth elements, plants, trees, animals, insects, fishes and birds, making an understanding of the whole life creation. Enhances the ability to sharpen one's intellect and spiritual awareness. Used on water, it carries the harmonic resonance of the wisdom of all life. On a larger, universal scale, the use of the Gayatri Mantra and the sacred symbol, the Gayatri Yantra, representing those enlightened sounds, radiates vast and powerful knowledge to all beings. See more about the Gayatri Yantra.
OM - SACRED SOUND OF CREATION
The Mother of All Mantras is the primordial sound by which the earth was created. The past, present and future are all blended in this one all-inclusive sound. When chanted, Om or Aum frees the consciousness to remember its natural state of connection to infinite source energy or Creation. By using this image, the concept of infinite love and creation is conveyed beyond the limitation of words or ideas.
This star encased in a circle, always with 5 points (one pointing upward), has its own meaning. The upward point of the star is representative of the spirit. The other four points all represent an element; earth, air, fire, and water. All these things contribute to life and are a part of each of us. It is used in the Celtic and other mystical traditions, as well as many religions.
THE TRIADE, TRISKELE, OR TRIPLE SPIRAL
This is an ancient Celtic symbol related to earthly life, the afterlife, and reincarnation. it is drawn in one continuous line, suggesting a fluid movement of time. Triades are one of the most common elements of Celtic art. They also evoke the universal concept of the domains of material existence- earth, water, and sky; body, mind and spirit; and the eternally spiraling cycles of time.
TAOIST SYMBOL OF THE INTERPLAY OF FORCES IN THE UNIVERSE.
This represents the unity between all opposites – the masculine and the feminine; the darkness and light. Yin and Yang symbolize the primal cosmic forces. Yin is receptive, passive, cold, feminine energy. Yang is masculine, movement, force and heat. The dark and light represent knowledge and ignorance. In a spiritual practice, use the Yin Yang to help maintain a balance between opposites and instill unity personally and globally. In seeing the opposites, it is noted that each has a little of the other, which is often overlooked in life.
THE WATER HAMSA
In Hebrew or Muslim faith, it offers protection against the evil eye. In this application it offers protection for water, all water on the planet. It monitors the waters of the world and radiates protection from negative intent.
EYE OF HORUS
An ancient egyptian symbol associated with the occult, used in modern witchcraft for wisdom, prosperity, spiritual protection, good health, and to increase clairvoyant powers, protect against thieves, and the evil eye.
The Antahkarana is a Sanskrit term. In Eastern philosophy it is the name given to the bridge that connects the lower mind with the higher mind (mind of the soul). Through it, an individual is able to realize the soul’s profound love and wisdom. In this way the antahkarana is a communication conduit. It makes possible the realization of wisdom and guidance that transcends the rational thinking processes of the lower-self (personality). The antahkarana gives inspirational insight into things that the personality cannot fathom on its own. As such, it is the medium used by the soul to communicate its love and purpose into the human mind. However, this rainbow bridge (colloquial term for the antahkarana) does not exist naturally within the human psyche. Instead it must be built over time. Through various spiritual disciplines, its construction is made possible.