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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in symbolism
Coffee Tarot - Blending Common Symbols with the Tarot

Over three years ago, I made a post here called The Evolution and Re-Interpretation of Symbols (or, The Coffee Tarot Leaves Me Cold). Click here to read that  post. 

You may recall that someone said to me:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What's Talking to You?

Just got done watching a powerful video featuring Jim Carrey and his painting process (yes, that Jim Carrey).

One of the things he said struck a chord with me:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Tonight Canada had a moment kind of like the moon landing or Woodstock or JFK's assassination.  Years from now we'll be telling our grandchildren where we were when we watched The Tragically Hip's farewell concert.

Yeah, you probably don't even know who they are, do you?  At the most you're scratching your heads and muttering, "Yeah, that's some Canadian band, right?"  Yeah, okay, you're right, and you're horribly wrong too.  For about thirty years the Hip has been writing Canada's soundtrack for life.  We often wondered why they never seemed to catch anywhere outside of our big-but-small country, especially since they would fill every stadium to standing room only when they played in any major Canadian city.  But now we know the answer.  It's because they're as Canadian as mounties, beavers and inukshuks; as Montreal steak and poutine; as curling and lacrosse and hockey. Probably it's just that no one else but us could fully appreciate them.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Morrison, Thanks for sharing! I have always been fascinated by Canadiana. I've heard of The Tragically Hip, but have never li
  • Mylène Chalifoux
    Mylène Chalifoux says #
    ...it is in total amazement that I am reading your post now. I woke up this morning, needing to connect with my spiritual essence
Discovering Signs and Symbols by Kirsten Riddle

“We are a society built on signs and symbols. Our ancestors recognized their significance, assembling powerful messages around the signs and symbols they noted in their surroundings. They looked to Mother Nature for inspiration, and they then took this to another level, choosing shapes and signs and turning them into physical symbols that they could use in sacred rites and rituals.” – From Discovering Signs and Symbols: Unlock the Secrets and Meanings of These Ancient Figures by Kirsten Riddle (Ryland Peters & Small, 2015)

From the triangle to the clover, the caduceus to the Eye of Horus, signs, shapes and symbols permeate our social, religious, artistic and commercial landscape. Recognizing such symbols and tracing their origins is one thing (the crux of most symbol books), but incorporating them into a meaningful, enriching and personal context is quite another.

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Gimbutas Revisited: A Trypillian Clay Phallus, 4500-3500 BCE

In the cash-strapped days following independence, a trio of Ukrainian businessmen watched in horror as illegal digging and the black-market antiquities trade threatened to denude Ukraine of its historical patrimony. The three began to buy up antiquities before they could leave the country, and so assembled the world's largest private collection of artifacts from the Copper Age Trypillian culture (4500-2700 BCE).

I saw a traveling exhibit from this collection at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis in early March 2011. What I saw there forced me to reassess my analysis of the work of Lithuanian-born archaeologist (and feminist ideologue) Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994). Although none of the ceramics in the collection had been excavated before her death, I found that the analytic vocabulary of symbols that she articulated in her 1989 book The Language of the Goddess again and again produced cogent readings of the art.

Let me take one particularly striking example. The not-quite-life-sized (6¼ x 2½ inch) clay phallus and testes (shown above), from the Khmel'nitska region of Ukraine, dates from the Trypillian BI period, roughly 4500-3500 BCE. Above the testes is a small, inset cup; the clay wedge that supports the phallus gives the entire piece a rather droll, and probably not unintended, resemblance to a quadruped. (“I like the kickstand,” I overheard one visitor say.)

Note the engraved “decoration.” Twin spirals adorn the sides of the testes. There are parallel lines engraved along the phallus itself. Rows of evenly-spaced dots ring the top of the scrotum and run down the length of the shaft.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Devil's Lash

At old style sabbats, they say, the Devil would stand at the edge of the circle and whip up the dancing.

Literally.

(In the mountains back East, where I come from, they say that he'd use rose canes to do this. Yikes.)

One of the few truly effective ritual initiations that I've ever witnessed was priested by one of the local dungeon daddies. Now that scourging really meant something.

Burtrand of Minnesota Church of the Wicca—the grandfather of the local pagan community—used to insist that the scourge is one of the Horned's most important, and least understood, attributes.

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Yellow Brick Road to Awakening Spread - Symbols from the Wizard of Oz

As I mentioned in my post A Halloween Divination Spread:

When it comes to spreads--positions for Tarot/Oracle cards, Runes, charms or other divinatory objects--it's easier than you may think to create custom layouts based on holidays, stories, songs, sacred texts, deities or themes using symbols for positions. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've read that L. Frank Baum was a theosophist so it's not too surprising that there should be a lot of layered meaning in "The Wi
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Interesting! I didn't know that, Anthony.

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