The science of symbols

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infinity
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The science of symbols

Post by infinity » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:53 am

Anyone have recommended references for studying symbols from the viewpoint of using them in a metaphysical context?

For example, if a circle with symbols around it is used in some occult ritual for, let's say, some spell or incantation - why a circle, why those symbols, and how do the symbols etc play a role in making the intention "happen" so to speak? I'm not looking for an equivalent of the metaphorical "spellbook", but rather for material that is ABOUT the metaphorical "spellbooks".

My problem is that there's just "too much" info on this stuff out there, and most of it is the "spellbook" stuff - not the ABOUT stuff that explains or discusses it.

Know what I mean?
"The death of dogma is the birth of morality" - Kant

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LoneBear
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Re: The science of symbols

Post by LoneBear » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:50 am

My favorite reference is: A Dictionary of Symbols (J. E. Cirlot).

In the definitions, it includes the symbolic meanings from different cultures and religions, as well as mythological references. But it is an old, textual description individual symbols, not the sigils used in most occult systems. However, I have found it useful to analyze sigils by their components.

In your example, with symbols outside a circle--first, you'd have to get the meaning of the circle as a boundary, and what is contained (inside) and excluded (outside) by that boundary. With that in mind, you could then interpret each symbol in relation to the others by finding the connecting attribute, and that will "tell the story."

In "old magick," sigils tend to be memory keys, not tools. In order to decode the key, you need to understand something of the system that created it, and be able to reproduce that intention in your own mind. It's a bit like the old Zen koans--knowing the answer doesn't mean anything--it is the process of finding the answer, that imparts understanding.
Keeper of the Troth of Ásgarðr, Moriar prius quam dedecorer.

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Arcelius
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Re: The science of symbols

Post by Arcelius » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:05 pm

LoneBear wrote:In "old magick," sigils tend to be memory keys, not tools. In order to decode the key, you need to understand something of the system that created it, and be able to reproduce that intention in your own mind.
That is why it is usually best when doing your own inner work, to focus on a system that you already belong within. Most people seem to like to escape into other systems that they never truly understand. When you work within such a system, these symbols will become more than just something that can be decoded in order to understand something larger. These symbols are part of you and when you begin to manipulate these symbols, you are doing your own inner work.of changing yourself.

For finding a system that you belong to, try looking at your heritage and which mythologies belong to it. This heritage can be represented by where you live (or were born) in the world. It can also be represented by your family (genetics, traditions, memes, etc.)

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Obzistian
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Re: The science of symbols

Post by Obzistian » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:20 pm

This is a very synchronistic(imagine that) post for me right now, as
I am now endeavoring to comprehend the archetypes,
symbols, mythos, and environment(s)-both current and previous-
that are at work(rotating) currently within my mind.
A language, if you will.
I have also tried to work 'outside' current system before and I can say
it does not work as well; however, it can actually ADD work to your
Great Work, especially if you make some of the symbolism within that
unfamiliar system, a part of yours.
Interactive Intelligence coordinates movement in harmony with its nature.

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