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Symbol – The Universal Language – Part II

In Part I of this series, we talked briefly about the role of symbol in regards to the initiate’s development and how symbol can be understood on multiple levels by people of different backgrounds and training. Today we’ll revisit symbol and its use in Pharaonic Egypt and see how symbol manifests in the mind to various degrees.

As one begins to study and understand hieroglyphics in Temple context, it becomes clear that hieroglyphics do not have a single or linear (one to one relationship) meaning attached to them. In some cases, hieroglyphics can be entire schools of thought collapsed into a single image or logos; for example, a bull cow. The hieroglyphic of a bull doesn’t simply represent the animal. It can represent many concepts and principles such as strength, virility, force, the Age of Taurus etc. It is in the deeper meanings and principles that initiation and symbol concerns itself.

Typically, there are three levels, or expressions of symbol at work, depending on the person perceiving them. At the first level is the common, or profane meaning, which is the standard expression of a symbol for the masses. Secondly emerges the esoteric expression which can be specific to a group or time or may be guarded information. Lastly is the sacred; the ineffable, which is dynamic and rarified in nature. Sacred symbolism exists in the mind of the initiate or student who has done their work and is ready to receive the gifts of knowledge to be imparted to them. Sacred symbolism can not be taught or explained. It must be experienced or “seen”. This leads us to the nature of understanding and comprehension of symbol.

The keys to understanding and experiencing symbol, lie within the mind. While it is possible to interpret and understand symbol using just linear (rational though) or intuitive  (creative thought) methods, the resulting knowledge will be truncated, static, one dimensional and passive in nature and will not serve to impart new knowledge. It is the union of the disparate paths of thought that unite and shine light on symbol. By utilizing both hemispheres of thought, the rational and intuitive, it allows for free thought and higher consciousness to occur. This holistic or “holy” state allows for “seeing” within the mind’s eye or third eye to facilitate dynamic thought and allows for the comprehension of great knowledge. The opening of the third eye enables those on the path to integrate seemingly disparate and unrelated concepts, to understand abstract thought processes and see natural cycles, laws and dynamic principles at work. This new way of thinking and the knowledge garnered therein, creates a foundation for future work within a given Order or Path.

Once these laws and principles are seen, that is, once they are experienced in the mind actively, it is possible to apply the teachings of these laws and cycles to ones life. They are used as measuring devices or tenets of universal principles that help to guide the initiate or student to make their own decisions, choices and original thoughts based on ageless lessons. For example, in Freemasonry, the “Working Tools” of the Craft are used within “Free” thought to permit the more advanced initiate to reconcile difficult concepts and provides for a mechanism for freeing their own minds from constraints.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at how understanding symbol relates to the interpretation of texts and how this mode of thought differentiates from modern, western culture and thought. For some, this text may have raised some questions in your mind. It’s ok, that it is totally natural.

If you wish to obtain further perspective on this piece, please see the Daily Meditation Focus from yesterday.

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part I

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part III