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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

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part I

The use of symbols and the symbolic transmission of knowledge is an incredibly important tool and essential aspect of initiatic, esoteric and Inner traditions. Symbols have been used extensively and with great effectiveness since long before our current, accepted, world history record. I’d like to examine symbols, their role and relationship to mind, human mental development and the nature of consciousness in a small, three part series. Let’s get started. So, what is symbol? The word symbol is defined as a thing that represents something else by association. It can be seen as a type of universal language as it does not require specific words to be understood. In the context of initiatic and esoteric orders and teachings, symbol may take on the light of a basic moral truth, principle or lesson. Symbols exist naturally in nature and esoterically within the mind of mankind.

It is in the comprehension and understanding of symbol, that new ideas are brought forth. As we explore the workings of symbol, we will begin to piece together a holistic picture; an understanding that draws from sources ancient and revered, as well as examine key principles of initiation and consciousness itself.

Symbols are often understood at disparate depths of thought between individuals, which is an interesting point in itself and worth noting. The initiatic traditions foster evolving change and growth, through successive initiations and through the private works of the intiates themselves. It is also important to note that all initiations are ultimately personal and private. Symbols take on new meaning and combine to form complex understanding and knowledge within the minds of prepared students and initiates on the path, as they progress. Deeper or advanced meaning to symbolism has existed since the dawning of the initiatic tradition and it is in these deeper meanings that the nature of spirit and mind unfolds.

As I began to think about this series and the role of symbol, especially in regards to initiatic orders and students of philosophy and esoteric teachings, it made sense for me to draw from my background in Egyptian esoteric studies and hieroglyphics. We will pick up tomorrow with the symbolic message of the Egyptian temples and the many interpretive levels of symbols in that context. If you choose to, reflect on the symbolic nature of hieroglyphics and why an advanced culture would elect to pass their knowledge on, for future cultures, using this method of information delivery and why these symbols (hieroglyphics) can represent many things to many people.

To Be Continued.

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part II

Symbol – The Universal Language – Part III