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Uncertain of what to get your friends and family for that birthday or anniversary?

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Introduction

Now welcome to this site which aims to provide you with a treasure trove of references to those symbols you think you know, but are not 100% sure about.  Incidentally, you might be interested to know that you are visitor number visitor counter. I would like to publicly thank Wikipedia for providing some of the information you will discover and for pointing me in the direction of many other invaluable references.

I have studied the occult for a number of years now -- too numerous to mention really -- as a result of which I naturally became interested in the symbols used in that practice and those in the practices associated with it.  I started to include some of them on my other two websites, To Mega Therion and Links 2 the Occult when my wife suggested I compile them in a small reference book, which I now have done, but in addition I decided to create another website and this is the result.  The term 'a small reference book' is a joke, as it has grown considerably since its launch.

Note that the word 'magic' has been spelt as such throughout, even though in certain instances it should have been spelt 'magick'; this is to avoid confusion.  Additionally, when referencing Greek gods and goddesses and their Roman counterparts, in most instances you can more or less assume they are one and the same person with very similar attributes.

To continue -- what are symbols?  One definition of a symbol is 'something that represents something else through association or resemblance'.  A symbol can be a sign, an emblem or an image.  For example, businesses and other organisations use logos to identify and represent their name or brand.  Hieroglyphics are another form of symbol used in ancient Egyptian writing.

Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating links between otherwise very different concepts and experiences.  All communication (and data processing) is achieved through the use of symbols.  Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs.  For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP".  On a map, a blue line might represent a river.  Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds.  Personal names are symbols representing individuals.  A red rose may symbolise love and compassion.  The variable 'X', in a mathematical equation, may symbolise the position of a particle in space.  In cartography, an organised collection of symbols forms a legend for a map.

By now you will have realised that we recognise hundreds of symbols every day such as road signs, currency signs and keyboard symbols, although these will not be discussed here.  What you will discover, however, is a comprehensive guide to the most obscure as well as the most well-known symbols and/or logos used in alchemy, ancient cultures, astrology, mysticism, mythology (deities and creatures), occultism/occult societies, religion and much more.

JE Cirlot (1916 - 1973 CE) suggests prehistoric cultures believed the essential rhythms of life were found in daily routines, the natural world, and on a spiritual level.  The use of symbols appears to be an essential step in the evolution of consciousness -- one that afforded humans the capacity to express intangibles -- the imagination.  Symbols connect us to recognising the world outside of our immediate self-ness.

Mythology permeates all cultures and affects all lives.  The influence of myths can be seen in the customs, rituals, morals and language of every culture.  In fact, studying the underlying mythological beliefs and prominent mythological symbols is an effective method of studying a culture.  Different cultures have specific myths to help people understand the mysteries of nature, the reason behind all creation, their own relationship with nature and the essentials of moral conduct.  These myths gave rise to a number of symbols that explain these diverse concepts.

In the descriptions of several Ancient Egyptian mythological deities, you will often see a reference to the 'Hermopolitan Ogdoad' and/or 'The Ennead of Heliopolis'.  For those of you who understand what this is, I apologise for the following:

The Ogdoad (the eightfold) were eight primordial deities worshipped in Hermopolis during the Old Kingdom period (27th to 22nd centuries BCE).

The Ennead or Great Ennead was a group of nine deities in Egyptian mythology worshipped at Heliopolis: the sun god Atum; his children Shu and Tefnut; their children Geb and Nut; and their children Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.  The Ennead sometimes includes Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis.  It rose to importance in the fifth and sixth dynasties and remained prominent in Egypt into its occupation by the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty established by Alexander the Great's successor in the region, Ptolemy I.

Similarly you will often see the words 'New Kingdom' when reading an article relating to ancient Egypt.  This is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th and the 11th century BCE, covering the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth Dynasties of Egypt.

Within these pages, in addition to 909 individual references to and explanations of symbols, you will find 500+ images of flags including all of the Flags of the world's sovereign nations PLUS Flag Semaphore signals and meanings PLUS many other flags PLUS Ghanaian Adinkra Symbols PLUS Alchemical Symbols PLUS samples of Egyptian Hieroglyphs PLUS Chinese Zodiac symbols and meanings PLUS Hobo Symbols PLUS Major Arcana of the Tarot PLUS logos/crests of Motor Car Manufacturers, Motorcycle Manufacturers, UK Breweries, Scottish Distilleries, UK Cities and English Football League teams.

PLUS, as an added bonus, you will find comprehensive lists of 250+ Greek/Roman, Norse and Egyptian Mythological deities.

You might notice that during this rewrite many new symbols have been added whilst ALL refernces to Terrorist and Far right/left groups (nearly 100 in total) have been removed.  Despite this, you will discover

ALMOST TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED INDIVIDUAL REFERENCES.

N.B. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, this website should not be taken as a 'Bible' of the symbols you will discover, as so many differing references and descriptions can be found relating to any one of them.



The Power of Symbols

Symbols tend to accumulate their meanings slowly, over hundreds of years.  Like languages, all their connotations proliferate along many branches, dividing, following a variety of distinctive routes according to the cultural context, sometimes doubling back on themselves along lines of influence.  However, some symbols, or types of symbols, are so universally potent, so close to the very ‘stuff’ of life, that their meanings tend to remain constant or to vary within a much narrower spectrum.

Unsurprisingly there is often a connection between the power of symbols and their antiquity.  Primitive societies inhabited a world where the most basic requirements of life, e.g., warmth, food, shelter, fire sunshine, rain and sex, loomed large.  Alongside the instinct to survive and reproduce was the instinct to find meanings, to make more sense of the necessities on which life depended.  The sun, we presume, was an object of intense speculation, and certainly in due course became the theme of some of our most powerful myths.  If the sun was crucial to life, then perhaps the stars were too; and from this perspective, it is not too difficult to understand the evolution of astrology.  As civilisations developed over the centuries, these early preoccupations retained their force, and even today, in the most affluent of cultures, the symbols connected with them lodge in their mind and resonate with power.

In the present age, although the rational still takes precedence over the spiritual in most aspects of public life, at a personal level we still believe that profound realities dwell beyond the reach of objective reason.  We are ready to acknowledge that such truths are eternal, and we seem to sense instinctively that the language of symbolism will give us access to them.  This in part explains why even ancient symbols seem full of potential energy, as if addressing some hidden centre within ourselves.


The World of Symbols

Symbols have been subjected to analysis by historians, archaeologists, ethnographers and psychologists.  To date, however, no unified theory has emerged to account for the language of symbolism in the same way that grammatical theory explains the fundamental framework of spoken and written language.  Symbols, unlike written words, are not limited by practical concerns; their abundance and variety is constrained only by the limits of human imagination.  They appear in every conceivable form – in pictures, metaphors, sounds, gestures, odours, myths and personifications – and draw on all sources, material and non-material, for their inspiration.

C.G. Jung (1875 – 1961) argued that symbols constitute a universal idiom.  Abstract shapes, which arise directly from the unconscious without any allusion to the natural world, are indeed encountered worldwide.  The Christian form of the cross was used by the Assyrians to represent the sky god Anu, and by the Chinese as a symbol of the earth.  When the Spaniards, led by Herman Cortés (1485 - 1547), landed in Mexico in 1519, they found in the native temples numerous depictions of the cross – the Toltec symbol of the gods Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl. The invaders, however, did not consider that the cross could be anything other a Christian symbol, and concluded that it had been carried to the Toltecs on a mission conducted by St Thomas, the legendary apostle of all the Indies.  This story underlines the point that although symbols are a characteristic feature of humanity in general, they are also subject to widespread differentiation across cultural divides.  Cultures and religions are largely defined by the symbols they use and venerate, and initiation into a particular symbol helps to shape the Identity of an individual.  By denying that the cross could be a Toltec symbol, the Spaniards were in effect protecting the integrity of their own religious beliefs.

But symbols are more than just historical and cultural signposts.  They can help us toward a fuller understanding of our own minds.



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Now Completed -- An Illustrated Dictionary of Signs, Symbols, Societies & Logos -- your very own printable A4 pdf eBook

As many of you have probably noticed, this site is becoming established -- uploaded on 22 May 2018.  It contains far too much information to read and digest in just one or two cursory visits, so why not get your own personal copy of An Illustrated Dictionary of Signs, Symbols, Societies & Logos, an eBook you can print and read at your leisure?  This terrific reference book, which could so quickly and easily be yours, holds the entire contents of this website (including the glossary and images, but excluding all advertisements and superfluous references) in 480+ A4 pages printed in Arial font @ size 10.  The download costs just £4.99 irrespective of where you live in the world, and because it is a download, you incur no postal charges.

If you are truly interested in symbols and their origin(s), we at signsandsymbols.co.uk can guarantee you definitely won't be disappointed.  In addition to a Foreword and Table of Contents, the book contains 6 sections as shown below.  To buy this fantastic eBook, click HERE.


Table of Contents

Foreword

Part I - Symbols - 887 entries

0-9 - 8 entries
A - 81 entries
B - 46 entries
C - 85 entries
D - 28 entries
E - 20 entries
F - 36 entries
G - 32 entries
H - 50 entries
I - 27 entries
J - 19 entries
K - 33 entries
L - 27 entries
M - 51 entries
N - 18 entries
O - 42 entries
P - 37 entries
Q - 5 entries
R - 20 entries
S - 105 entries
T - 54 entries
U - 12 entries
V - 15 entries
W - 23 entries
X - 1 entry
Y - 7 entries
Z - 5 entries


Part II - Flags - 521 entries

Flags of the World
Sovereign Nations
Flags of the Counties & Offshore Islands of the United Kingdom
    England
    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    UK Offshore Islands
Flags of Australian States & Territories
Flags of Canadian Provinces
Flags of the States & Territories of the USA
    US States
    US Territories
Miscellaneous
Flag Semaphore


Part III - Logos - 599 entries

Motor Cars
Motorcycles
UK & Republic of Ireland Breweries
Scottish Whisky Distilleries
Crests of UK Cities
English Football League


Part IV - Tarot - 22 entries


Part V - Other Symbols - 374 entries

Adinkra Symbols
Alchemical Symbols
Chinese Zodiac
Egyptian Hieroglyphs
    Alphabetic Hieroglyphs
        An Egyptian Typewriter?
    Syllabic Hieroglyphs
    Word Examples Using Hieroglyphs
    Some Numeric Examples
Hobo Symbols
Veves


Part VI - Lists of Mythological Deities - 251 entries

Gods, Goddesses & Titans in Greek Mythology
    Major Gods & Goddesses in Greek & Roman Mythology
    Primordial Gods & Goddesses in Greek Mythology
    Titans in Greek Mythology
        Original Twelve Titans
        Other Titans
Norse Gods & Goddesses
Egyptian Gods & Goddesses


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