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Some

common/Traditional
Symbols in Western
Literature
Light: Reason, knowledge, life
Shadow: area between life and death
Darkness: ignorance, death

Seasons
Spring: Birth, youth, fertility, rejuvenation
Summer: Maturity, vigor, accomplishment
Autumn: Fruition, fulfillment, Aging, preparation for death
Winter: death, emptiness

Daily Cycles
Dawn: Birth, enlightenment, deliverance from fear, new beginning
Morning: Youth, optimism
Afternoon: Maturity, vigor, accomplishment
Sunset: death, moral glory
Twilight: death, departure, mystery
Night: death, the unknown, fright, fear, desolation, eroticism

Solar/Lunar Movements
Tides: relentless time
Sunrise: birth, new beginning, illumination, banishment of fear
Sunset: impending death, triumph of evil/ignorance
Full Moon: Transference of mindset/consciousness/psychological
journey

Spatial
Up: toward spiritual, intellectual, heaven
Down: toward material, carnal, hell

Cardinal Points
East: toward one’s origin, beginning
South: toward sensuality, freedom from restraint, lush, antiquity
West: toward death, adventure, Manifest Destiny, expansion
North: toward wilderness, purity, moral repressiveness

Colors
Black: sorrow, evil, death, depression, judgment, evaluation, law,
loneliness
Blue: coolness, calmness, idealism, truth, self-reliance, integrity
Brown: tradition, organization, solidarity, conventional ideas, earth,
country, reliability
Gray: mediocrity, sickness, industrialization, aging
Green: Youth, vigor, the natural, harmony, balance, growth, nature,
gentleness, reliability, calmness, rebirth, envy, jealousy, nobility,
intellect.
Orange: physical vitality, pride, enthusiasm, ambition, mentality,
endurance
Purple: royalty, riches, spirituality, magic, inner-awareness
Red: sexual passion, anger, healthy spontaneity, energy, life, blood,
love, anger, bravery, strength, excitement, reformation, purification,
trust, faith
White: purity, innocence, spirituality, holiness, peace, hope,
wisdom
Yellow: sickness, weakness, decay, fear

Celestial Bodies
Sun: reason, enlightenment, success, element energy, life
Moon: mystery, the imagination
Stars: the immutable laws of the universe
Comets/Meteors: Unnaturalness, portents of disaster

Weather
Fog: uncertainty, mystery, obscurity
Ice: rigidity, death, compulsive symmetry
Rain: Transformation, momentous event, time passing, restoration,
baptism, cleansing, promise, covenant, fertility
Sky: freedom, ‘the dream’
Snow: cessation of life, transformation, purity
Storm clouds: the hostility of nature
Water: quenching of thirst, death by drowning, purification,
baptism
Wind: the power of nature, inspiration, power

Topography
Cave: lust, history, protection, ignorance, the womb, the
subconscious
Cliff: crucial situation, inaccessibility
Desert: sterility, impotence
Earth: source of life, gross materiality
Forest: natural chaos, freedom, spontaneity
Mountain: obstacle, mystical illumination, purity
Ocean: the ungovernable, the infinite, the unfathomable
River: journey, fertility, voyage, time passing
Running water: life, purity, fertility, time passing
Spring: mysterious source of energy or inspiration

Animals
Ant: industriousness, anonymity
Bee: industriousness, conscientiousness, citizenship
Caged bird: unjust imprisonment, violation of nature
Bull: masculinity, violence
Egg: rebirth, fertility, new beginning
Grasshopper/cricket: carefree improvidence
Horse: masculinity
Lion/tiger: predators
Quadrupeds: spontaneous animalism
Rat/mouse: secretiveness
Reptiles: deceit, horror
Spider: predators, calculation, artistry
Wild bird: freedom

Human Environment and Tools


Candle: illumination, the ‘fire of life’, passion, brevity
City/town: rationality, order, restraint, anonymity, human
fulfillment
Crossroads: fateful decisions, change of direction (see station)
Hearth: security, hospitality, warmth, family
House: domesticity, social responsibility, the (individual) mind
Knife: violence
Road: the course of human life, journey, decisions
Ship: vehicle for transportation
Square: human (as opposed to natural) device or construct
Station: fateful decisions, change of direction (see crossroads)
Theatrical stage: the human condition, men’s ‘role playing’, actors
on the stage as a metaphor for life
Train tracks: unalterable journey towards fate
Window: new perspective
Table: negotiation, decision making
Ring: never ending
Wedding: commitment, love, honor