Some common/Traditional Symbols in Western Literature

Light: Reason, knowledge, life Shadow: area between life and death Darkness: ignorance, death

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

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


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

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

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

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

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