The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Penguin Dictionaries)

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9780140512540: The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Penguin Dictionaries)

This is a remarkable dictionary, exploring the vast and various symbols which abound in literature, religion, national identity and are found at the very heart of our dreams and sub-conscious. Compiled by an international team of experts, each entry is given its complete range of interpretations - sexual and spiritual, official and subversive, cultural and religious - to bring meaning and insight to the symbol.

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Product Description:

[ The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Revised) By ( Author ) Mar-1997 Paperback

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Some sample entries:

RAY

At all cultural levels in works of art rays are drawn from the SUN, from HALOES or from other forms. These rays symbolize an emanation of light radiating from a centre, sun, saint, hero, genius or other individual. They express a fecundating influence, whether of the spiritual or material order. An individual emitting rays belongs to the element Fire, and is related to the Sun. The recipient of the rays determines whether they instil warmth, stimulus or fertility, or else burn, dry up or sterilize.

CHAIR

The chair is universally recognized as a symbol of authority. To remain seated while others stand is to demonstrate your superiority, while to offer somebody a chair is to recognize his or her authority or prestige, either as a person or a representative of that authority. In academic circles professional authority is dignified by the Chair in that particular branch of learning, while in the church the bishop's sphere of authority is known as his see, from the Latin sedes, meaning `chair'. Thus the Holy See is the symbol of the divine authority with which the Pope is invested as Sovereign Pontiff. A raised chair confirms superiority.

BUBBLE

Air- or soap-bubbles symbolize a created object which is lightweight, spontaneous and short-lived and which suddenly bursts to leave no other trace of its existence than the transient and arbitrary volume of a little air.

Similarly Buddhists make them emblems of anitya, the transience of the world of illusion. `Whoever', states the Dhammapada, `looks upon the world as upon and air-bubble, can look beyond the kingdom of death.' Another sutra affirms that `the occurrences of this life are no more than dreams, phantasies, air-bubbles, shadows, glittering dew, a lightning flash.' This is no doubt the source from which The Secret Garden Flower teaches `that in the sight of the Tao, Heaven and Earth are but an air-bubble and a shadow'.

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