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TitleA Dictionary of Symbols
LanguageEnglish
File Size6.0 MB
Total Pages507
Table of Contents
                            Book Cover
Title
Copyright
CONTENTS
FOREWORD
INTRODUCTION
DICTIONARY A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
Y
Z
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PERSONAL SOURCES
ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

systems

Page 253

MAN197

Elucidarium (12th century) states that the flesh (and the bones) of man are
derived from the earth, blood from water, his breath from air, and body-heat from

fire. Each part of the body relates to a corresponding part of the universe: the
head corresponds to the heavens, the breath to air, the belly to the sea, the lower
extremities to earth. The five senses were given analogies in accordance with a
system which came to Europe, perhaps, from the Hebrews and the Greeks (14).
Thus, Hildegard of Bingen, living in the same period, states that man is disposed
according to the number five: he is of five equal parts in height and five in girth; he
has five senses, and five members, echoed in the hand as five fingers. Hence the
pentagram is a sign of the microcosmos. Agrippa of Nettesheim represented this

Man the microcosm (after Agrippa of Nettesheim).

Page 254

MAN 198

graphically, after Valeriano, who drew the analogy between the five-pointed star
and the five wounds of Christ. There is a relationship, too, between the organic
laws of Man and the Cistercian temple (14). Fabre d’Olivet, following the Cabala,
maintains that another number closely associated with the human being is nine—
the triple ternary. He divides human potentialities into three planes: those of the
body, of the soul or life and of the spirit. Each of these planes is characterized by
three modes: the active, the passive and the neutral (43). In the Far East, also,
speculation about the symbolism of man began very early. The same kind of
triple ternary organization is to be seen in the ancient teachings of the Taoists
(13). It is also interesting to note that there is a relationship between the human
being and the essential or archetypal animals (the turtle, the phoenix, the dragon
and the unicorn) who appear to bear the same relation to man—who is central—
as the tetramorphs do to the Pantokrator. Now, between man as a concrete
individual and the universe there is a medial term—a mesocosmos. And this
mesocosmos is the ‘Universal Man’, the King (Wang) in Far Eastern tradition,
and the Adam Kadmon of the Cabala. He symbolizes the whole pattern of the
world of manifestation, that is, the complete range of possibilities open to man-
kind. In a way, the concept corresponds to Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’. Ac-
cording to Guénon, Leibniz—perhaps influenced by Raymond Lull—conceded
that every ‘individual substance’ must contain within itself an integral reproduc-
tion of the universe, even if only as an image, just as the seed contains the totality
of the being into which it will develop (25). In Indian symbolism, Vaishvânara, or
the ‘Universal Man’, is divided into seven principal sections: (1) The superior,
luminous spheres as a whole, or the supreme states of being; (2) the sun and the
moon—or rather, the principles to which they pertain—as expressed in the right
and the left eye respectively; (3) the fire-principle—the mouth; (4) the directions
of space—the ears; (5) the atmosphere—the lungs; (6) the intermediary zone
between earth and heaven—the stomach; (7) the earth—the natural functions or
the lower part of the body. The heart is not mentioned, because, being the ‘centre’
or dwelling-place of Brahma, it is regarded as being beyond the ‘wheel’ of things
(26). Now, this concept of the ‘Universal Man’ implies hermaphroditism, though
never specifically. For the concrete, existential human being, in so far as he is
either a man or a woman, represents the dissected ‘human’ whole, not only in the
physical sense but also spiritually. Thus, to quote the Upanishads: ‘He was, in
truth, as big as a man and a woman embracing. He divided this atman into two
parts; from them sprang husband and wife.’ In Western iconography one some-
times finds images which would seem to be echoes of this concept (32). A human
couple, by their very nature, must always symbolize the urge to unite what is in
fact discrete. Figures which are shown embracing one another, or joining hands, or

Page 506

XXXI. Window. Detail of a painting by Pedro Berruguete (c. 1500), with
symbolic vase with lilies.

Page 507

XXXII. Year. Circular representation of the signs of the Zodiac, corresponding to
the year’s labours (from a medieval miniature).

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