Symbolism is a slippery subject. Any one symbol may have hundreds of interpretations, according to the differing beliefs of people who have interpreted it. So readily & intensely do human beings respond to symbols that it is hardly a surprise to find symbols deified & divinized in every human culture. Ultimately, symbolism boils down to human needs & desires. It is especially important for women to learn more about the language of symbols, because many common religious symbols were stolen from ancient woman-centered systems & reinterpreted in the contexts of patriarchy. While it is true that symbols are whatever one cares to make of them, it is also true that Western civilization’s symbolism has gone in directions that ignore or belittle the female principle. The author compiled this book with the intent of supplying women with time-honored female symbols that are more appropriate for contemplation by women seeking contact with their own inner essence. Another intent was to increase awareness of symbols generally. To gain clearer ideas of what certain visual stimuli meant to our ancestors is to learn a little more about our own symbol systems & personal responses to what we see. And that can be a useful kind of learning for anyone. This fascinating guide to the history & mythology of female related symbols features unique organization by shape of symbol or type of sacred object; 21 different sections, including Round & Oval Motifs, Sacred Objects, Secular-Sacred Objects, Rituals, Deities’ Signs, Supernaturals, Body Parts, Nature, Birds, Plants, Minerals, Stones & Shells, & more; introductory essays for each section; 753 entries & 636 illustrations; an alphabetical index for easy reference. Softcover, 563 pgs.
Woman's Dict. of Symbols & Sacred Objects by Walker, Barbar