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Symbols through history

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Alex Glandorf

on 17 February 2011

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Transcript of Symbols through history

Disection of Cross Horizontal Bar
seasons, the classical elements,

states of matter, temperements...

This is a much older concept not

taught in contemporary times represents cyclical time, or the circle of life,
also a reference to the sun, the provider of all life Center 'quilting point' or where the society finds common meaning in life Veritical Bar represents the basic

dualities in life... The Sun Cross... The Printing Press Spreaded the Christain Cross to the Masses

changes the aesthetics of the cross, due to technological limitations

solidifies the aesthetic of the cross in culture, because only a handful are making the artwork to print it Industrial Revolution... solidification of the cross in mass communication

reduces majority of human creativity

even more mass exposure of the cross

spread the cross to the masses and Finally... What are we examing and why?... We are examining the religious symbol... specifically that of the cross

In this presentation we will be looking at how the cross has evolved through time in meaing, aesthetics, and usage.

We are looking at the evolution of the cross because its one of the most used religious symbols in the world.

We will also look at how the shape of the cross can possibly demonstrate the nature of the religion using it... Before there was writing only the word was spoken...

oral history, would have allowed for a more subjective or personal view of history and religion...

If someone had a different interpritation of a relgious symbol, one could have easily changed how they passed on the symbol with a personal interpritation...

Thefore history and religion might have been constantly changing (maybe only slightly) but still changing...

And everyone would have had a bigger part in the creation of culture, history, and religion of their society...

In a sense it would have been very democratic. Writing Technology, the word is the law And then the gods gave man the written word...

for those whose are literate and could write this was a great invention...

allowed a window to the past and future (historical introspection)

allowed for more complex societies due to a greater passage of knowledge

However, for those who were not literate

Created a more solidified view of reality (as in the middles ages, the word of god is the law, the word became reality)

Therefore, governments had a greater control of their citizens, usually ruled by a theocracy The Swastika... plus Thor! The Tau Cross, Christain, also Egyptian The Latin Cross, The Christain beacon...

Sym(Together) + Bole(To Throw) = symbol or
to throw together Origin:
Posible origins from a adapted sun cross.
The pheonecian letter that corresponds the letter T was that same as the sun cross. ...specifically the † and its accent through time. First of all... What is a symbol? Religious Symbols contain these 3 aspects to varying degrees 1) scientific (containing an objective obseravtion of the world and the things in the world)
2) mythological (a made-up narrative of history or events in a civilization)
3) Unconditional Transcendence (That feeling a person attains from thier higher power) Simply put... a drawing, illustration or sketch that
represents a bigger meaning in the aspects of that religion

However Paul Tillich, in his article "The Religious Symbol" publushed by MIT press

. defines religious symbols as having three distinct properties... Second... What is a religious symbol? earth/heaven,



femenine/masculine The Center Circle with Cross The Religious Symbol... in conjunction with horzontal bar, represents quadruplicites seen on earth...

more mass exposure

allows for a greater introspection of beliefs if an individual cares to do so

no great authority figure saying what is right and what is not... freedom of choice! Computer Technology...
What's gonna happen? Disection:
Verticle Bar is higher.
More ephasis would have been put on the spiritual life/afterlife. The idea that this life is a preparation for afterlife, which was true for the egyptians, maybe not true for other societies that used this symbol.
Cicle on top: possible belief in circle of life
Spiritually oriented religion Disection:
Verticle Bar is higher.
More emphasis would have been put on afterlife. The idea that this life is a preparation for the afterlife, which is true for Christians. Spiritually oriented religion
If circle is present in cross, then possible belief in the cirlce of life. Purpose in society:
To reinforce meaning in the society
The purpose in prehistoric time would have been very similar to that of the sun cross. In modern times the symbol is used as a charm to bring to good luck. It is asscociated with three major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Janism. In Hinduism, the right arm swastika is a symbol of the diety Vishnu as well as the sun god Surya. The left arm swastika is associated with the goddess of night and magic, Kali. The native Americans also associated it with a sun symbol, just as the greeks used the symbol in the cult of Apollo. In this sense, the symbol can almost be seen as a daily reminder of the forces of life, and that life will always continue to move. The Tau cross is most comonly associated with the Egyptian culture (3000 BCE - 500 BCE). The cross is reffered to as the eqyptian Ahnk, the Key of the Nile, the Key of life, life to come and as "hidden wisdom". It has been seen in Hindu culture as a rope over the finger of the diety of creation, Siva, resembling that of the egyptian Ahnk. In Ancient Egyptian culture it is seen as a phallic symbol with the union of the Yoni (vagina) symbol. Mexicans use the symbol for their Tree of Life. Thor's hammer also has a close resemblence to the tau cross, which is thought to represent the dual nature of the two creative energies. Found in the tombs of the Egyptian Pharoh's to represent everlasting life after death. The Tau cross was adopted by Christains is the 1st century CE, before it was regarded as a Jewish symbol. Was also mentioned in the Old Testament as a symbol for the mourning of Jesus' crucifixion. Also a symbol for the cult of Mithraism (1st - 4th c. BCE). Symbol of...
Union of two creative energies, Feminine and Masculine
Instruments of death (war axe, and cricifixion crosses)
Tree of life (used by mexicans)
Immortality of the Soul
Everlasting life
(possible quadruplicity)
Sacrifice Purpose in society:
To reinforce meaning in the society
For the Egyptians there was some hidden wisdom in the symbol that has since been lost, but may been very similar to that of the sun cross. In the Christian relgion it is a seen as a symbol for the Jesus' crucifixion and a reminder of the life after death, very similar to the egyptian meaning of the symbol. Religious Aspects
Could have had similar use as sun cross, although no evidence exists.
An observation of the dual nature of sexuality.

The symbol was associated with many dieties. (Siva, Horus, Isis, Jesus (God), and Thor)

Unconditional Transcendence
This symbol is a reminder of the life after death sought through a higher power or hidden wisdom. The purpose:
The sun sign was a sort of map for many prehistoric societies to understand how the world worked,
to give examples... seasons, human behavior, and existance, elements, and physical matter the original cross . Possible Origins:
The sun cross is just that.
. Sun as the start of the circle of life
Human with strecthed out arms
The cross fromation of sticks when
. making a fire
A bird with arms stretched out Symbolism:
The Crucifixion
Christ's Sacrafice
Classical Elements
Human Form
Union of Heaven and Earth Etruscan pendant, Italy, 700-650 BCE. Inscription on Saebø sword or Thurmuth Sword
The swastika stands for Thor,
a major diety for the Norse and germanic people
9th Century Motivation for
. Religious Symbols... Gundestrup Cauldron, Denmark
12 spoked wheel, variation of the sun cross
Similar to zodical whell, which has four
major divisions
1st c. BCE Depiction of the Aztec Calendar
Variation of Suncross
14th - 16th c. CE Depiction of the Aztec Calendar
Variation of Suncross
14th - 16th c. CE Depiction of the Astrological Calendar
Variation of Suncross Symbol from Southeastern Ceremonial Complex,
SE United States; 1200 BCE - 1650 BCE Depiction of the Swastika of the Nazi Regime Depiction of Horus caryying the Egyptian Anhk
Found Egyptian Art; 3000 BCE - 500 BCE Tau Cross used as a decorative patteron
on Window Pain of Covento De San Antón,
Spain, 5th c. CE Mjöllir or Thor’s Hammer depiction of the Tau Crosson Stenkvista Runestone
4th - 12th c.; exact dates unkown Source: Healey, Tim. "Symbolism of the Cross in Sacred and Secular Art." Leonardo. 10.4 (1997): 290-292 Source: Healey, Tim. "Symbolism of the Cross in Sacred and Secular Art." Leonardo. 10.4 (1997): 290-292 Source: Healey, Tim. "Symbolism of the Cross in Sacred and Secular Art." Leonardo. 10.4 (1997): 290-292 Chi Rho Symbol; Adopted by Emporer Constantine,
4th century CE The latin cross is also known as the cruz ordinaria. The christian cross really came into being in the 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria, considered the cross the ‘Lord’s sign’. Constantine, in the 4th century adopted the Chi-Rho. Today, there many sects of Christianity do not recognize the symbol for them. Mormons view the cross as a representation of the dying Christ, not the living. Although the cross is widely used by Christians, today it’s still used by Freemasons and Pagans. To alchemists (mainly in the past), the cross was a symbol of the four 'classical elements': air, earth, fire, water.Today the latin cross is used for much more than just a Christian symbol. It’s used in fashion design, jewelry and a lot of common pop culture things, like tattoos. Religious Aspects
In certain group, it would have a scientific basis.

Different Saints are depicted by different cross.

Unconditional Transcendence
This symbol is used as a symbol of the ressurection of the soul, and the transcedence to heaven. The base human motivation to make religious symbols would be to record the meaning of their religion...

These symbols become a shorthand, for the larger concepts of their beliefs... the sun Fire
Hot Earth
Senses (Body)
Dry Water
Feeling (emotion)
Wet Air
Cold quadruplicites life male and femal union heaven and earth creation and destruction dualities symbols of... The Sun cross is the first instance of a seen in religious use. Prehistoric people would not have distinguished daily life from religious life. Therefore, the sun cross almost acts like a map that they would have used in order to understand the world around them and thier concept of a spiritual world. This symbol is seen in history from Stone Age to the Neolithic Era. Religious Aspects
The four quadrants represent a myriad aspects of the world
They would have used this symbol as a way to teach future
generations how to survive on this earth.

Myths would have been attached to it. Dieties would have
been associated with it.

Unconditional Transcendence
This symbol evokes an sense of balance. A balance of all
things, earth and heaven Disection:Both Horizontal and Verticle Bars are equal. Equal emphasis would have been put on daily human life and spiritual life, possibly even seen as the same. Circle, signifies that the circle of life may have been a common beleif in thier society. Would have been balanced in relationship with religion and the earth. balance love change The non-technological revolution... Oral Tradition... Life Good Luck Fortune Sun Autumnal Sun Vernal Sun Creation Destruction Good Bad Fertility Symbol of... Unconditional Transcendence
This symbol evokes a sense of balance and also a sense of the constant movement and need for acceptance in life. In many eastern religions acceptance plays a large role.

While life may happen, it still moves on... In literal sanskrit... Su - good, asti - to be, ka - a diminutive or intensifies verbal meaning. Translating to... "It is well" "That it may be so" "So be it" These seem to point out to the idea of acceptance

The swastika was a contemporary symbol to the sun cross as evidence has shown its use before 10,000 BCE. It was also used in the Incan, Aztec, and other native american cultures (11th c. BCE - 16 c. BCE). The swastika contains a lot of the same aspects of the sun sign as was probably used in a very similar way. The swastika differs in that it invokes a sense of movement, or as aristotle said, "life is movement". Origin:
The shape relates to thier conception of relgion as a balanced whole. That everything works on a cycle and that everything is conected... the real, the spiritiual, life, and death. ...brother to the sun cross Religious Aspects
Probably had many of the same uses of the sun cross in regards to the nature of the earth, although no evidence exists. Mythological
Many dieties were associated with this symbol, and the symbol was probably used to describe thier nature. Disection:
Both Horizontal and Verticle Bars are equal
Equal emphasis on daily life and spiritual life, possible seen as same. Circular motion possibly points to belief in circle of life. Would have been balanced in equal relationship with spirituality and earth. I'm sure you've seen/heard/read about this symbol once or twice...
You probably already have a good knowledge of it.
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