Wouldn’t it be nice if communication from our guides, our higher selves or from spirit was always crystal clear, without code, fuzziness or anything needing interpretation? Unfortunately, spirit works in mysterious ways sometimes, and if you use divination or mediumship regularly, you’re likely to need a solid grounding in symbology, as messages often come to us couched in symbols which need interpreting.
When it comes to learning symbology, I have both good and bad news for you. The bad news – there is no such thing as a universally accepted dictionary of symbols or symbolism. There are books and references which can help, but ultimately symbology is a very personal thing, and what a symbol means to someone else may well have nothing to do with what it means to you. Which brings me to the good news – your guides and inspirers know what each symbol means to you, and that’s (usually) how they will use the symbol when working with you through divination.
Although some divination systems such as runes or i-ching make limited use of symbolism, other more free ranging ones like bibliomancy, scrying or tasseomancy rely almost completely on your ability to interpret the symbols you see. But with a whole world of symbolism and no “guidebook” you can rely upon, how are you supposed to know how to interpret these symbols?
Any given symbol is likely to mean many different things to many different people. Take a simple example: a wheel. What does a wheel mean to you? Travel? Invention? The circle of life? Infinity? Good fortune? How about a rose? Sure, traditionally it means love, but for some people red roses signify blood, thoughtlessness or carelessness (because of the thorns), new beginnings or secrets. If you look in a dictionary of symbols, you’ll probably find that “cat” is supposed to mean deceit or treachery. I have five cats and have grown up with cats all my life – to me, cats symbolise love, independence and freedom.
If you want to work seriously with divination, the answer is diligence and practice, with a healthy dose of intuition. If you watch a lot of mediums working, you’ve probably heard them talk about the symbols they use:
- “She’s showing me daffodils, and that’s my sign for March, so I know she must have passed in March.”
- “He’s giving me balloons, so I know there’s a child’s birthday coming up.”
- “As I look at her, I can see magpies around her, so I know that she would have loved to collect things.”
Working mediums come to an agreement, for want of a better term, with their guides, as to what individual symbols mean. They do this through meditation, sitting in the power, and pure experience. You can do this too, with your divination studies.
An excellent way to begin is to start a symbology journal. Every time you are given a symbol through any kind of divination, note down the date, the symbol and what immediately comes to mind as an interpretation. Ignore what you think the symbol is “supposed” to mean! If you love boats or come from a naval background, an anchor is going to mean something very different to you to what it might mean to a landlubber. It’s your personal knowledge, experience and intuition which counts.
Every so often, you’ll come across a symbol which baffles you. That’s OK. Write it down anyway. At this point, you can do some research on that symbol if you wish, and see whether any of the “proper” meanings fit. Or you can just let it stew, and see what comes to you days or weeks later. If you do a lot of meditation or imagery work, ask for the meaning of the symbol during your next meditative journey and see what comes to you.
There are no rights and wrongs when working with symbology, but consistency is the key. Once you think you have a meaning for any given symbol, try to stick with it. If the sun means “holidays” to you one week but “good health” the next week, you and your guides will get very confused!