A Dynamic Balance of Opposites


We all know symbols are everywhere, but how often do we actually stop to think about them? Last week’s posts were about divination symbols. Continuing on with that, today I’ll take a look at the I Ching. The I Ching is all about the dynamic balance of opposites — those forces beyond our control. And where have you heard that before?

Luck.

The symbols of I Ching go way back– long before recorded history. With the trigrams (symbols) involved, the I Ching is considered the oldest book of divination.  According to lore, this dynamic balance of opposites was conceived by the first of the Three Sovereigns, Fu Xi. The Three Sovereigns were mythological god-kings or demigods who ruled China from approximately 2852 to 2205 B.C.E. Sovereign Fu Xi is similar to the Egyptian proto-god Thoth, for he too brought  writing, etc to his people.

According to legend, Fu Xi received his insight into the I Ching in the arrangement of markings on the back of a mythical dragon-horse living in the river Luo. Some versions of this myth say the I Ching appeared on the back of a turtle. A side note: calligraphy appeared the very same way.

A point to ponder: When so many cultures share striking similarities in their mythology, it shows you just how ancient these stories are. Compare the lives of Jesus to Osiris/Dionysus and Buddha sometime. Same details, different men. I find that fascinating.

The I Ching

Coins with markings are the popular tool for I chingreading I Ching today. Still in use, though less popular, are  yarrow  staves (dried stalks of the yarrow plant). Modern coins or ancient  staves are cast and the symbols, or kua, are read. You start with hexagrams comprised of six stacked horizontal lines. These lines are either a Yang –a solid line, or a Yin — a broken line with a gap in the center. The yin (female energy) and yang (male energy) represent the duality in life. The various combinations of lines in each hexagram represent states of change. 

When the lines are stacked, you get 64 possible combinations leading to 64 hexagrams. Like the runes (see previous post), each one means something. Basically, it goes like this: an unbroken line symbolizes the positive/yes and the broken line symbolizes the negative/no and these two primary forces in the universe affect the energy of all living things.

This is an excellent step by step example of I Ching being read:

Just for fun ~ Get your I Ching read.

Tomorrow ~ More!

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RB4U purpleThe 4th of the month is my blog day at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. I posted part of the 2016 Symbol Series there and it’s still easy to find. The topic is palmistry and a bit more. Come see!

http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/2016/02/high-five-by-rose-anderson.html

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groundhogWords Worth Mentioning for February

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

 

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Your guess is as good as mine #FridayReads


augurIf you’ve been visiting my blog, you know I’ve been covering symbols and sharing the best of the resources I’ve found. If you’re a writer, I hope you’ve found useful things here. If you’re a reader, I hope you’ve been entertained! There’s a lot more to come.

I just love things that represent things and I tuck them into my stories for fun. I’ll play with names and occupations. Sometimes I’ll tuck things here and there in the decor of a room or symbolically color the weather in a scene. Elements of philosophy sit in the background like patterns on wallpaper, and of course, as is the way of all fiction and fiction authors, my books are peppered with elements of my life and personality. I’ll even play with the food on my character’s plates! It’s a game I’ve created for my readers, but I also do it to amuse myself because I read too and I know I’d love to find things in the stories I read.

Every so often, a reader will write to say they’ve found something and ask did I mean it that way. That brings me such joy. I like being reminded I’m not the only square peg in this world of round holes.  :)

Things Representing Things

Regarding things representing things, observing natural phenomena for clues goes back to our earliest hunter-gatherer-scavenger days. A certain sky could mean poor or favorable 4876913450_b5475e383f_zweather. A certain animal or food could poison you. Certain animal behaviors could signal great change like earthquakes. These are just a few. Over time, a mantic method arose that was meant to find prophetic significance in these routine observations of the environment. We’ve all heard the terms omens, portents, signs of the times. All this falls under the heading of Augury.

Augury
noun ~ the art or practice of an augur for divination.

In Ancient Rome, officials known as augurs were charged with observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs. Interpreting the will of the gods was necessary, for whether or not the gods approved upon a course of action determined whether or not you’d do it. You never wanted to displeased the gods. Everyone knew if you did, the gods might hit you with wild weather, or worse, with cataclysmic events like, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. After all, look what they did to poor Prometheus.

Augurs often looked to the sky and consulted their charts. It was important to note where an unusual occurrence took place in the dome of the sky because location held significance. A heavy storm with a lot of lightning was naturally a sign from Zeus or Odin. But a heavy storm with lightning in the west or in the southern part of the sky might mean something completely different.

Aside from weather attributes, the gods and goddesses across cultures all had their animal attributes – Zeus and Odin’s animal was the eagle. Apollo and the Norse god Tyr shared the wolf, Artemis the bear, and so on. These were symbolic stand-ins for the gods in person. People believed unusual animal behaviors not only foretold the future, they hinted at which god or goddess might bless or take offense in your governing.
For example: Eagles making particular patterns of flight in a certain quadrant of the sky obviously said something. Wolves or bears too near to the village must hold meaning too. This type of observation might also involve a ritual to get it right. Animals might be sacrificed or simply scrutinized. The examination of scat, entrails, blood spatters etc just might hint at a deity’s mind. Crazy stuff, but when “Your guess is as good as mine” doesn’t tell you much, you have to think of something.

“Again, during a sacrifice, the augur Spurinna warned Caesar that the danger threatening him would not come later than the Ides of March.”
~Suetonius

Monday ~ More!

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RB4U purpleThe 4th of the month is my blog day at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. I posted part of the 2016 Symbol Series there and it’s still posted. The topic is palmistry and a bit more. Come see!

http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/2016/02/high-five-by-rose-anderson.html

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groundhogWords Worth Mentioning for February

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

~William Shakespeare, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream

 

RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.
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Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Blogging at Romance Books ‘4’ Us today #MFRWAuthor


RB4U purpleIt’s the 4th of the month and my blog day at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. I’m continuing the 2016 Symbol Series there with palmistry and more. Come see!

http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/2016/02/high-five-by-rose-anderson.html

Tomorrow ~ More!

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groundhogWords Worth Mentioning for February

Our distrust is very expensive. “
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Hangin’ High #humpday


300px-YggdrasilIf this is your first time here, I’m in the middle of my 2016 Symbol Series. Scroll down for an explanation and previous posts.

In the Old Norse eddic poem, Hávamál (The sayings of the high one), Odin sacrificed himself for knowledge by hanging himself from the world tree, Yggdrasil. Read Odin’s own words about it:

I know that I hung On the wind-blasted tree All of nights nine, Pierced by my spear And given to Odin, Myself sacrificed to myself On that pole Of which none know Where its roots run. No aid I received, Not even a sip from the horn. Peering down, I took up the runes – Screaming I grasped them – Then I fell back from there.

Before I continue, it’s important to note just what the world tree represents. Around the world, cultures (past and present) have symbolic trees said to support or reach the heavens. Among shamans, the tree can be climbed to ascend there. To the ancient Norse, Yggdrasil is a symbol of the nine realms of existence–the roots in the lower realms, the crown in the upper realms, and the trunk where life as we know it exists.

To go after the knowledge flowing through the World Tree is quite the quest. To do this, Odin prepared himself fasting and thirsting for nine days. (Nine plays large in symbolism and I’ll cover it another day.) Odin often speared himself or starved himself in his quest to know, for no sacrifice is too great for knowledge. He even plucked out his own eye in exchange for water holding the wisdom of the ages. On this occasion he hung himself from the tree and, according to the edda, made a sacrifice of himself to himself.

ken-algiz

Click here for beautifully made runes of all sorts. The artist is an actual Rune Mage and does personalized rune readings.
Tell him Rose Anderson sent you.
He’ll treat you right. :)

In agonizing self-abuse, Odin grew mindless and parched. His suffering was made worse by the fact the Well of Urd lay below the tree. (The same well holding the water he sacrificed his eye for.) In his delirium, he began to notice repeating symbols where twigs crossed in the branches. Before long their meanings became clear. He had found the runes.

Mythology aside, the runes are very similar to old italic alphabets found throughout the Mediterranean such as Greek, Etruscan, and Roman. This makes sense. Able seamen, the Norse went everywhere and gleaned knowledge from their travels. They were also big on destiny, and believed the runes were an extremely potent means of redirecting one’s charted course. In such divination, each rune represents the forces of nature and the mind, and each has meaning and esoteric properties associated with it.

With slight variations, the oldest form of the runic alphabet is the Elder Futhark that was used by the Germanic tribes of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Northern Germany. The name futhark is derived from the first 6 letters in the runic sequence: F, U, Th, A, R and K. Just like we refer to our alphabet as the ABC’s. And like the alphabet, runes  have phonetic values.
runes1
Just for fun:
Write your name in runes.

Tomorrow ~ More!

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groundhogWords Worth Mentioning for February

This is the nature of genius, to be able to grasp the knowable even when no one else recognizes that it is present.”
~Deepak Chopra

 

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Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Big thoughts #TuesdayBookBlog


thWords are symbols for thoughts. I know, I’m a writer. If you’ve been here before, you’ll know I often mention that I love words for the symbols they are.  Words have power. This is why they have the ability to soothe or stimulate, to conjure and encourage, to maim and destroy. Words should always be chosen carefully.

I came across a book not long ago–Speeches That Changed the World by Simon Sebag Monteffiore. With their carefully chosen words, these speeches  are considered to have changed the course of history. Not all of them 00032401come from rational or kind minds but they are powerful nonetheless. Some of those speeches were obviously dangerous in their day, yet they compelled people to act regardless. On this side of those world events, I think they’re worth a read if for no other reason than to remember nationalism and pride of country are two completely different things.

Words as symbols

800px-Field-with-snow-champ-enneigeDid you ever hear the phrase Eskimos have a 1000 words for snow? The statement is only partially true. First off, the indigenous peoples of the icy north are the Inuit and the Yupik and they speak a variety of languages with multiple dialects that fall under the umbrella of “Eskimo–Aleut”. I don’t know about 1000 words for snow, but they have a heck of a lot of words for ice. And the curious thing about it all, there are really just a handful of root words used.

Many Native American languages are polysynthetic, meaning they tend to be long because their root word is added onto with descriptor words and extra bits of nuance.
For example: Picture the word blackberry. It’s a black berry. Blackberry is a polysynthetic word.

Trisching_005So how many roots for snow do the Inuit have? Contrary to the myth, there are basically two: qanik for snow in the air, and aput for snow on the ground. To these add descriptors for fluffy snow, slushy snow, clumping snow, snowdrift snow, igloo-building snow, and so on. Some snow/ice words can be very long when all is said and done.

Linguist K. David Harrison, a leading specialist in the study of endangered languages, has written several books on the subject. The two I’ve read are fascinating reads. In The Last Speakers: The Quest to Save the World’s Most Endangered Languages, he mentions how impressively vast, rich, and complex the Yupik language is. These peoples have words for at least 99 distinct sea ice formations. Yep, 99 words for sea ice! All I can think of is iceberg.

400px-SchneekuppeIn The Last Speakers, Harrison refers to the Yupik language as packaging. I interpret this as packaging for thought. Imagine root words built up with the added details of experience. By packaging words, you get the whole picture down to minute detail and all presented in a useful and usable form. Where we might say melting ice pack, the Yupik language offers a single built-up word that means something like this: “Crushed ice beginning to spread out; dangerous to walk on. The ice is dissolving, but still has not dispersed in water, although it is vulnerable for one to fall through and to sink. Sometimes seals can even surface on this ice because the water is starting to appear.”

Whew. That’s a mouthful.

Those differences would be ultra important when your environment is that harsh. The slightest difference to the quality and tone of snow/ice/wind/weather could cost you big time.  This old “Eskimo” documentary shows you just how harsh.

Language is truly amazing, even more so when you realize it’s all symbolic representation for thought. I just might do a whole blog series on that sometime.
:)

Tomorrow ~ More!

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Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

People who don’t cherish their elderly have forgotten whence they came and whither they go. “
~Ramsey Clark

 

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Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Adages & Groundhogs #MondayBlogs


ghI saw a breathtaking sunrise full of flaming color this past Saturday. I knew I could never do it justice by snapping a picture of it, so I just stood at the window and watched. And you know what thought went through my head?  Uh oh.

As a child, I’d heard the old adage Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky as night, sailor’s delight. Back then, I wondered how the heck old sailors would know something like that without benefit of weathermen and science to tell them what’s what.

There are many sayings based upon observation and they’re found all over the world. Through observation, experience, and the passage of time, these sayings have become general truths which, more times than not, come to pass. Because we look for their symbolic meanings, these adages are divination tools of a different sort.
And so, the 2016 Symbol Series continues!

The few weather adages I know:

  • A ring around the sun or moon, means rain or snow is coming soon.
  • When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.
  • Evening red and morning grey, two sure signs of one fine day.

Old farmer adages also ring true…

  • Plant when the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear.
  • The corn should be knee-high by the 4th of July.
  • Make hay while the sun shines.

A few other observations to divine with:

  • Few foxes this year mean more rabbits next year.
  • Gold fish and toads act strange before an earthquake
  • Thick coats on animals is a sure signal for cold winter.
  • Some people even look to woolly bear caterpillars for their forecast.

Throughout mankind’s time on earth, and especially with the advent of agriculture, people living close with their environment needed to know things– things like when to plant and harvest, when animals might be leaving their dens, and when weather might turn bad. They watched for subtle signs around them and deduced information from their observations. Example: If winter hibernating animals were suddenly making an appearance, you knew spring was officially in the air.

Funny thing about spring– it has a mind of its own. Sometimes spring is very much underway in March, sometimes winter pushes us all the way to June. That hit or miss observation led to a long-held tradition here in the states.

Hint #1:
It originated with German farmers and the first recorded reference of it turns up in 1841.
Hint#2: A movie was made where actor Bill Murray was stuck in it until he became a better person.

Have you guessed it?

Divination by groundhog.

On February 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania,  several businessmen and groundhog philhunters met at Gobbler’s Knob. Businessmen and groundhog hunters. Were they business men who also hunted groundhogs, or groundhog hunters meeting up with businessmen on Gobbler’s Knob? The world may never know.
:)
Anyway…they called themselves the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and they met because they had a publicity stunt in mind.

To great fanfare, they rudely woke a hibernating groundhog to see if he saw his shadow. The idea was if the little guy did see it, he’d be frightened that winter was still upon him and return to his burrow to sleep until spring. Of course this would mean winter would last as long as winter generally lasts at that point on the calendar — another six weeks.
But, if the groundhog wanted to sniff around and eat, then his hibernation period was ending anyway and winter was officially over. This annual stunt is based upon an old country German observation regarding animals leaving their dens early.

Tomorrow is the big day. In my area we are expecting snow, ice, and rain in the forecast. In Punxsutawney Phil’s neck of the woods, they have clouds slated for February 2nd. I think the groundhog will say we’re going to have an early spring. I say leave the little guy alone. Still, I’m ready for spring.

Tomorrow ~ More!

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Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

For some, pleasure is a fever they can’t shake. For others, it’s a disease they cannot seem to catch.”
~Terri Guillemets

RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.
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Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Luck of the draw #FridayReads


cards From lucky rabbit’s foot to a horseshoe nailed over the door, symbols of good fortune come in all shapes and sizes and materials. Some are deeply rooted in culture and represent generic or personal beliefs. Some are there just for fun. For the next few days, I’ll be delving into these interesting and curious symbols of good luck. Today ~ cards. I like cards.

I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys and learned how to play cards. I never learned pinochle, but I did learn blackjack and poker. Our poker games always had outrageous wildcard combinations: Ace-y Duce-y (aces and 2’s), boxcars (6’s), or puppy toes(the 3 of clubs). I still enjoy poker, though my husband teases me about wanting to play wildcard games. In his neighborhood they played cutthroat poker–not a single puppy toe among them. How boring.

Interesting thing about cards, people also use them to divine the future. My husband’s grandmother read fortunes off a deck of regular old playing cards exactly like a Tarot deck. She once told him a person with red hair was going to change his life. Ha! Now that’s an understatement.

Card reading is called Cartomancy or seeing with cards

I have a friend who is an accomplished tarot card reader. One afternoon she spread the cards for me and read them. I had no grand question in mind, but as I was not yet published, I asked if I’d publish my magnum opus (MO) that year. The MO is my unnamed series I’ve been writing for years. The cards said no. I asked about publishing my children’s books. No. I asked about my historical youth novels. No. She said perhaps I’d publish a book I hadn’t written yet. I was knee-deep in the 5th book of the MO. In my mind the only book I’d be writing next was book 6. If I didn’t publish 1 to 5 first, how could I publish 6?

She read the cards again with that new question and they said yes. Ok, even I knew I’d get published eventually. I asked her when. She did a different spread that showed the passage of time. The cards said I’d be contracted with a publisher at the very end of the year, but not for anything I’d written up to that point. Like I said, I only saw book 6 in my future. Several months later, I had a synchronistic week that put me on this romance author’s path (a path I never envisioned for myself). In three days time I’d crafted an edgy novel designed to get noticed and submitted it. On December 29th, I received my contract. A true story and very odd.

The Tarot
When we think of fortunetelling we often go to the cartomancy-gypsyHollywood version where Gypsies turn over the Hanged Man or Death cards and act like you’re doomed. But the history of tarot is much more interesting than that. The tarot, or tarocchi/tarock popped up in Europe in the mid-15th century. The decks themselves were symbols of the Renaissance–the cultural movement that sought to shake off an over-reaching and corrupt church and return to the philosophical glory of classical Greece and Rome. Hidden in the cards were references to the societal ideals of those times. Later, tarot became associated with esoteric groups like the Rosicrucians and Freemasons. And after that, the Victorian era made them popular again and they
became the classic tarot cards we recognize today. The Victorians were very much into romanticism, mysticism, occultism, and spiritualism. They were also into death observances and seances. Tarot was one more way to capture a glimpse of the unknown.

When you look at today’s tarot cards, it’s important to remember there are many styles out there and their authors and artists have dreamed up many interpretations –everything from angel decks to animal decks and more. Most have no similarities to the original decks and meanings whatsoever.

The tarot deck has two types of cards in the deck called the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Arcana, in case you’ve never heard that word before, comes from the Latin Arcanum meaning things hidden. The 56 cards called the Minor Arcana are divided into four suits that correspond to conventional playing card suits of hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. Each tarot suit has fourteen cards consisting of four face cards and ten pip cards numbered from ace to ten. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards rife with symbolism and allegory. Together they make up a 78 card deck. I’ve had a deck known as the Rider-Waite deck since I was a teen. The Rider-Waite was first published in 1910.

There are many ways to read tarot. Simple methods like drawing one card from the deck to complex spreads across a table. I find it as fun as reading tea leaves.
:)

American Tarot Association
http://www.ata-tarot.com/

The cards and their meanings
http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/

Tarot artist Julie Cuccia-Watts and I were involved in living history together and I must say I’ve never met such a versatile artist. From stitchery to painting, she has astounding creative talent. She’s written several books on the subject as well as created incredibly striking tarot decks.  If you’re looking for stunning decks with old meanings or new, try here:
http://www.newmoontradingco.com/home.html
Poke around her website. You can have an online reading somewhere in there.

Next week ~ More!

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Words Worth Msnowman-mdentioning for January

You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
~Dr. Seuss

 

RB4U goldSMallAuthors and Industry representatives all month long.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our January contest is on! Prizes often include $100 in gift cards for Amazon/B&N, ebooks, print books, audiobooks, additional gift cards, and non-book items. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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