posted on Nov, 26 2004 @ 01:34 PM
You're going to need to specify a lot of things -- because what a symbol MEANS depends on several things:
* what part of the world it comes from
* what time period it comes from
* what religious philosophy it comes from
--and all of those things have to be considered in combination. Take, for example, the snake. To the Christians since about... oh... 400 AD the
snake was synonymous with the Devil and a symbol of evil. To the Greeks some 500 years before, it was the symbol of the Pythia; the prophetess of
Apollo. In Buddhist literature it was one of the animals faithful to Buddha and in India, it's associated with the nagas who protect the Buddha. To
SOME of the American Indians, it's associated with rain (in other Native American cultures it's associated with fertility.) In alchemical tradition
the snake meant something else entirely depending on what the snake was shown doing.
So... I think that in order to study symbols, you have to decide what symbols you're interested in. THEN start studying the culture and the time;
read as much as you can on it.
Some symbols (prehistoric/pre-writing designs) can't ever be accurately interpreted.