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Author Topic: Symbols of masculine/feminine?  (Read 29050 times)
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« Topic Start: March 09, 2007, 01:55:58 am »

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things? (Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.

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« Reply #1: March 09, 2007, 05:33:46 pm »

(Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)

Ow. I'm wounded.

Of course that's the first thing that came to mind when I read the topic--but I've been shot down already... :-)

I'll have to think on it, there must be more. That's just one of the best-known, is all.

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« Reply #2: March 09, 2007, 07:37:57 pm »

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things? (Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)
There's the "Star of David."  The two interlocked triangles represent male/female.
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« Reply #3: March 09, 2007, 10:44:46 pm »

There's the "Star of David."  The two interlocked triangles represent male/female.

Star of David was my thought as well; it also symbolizes the union of fire and water coming together to form earth and air (in alchemy).

I'm sure there are more but I'll have to look through my symbol book to find them. I'm having a brain fart and can't think of them.
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« Reply #4: March 10, 2007, 12:26:28 am »

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things? (Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)

I'm a big fan of the equal-arm cross, especially with the circle around it.  I know it has many interpretations, some not so positive, but it works for me.
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« Reply #5: March 10, 2007, 05:20:22 pm »

I'm pretty fond of the unicursal hexagram with the five-petaled Rose of Babalon in the middle.  It represents the union of the macrocosm and the microcosm, and I recently found something Crowley wrote about it being a good glyph of sexual union too.
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« Reply #6: March 11, 2007, 03:15:51 pm »

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things?

The Feri union of opposites (of whatever sort) is represented by the Peacock God.  I believe one of His pairings is the bird and serpent, representing celestial and terrestrial things.  His tailfeathers reach to heaven and his feet reach to hell.  He is the union of the Twins, who are exactly alike and exactly opposite.
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« Reply #7: March 12, 2007, 08:47:53 am »

I'm looking for a not-too-complex emblem or symbol signifying the union of opposites; masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical, animal and human. Do any of you have favorite images that symbolize these things? (Other than the notorious yin/yang symbol, of course...)

My favorite is an equilateral triangle inscribed within a circle, so that the points of the triangle fall on the circumference of the circle. The circle represents the maximum; the triangle, the least regular polygon that fits within it, represents the minimum. So it suggest alpha and omega.

Also, it echoes the genitalia, with the circle (a hole or well) symbolic of the female and the triangle (a tower) symbolic of the male. I esp. like that this reflects biological reality: The circle encompasses the triangle. (In nearly all gendered species on our world--incl. our own--the female is the fundamental form, with the male being a variation on that theme.)

I've seen this symbolism start to creep into standard usage, in restrooms mostly in Europe (circle for women's room, equilateral triangle for men's room). Alcoholics Anonymous uses the triangle-in-circle as its symbol. I use it to symbolize my worldview and mythology of the manifesting universe: the circle for the Goddess (the One, the ultimate divine) and the triangle within it for her three male aspects.


 
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« Reply #8: March 12, 2007, 06:13:12 pm »

I use it to symbolize my worldview and mythology of the manifesting universe: the circle for the Goddess (the One, the ultimate divine) and the triangle within it for her three male aspects.

That's intriguing - what are the three male aspects of the Goddess?  I've never heard that idea before - is it your own idea or is it taken from a particular tradition?  Would you mind expanding a little on this - it's piqued my curiousity...

Olympias
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« Reply #9: March 12, 2007, 06:45:20 pm »

My favorite is an equilateral triangle inscribed within a circle, so that the points of the triangle fall on the circumference of the circle.

*snip*

I've seen this symbolism start to creep into standard usage, in restrooms mostly in Europe (circle for women's room, equilateral triangle for men's room). Alcoholics Anonymous uses the triangle-in-circle as its symbol. I use it to symbolize my worldview and mythology of the manifesting universe: the circle for the Goddess (the One, the ultimate divine) and the triangle within it for her three male aspects.

I echo Olymias' question.

I'm also curious about what you referred to as standard usage of this symbol.  In fact, I saw a sticker on a car just this afternoon that was just a silver triangle inside a silver circle on a black background.  Any idea what that would be for?

I just did a quick look through the Alcoholics Anonymous website, but didn't see that symbol.
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« Reply #10: March 12, 2007, 08:50:19 pm »

I posted this to Arachne via PM before Randall had updated my membership level and I could post here.  I figure someone else may like the info as well so I'll toss it in here now.



In addition to the Star of David / Alchemy triangles mentioned by Thorn and Dania I had thought that the classical Sun/Moon combination could work well.  A full faced sun with a crescent moon is a classic symbol for the union of opposites you describe.  I have a brass charm of this as the centerpiece on a necklace I used to wear.  A quick Google image search of "sun/moon" minus the quotes will show many variations of this image.

Another idea is the Vesica Piscis symbol.  I haven't done enough research on this to say without a doubt that it's a union of opposites but it does have a suggestive symbolism of the male & female.  There is also a balance to the form that I, personally, find appealing.   It seems to be linked to both Christianity and sacred geometry and is noted for being inscribed on the Chalice Well at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalice_Well:

Quote
The two interlocking circles constitute the symbol known as the Vesica Piscis. In the well lid design, a spear or a sword bisects these two circles, a possible reference to Excalibur...

Here's a link to some images: http://www.wondrousgems.com/acatalog/Vesica_Piscis_Celtic_Jewellery.html

You can also find a lot images more using your favorite search engine.

The last idea I have would be to create your own sigil out of a word that sums up what you are trying to convey.  It's a little hard to describe the process in text but I'll do my best.  If you're interested in this and don't fully follow let me know and I'll draw it out on paper and scan an image for you.

First pick your word and write it down.  Next, cross out duplicate instances of letters, ie. if there are two "A's" in your word cross the second one out.  Here's where things become interesting.  Using the letters you have available you construct a single joined form representing each of the letters in your word.  You are able to use any style of writing you are familiar with: upper/lower case, printing or script.  If you're familiar with the Viking Futhark runes think of the 'bind rune' concept and you've got the idea.  You're just using English letters instead of Viking runes.

If you're not familiar with runes, no worries.  Take the word 'Balance'.  You would first write it out on the page and cross out the second instance of the letter 'a'.  I would start with the letter B and write it out on the paper.  You can actually use any letter as your base that is in your word.  Next I would form the letter A using the upright line of the B so the A and B form parts of each other akin to "".  From there it's simply a matter of building your sigil with each succesive letter.  You don't have to start with any particular letter or use each letter in order.  Go with what feels right to you.

Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment.  Hope this helps.
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Altair
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« Reply #11: March 13, 2007, 10:37:20 am »

That's intriguing - what are the three male aspects of the Goddess?  I've never heard that idea before - is it your own idea or is it taken from a particular tradition?  Would you mind expanding a little on this - it's piqued my curiousity...

It's my own, though triple deities are fairly common in mythologies worldwide, I think.

We're wandering off-topic, but here's a very condensed explanation:

--The "light" aspect is the generative, a god of lust both literally (think Zeus getting it on with everything that moves) and broadly understood (the creative drive, physicality in general--the thrill of sports, a craving for sensation, etc). He's a warrior/king archetype; a classic sky god, but "sky" reinterpreted as the starry sky, as in the whole of space, and all things made of matter and energy are his.

--The next aspect is neither light nor dark, a god of time, though my understanding of him has deepened; he's also a god of law, who intervenes when the other gods screw things up and who keeps the balance between the other two aspects. Think Father Time--an elder/lawgiver archetype.

--the "dark" aspect is the transformative, a god of lore who rules all things of the mind and the unknown. Anything perceived as "other" is beloved to him. All intellect, very mysterious, and easily misunderstood, he's a wizard/scholar archetype (with a bit of trickster in him).

The interplay of these 3 (and their progeny) keep the universe dynamic, making existence possible.

In a nutshell.
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Altair
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« Reply #12: March 13, 2007, 11:06:59 am »

I saw a sticker on a car just this afternoon that was just a silver triangle inside a silver circle on a black background.  Any idea what that would be for?

I just did a quick look through the Alcoholics Anonymous website, but didn't see that symbol.

Someone years ago had told me it was an AA symbol, and I had always accepted that. But your question made me do a little digging; it's no longer an official AA symbol, but folks still use it. I found an explanation here:

http://www.barefootsworld.net/aacircletriangle.html

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« Reply #13: March 13, 2007, 11:42:43 am »

Another idea is the Vesica Piscis symbol.  I haven't done enough research on this to say without a doubt that it's a union of opposites but it does have a suggestive symbolism of the male & female.  There is also a balance to the form that I, personally, find appealing.   It seems to be linked to both Christianity and sacred geometry and is noted for being inscribed on the Chalice Well at the foot of Glastonbury Tor

My sacred geometry studies are still in their infancy, so I too am unsure if the vesica pisces (VP) implies *opposites* uniting. But it definitely implies union, with the area of intersection between the two circles symbolic of the vagina through which something will be born from this union. When Christians use the symbol, the union symbolized is that of God and the Virgin Mary, and the figure of the infant Jesus is frequently placed in the VP. In Christian usage, the VP and a bit of the 2 circles added on form their classic fish symbol.

The VP is another reason I like the triangle inside the circle; the line bisecting the VP lengthwise (the sword in the quote you cited, Oaksworn) is the same line that comprises any one side of the triangle.

[For my own mythology, those 3 sides of the triangle therefore are symbolic not only of the triple male aspect of deity, bot of the Goddess's sexual congress with those aspects, which jump-started creation.]
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« Reply #14: March 19, 2007, 02:42:47 am »

My sacred geometry studies are still in their infancy, so I too am unsure if the vesica pisces (VP) implies *opposites* uniting. But it definitely implies union, with the area of intersection between the two circles symbolic of the vagina through which something will be born from this union. When Christians use the symbol, the union symbolized is that of God and the Virgin Mary, and the figure of the infant Jesus is frequently placed in the VP. In Christian usage, the VP and a bit of the 2 circles added on form their classic fish symbol.

Reading a bit more about it, I believe the Wiki entry on the VP at Glastonbury quotes the designer of that particular version as saying that it represented the union of the microcosm and macrocosm (but that could have been his own personal interpretation). I also learned about its Christian significance, though the Pythagoreans also used this symbol. It's been hard to find out what significance it held for them, though.

(By the way, Oaksworn, the VP has been my favorite suggestion so far - thanks!)

The "Star of David" symbol was also another good suggestion...though it's a little DaVinci Code for my taste. Grin

Doing some more research of my own, I went looking at runes and found a relevant one: Gebo (gift), which looks like an "X". Here's what futhark.com says:

Keywords / Magical:
Gift (giving), generosity, hospitality, magical exchange, sex magic
Gods, Goddesses and Deities:
Odhinn, Freyja
Lore:
Gebo is the eminent unconscious magical force present in the Ginnungapgap (magically charged void) before the formation of the Worlds. The holy mystery of the two (or many) in one.
Positive Meaning:
It is the giver, the giving, the given and that which is given to. By the power of this rune persons are bound together through an act of will in order to effect a result. Gebo contains the secrets of psychically joining two people, or several persons, in order that they may produce a creative power greater that their sum total. This is the rune of sex magic.


I've also been looking at alchemical "hermaphrodite" imagery, which is pretty cool looking, but all that imagery is very florid and detailed.

Going to look up ogham symbols next...
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.

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