Symbols

By: Dennis Hawk  

The connection between symbols and spirituality has always fascinated me. I remember taking a class back in graduate school called Popular Symbology. The class took us through a intense history of Christian symbols. In the Middle Ages during Pentecost (the day that Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended upon the heads of the disciples) some eager believers climbed up on the thatched roofs of churches, lit pieces of straw on fire and sent them sailing down onto the congregation below. Look out!  

Symbols are the language of the soul. Symbols act as bridges between the spiritual and the physical. Symbols serve as catalysts between two co-existing worlds. It is as impossible to separate the physical from the spiritual, as it is matter from energy. The two simply flow back and forth between each other.  

Symbols are pointers. Paul Tillich in his book Dynamics of Faith says, “…symbols point beyond themselves to something else.”  

Symbols tell us which path to take. When in doubt, always look for a symbol.  

Jesus said, “Let those who have ears to hear, hear; and, let those who have eyes to see, see!” What we need to know about our role in this world is always right in front of us. We just need to open our eyes. 

When we were gathered around the sacred fire an Ojibwe elder once said, “There is a sermon in every wind that blows and every leaf that falls if we just pay attention.”  Creator’s messages to us are not hidden if we pay attention to the symbols.

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