“A symbol, like everything else, shows a double aspect. We must distinguish, therefore between the ‘sense’ and the ‘meaning’ of the symbol. It seems to me perfectly clear that all the great and little symbolical systems of the past functioned simultaneously on three levels: the corporeal of waking consciousness, the spiritual of dream, and the ineffable of the absolutely unknowable. The term ‘meaning’ can refer only to the first two but these, today, are in the charge of science – which is the province as we have said, not of symbols but of signs. The ineffable, the absolutely unknowable, can be only sensed. It is the province of art which is not ‘expression’ merely, or even primarily, but a quest for, and formulation of, experience evoking, energy-waking images: yielding what Sir Herbert Read has aptly termed a ‘sensuous apprehension of being.”
— Joseph Campbell
We build new symbol systems on the roots of the old. The same archetypes show up again and again whether they be Emperor, Fool, Mother, Thunder, or Death. Each time they arise, new aspects of their universal selves are described and no one can encompass their full meaning. More than ever before we have access to the symbol systems of the past. We know that the messenger god Hermes was seen as Thoth in Egypt, Eschu in Santeria culture and Legba in Voudon. There is always a messenger between man and the gods who stands at the crossroads and tricks our minds into being able to receive the message. We can roll these similar archetypes into one yet still there will be something missed. It seems that archetypes like T. S. Elliot’s Cats have three names or aspects, The Face we give them, the face they give themselves and a universal ineffable face that is beyond understanding as a full facet of multiversal existence.
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