The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects

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9780062509239: The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects

This fascinating guide to the history and mythology of woman-related symbols features:

  • Unique organization by shape of symbol or type of sacred object

  • 21 different sections including Round and Oval Motifs, Sacred Objects, Secular-Sacred Objects, Rituals, Deities' Signs, Supernaturals, Body Parts, Nature, Birds, Plants, Minerals, Stones and Shells, and more

  • Introductory essays for each section

  • 753 entries and 636 illustrations

  • Alphabetical index for easy reference

Three-Rayed Sun The sun suspended in heaven by three powers, perhaps the Triple Goddess who gave birth to it (see Three-Way Motifs).

Corn Dolly An embodiment of the harvest to be set in the center of the harvest dance, or fed to the cattle to `make them thrive year round' (see Secular-Sacred Objects).

Tongue In Asia, the extended tongue was a sign of life-force as the tongue between the lips imitated the sacred lingam-yoni: male within female genital. Sticking out the tongue is still a polite sign of greeting in northern India and Tibet (see Body Parts).

Cosmic Egg In ancient times the primeval universe-or the Great Mother-took the form of an egg. It carried all numbers and letters within an ellipse, to show that everything is contained within one form at the beginning (see Round and Oval Motifs).

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Review:

If you look up the word lion in the dictionary on your desk, odds are you'll learn it's a large, carnivorous mammal. The entry may note that it's the emblem of Great Britain, too, and mention courage and literary acumen, but you won't find out that two lions pulled the chariot of the goddess Cybele when she took it out for a spin. To learn that, you'd need to flip through The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. At the top of each page are drawings of the symbols discussed on that page. This well-organized tome is fascinating reading with a female-centric spin. Thus, poppet is not just a doll, but one used by witches as a proxy for the person they wanted to harm. Vase symbolizes the Earth Mother's womb, and, according to author Barbara G. Walker, the Greek word for vase, pithos, was mistakenly translated as pyxis, box, in that tale about Pandora.

About the Author:

Barbara G. Walker, author of The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, and many other books, is a member of the Morris Museum Mineralogical Society and the Trailside Mineral Club of the New Jersey Earth Science Association.

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