Book Review: A Glossary Of Important Symbols

A Glossary Of Important Symbols In Their Hebrew, Pagan, and Christian Forms, compiled by Adelaide S. Hall

I must admit that I found this to be an interesting book.  That does not mean that I found the book to be accurate in many of its claims as a glossary, but I did find it to be interesting.  It was thought provoking and and it led me to ponder what sort of research the author had done in her years of self-professed investigation, and what sort of definitions she had for the terms she used.  To give one of the examples of this, the author lists as “Hebrew” the sources for the names of our characteristic constellations found in the Zodiac.  One will search the scriptures in vain for more than a few citations of constellations unless you read the scriptures with something along the lines of a gnostic “gospel of the stars.”  Now it is possible that such ideas were connected to the kabbalistic mystics of Judaism that are so fashionable among contemporary cultural elites, but they bear little resemblance to the religion of the Hebrew scriptures.  This is but one example that indicates that the author has in mind a glossary that connects various mystically inclined people together to engage in a profitable use of symbolism that is understood by a given audience.  To put it somewhat more bluntly, this is the sort of book that would be useful for those who wish to engage in esoteric symbolic communication of the kind popular among Masons or other supposed members of the Illuminati.  Does that make this book more interesting?  You bet it does.

I am no stranger to reading books about mysticism [1] and this book is certainly a no frills sort of work.  After a brief introduction where the author discusses the need for a glossary to explain what common mystical symbols mean and a discussion of the places where these symbols may be found in various objects d’art and architecture, and a helpful bibliography, the main body of the book consists of various symbols organized by type with a thoughtful quote, and a listing of the country, the symbol, and what it means. Twenty-one different chapters are included in the book’s short 110 pages:  trees, light, color, numbers, animals, fish, birds, insects, serpents, fabulous creatures, angelic personages, halo, cross, demons, geometrical forms, architectural forms, military emblems, gems, fruits, plants and blossoms, and a catch all for unclassified objects.  After these are given, there are some indices for those who want to look up specific symbols of interest from acacia to zig-zag.

So, what kind of appeal does this very workmanlike glossary have?  Well, it gives the reader an idea of symbols from both western and eastern sources of mysticism.  If you are a budding art critic and like analyzing the symbols used in music videos or literature, there is a lot that you will likely appreciate about this book.  It is not a book that will give you a lot of prose to read, although some of the quotes that they find are interesting.  This is a short and handy resource material for budding members of the Illuminati.  I find this book useful on those grounds, but I can understand the fact that this book has been re-published by someone with strong interests in mysticism and also why this book was forgotten in the first place.  It is popular to joke about the symbolism of cultural elites, but far less popular to actually research it.  As the sort of person who reads and researches about it, this is the sort of book that makes it pretty clear how seriously I am a student of such matters, whatever that says about me.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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3 Responses to Book Review: A Glossary Of Important Symbols

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Ideal Made Real | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: That Other World | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Audiobook Review: Great Courses: The Terror Of History: Part 2 | Edge Induced Cohesion

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