Symbols, I suspect, are human-made equivalents of Ancient African "Star/Halo" concepts. They made diligent efforts to find “Good luck” Stars--the Stars said to be represented by small lights hanging from a heavenly dome--the Stars conveying messages from the heavens in their Substance. To make happen the finding of "Good Luck" Stars in general and ones Lucky Star in particular required maintaining ones “Being” connection with God. As a result, one would be blessed with the benefits of Unconditional Love and its provision of the "5Ss"--safety, security, sureness/self-confidence, strength, and stability. Nothing in the material world could provide these. By contrast, “Bad Luck” Stars were said to be holes in the dome where there was the absence of the experience of Unconditional Love--an absence that started the process of Fear, beginning with Indifference and proceeding into realms of Hate, Evilness, and Sadism—an absence that was a “Disaster” (de, away; aster, star—i.e. away from ones Lucky star). Such unfortunate individuals could only wish for happiness—a wish having little or no chance of happening (Bailey, Self-Esteem, p179). Out of this came “Maafa,” a Kiswahili word for “disaster” or “massive death” or “catastrophic disaster” or “immeasurable catastrophe” or “great misfortune.” Maafa is parent to the lesser word "Holocaust" (a ‘complete burning’). Similarly, there are Symbols of a good, bad, and neutral nature. The Symbol itself might be likened to a Star containing a substance and surrounded by a Halo--all subject to an individual's or a group's or a nation's perceptions and interpretations. Its substance represents something--a something that could be about anything.
In African Tradition, a Halo is a circle of bright light used to suggest reflections of Cosmic mind power with its oceanic intelligence--an intelligence that established a universal set of patterns based upon mutual dependence and relationships existing between all real things. Out of that combination sprang the Universal Principle of Force or Energy and from Energy emanated the Universal Principle of Matter from which all the phenomenal (objective) Universe evolved. This concept was borrowed by ancient Greeks but modified to suggest a Halo represents supernatural power and great intellect. In European Christian Art it signifies grace and piety. Europeans shifted the Ancient African Spiritual ("what it is") sense of Star in 1824 into theatrical language in reference to a leading performer conveying a message concerning "what something does" or "how it appears." In this manner, a European Symbol is a representational object or visual image for a concept, object, or idea beyond the object or image itself. It can be a material object whose shape or origin is related to the Thing it represents. For instance, the original Primitive African Cross and its Ankh modifications borrowed into European Christianity has undergone non-African perceptions and interpretative senses on the way to becoming its main Symbol. The same occurred to the African concepts of a Halo which is now a conventional European Christian Imagery Symbol of sainthood.
Ones own Symbols derive from Private Self Images manifested as Public Self designations--like sounds, words, gestures (e.g. bowing to indicate the God-Image in another human if one is on the Spiritual Evolution path or as part of showing respect if one is playing a role by conforming to etiquette). In-group's meaningful concepts are symbolized outwardly, as in certain patterns, colors, or accouterments (e.g. wearing a gun or military dress for intimidation). National Symbols include things like flags or mascots. Of course, for Ancient Africans, Symbols of greatest significance were and remain generally Metaphysically oriented to enable one to see the whole. They utilized their perfected Right Brain faculties to enable perceiving all the structural components underlying things and events so as to see the inner factors that unify things. Unity of those inner factors means they share mutual relationships as well as are interdependent with each other and the whole--a wholistic mode of thinking Africans called Synthesis. The resultant meaning, rather than lying in the symbol itself, points to a Spirit World abstract related to power, time, or eternity. The product is expressed through Abstract or metaphoric use of Images and Symbols of things and events so as to act as a bridge between two realities--man and the Spirit World (Amen, Metu Neter II:105).
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