Symbols formed the primitive language of the human race, they

spoke and wrote in symbols. The hieroglyphic writings of the

aborigines of Central America, of the ancient Peruvians, of the

Mongolians, and of the ancient Copts and Hebrews all point to

the universal use of the ideograph for the purpose of recording

and conveying ideas.

If we study the alphabets of the various peoples, we shall find in
r /> them clear indications of the physical and social conditions under

which they evolved. Thus the Hebrew alphabet carries with it

unmistakable evidence of the nomadic and simple life of those

"dwellers in tents." The forms of the letters are derived from the

shapes of the constellations, of which twelve are zodiacal, six

northern and six southern. This implies a superficial intimacy

with the heavens such as would result from a life spent in hot

countries with little or no superstructure to shut out the view. The

wise among them would sit beneath the stars in the cool night air

and figure out the language of the heavens.

It was God's message to mankind, and they sought not only to

understand it but to make imitation of it. So they built an alphabet

of forms after the pattern of things in the heavens. But when we

come to the names of these forms or letters we come at once into

touch with the life of the people. Thus aleph, an ox; beth, a

tent; daleth, a tent-door; lamed, an ox-goad; mem, water;

tzadde, a fish-hook; quoph, a coil of rope; gimel, a camel;

yod, a hand; oin, an eye; vau, a hook or link; heth, a

basket; caph, a head; nun, a fish; phe, a mouth; shin,

a tooth; resh, a head; etc., all speaking to us of the

ordinary things of a simple, wandering life. These symbols were

compounded to form ideographs, as aleph = a, and lamed = l,

being the first and last of the zodiacal circle, were employed for

the name of the Creator, the reverse of these, la, signifying

non-existence, negation, privation. In course of time a language

and a literature would be evolved, but from the simple elements

of a nomadic life. Knowledge came to them by action and the use

of the physical sense. They had no other or more appropriate

confession of this than is seen in the root [Hebrew letters] yedo--

knowledge, compounded of the three symbols yod, daleth, oin--

a hand, a door, an eye. The hand is a symbol of action, power,

ability; the door, of entering, initiation; the eye, of seeing, vision,

evidence, illumination.

Hence the ideograph formed by the collation of these symbols

signifies, opening the door to see, i.e. enquiry.

The Chinese alphabet of forms is entirely hieroglyphic and

symbolical in its origin, though it has long assumed a typal

regularity. What were once curved and crude figures have

become squared and uniform letterpress. But the names of these

forms bring us into touch at once with the early life of the

Mongolian race. We have, however, indications of a wider scope

than was enjoyed by the primitive Semites, for whereas we

find practically all the symbols of the Hebrews employed as

alphabetical forms, we also have others which indicate artifice,

such as hsi, box; chieh, a seal or stamp; mien, a roof;

chin, a napkin; kung, a bow; mi, silk; lei, a plough, and

many others, such as the names of metals, wine, vehicles, leather

in distinction from hides, etc. But further, we have a mythology

as part of the furniture of the primitive mind, the dragon and the

spirit or demon being employed as radical symbols.

Considered in regard to their origin, symbols may be defined as

thought-forms which embody, by the association of ideas,

definite meanings in the mind that generates them. They wholly

depend for their significance upon the laws of thought and the

correspondence that exists between the spiritual and material

worlds, between the subject and object of our consciousness, the

noumenon and phenomenon.

All symbols therefore may be translated by reference to the

known nature, quality, properties and uses of the objects they

represent. A few interpretations of symbols actually seen in the

mirror may serve to illustrate the method of interpretation.

A foot signifies a journey, and also understanding. A mouth

denotes speech, revelation, a message. An ear signifies news,

information; if ugly and distorted, scandal and abuse.

The sun, if shining brightly, denotes prosperity, honours, good

health, favours.

The moon when crescent denotes success, public recognition,

increase and improvement; when gibbous, sickness, decadence,

loss and trouble.

The sun being rayless or seen through a haze denotes sickness to

a man, some misfortune, danger of discredit. When eclipsed

it denotes the ruin or death of a man. The moon similarly

affected denotes equal danger to a woman. These are all natural

interpretations and probably would be immediately appreciated.

But every symbol has a threefold or fourfold interpretation and

the nature of the enquiry or purpose for which the vision is

sought will indicate the particular meaning conveyed. For if the

enquiry be concerning things of the spiritual world the

interpretation of the answering vision must be in terms of that

world, and similarly if the question has relation to the intellectual

or the physical worlds. Thus a pain of scales would denote in the

spiritual sense, absolute justice; in the intellectual, judgment,

proportion, comparison, reason; in the social, debt or obligation,

levy, rate, or tax; and in the material, balance of forces,

equilibrium, action and reaction. If the scales are evenly balanced

the augury will be good and favourable to the purport of the quest,

but if weighted unevenly it is a case of mene, tekel, upharsin;

for it shows an erring judgment, an unbalanced mind, failure in

one's obligations, injustice. A sword seen in connection with the

scales denotes speedy judgment and retribution. This is an

illustration of an artificial symbol.

A ship is a symbol of trading, of voyaging, and is frequently used

in the symbolical vision. If in full sail it indicates that

communication with the spiritual world is about to be facilitated,

that news from distant lands will come to hand, that trade will

increase, that a voyage will be taken. If writing should appear on

the sails it will be an additional means of enlightenment. If flying

the pirate flag it denotes translation to another land, death. The

land indicated may be the spiritual world itself, in which case the

death will be natural; but if it should be a foreign country, then

death will take place there by some unlooked-for disaster. The

ship's sails being slack denotes a falling off of afflatus or spiritual

influx, loss of trade, misfortune, delays and bad news, or if news

is expected it will not come to hand.

Black bread denotes a famine; spotted or mottled bread, a plague.

This symbol was seen in June 1896, with other symbols which

connected it with India, and there followed a great outbreak of

bubonic plague in that country. This symbol, however, was not

properly understood until the event came to throw light upon it.

The following note is from a seance which took place in India in

the spring of 1893: "A leaf of shamrock is seen. It denotes the

United Kingdom or the Triple Alliance. It is seen to split down

the centre with a black line. It symbolizes the breaking of a treaty.

Also that Ireland, whose symbol is the shamrock, will be

separated by an autonomous government from the existing

United Kingdom and will be divided into two factions."

In this way all symbols seen in the crystal or mirror may be

interpreted by reference to their known properties and uses, as

well as by the associations existing between them and other

things, persons and places, in the mind of the seer. Nor is it

always required that the scryer should understand symbology, for

as already said, the meanings of most of the symbols will be

conveyed to the consciousness of the seer at the time of their

appearance in the field. Experience will continually throw new

light upon the screen of thought, and a symbol once known will

assume a constant signification with each seer, so that in course

of time a language will be instituted by means of which constant

revelations will be made.

It will thus be obvious, I think, that symbolism is to a large extent

subject to a personal colouring, so that the same symbol may, by

different associations, convey a different meaning to various

seers. This may arise in part from the diversities of individual

experience, of temperament, and the order to which the soul

belongs in the spiritual world. These dissimilarities between

individuals may be noted from their highest intellectual

convictions down to the lowest of their sensations, and it is

difficult to account for it. We all have the same laws of thought

and the same general constitution. Humanity comprehends us all

within the bonds of a single nature. Yet despite these facts we are

divided by differences of opinion, of emotion, of sympathy, of

taste and faculty. It is probable that these differences obtain in

spheres immeasurably higher than our own, the sole element of

consent being the recognition of dependence upon a Higher

Power. God is the co-ordinating centre in a universe of infinite


Therefore, despite the fact that symbolism is capable of a

universal interpretation, it would appear that the images

projected by the magical power of the soul must have different

significations with each of us, the meanings being in some

mysterious way in agreement with the nature of the person who

sees them. Hence we may come to the conclusion that every

person must be his own interpreter, there being no universal code

for what are peculiarly individualized messages. For although

every symbol has a general signification in agreement with its

natural properties and uses, it yet obtains a particular signification

with the individual.

It is within common experience with those who have regard to

the import of dreams, wherein the faculty of seership is acting on

its normal plane, that a dream constantly recurring is found to

have a particular meaning, which however is not applicable to

others who have a similar dream. Every person is a seer in dream

life, but few pay that attention to dreams which their origin and

nature warrant. The crystal or mirror is an artificial means of

bringing this normal faculty of dreaming into activity in waking

life. Those who are capable of making the dream life normal to

the working consciousness, rise to a higher plane when they sleep.

But, as stated above, the differences of import or meaning, even

in dream life, of any particular symbol is a common experience.

One person will dream of wading in water whenever there is

trouble ahead. Another will dream of a naked child, and yet

another of coal, when similar trouble is in store. Butchers' meat

will signify financial trouble to one person, to another the same

will denote a fortunate speculation.

The controlling factor in this matter would appear to be founded

in the mental and psychic constitution conferred by physical

heredity and psychic tradition, converging at the conception of

the individual and expressed in the birth. Probably an argument

could thence be made in regard to the influence of the planets and

the general cosmic disposition attending upon birth: I have

frequently found that dreams may be interpreted by reference to

the individual horoscope of birth, and if dreams, possibly also

visions, which are but dreams brought into the field of conscious

reality. But any such argument, however tempting, would be

beyond the scope of this work.