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Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols: The Ultimate A-Z Guide from Alchemy to the Zodiac Hardcover – 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Element; 1St Edition edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007264453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007264452
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a wealth of information, some of it unfortunately wrong, but it will have a place in my reference section. I learned a lot reading it, and have already gone back to it to look up things I've encountered, but I've spent more time researching the misinformation in it.

I think the organization of the book could be better. I'd like to see a strict division between two-dimensional and three-dimensional symbols, since there is already a division between the visual, the auditory, and the conceptual.

The author presumes that all cultures believe in a triple goddess, not to mention *the* goddess; a world tree; and a world axis that inexplicable points up instead of toward Polaris (or the south celestial pole).

Several things listed as symbols are not: aaskouandy, almadel, altar, amulet, aphrodisiac (though it may be a placebo), apotrope, ark, bull roarer, cha cha, dreamcatcher, evil eye, fetish, five pillars of wisdom (just a metaphor), Gungnir, hand of glory, holy grail, horseshoe, kabbalah (though the inclusion of its symbols is warranted), kapala, manikin, Mesopotamian tree of life, Mjolnir, Navajo sand painting, omamori, onniant, palad khik, philosopher's stone, phurba, quintessence, shofar, spear of destiny, talisman, Torah, urim and thummim, world axis (a thing being represented, rather than vice versa). Some of these may be depicted in artwork to represent their own functions, but that doesn't make the physical objects symbols. A book about supposedly magical devices would not be a bad idea, but mixing them into a book of symbols clutters it up. There is some overlap with things such as tarot cards, functioning as both symbols and magical items.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! Big Book! 684 pages, first published in London in 2008, this book covers all the stuff I heard about and tons more! Just a few of the many signs/symbols/terminology: The triangle (meaning, and other shapes), (major) alchemical symbols, aphrodisiacs (background, listings, why), Beckoning Cat (Japan/China--seen in many Asian restaurants), Caduceus (2 serpents entwining a staff in a figure 8), Choku Rei (spiral symbol used by Reiki healers), colors (how they resonate, symbolic meanings of each of 14 colors), Dhama Wheel (used in Hinduism and Buddhism), Dreamcatcher (Native American), Dreidel (Jewish), Druze Star (offshoot of Islam), FU ideogram (Chinese symbol of good luck), Globus Cruciger (early symbol of Christianity-globe with crucifix mounted on it), (16) Signs and Symbols of Freemasonry, Hand of Fatima (Muslim and Jewish), Holy Grail (chalice that held the blood of Christ/used at Last Supper-Christianity), Horns of Odin (Vikings), I Ching (ancient Chinese system of philosophical divination--may be as old as 8th century BC), Jerusalem Cross (used by the Crusaders), Kabbalah Seal of Solomon, Seal of the Knights Templar, Sefer Yetzirah Symbol (Kabbala), Sufi Winged Heart, The Tarot (and the cards and their meanings), and many, many more. With each sign/symbol/terminology is a decent and sometimes fairly detailed explanation. And this is just part 1! This is a pretty nifty book. This is NOT some far out book for witches, if that's what you are thinking; it is an excellent reference book and very interesting reading. As you can see from my small list above, the book includes many different cultures/beliefs/organized religions. So, if you want more info on ancient history through New Age, this book covers a wide range.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on secret signs and secret symbols.It is not an academic book,by any means.Yet,it's loaded with the mystical symbols of the world,from the past and still used in the present.If you ever wondered about the meaning behind a particular symbol element ,this book gives a good interpretation of the sign.I think in the years to follow,this encyclopedia will gain in popularity among wiccans,pagans and magickians.My only wish is that more of the definitions were longer.But,the book is already at 700 pages long.It covers most,if not all, of the ancient symbols from around the world.If you're an occultist,how could you not be satisfied after slowly disgesting this book? I have to say ,that i really enjoyed investigating this exciting and charming book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a good resource for those who seek a better understanding of the origin of symbols used around us every day. A symbol stands for something else; usually something invisible, or secret. I am particularly interested in recognizing esoteric meanings of symbols (and/or signs) that appear in logos. Most people who design the logos know exactly what they're doing, and many organizations use these particular logos and symbols intentionally because they know precisely what is represented. The average person may be unaware of what is being symbolically portrayed and not everyone who uses the logos understands the symbology or the meanings behind the symbols. I found this book to be good because it has simple descriptions and clarifies aspects of symbols along with illustrations. It is not an exhaustive resource for researching symbols, but I consider it a good book to have in my library. I gave 4 stars rather than 5 because of the brevity of this book.
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