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The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images [Hardcover]

Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism , ARAS
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 25 2010 The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism
Reflections on symbols and symbolic imagery
The Book of Symbols combines original and incisive essays about particular symbols with representative images from all parts of the world and all eras of history.The Book of Symbols combines original and incisive essays about particular symbols with representative images from all parts of the world and all eras of history. The highly readable texts and almost 800 beautiful full-color images come together in a unique way to convey hidden dimensions of meaning. Each of the c. 350 essays examines a given symbol's psychic background, and how it evokes psychic processes and dynamics. Etymological roots, the play of opposites, paradox and shadow, the ways in which diverse cultures have engaged a symbolic image—all these factors are taken into consideration.

Authored by writers from the fields of psychology, religion, art, literature and comparative myth, the essays flow into each other in ways that mirror the psyche's unexpected convergences. There are no pat definitions of the kind
that tend to collapse a symbol; a still vital symbol remains partially unknown, compels our attention and unfolds in new meanings and manifestations over time. Rather than merely categorize, The Book of Symbols illuminates how to move from the visual experience of a symbolic image in art, religion, life, or dreams, to directly experiencing its personal and psychological resonance.

The Book of Symbols sets new standards for thoughtful exploration of symbols and their meanings, and will appeal to a wide range of readers: artists, designers, dreamers and dream interpreters, psychotherapists, self-helpers, gamers, comic book readers, religious and spiritual searchers, writers, students, and anyone curious about the power of archetypal images.

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Product Description

About the Author

About the authors/collaborators:
Drawing upon Carl Jung's work on the archetype and the collective unconscious, the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) is a pictorial and written archive of mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic images from all over the world and from all epochs of human experience. The collection of 17,000 photographic images, accompanied by commentary on their cultural and historical context, probes the universality of archetypal themes and provides a testament to the deep and abiding connections of all life.


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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and yet open-ended June 13 2011
By Speck
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sometimes books on archetypes come across as code-books. "If your image has a broken cup, this is what it means..." This is NOT such a book. The authors - and they are many - recognize that symbols are multi-valent, and they provide reflections on specific images, not a definition of what an image means. An author might engage several different images in response to, say, the idea of a bone: a terra-coatta image from Mexico circa 1400 CE, an image of Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones from 16th C Turkey. For mask: a photograph of a mask-wearing Navajo man, a Noh mask from Japan, a 19th C painting from Belgium, a Mozambique initiation mask. The archetypes are not defined, they are engaged. As such, the book is a well-spring of possibilities, inspiration, and wonderment. The book is beautifully laid out, nicely organized, and a bargain for the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful images and write ups Dec 28 2013
By Sarah
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
High quality images, a wide variety of symbols and excellent companion write ups. This is a great book to have on hand as a reference or as a source of inspiration.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Open for interpretation July 22 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book never says if you dream this it means that. You have to have a basic understanding of how dreams work then use this book to help develop your own interpretation of what that symbol represents to you. I recommend this book to those that are interested.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By MER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Absolutely love this book..............I know many of the artists therein and the professional writings concerning the artists and their symbols........If I were marooned, I would want to have this book at hand........
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
147 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Complement to the Website Nov. 23 2010
By Sally Adler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I expected lots of great pictures, but this is so much more: the book is huge, it is beautifully bound (really nice paper - matte, cream, the photos look great and it opens nearly flat), fabulously designed (interesting edge tabs and multiple, brightly-colored, bound-in bookmarks), massive amounts of well-written text, and, of course, excellent citations. As soon as I can drag myself out of it, I'm making a gift list. The price makes it impossible to resist as a gift for anyone who has any level of interest in the subject (I should give it with a subscription to ARAS!)
124 of 130 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure this is what you want May 23 2012
By Christopher H. Wilbur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I agree with everyone that this is an exemplary physical book to display, hold and browse through.

Unfortunately, the content is not up to what's advertised.

The articles are short and have a scattershot, unscholarly feel. All entries receive two or four pages. As a result, the most basic, important symbols, e.g., sun, moon, rose, fountain, receive embarrassingly scant coverage. Egg gets two pages. Obviously you can't even scratch the surface of these major symbols in two or three paragraphs.

Other articles such as knee, coyote, bicycle, and kangaroo, get two pages each and are mixed in among the more important ones; so flipping through the book gives no sense of relative weight and hierarchy.

A number of key symbols and terms, such as Trinity, caduceus, tarot, sephiroth, crucible, receive no articles or references. There is no article or index entry for either hero or journey

Each article gets 1-3 illustrations, but few if any have references in the article text and many lack captions altogether.

A closer look at the book shows a complete lack of scholarly credentials. The "About the Authors" page lists only the archives from which the images were taken; no individuals are listed there as editors or authors. The "Contributors" page that follows gives only the contributors' names; there is no mention of anyone having so much as a college degree much less a publication or academic position.

The Bibliography contains fewer than fifteen items, nearly all of which are encyclopedias and archive catalogs. Carl Jung's collected works are mentioned as one citation, but Jung himself is hard to find -- there's no article on him and his name does not even appear in the index.

The book badly needed a critical introduction giving some background, better explaining the criteria for inclusion and presentation of entries, summarizing Jung's work, and much more The Index appears to be more useful to find what is missing from the book than it is to locate anything useful.

I would not recommend this book for any serious scholarly purpose.
94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only The Red Book pages were bound with these dimensions... Dec 9 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every time I pick up a Taschen book, its excellent production quality makes me smile. No different for this current offering from them. At just a fraction under 7" x 10" the proportions of the book makes it most portable and a joy to handle on the go or in bed.

The ribbon markers are especially useful for contemplating a number of symbols discovered together taken from our own dreams or active imagination. There are a variety of images both ancient and contemporary to complement each entry, as well as sub-headings e.g.: under the Human World section, you will find sub-headings at the top left hand page indicating whether you have landed on "Human Body" or "Movement & Expression" or "Work & Society". Goodness. This is the kind of care all books should be designed with. My copy came shrink-wrapped with a Taschen postcard tip-in.

The whole book appears deceptively simple but it is the text entries that are the most important. Each "brief" page of text offer profound commentary by the world's art and mythology scholars, among others. When available, each entry ends with illustration captions and text credit to promote further individual research.

This book is highly recommended and should the reader need more information can find sample pages at both the Taschen and ARAS websites.
64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, meaningful and so much more than I expected Dec 9 2010
By claudia c schmitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I appreciate this book so much that I am writing a review which is something I have never done. The scope and breadth of this book is astounding. I found myself especially moved by the carefully selected illustrations. The illustrations are both ancient and contemporary, abstract and concrete, simple and complex. Even if one were never to read a word of the text, the images alone would be worth the purchase of this book. The text of course adds even more meaning and depth. Enjoy.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Helpful Resource Jan. 5 2011
By Lisa Groen Braner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
THE BOOK OF SYMBOLS is beautifully conceived and constructed--with convenient tabs, colorful ribbons for place markings, well-chosen artwork, and thoughtful essays on numerous symbols. This is a great resource for artists, dreamers, psychologists, writers, and anyone interested in gleaning insight from the symbols in their lives. As noted in the preface, the guiding principle of the book can be summed up by Meister Eckhart's words:

"When the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it."

The book is organized by these topics: creation and cosmos, plant world, animal world, human world, spirit world. It's a wonderful resource to have on your bedside table, next to a meditation cushion, or on a coffee table, displayed with your most treasured art books. Highly recommended!
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