Pictograms and Interpreting Symbolic Meanings
Stumped about a symbolic meaning? It happens. Sometimes, symbolic phenomenon crops up in our awareness, and we might become confounded about its meaning, or how it applies to our lives. Through my own personal interpretations, I found a neat, simple tool that can help with getting unstuck when interpreting symbolic events. Pictograms.
A pictogram is nothing more than a simple picture that represents a physical object. Similarly, an ideogram is an image that represents a concept or idea. Either way, both are useful in the practice of puzzling together a symbolic episode. Why? Because pictures convey far more gravitas than words or mental concepts.
Often, when we keep seeing something that may be a symbolic message – we tend to hold the concept in our mind. This is an ephemeral place for symbolic concepts to live. But when we sketch out the event on paper, we essentially pour it out from the ether (our mind) and let it spill into the material realm. This allows fluffy concepts to concretize, galvanize and prompts solid conclusions.
Our ancient ancestors knew this. Consider Egyptian hieroglyphs. Or cave drawings. There’s a reason pictograms pre-date the written word. Pictures are an “in-your-face” expression of important concepts and messages.
So how do we use ideograms and pictograms to interpret symbolic meanings? Simple.
Here’s how: Draw a picture of your symbolic phenomena on a piece of paper. Put a plus sign (+) after your initial symbol-picture. Next, draw any other surrounding elements that caught your awareness surrounding the symbolic event. For each picture you’ve drawn, assign one word that sums up a meaning for the symbol. For example, if you’re wondering why those crows are following you everywhere…what’s one word that represents crow-energy to you? Write that above your picture of the crow.
When you have a string of pictograms, write an equal sign (=) at the end. Here’s an example of a pictogram equation that can help interpret symbolic meaning:
Ideally, the process of drawing engages the creative centers of the brain which allow for a more fluid process of interpretation.
In the above example, a friend of mine designated one word for each of the elements she kept seeing in her dreams and even in her daily routine. By just simply jotting these items down along with a basic meaning for each, she was able to piece together a symbolic dialogue.
In this example, my friend determined she needed a little more freedom (horse) in order to grow (tree) and feel more light-hearted (sun).
This may seem like an oversimplified method to interpreting our symbolic meanings. Nevertheless, I’ve found that some of the most basic approaches gain the biggest insight…especially if our symbolic encounters seem vast, obscure or overwhelming.
Give it a try. Just break down your symbolic observations into simple icons. Assign one word to each of your symbols. Then let your awareness meander upon your pictogram. I’m betting your equation will offer you insightful solutions to your symbolic questions.
Other Articles of Interest:
Using Symbolism for Guidance
Symbolism vs. Superstition
Creating a Personal Symbol