expositions on the nature, significance, and utility of Symbols used in
religion, philosophy, science, and art.
as the symbolic number of a thing is the register of its power, so the true
nature of a thing is the key to its real character.
For a truly representative name is one that gives definite expression to
the character of the object to which it is applied.
exists without a name.
which is nameless is non-existent, without being, and unmanifest.
name of a thing is its word. In so
far as the name is true it also contains the reason and cause of its existence.
Everything, in order to be what it is, expresses in some manner its word
by symbolical sound form, colour, motion, or other means.
existing thing gives expression to its name, or names, by one or more of the ten
Aristotelian Categories. Thus,
according to the appropriateness of names, so they signify the nature of the
substance, quality, quantity, relation, place, time, condition, situation,
activity, or passivity of things.
Categories, therefore, constitute a classification of the names, or predicates,
of all that is in manifestation, and, as such, provide a basis for the
application of Word Symbolism. But
owing to the inadequacy of finite terms, few words or names fully represent all
the predicates that can be applied or even the simplest of material objects.
For this reason more than one name can truly be applied to the majority
of individual objects. This explains
the differences of opinion which arise as soon as a particular definition is
assigned to any object. But all
these differences, and apparent contradictions in terms, may be reconciled by
true Word-Symbolism, when proper consideration is given to the categories of
that to which particular appellations are applied.
object may be contemplated from numerous angles of observation, and according to
the view-points, so its character is represented by a variety of words, names,
signs, or symbols. Thus, similar
objects receive different terms when described and employed in science,
philosophy, religion, mysticism, and so on.
In like manner, the same word may be utilized in different senses; but in
its numerical aspect, the symbolism of the word includes all the senses in which
it can be regarded.
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
highest and most universal application of the Word is God, for He is all, before
all, in all, around all, and above all, and without Him there is nothing.
Word that was with God and was God, is the Logos, the Ex-pression of Himself.
is the Supreme and Integral Word of which all other words are only aspects,
reflections, images, anagogues, and metaphors.
is the One Word which is every being uttered, and yet, at the same time, which
ever remains unuttered. It is
uttered by Himself from all Eternity and is the Reason for which all things
exist; but because God is transcendentally beyond all names and above the reason
of all his creatures, His Word remains unuttered throughout all duration.
highest words are those which are real symbols of Divine Predicates, and such
words possess the most universal significance; for example, Love, Wisdom, and
Power, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
the Macrocosmic Word all these Divine Predicates are made manifest
Great Cosmos, in a figurative sense, is the Great Book in which the Thoughts of
God are written in deific words, glyphs, or symbols, by a Divine Pen, so that
“all who desire to read, may read.”
world is not the Divine Word, but the expression of the Word.
Similarly, man the little Cosmos, is not the Word, but rather an image or
incarnation of it.
(3) THE THREE DIVINE WORDS.
Word or Logos by which God manifests Himself is a tri-unity, a triple Logos; it
First Word is the First Person of the Divine Triad.
It is Causative and Subjectively Intelligible.
It is God as the First Conceivable Cause, and the First Knowable and
Divinely Intelligible Predicate.
Second Word is the Second Person of the Divine Triad.
It is Archetypal and Idealogical. It
is God as the Supreme Perfection and Ideal.
Third Word is the Third Divine Principle. It
is Creative and Spiritually Intellectual. It
is God as the Artificer and Sanctifier of the manifested universe.
Theses three Words have manifold names according to the time and place
and circumstance in which they are used. For
instance, in religion they are the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or the
All-Father, the World-Mother, and the Great Architect.
Philosophically, they may be called Causal Being or Essence, Archetypal
Life, and Creative Intellect or Mind; while, in an abstract sense, they are
described by such principles as the Static, Dynamic, and Ideal.
Ideas, in the best philosophical sense, are Ideal Types, Subjective
Formative Principles and Spiritual Paradigms, from which all actual, objective,
and corporeal existences spring.
They are Spiritual Words which express Divine Thoughts, and they have a
real subsistence whether or not man is conscious of them.
Ideas are Logoi inasmuch as they are aspects of deific words or
archetypes, and every word is a micrologos of the macrologos, that is to say, it
is a sign or symbol of an idea, while every real Idea is an aspect of the One
Idea which is the Logos.
Every objective form is a symbolical idea represented by a figure, a
letter, a word, or a combination of words. The
endeavour to give expression to the relationships of these ideas produces
language, which is the mode of presenting and recording thoughts.
The grammatical parts of speech of language have a correspondence in the
categories or classifications of all objects.
Behind the word is the thought, behind the thought is the idea, behind
the idea is the thinker. Thus words
are vehicles of thoughts and ideas.
Since the fundamental processes of reasoning and the operations of
thought of the human mind are in accordance with universal and unvarying
principles, the mind is able to apprehend, in some measure, the thoughts and
ideas which are behind the symbolism of words.
In this sense there is an interior and analogical abstract language which
is the parent of the exterior and literal concrete language.
The interior language remains identical and stable in its essence,
unaffected by the changes which progress and development produce upon the
outward language. Hence, real
Symbols and Words retain their inherent significance, even although ages may
elapse since they were originally formulated.
This inner language is the universal language which belongs to the
immortal Souol. It has countless
external forms, and these constitute the languages of the various races of
Since the human Soul contains innate ideas which are anterior to outward
experience, man has always possessed the power to utter sounds or words.
In the primitive stages these may be crude and imperfect, but as man
progresses, so simultaneously he evolves his language or means of expression and
communication, enlarging and amplifying it to meet his changing needs.
But there is a relative universality in all phases of languages, although
the characters, signs, and sounds may differ widely, yet the grammatical
fundamentals are closely allied.
Every human word or utterance is an objective expression of that
interior, subjective language of the Soul. For
this reason there are unlimited potential modes or phases of expression.
Man, since he is a miniature cosmos of the great cosmos which is a
manifestation of the Logos, knows the world by knowing himself, and knows the
Logos by knowing the world. Thus,
there are three primary phases of Word-Symbolism: (1) that which pertains to the
Divine Word or Logos; (2) that which pertains to the macrocosmic word; and (3)
that which pertains to the microcosmic word.
By the first, man communes with Deity and gives expression to his
aspirations; by the second, he understands more and more the nature of the world
by learning the significance of the names or words of all that it contains; and
by the third, he enters into intelligent relationships with his fellow beings.
Every word formulated by man possesses an original root meaning or
symbolism, and the more this is realized the less is the tendency to employ
words in wrong senses. If it were
possible for all men to agree upon the basic significance of the most important
terms used in connection with religion, philosophy, science, education and other
spheres of activity, then differences of opinion and contradictory views and
teachings would gradually disappear.
All general knowledge is to a large extent dependent upon familiarity
with the meanings and uses of words. Conceptions
cannot be formulated definitely and conveyed from one mind to another without
the media of words; while the clarity and depth of thoughts is measured by the
degree to which the language employed is characterized by the elements of real
The language of a person reveals partly his character, and the language
of different races express in a striking manner some of their special
characteristics and peculiarities.
The study of Word Symbolism is of vital importance to all who aspire to
teach; for words—spoken or written—are carriers of thoughts and symbols of
feeling. They are at once vehicles
of ideas and transmitters of inspiration, according to the gnostic and vital
power with which they are endowed.
Uttered words, which are not the result of thought and feeling are often
merely meaningless and empty sounds or parrot-like repetitional utterances.
But some words are fully charged with life and power and intelligence;
they become ensouled, as it were; for the Soul has worked upon them, shaping and
refining them until they are wrought to its purposes, becoming pregnant and
translucent media of living Ideas.
Thus, there are words of power, words of wisdom, and words of love;
sacramental words, immortal words, and ideal words; words that soothe and heal,
words that inspire and give new life.
Such words are seeds of divinity, which, when quickened within the Soul,
become living realities; they are then the ideal standards and criteria of
Truth, the luminous testimonies of the Word of God, for as the Chaldean Oracles
declare: “The Mind of the Father hath sown within the Soul, Symbols of things
ineffable throughout the Great Cosmos.”