Symbolism in illustration for a book by Riccati

Symbolism in illustration for a book by Riccati

The front cover of the book Opere (1761) by Jacopo Riccati, author of the celebrated Riccati equation, has the illustration depicted below. What is the symbolism incorporated in this illustration? (This question was originally posted here.)


Edit (Jan 20, 2017): These two figures are most likely Ecclesia and Synagoga with science linked to Ecclesia and therefore enlightenment and triumph over those who blind themselves to the truth. See my comments and links to Graham's answer. The monstrance, palm frond, and blindfold can be found in Reuben's tapestry as depicted and described in the links.

Jacopo Riccati was an Italian mathematician and jurist from Venice. He is best known for having studied the equation (Riccati equation) which bears his name.

As you mentioned in your question, Riccati was educated by the Jesuits. His son Vincenzo Ricca actually became a Jesuit. It would be safe to say that Riccati had close ties to this Religious Order most his life and was undoubtedly a faithful Catholic.

That taken into consideration, there are several different things to be noted about the cover illustration of the book.

First of all Riccati was a mathematician and one can notice objects in the lower left hand corner that suggest he was indeed well educated.

In the middle is A woman holding a object that is emitting rays of light and in the other a branch of some sort. This particular woman, is probably a martyr (and one whom Riccati had a particular devotion to). The branch in her left hand looks like a palm branch a Christian symbol of martyrdom. In her right hand, she is holding up what appears to be an artist rendition of a monstrance.It Could be note here that Jesuits make there solemn profession in before the Blessed Sacrament while in a monstrance. It is also the symbol of the Jesuit Order.

Symbolism of Jesuits

The woman in the lower right quadrant may be a sinner or someone who simply does not share in Riccati's faith.

As a final piece to this, I am going to say that this image shows us that Riccati was illuminated in his studies and achievemenst with the help of his devotion to this particular Saint and Martyr, as well as the Blessed Sacrament.

Who this Saint is remains unclear. It may possibly be St Clare of Assisi who is often pictured holding a monstrance.

In art, Clare is often shown carrying a monstrance or pyx, in commemoration of the occasion when she warded away the soldiers of Frederick II at the gates of her convent by displaying the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling in prayer. Saint Clare of Assisi (Wikipedia)

Another possible candidate for the person holding the monstrance could be Saint Odile of Alsace, who is often depicted holding a monstrance. She is considered one of the Patron Saints of good eyesight.

Saint Odile in Avolsheim, Alsace

I think it is clear that the picture shows: "Science and knowledge is light, while ignorance is darkness", a typical symbolism of the Enlightenment period. (Unlike Ken Graham, I see nothing related to religion in this picture, just the opposite).

Following the leads in the wonderful responses of the contributors here, I believe the following interpretations of the symbolism in this picture are probably correct.

These two figures are most likely Ecclesia (sitting) and Synagoga (prone) with science linked to Ecclesia and therefore enlightenment and triumph over those who blind themselves to the truth. A monstrance, palm frond, a blindfolded figure, and fruit --all depicted in this picture--can be found in Reuben's tapestry The Triumph of the Eucharist, discussed in Tapestry of the Baroque: Threads of Splendor on pg. 219.

Each figure and item is symbolic:

I believe the "cloud" is actually a whirlwind (the foot of God) related to the passage in the Bible Jeremiah 23:19 as discussed by Ritenbaugh : He is talking about a tornado that He has sent-a violent windstorm. The false prophets have said, "No bad is coming" (verse 17). God says, "Do they ever listen to Me? I've said, 'I'm sending a whirlwind, and it's going to fall on the heads of the wicked.' How dare they say that everything is going to be okay!"

The palm branch in Ecclesia's hand is a symbol of victory as explained in this Wiki.

The branch in Synagoga's hand most likely represents a pruned branch of ivy (ivy is depicted just above Synagoga), related to John 15:6: "If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers… " The cut branch symbolizes in the Bible those pruned from the ivy, representing Christ, who don't bear fruit because they don't accept Christ and are therefore cut or broken off the ivy.

The three objects on a book on the ground could very well be fruit with the implication that the sciences as well as faith bear fruit. That would also explain what looks suspiciuosly like a pineapple in the lower left. The symbolism behind pineapples is explained here.

And, don't forget the symbolism behind the right side (dexter) and the left side (sinister) in religious themes that are also reflected in this image.

The seashell(s?) in the lower left corner might be associated to St. James, pilgrimage, and the light showing the way (read the section on the Enlightenment Era in the Wiki on The Way of St. James). Riccati's first name Jacopo is derived from the Latin Iacōbus as is James.

The Adult Symbolism in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Even though the rumors aren’t true that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland during a hallucinogenic trip, the book still remains a fascinating study of reality while being a prime example of the nonsensical fantasy genre.

Just because something is nonsense doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it, and you don’t need a literature degree to notice that the novel is rife with symbolism. While both the book and Disney film adaptation are kooky on a superficial level, anyone paying close enough attention will notice the rampant symbolism in both: adulthood.

Alice in Wonderland, illustration by Gertrude A. Kay, 1923

The main character, Alice, is a little girl of undefined age (though in the sequel she claims she’s seven and a half, so we can assume she’s at least seven years old) who has years of physical and mental change ahead of her.

The Adventures in Wonderland begin with young Alice sitting in a garden. Idyllic and beautiful, this verdant space draws parallels to the Garden of Eden. Rather than plucking a forbidden apple, though, Alice gives in to desire and crawls into the tree.

Alice in Wonderland, illustration by John Tenniel, 1865

This retreat away from reality reflects Alice’s desire to remain a child, rather than face the advancing sands of time. However, this isn’t Peter Pan, and her journey of self-exploration has frightening themes of aging and sexuality as she slips further towards puberty and adolescence.

Once inside Wonderland, her adventure is fraught with complications and she no longer knows an innocent or peaceable life. Through several bizarre happenings, Alice’s body grows disproportionately large and small, many times with no good reason, and she is unable to understand why. Though seven is a bit young to be undergoing such drastic changes, this is without a doubt an allusion to puberty.

Alice trying to play croquet with a flamingo

During her adventures, Alice is repeatedly asked to prove what she knows and often recites the lessons she’s learned to others she meets along the way. During Victorian times experimental language was all the rage and Carroll made use of it extensively.

Here are some hilarious Victorian vulgarities that people should know:

Several characters contradict her, however, and Alice finds herself questioning her own mind. These interactions are no doubt relatable to any child who’s ever struggled to get credibility, let alone a sympathetic ear, from an adult.

Jessie Willcox Smith’s illustration of Alice surrounded by the characters of Wonderland, 1923

Her acquaintance with the caterpillar gives rise to a curious event in which Alice needs to tackle a mysterious mushroom to maintain her ever-changing size.

This can be interpreted in two ways: does the mushroom represent temptation in the form of drug use, as some say teens see illicit activities as the only way to control their own lives in a parentally-controlled setting? Or is it a phallic symbol, presenting temptation and the penultimate hurdle into womanhood?

Color plate from the 1907 edition of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’: Chapter 7 – A Mad Tea Party

The LSD-Carroll association myth is easily debunked given that the drug wasn’t officially announced until the 1930s, but it’s undeniable that the magic mushroom has trippy effects.

It would also be a stretch to imply an improper relationship with the caterpillar, as he leaves before Alice tastes the mushroom. In a less risqué analysis, the mushroom could simply represent the young girl learning decision making skills, problem solving to come to a solution (in Alice’s case, maintaining her normal size).

The Pool of Tears by Milo Winter

Moving away from raunchier themes, confusion is a central element throughout the story and a very prevalent factor in growing up. Nothing Alice does or sees seems to make sense.

There are puzzles everywhere, be it the Caucus race, the riddles put forth by the Mad Hatter, or the croquet game Alice is drafted into against the Queen of Hearts. None of these events have a definitive outcome, and Alice can’t seem to figure out how or why any of them occur. Anyone who’s reached adulthood already could attest to confusion being a pretty regular feeling.

While it may seem like one fantastic journey for a young girl, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland carries an underlying message which encompasses the inevitable loss of childhood.

The Disney adaptation’s quaint imagery may cover up this depressive realization, but this analysis will be clear to anyone reading the original text.

What Is Symbolism?

Symbols are objects that carry meanings or represent ideas. However, symbols can also take the form of words, images, colors, or actions. (For example, the cross is a symbol of Christianity the red stripes in the American flag represent courage and valor.)

Symbols can also be found in just about every form of art: in our favorite songs, in films, and of course, in literature.

What makes symbols so interesting is that their meanings can change depending on their context or even one’s culture. Thus, in order to catch its intended meaning, it is important to understand where, when, and how a symbol is being used.

The Decade 1930-1940

The stock market crash of 1929 and the severe economic depression that followed naturally affected the publishing industry and the careers of illustrators. Book publishing suffered, with many publishers scaling back production and illustration commissions. To save costs in printing, the use of full-color illustrations inside books was limited. Instead, publishers commissioned line drawings from printmakers like Rockwell Kent and pen artists like Robert Lawson.

Robert Lawson, book illustration, Pilgrim's Progress, 1939

Magazines were always popular because of their relatively low cost and pass-along factor, but with reduced budgets there wasn&rsquot much room for young illustration talent in the business. Established artists like J.C. Leyendecker and Dean Cornwell had plenty of assignments, though, because as always, their work&mdashand their names&mdashhelped to sell publications. Traditional painters of narrative realism like Pruett Carter lent a classic, distinguished look to magazine fiction while contemporary water-colorists Mario Cooper, Floyd Davis, Harry Beckhoff, and cartoonist/illustrators like Wallace Morgan used stylizations that fit the times.

Pruett Carter, magazine illustration

Mario Cooper, magazine illustration

Floyd Davis, magazine illustration

Wallace Morgan, magazine illustration

Harry Beckhoff, magazine illustration

The illustration profession in the United States was also attracting international talent, including French-born poster artist Jean Carlu and Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias, who provided social and political satire on the pages of Vanity Fair magazine, which, in the 1930s was the primary literary and entertainment publication.

Jean Carlu, cover illustration, 1931

Miguel Covarrubias, cover illustration, Vanity Fair magazine, 1933

However, illustrated magazines were no longer America&rsquos only form of entertainment. There was radio programming, which could be enjoyed for free, that presented drama, music, comedy, and world news. Even more importantly, the movie industry had grown substantially, with the number of films released increasing along with the number of theaters. Every town and city in America had a movie theater and the actors and actresses coming to life on the screens had great celebrity. Movie magazines, also called "screen" magazines, featured cover illustrations of beautiful actresses, and artists like Rolf Armstrong were extremely popular for creating portraits and "pin-ups." Hollywood presented entertainment and glamour on a grand scale that provided escape from the troubled times of the Great Depression.

Rolf Armstrong, cover portrait of actress Constance Bennett, 1931

The ambitious Walt Disney turned his studio from making popular cartoon shorts like Steamboat Willie in 1928, the first sound cartoon, toward making full-length animated feature films, with Snow White beginning production in 1934 (released in 1937) and Pinocchio in 1936 (released in 1940). As inspiration for the animated drawings of Pinocchio, the Disney studio commissioned conceptual renderings by Swedish-American book illustrator Gustaf Tenggren. Tenggren also worked in a simplified second illustration style meant for children when he created art for the publishers of Little Golden Books (Poky Little Puppy). This decade was exceptional in terms of works for children. The Disney films and animated shorts (featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc.) were not the only cartoon films being created in those years. Warner Bros. produced the "Merry Melodies" series and also "Looney Tunes," which gave the public Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny. The list of classic children's picture books created by artist/writers in this decade is also extraordinary and includes the works of Jean de Brunhoff (Babar), Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline), Hans Augusto Rey (Curious George), Dr. Seuss (Horton Hatches the Egg), and Virginia Lee Burton (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel).

Gustaf Tenggren, concept art, Walt Disney's Pinnochio, 1936

Discovering Dalí in Book Illustrations, Part 1

Curated by Abigail Wunderle and Shaina Harkness

Salvador Dalí, known for his paintings, drawings, and even his own writings, was also an illustrator for many books. “Dalí worked in this field of creation so often because, rather than an amusement, the work was a necessity for him. Dalí had to express himself and any medium that allowed him to do so was valid. That was why he never missed an opportunity to work in publishing,” (Dali, a life in books, p.344).

This series of digital exhibitions, broken up into several parts, will focus on illustrations Dalí created for commercial books, some of which are rarely seen. This series will also focus on the symbols Dalí inserts into the illustrations, promoting his own iconography. “Salvador Dalí used symbols repeatedly in his artwork. He was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s idea that dreams can be understood symbolically – where each image has its own interpretation – Dalí approached his work this way” (Dalí Museum-Peter Tush, Curator of Education). Shown here in the book illustrations are the main symbols, as well as other Dalí symbols. Viewers will then be given an opportunity to discover the same symbols in works from The Dalí Museum Collection. The use of these specific symbols shows how Dalí inserts himself throughout his artwork, even in books.

New York: Random House 1946

The First Part of the Life and Achievements of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha
Written by Miguel Cervantes

Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes, is considered to be Spain’s most import[ant] work of literature and the first truly modern novel. The story takes place in sixteenth – century Spain and details the exploits of the self-proclaimed knight Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire Sancho Panza.” – description from Dalí By The Book exhibition file, 1996)

Dalí created “thirty-eight drawings and watercolors” for this book – the English edition of 1946 (Don Quixote de la Mancha: Ilustrado Por Salvador Dalí, p. 77). Below are drawings and watercolors created especially for this edition. The original 38 works are now at the Fundacion Gala Salvador Dalí in Figueres, Spain.

Dali’s interest in this book was most likely due to “the personality of Don Quixote,” (Don Quixote de la Mancha Ilustrado Por Salvador Dalí, p. 78). “Don Quixote and his madness, his true monomania, inspired the finest Dalí and thereby opened the door for him to apply his paranoiac-critical method (as he christened it), a spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the power of the systematic association inherent to paranoia, or, in other words, on the interpretative-critical association of delirious phenomena…” (Don Quixote de la Mancha Ilustrado Por Salvador Dalí, p. 78).

Don Quixote – other commercial editions

There were other popular commercial editions that used some of the same images from the English 1946 edition, but included extra drawings and watercolors. One was a 1965 Italian TEMPO edition that included new watercolors.

The two volume Spanish edition was published in Barcelona. “It is a hodgepodge of his earlier illustrations, starting with the original English edition [1946]. It includes reproductions of Foret’s plates and also of the watercolors done for the Tempo edition in Italy…There are many new illustrations, especially in the second volume. (A Dalí Journal, VI p.205, September 21, 1967)

The famous windmill scene of Don Quixote is depicted differently in the English and the Italian edition. The 1946 version uses Dali’s famous paranoiac-critical method, where the windmill is seen inside Don Quixote’s head (or imagination) as a knight. In the right hand top corner, Dalí brings a windmill to life as a knight who is being jousted by another (presumably Don Quixote) on an elaborately drawn horse. The Italian edition’s watercolor is more of a realistic version with the windmills seen at a distance by Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. The muted blues and yellows of the sky dominate the work in a realistic fashion.

Dalí Symbol…The Eggs!

“Dalí connects the egg to the prenatal and intra-uterine in his Surrealist works. He believed he had memories of being inside of his mother’s womb with which he called an “intra-uterine memory.” He uses eggs throughout his artwork to symbolize hope and love. He relates the yolk of eggs to the intense gaze of his wife Gala. In Christianity the egg is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and the emblem of purity and perfection. Eggs in Dali’s later works, such as Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, 1943, became a symbol of purity and perfection. Not only did he use eggs in his artwork, they adorn the top of his home and museum in Spain,” (Dalí Museum).

Dalí inserts eggs into the illustration of the Curate and Barber, pictured here.

These eggs look like the eggs in Oeufs sur le Plat sans le Plat [Eggs on the Plate Without the Plate], 1932, where there are two fried eggs on a plate.

Though not a symbol, Dali’s muse and wife Gala is represented in one of the Italian illustrations with her iconic Chanel bow.

Dalí Symbol…Landscape!

One common element in all these books illustrated by Dali, and in many of Dali’s paintings as well, is the use of landscape. This can be in the far distance, or more towards the foreground. “As with all his work, the landscape is geographically specific to Dali’s native region…,” (The Dalí Museum Collection, 2012, p. 150), and in The First Part of the Life and Achievements of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha Dalí makes no exception. Below is one such example from Don Quixote of Dali’s iconographic landscape.

Interpreting the Symbolism in the Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation is a tough book to read. It is full of strange and often scary imagery, confusing numbers, time references, and much more. However, with just a few tips for understanding certain confusing elements, the book opens up as an important and helpful book for Christians.

1. The book is visual prophecy.

One of the first things that help us understand the book is understanding what kind of book it is. John tells us in the opening chapter that what he has written is a prophecy from Jesus.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Rev. 1:3)

2. This prophecy was given to John in a series of visions.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, Write what you see. (Rev. 1:10-11)

The fact that John was in the Spirit and that God says to him to write what you see both point to the fact that what John is writing is direct revelation from God communicated through visions, making the book visionary prophecy (Rev. 22:16). As with the other visions, like Joseph's dreams for instance (Gen. 37:1-11), much of what John sees is strange and needs interpretation.

3. Revelation is full of symbolism.

Because Revelation is a vision, it is full of symbolism. Revelation often has references to symbolism from other prophecies and visions, like the visions of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. Some things in the visions are symbolic and interpreted within the vision, such as the lampstands representing the churches (Rev. 1:20). Other things in the vision are simply accessories, like in a dream.

To understand what is symbolic and what isn't, a good rule of thumb is looking for what the thing does within the vision: if the thing accomplishes something, it usually symbolizes something that relates to real life. Sometimes the text interprets the symbolism for you, and sometimes the symbolism relates to something from the Old Testament, but most of the characters described in Revelation are doing something. That way you know they are important.

4. Numbers are symbolic.

Numbers in Revelation are flexible and symbolic. For instance, the number seven represents wholeness and completeness. It is Gods perfect number. For example, the opening benediction says,

Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is coming and from the seven spirits who are before His throne and from Jesus Christ. (Rev. 1:4-5)

The number seven here symbolizes the Holy Spirits wholeness and completeness and is a reference to Zechariah 4:10. Later in Revelation, John will refer to the Holy Spirit in the singular (Rev. 1:10 2:7, 11, 17).

Similarly, the number twelve and anything divisible by twelve is the number of the people of God (Rev. 7:1-12). Twelve has always been an important number in the Bible because there were twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles. Multiples of ten are used to represent an indefinite yet large number of whatever is described.

5. Time is flexible and fluid.

Because it is a vision, time is fluid, not strictly chronological. Like in a dream, time doesnt work the same way as in the real world. Revelation is a visual picture of things, some of which are past, some of which are present, and some of which are future. Revelation is primarily a visual representation, making it more like scenes that switch around to different times to show different things rather than showing one long chronological story.

6. One event is often portrayed from multiple angles.

The book of Revelation is a series of visions, but not every vision represents the same thing, nor are they in any strict chronological order. In fact, there is actually a lot of repetition in the book that operates like different chapters of a book or scenes of a movie. One chapter may talk about an event from the perspective of one or two characters, and another chapter will discuss the same event but from a different perspective or angle or talk about different parts of the event.

With these tips for understanding some of the more difficult elements of the book, Revelation opens up more easily. Jesus' last prophecy to his church before the final judgment is his last word to us:

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let the one who hears say, Come. And let the one who is thirsty come let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Rev. 22:16-17)

We don't have to give up on the book the Lord has given us everything we need to understand it because it is for us and for our encouragement and our wisdom and endurance.

Hunefer’s Judgement in the presence of Osiris

Hunefer’s Judgement in the presence of Osiris, Book of the Dead of Hunefer, 19th Dynasty, New Kingdom, c. 1275 B.C.E., papyrus, Thebes, Egypt (British Museum). Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

Erratum: near the end of the video we say that Nephthys and Anubis are siblings this is not correct.

Hunefer: An ancient Egyptian official

Hunefer and his wife Nasha lived during the Nineteenth Dynasty, in around 1310 B.C.E.. He was a “Royal Scribe” and “Scribe of Divine Offerings.” He was also “Overseer of Royal Cattle,” and the steward of King Sety I. These titles indicate that he held prominent administrative offices and would have been close to the king. The location of his tomb is not known, but he may have been buried at Memphis.

Hunefer’s high status is reflected in the fine quality of his Book of the Dead, which was specially produced for him. This, and a Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figure, inside which the papyrus was found, are the only objects which can be ascribed to Hunefer. The papyrus of Hunefer is characterized by its good state of preservation and the large, and clear vignettes (illustrations) are beautifully drawn and painted. The vignette illustrating the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual is one of the most famous pieces of papyrus in The British Museum collection, and gives a great deal of information about this part of the funeral.

Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer

Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer, c. 1275 B.C.E., 45.7 x 83.4 cm (frame), Thebes, Egypt © Trustees of the British Museum

The centerpiece of the upper scene is the mummy of Hunefer, shown supported by the god Anubis (or a priest wearing a jackal mask). Hunefer’s wife and daughter mourn, and three priests perform rituals. The two priests with white sashes are carrying out the Opening of the Mouth ritual. The white building at the right is a representation of the tomb, complete with portal doorway and small pyramid. Both these features can be seen in real tombs of this date from Thebes. To the left of the tomb is a picture of the stela which would have stood to one side of the tomb entrance. Following the normal conventions of Egyptian art, it is shown much larger than normal size, in order that its content (the deceased worshipping Osiris, together with a standard offering formula) is absolutely legible.

At the right of the lower scene is a table bearing the various implements needed for the Opening of the Mouth ritual. At the left is shown a ritual, where the foreleg of a calf, cut off while the animal is alive, is offered. The animal was then sacrificed. The calf is shown together with its mother, who might be interpreted as showing signs of distress.

Page from the Book of the Dead of Ani

Page from the Book of the Dead of Ani, c. 1275 B.C.E., 19th Dynasty, 44.5 x 30.7 cm, Thebes, Egypt © Trustees of the British Museum

The scene reads from left to right. To the left, Anubis brings Hunefer into the judgement area. Anubis is also shown supervizing the judgement scales. Hunefer’s heart, represented as a pot, is being weighed against a feather, the symbol of Maat, the established order of things, in this context meaning ‘what is right’. The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the seat of the emotions, the intellect and the character, and thus represented the good or bad aspects of a person’s life. If the heart did not balance with the feather, then the dead person was condemned to non-existence, and consumption by the ferocious “devourer,” the strange beast shown here which is part-crocodile, part-lion, and part-hippopotamus.

However, as a papyrus devoted to ensuring Hunefer’s continued existence in the Afterlife is not likely to depict this outcome, he is shown to the right, brought into the presence of Osiris by his son Horus, having become “true of voice” or “justified.” This was a standard epithet applied to dead individuals in their texts. Osiris is shown seated under a canopy, with his sisters Isis and Nephthys. At the top, Hunefer is shown adoring a row of deities who supervise the judgement.

4. Baum used a series of pen names.

Cover of 𠇊unt Jane’s Nieces Abroad,” one of a series of book’s Baum wrote under the pen name Edith Van Dyne.

Baum (his first initial, “L,” stood for Lyman, a name he disliked in person, he went by Frank) also churned out dozens of books using various pen names. Among these works were a popular series for teenage girls, 𠇊unt Jane’s Nieces,” for which he used the nom de plume Edith van Dyne. The 14th and final “Oz” book written by Baum, “Glinda of Oz,” was published in 1920, a year after his death. Children’s author Ruth Plumly Thompson was hired to continue the series and penned 19 additional “Oz” books.

6 Owl

The use of the owl as a symbol is as popular today as it ever was: You see them everywhere, from accessories and clothing to interior design and home décor. But the symbol’s popularity is nothing new.

Its historical popularity as a symbol is also due to the fact that an owl always accompanied Athena, the Greek goddess of learning. In Native American cultures, the owl is seen as a creature of the night, and so is associated with the supernatural and even death.

Because they are usually nocturnal, owls have often been seen as mysterious and even magical creatures that dwell in and emerge from the darkness. Europeans in the Medieval Ages even believed the creatures might be sorcerers in disguise. Likewise, West African and Aboriginal Australian cultures viewed the owl as a messenger of secrets and a companion of sorcerers.

In a visual message such as a logo or design, an owl can be used to represent wisdom, intelligence or a lesson that needs to be learned.

Pretzel – Trinity symbol

Pretzels have been around for almost 1,400 years. History has their origin about A.D. 610 when a baker in a monastery in southern France or northern Italy twisted leftover strips of bread dough into the shape of a person’s arms crossed in prayer, traditional posture for prayer in those days.

Monks began offering the warm, doughy treats to children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers. They were used to help children understand the Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The three empty holes in the pretzel represented the Christian Trinity. The monks called these treats pretiolas, Latin for little rewards.

The little knotted treat wandered around a while and became known in old high German as Brachiatellium, and then just plain Bretzel or Pretzel. Left: one of the oldest depictions of pretzels in the Hortus Deliciarum of 1190 showing Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus sharing a meal. The king is pointing at the ale cans and dart board not shown in the detail.

Medieval people would ride out and greet vendors traveling to the various fairs and offer them pewter pitchers of wine and crisp dough impaled on spears called Geleit-pretzels. In the detail of the painting by Peter Bruegel titled “The Fight between Carnival and Lent”, 1559, the lusted-after pretzels are visible at the feet of the guy sitting on the dunk tank chair.

Kepler stated that if we assume that the Earth is the center of the universe, we must accept that the planets travel in a loopy path “with the appearance of Lenten bread.” In all Catholic countries, the bread culture became highly developed because of meatless holidays, and since pretzels didn’t have any ingredients that were taboo during the pre-Easter season such as eggs, milk, butter or lard, the pretzel became a popular Lenten food throughout the Middle Ages. Plus, the white Brezl was popular for its keeping qualities. It was thick, satisfying and transported easily. The East Prussian Salzburger settlers kept the originally Catholic Brezl, but added yeast and raisins and let it rise on a metal tin, eating it on the day before the highest holiday of the Evangelist church, Karfreitag.

The success of the pretiola spread to monasteries throughout the French and Italian wine regions and crossed over the Alps to Austria and Germany, where it became known as the bretzel, or pretzel.

Pretzels were a convenient way to give food to the poor and became typical alms for the hungry. Those who gave pretzels away were considered particularly blessed. They became such a sacred symbol that they were often packed into coffins.
A special recognition was given to the pretzel bakers in Austria. In 1510, the Ottoman Turks invaded Vienna by tunneling under the city walls. Pretzel bakers, working through the night, heard the strange noises in the cellars, grabbed every available weapon and killed the Turks. The city was saved and the grateful emperor awarded the pretzel bakers an honorary coat of arms. It shows a lion holding a shield with a pretzel in the middle.

The term “tying the knot” has special significance concerning the pretzel. It seems pretzels were introduced into the wedding ceremony. The couple wished upon and broke a pretzel like a wishbone, then ate it to signify their oneness. A 17th century woodcut copied from a stained glass window in a cathedral in Berne, Switzerland, shows the pretzel being used as the “marriage knot” between two royal families.

The Easter egg hunt may very well be a descendant of the tradition the Germans had at Easter. Pretzels were hidden around the farms for the children to find. They were then served with two hard-boiled eggs on Good Friday. The pretzel symbolized everlasting life and the two eggs nestled in each large hole represented Easter’s rebirth.

At the beginning of the new year, German children tied pretzels on strings around their necks for prosperity, health and good fortune.

partial text from:
Savor the unexpected twists and turns of the pretzel’s past
Oakland Tribune, Nov 5, 2003 by Judy Stanley – EVERETT HERALD

My favorite Lilith ritual

This ritual is perfect to summon Lilith. First of all, I recommend meditating outdoors, in nature, before proceeding with the ritual, and if you don’t have the possibility, absolutely do it in the afternoon (if the day is windy it is better).

Put fresh flowers (lilies) on the altar as thanks to Lilith. I do not recommend the ritual procedure if there are other people in the house, you cannot have any disturbance from external sources.

One last piece of advice to be fulfilled is to create an invocation, prayer, or mantra to the desired entity, in this case to Lilith you will have to recite it on the nights of the new moon.

Let’s start with the ritual


  • Sigil
  • Mirror
  • Black linen cloth
  • Moonstone
  • Incense sticks
  • Candles (black & white)

To begin, let’s open the circle the methods are varied, but for this ritual, I would recommend opening it with clay powder.

Now, let’s move on to setting up the altar. We place the two candles at both ends (on the candles you can engrave the symbols of Lilith if you want).

In the center we will place the mirror with the Lilith sigil written on it, then cover the mirror with a black linen cloth. The sigil must be pre-loaded a few minutes before the ritual.

Now place three sticks of incense on the front of the altar.

The moonstone can be placed on the altar or kept with you if you want to opt for the latter, you will have to wear clothes from natural fabric. You can keep the formula or invocation on the altar or, if you have the time, learn it by heart. Now that we have all the material sorted, let’s move on to the working part for us.

Start meditating, relax your body, and free your mind you should not have dealt with electrical tools for at least a few hours before the ritual.

Now that you are in a meditative state, you can mentally repeat the request to have contact with Lilith or recite the mantra in a low voice, if you have created one.

At this point, it would be time to pronounce the invocation or the formula written previously this formula must be heard by the practitioner, so if it does not also reflect the dialectic of your language, it would be better to modify it.

“Lilith, I need you with me.
May my call be heard by you.
Come here, where I summoned you.”

Now let’s talk a little about the final part. In the procedure of the ritual, you can always keep your eyes open or closed, this will be up to you to decide.

Once the work is done, thank Lilith, which you can do by donating the flowers previously collected and placing them under a tree, or through a song or prayer, as long as you feel this part is yours.

Now, let’s close the circle you can close it by sweeping the clay dust away with the broom (if you use the broom, purify it before use), or break up the circle in the opposite direction to its creation.

The altar should not be touched until the first light of the following day, so both candles and incense should not be extinguished.

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