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Thoughts: Chess, a game. Movement of pieces. Black and white, good and bad. Two Knights.
The white picket fence is an old American dream from the 50s: to own, to have, home sweet home with a white picket fence.

 

 

 

 


Click here to return to the symbolism dictionary.
Definitions are supplied to demystify symbolism (and the artwork in this studio).
Click here to return to the online symbolism dictionary.

 

Skeleton...
Mostly used as a symbol for death, but there are other interpretations (as always <g>). A skeleton is also a symbol for an underlying, truth (e.g., beneath all of the different skin colors, ethnic variations, etc., the bones remain the same). Combine the 'truth' meaning with the fact that bones last longer than the rest of the body and you get 'enduring truth.' The skull (separate), with a candle stuck in it, has become a symbol for black magic whereas the skull combined with books is seen as a symbol for science and/or history (one symbol, two sides of the coin). The traditional personification has DEATH, a skeleton, carrying a sickle or scythe, hence the name: The Grim Reaper.
Posted: October 11, 2003.

 

Shortcut links to the (expert) quotes below:
Estés: Women Who Run With the Wolves
Vollman: The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols
Biedermann: Dictionary of Symbolism

 

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 106
Now let us consider the skull with fiery light. It is a symbol from ancestral worship. In later archeo-religious versions of the story, the skulls on sticks are said to be those of humans whom the Yaga has killed and eaten. But in the older religions which practiced ancestral kinship, bones are recognized as the agents for calling the spirits, the skulls being the most salient part.

In ancestral kinship, it is believed that the special and timeless knowledge of the old ones of the community lives on in their very bones after death. The skull is thought to be the dome which houses a powerful remnant of the departed soul ... one which, if asked, can call the entire spirit of the dead person back for a time in order to be consulted. It is easy to imagine that the soul-Self lives right in the bony cathedral of the forehead, with the eyes as windows, mouth as door, and ears as the winds.

So when the Yaga gives Vasalisa a lighted skull, she is giving her an old-woman icon, an "ancestral knower," to carry with her for life. She is initiating her into a matrilineal legacy of knowing, one which, in the caves and canyons of the psyche, remains whole and thriving.
Posted: March 06, 2004.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 107
A fiery light emanates from the eyes, ears and nose, and mouth of the skull. It is the representation of all the psychic processes which have to do with discrimination. It is related to ancestor kinship and therefore to remembering. If the Yaga had given Vasalisa a knee-bone on a stick, that would require a different symbolic rendering. If she had given her a wrist-bone, a neck-bone, or any other bone--other than, perhaps, the female pelvis--it would not mean the same thing.

So the skull is another representation of intuition...
Posted: March 06, 2004.

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols, p. 398
Clear thinking, lack of emotion, asceticism, and death.
Posted: January 17, 2004.

Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 309
In shamanistic cultures human skeletons, or scrawny human figures with highly visible bone structures, symbolize the emotional experience of disintegration undergone by initiates to the world of trance. Similar depictions can also symbolize ascetic renunciation. Most often, however, skeletons are viewed as symbols of DEATH, since bones last beyond the decay of the flesh ...a skeleton is a visual metaphor personifying death--holding an HOURGLASS and a scythe (or SICKLE)--serving in depictions of the DANCE OF DEATH as a reminder that "in the midst of life, we are surrounded by death" ("Media in vita in morte sumus"), an especially popular motif in periods in which epidemics (like the "black death") ravaged Western Europe.
Posted: October 11, 2003.
Expanded: March 06, 2004.

Want to know more? Go out and pick up a copy of the book(s) quoted and expand your mind :) These are MY teachers, the people who teach me about symbolism :) I hope the supplied definitions help you understand the art found on this site.

 
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