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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.










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


Three is considered a magical number, denoting something special. This makes a lot of sense psychologically speaking: for something to happen once can be an accident, for the same thing to happen twice might mark coincidence but the human psyche seems to equate three with a manifestation of intent/purpose beyond the ordinary; three seems to come across as NOT an accident (although that is NOT always so :) A common superstition/saying, "third time is a charm" is an encouragement to put discouragement aside and try AGAIN or make that EXTRA special effort.

Two are opposites/stasis/balance, three allows for change and growth (example: a group of two may not be able to make a decision but a group of three can because there is always an available majority). Three is a number that goes beyond balance into stability. Three also allows one to see MORE than just two sides of an issue. Another use of three as going beyond the ordinary: the "third eye" is the one that sees the dreamworld or into the subconscious, it is usually located above and between the two eyes on your face (a Cyclops is actually one who lives in fantasy and cannot SEE the "real" world). Three is special (unless you're in a contest and come in third <g>).

...and there's even MORE about the number "3" below (NOT bought to you by Sesame Street :)

AUTHORS NOTE: I have to admit, that I don't always completely agree with Vollmar's definitions but he DOES look at symbols from a completely different angle than the other authors (since these interpretations are pulled from a DREAM dictionary) which adds to a more complete posted picture because (to quote Joseph Campbell) "myths and dreams come from the same place." This note is NOT meant as disrespect, but because (occasionally) my fingers have a hard time typing some of the more Freudian stuff <g>.
Posted: May 02, 2004.


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


Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 417
The gardener, the king, and the magician are three mature personifications of the archetypal masculine. They correspond to the sacred trinity of the feminine personified by the maiden, mother, and crone.
Posted: May 02, 2004.

The Power of Myth, p. 28
There is a verse in Lao-tzu's Tao-te Ching which states that out of the Tao, out of the transcendent, comes the One. Out of the One come Two; out of the Two come Three; and out of the Three come all things.
Posted: May 02, 2004

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols, p. 434-436
Three is a tense, dynamic, rhythmic, and complete (the Holy Trinity). Three is a symbol of the spirit, since it is assigned to the third stage of human consciousness (after the physical and emotional). In the Middle East, three is considered a holy number. It is always connected to time: past, present, future. In ancient Rome the Fates always appear as three goddesses. Since ancient times femininity has been seen in three aspects: the virgin (Artemis), the woman (Hera), and the old woman (Hecate). Faust calls out three times until Mephisto appears. Peter denies Christ three times. Doing things three times has magical effects -- it represents the connection to reality.

According to Freud, refers to male genitalia. Jung considers three a mystical number; the three servants of the Queen of Night in The Magic Flute; the three witches in Macbeth; the three wishes that are free. All this relates back, as do many god-trinities, to the original trinity: father-mother-son. It is the male child, since the number three, according to Western tradition, is uneven and, as a prime number, a genuine male number. In this tradition, the male child is seen first in terms of male fertility.

According to Jung, the number three is connected to the diabolical. The den of craving in alchemy is depicted by a three-headed snake. The three-headed snake in mythology is always Satan. Also, according to Jung, three belongs to the young; and in ancient China and the Greek patriarchy, it points to masculine attributes and their function.

On the other hand, Three as a feminine number is part of the tradition in the area of the Mediterranean, through the veneration of Mary in Catholicism and the rediscovery of the matriarchy. Also, Goethe's play Faust, Part II, ends with a prayer to the great goddess appearing threefold: "Virgin, Mother, Queen."
Posted: May 02, 2004.

Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 352-353
Along with triadic structures of female mythical figures, characteristic of classic antiquity and its conceptual world. There seems to have been a more pronounced desire to see powerful female divinities in threes than was the case for their male counterparts: consider the GRACES, the HORAE, the FATES, the GORGONS, the Graeae, the FURIES. Even the number of the NINE MUSES suggests a structure of three-times-three. Later mythologists attempted to interpret the goddess of the night and magic, Hecate, as a triadic figure (girl, woman, crone), which is no unequivocally supported by classical sources. (See SPINNING.) In south-central Europe at the time of the Romans three MOTHERS (matres, matrone, matrae) were revered; cults of similar female triads carried over into alpine regions in the form of worship of legendary female saints, the three "Beths," with names like "Ainbeth, Wilbeth, and Warbeth" (or Catherine, Barbara, and Lucia; there were many variants). The symbolism of the female triad may also have influenced the Norse myth of the three Norns, spinning human destiny like the Fates of the Greeks. The Hindu Trimurti shows a triadic organization, portraying jointly Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, in a way that has often been likened to the Christian Trinity. Its roots in intellectual history, however, involve the efforts of Indian theologians to bridge the widening gap between followers of Shiva and of Vishnu. The Buddhist notion of knowledge (bodhi) as the tri-kaya ("three bodies") is composed of dharma-kaya (true being), nirmana-kaya (the earthly mode, Gautama Buddha), and sambogha-kaya, the blessed functioning of the community of believers. From this is derived the symbolic image of the "three jewels" (tri-ratna): law, Buddha, and community, which are interpreted in Jainism as "right conduct," "right faith," and "right knowledge." In the imagery of ALCHEMY, the division of the world into corpus, anima and spiritus (body, soul, spirit; also, salt, SULFUR, AND MERCURY) is often portrayed with three figures (often disguised by symbols of the TRINITY). (See also BLACK.)
Posted: May 02, 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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