Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Symbols Revealed

If you haven't already read this post, you may want to do that first so you can draw and rank these symbols before I reveal the meaning. Otherwise, read on...

improvisational painting, circle, Robin Atkins
CIRCLE
The circle represents wholeness and completion.

improvisational painting, cross, Robin AtkinsCROSS
The cross represents relationships. In addition to relationships with other people, it may also represent relationships with animals, your work, your concept of a higher power, nature, etc.

improvisational painting, spiral, Robin AtkinsSPIRAL
The spiral represents change and growth.

improvisational painting, square, Robin AtkinsSQUARE
The square represents stability and security.

improvisational painting, triangle, Robin AtkinsTRIANGLE
The triangle represents goals, dreams and ideals.


RANKING THE SYMBOLS
The rank you gave each of these shapes speaks to the importance and significance of the symbolic reference in your life at this time. As you will see, it’s not exactly what you might guess.

#1
The number 1-ranked attribute is your most conscious area of concern at this time in your life. It is the area to which you are paying full attention. Your awareness of this area is expansive and uncluttered.

#2
You are also consciously working, or you worked in the past, on this area. The work you are doing or have done in this area is related to and directly supports the work you need/want to do in your number 1-ranked area.

#3
The number 3-ranked attribute is the core of your unconscious attention. You are very absorbed in this area, but your efforts here are largely unconscious. Look for this area in your dreams.

#4
The number 4-ranked area supports the work of your unconscious attention (your number 3-ranked attribute). It may involve past challenges and tests or current issues. In either case, this area motivates and supports your current unconscious process.

#5
There are two interpretations for the number 5-ranked attribute. Either it is the area that interests you the least (possibly because it doesn’t apply to your life or you’ve already dealt with it) or it is something you are avoiding because you don’t want to deal with it. Examine your position regarding this area by asking “Is there something I might be afraid of here?”

PAINTING
As I mentioned in the previous post, my counselor used this exercise to open my awareness of what is important to me and how I might be dealing with the concerns I was facing at the time. It helped. It moved the therapeutic process along nicely.

She also suggested that I “play” with the concepts on my own time. So one day I made a bunch of paintings. I just tucked the shapes in the back of my mind and painted improvisationally. Below is one of the paintings I did that day.

symbols, improvisational painting, Robin Atkins
It’s quite interesting to me that the triangle, although I ranked it third, appears frequently and in several forms in this painting. Along the top and bottom, the triangle encloses circles and spirals, my two areas of conscious attention. In addition the triangle appears… upside down!... in almost every one of my Bead Journal Project pieces. I need to give this some thought… Why would my subconscious attention to goals and dreams be upside down? I don’t know the answer. I sure hope my unconscious is working on it.

bead embroidery, Robin Atkins
In my June BJP piece, I used all 5 symbols. I made the "patchwork" square first. It reminded me of the symbols, so I decided to add them all. The "string" connecting them was an improvisational addition. I like seeing them connected, as in all aspects of my life, each of them important at one time or another. Made me appreciate the square more, which was my #5 ranked shape.

21 comments:

  1. Thank you - this was really interesting. I'm going through a lot of upheaval in my life at the moment and it has given me some real insights into what is going on. Particularly unexpected is the significance given to each number - not what I had assumed it to be but actually much more in tune with my feelings. Thank you for this, it has been very helpful. (And I love your work of course!)

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  2. These posts were very interesing for me. I had mine ranked from 1 - 5 as circle, spiral, triangle, cross (x), and square. Many of my art pieces have spirals and circles but I don't think I've used the other symbols very much. That might change now.

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  3. What I liked most about this ranking is that my unconscious is working on my 'relationships with everything.' I think this is because I'm in a large state of flux in where I think I want my artistic and real life to go. And the statement about dreams supports this as I've been dreaming the last year or two of changes in getting used to many different buildings which is supposed to be (from what I know of dreams!) a signal of inner growth and change. Therefore, it makes sense that my relationships will change.

    Good thought provoking post, Robin. Fun too!

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  4. This post really surprised me, but the results made perfect sense, as did where things got ranked given what's been going on in my life as of late. I thought #4 was the most interesting-- kind of like it's the underlying foundation that all the conscious processes are built on. (And I ranked squares last too-- never liked boxes or being put into one!)

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  5. Lynne ~ Great to hear from you and glad if this post helps you in some way.

    Janet ~ I just knew we were sisters... I have the same ranking, except for reversing the spiral and the circle.

    Mary ~ I'm thinking of the cross as a meeting point in your case... something about the place where your creative/artistic life meets your other lifetime roles... the things the two crossing pathways have in common...

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  6. Very interesting, Robin. I can't say I am surprised by my rankings, but #5 is definitely food for thought. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Arline

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  7. Fascinating post, Robin. After being an artist all my life, I generally never give any thought to which shape or symbol appeals most to me. I simply go with what looks best in the design of the moment. It was hard for me to choose which was #1 . . .


    Kathy V in NM

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  8. Thanks Robin for this most interesting post! I really enjoyed doing this.
    Now I know why the spiral resonates so much with me - it seems like my whole life has been about change and growth.
    -Karen

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  9. Seriously, I think the triangle is the most appealing to me. I am alway ssearching for triangular beads/ jewelry. And, it is true- I'm a dreamer!

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  10. Wow. It is so right on! I had in order, circle, spiral, square, triangle, and cross. Before seeing the BJP advertised I had been wanting for years, to find a group of truly creative people so I now have found my "wholeness" and am "growing" by leaps and bounds now. I am working on stabilizing my future and "security" by looking at where I can move in the future to be closer to my family in California and it is backed with the "goals" I have set forth that have become apparent through my dreams (night-time ones, not hopes). My "relationship" with my daughter, because of her husband took a major dive this year and I don't even know where to go with that so am waiting it out along with my "relationship" with my male-dominated church.

    So you can see how right on this was! Truly, the BJP was a dream come true for me and a great catalyst for my new older life. Can one ever say thank you enough? I think not. Not when the service rendered was life changing as this group has been. Thank you Robin.

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  11. Like artandtea, I find myself constantly drawn to the spiral - the Native Americans used the spiral in their petroglyphs to indicate that their journey continued from the point of the drawing. The journey continues - change - growth - I just looked at all of my pages and realized every one of them has a spiral in it. Interesting!

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  12. So interesting! Not surprisingly, I ranked spiral and circle at 1 and 2, but it was harder to sort out the others. Triangle and cross came in at 3 and 4, but that feels very interchangeable, and the square came in last. I, too, don't like to be "boxed in." This is giving me a whole lot to think about. Thank you!

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  13. Mine were: cross, sprial, circle, triangle and square. Like many of you I dislike being boxed in and will do almost anything to keep myself from being boxed it.

    Loved this series of posts. Very close to my heart.

    And tomorrow I'm going to take a look at all my pages and see what shows up in them. The unconcious mind, ya gotta love it!

    xo

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  14. I just view the entire page length. Your work is beautiful as well as thought provoking. I usually meditate while I bead--lost in thought so to speak. I will have to start paying closer attention to why I make the color, design and bead type choices I make. Thank you on so many levels for all your work. Vivian

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  15. #1, #3, #5, it is interesting to know & understand which each symbol represents. I especially love your beaded piece because it incorporates "lots of feeling & emotion" by that I mean your feelings are unflolding in a natural colorful way, lots of energy & positive feelings.

    Your inspiring me to get busy on my BJP, now if my back would coroporate I could get something accomplished & then hopefully soon have a computer to which I can download photo's.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your inner feelings & positive energy.

    Huggies from New Mexico!
    Have a beautiful day, I miss Washington state very much, especially the ocean & surrounding water ways.

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  16. #1, #3, #5, would best describe me, I need to focus more on completing then I can go on.

    It is interesting to know & understand which each symbol represents. I especially love your beaded piece because it incorporates "lots of feeling & emotion" by that I mean your feelings are unflolding in a natural colorful way, lots of energy & positive feelings.

    Your inspiring me to get busy on my BJP, now if my back would coroporate I could get something accomplished & then hopefully soon have a computer to which I can download photo's.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your inner feelings & positive energy.

    Huggies from New Mexico!
    Have a beautiful day, I miss Washington state very much, especially the ocean & surrounding water ways.

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  17. It occurs to me that your heart, at least in the piece you showed in this post, looks a lot like an upside down triangle. Maybe all the upside down triangles in your other pieces are just abstract hearts?!

    Our library has a copy of the book from which this exercise comes. I didn't take the time to check on my responses the first time I did it but I'm confident I've put the symbols in a different order this time. Isn't the human psyche fascinating?

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  18. Anonymous10:48 PM

    You would probably enjoy the book ::
    Signs of Life, The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them by
    Angeles Arrien :: it's beautiful ::

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  19. I did this exercise at a lecture by a Brother who is an Artist. His whole program was interesting but I found this part as particularly interesting. One of the things that he mentioned is that the up side down triangle is a symbol of femininity. Makes you think, maybe with all of the growth you are going through you are getting more in touch with yourself as a woman and the creative mother of all of your amazing art.

    Makes you think. Love, Ang

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  20. Anonymous7:30 PM

    This was the most interesting thought provoking item I have read in a long time. The explanation of the ranking of the symbols was right on for me. I joined the 2008 BJP to explore my ability to expand my creativity. Interesting that the spiral was my most compelling, even when I first read the list of symbols!

    Robin, I love this project and thank you for it. I never dreamed when I stumbled on it that I would participate. I have come so far this year in extending a part of my self for others to meet. I am amazed.

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  21. I posted above and didn't mean to be anonymous.

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Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!