Symbols - What does heaven look like
A marsh is a mixture of Water and Earth, as such symbolically it is about the closest you can get to Earth and away from Spirit and the spiritual world, whilst being still partly in the spiritual world. It is a sort of half way point, neither in nor out.
Symbolically it is always depicted as a gloomy place because it is so close to the Earth and thus the physical world, but this of course is seeing it from a negative perspective. For those of us that have spent most of their lives in the Earth, even a small amount of paddling around in a marsh is quite welcome which is why my marsh lady below is in sunshine. This, however, would be viewed by purists as incorrect symbolism!
A Dictionary of Symbols – J E Cirlot
According to Schneider, marshlands are a symbol of the decomposition of the spirit; that is, they are the place in which this occurs because of the lack of the two active elements - air and fire, and the fusion of the two passive elements – water and earth.
Therefore in legends, novels of chivalry etc marshes appear with this meaning. In the story of Gawain, knight of the Round Table, the protagonist finds himself in a marsh , and this implies his inability to bring his enterprise to a successful conclusion, just as when he is unable to mend 'the broken sword'. In The Lovers by Leslie Stevens, the protagonist finds himself obliged to defend marshlands from a tower which has been profaned, premonitory signs of his downfall and death
|My painting shows nothing one could interpret as the ‘decomposition of the spirit’ unless you think a naked lady with large boobs is a decomposition of the spirit [which I don’t] , because I saw marshland as simply the combination of the spiritual and the physical, but in the majority of poems and other allegorical texts, Cirlot’s interpretation is of course correct.|
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- Baudelaire, Charles - Les Fleurs du Mal - Above ponds, above valleys Mountains, woods, clouds, seas #000316
- Blake, William - Around Golgonooza lies the land of death eternal #003172
- Book of Five Spheres - The Wind Scroll and Speed #008301
- Braveheart - Follow the yellow brick road #000818
- Cayce, Edgar - Meets his Higher spirit #004243
- Chuang Tzu - The Man with one foot and the Marsh Pheasant #015072
- Clusium and Porsena #006627
- Dante - Inferno - Canto 02 - 07 #005189
- Gentling the Bull – 01 Searching for the Bull #011768
- Hennell, Thomas - Sees flying women and knights from the tomb #001600
- Hiroshige - A shrine among trees on a moor #001905
- Lyrics from the Chinese - The rushes on the marsh are green #012950
- Maeterlinck, Maurice - Concerning the spiritual in art - Wassily Kandinsky #003538
- O'Reilly, John Boyle - Clear and bright, from the snowy height #014702
- Poe, Edgar Allen - Dream-Land #005044
- Rimbaud, Arthur - I know skies split by lightning, waterspouts #001187
- Spencer, Stanley - Symbolism 17 - Marsh, meadow, wheel #019402
- Thoreau, Henry D - Walden - The landscape of soul #001851
- Tibetan Book of the Dead - The Swamp of Existence #010700