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Symbols - What does heaven look like

Black and White

Salvidor Dali

There are three meanings symbolically to Black and White depending on the context, the meanings are not in opposition to one another, but are facets of the same principal

Shamanic role

Black and White are colours that at one time denoted the type of shaman.  Black does not mean evil here, but it does mean 'dark powers'.

  • White shamans took part in the spring festivals, marriage ceremonies, fertilization rites, and the curing of diseases.  White shamans also asked, in cases of the sterility of women, for help to make the woman fertile.  In effect, white shamans were the healers and hierophants.
  • Black shamans  communicated with evil spirits’. Evil spirits are simply the spirit beings of those things that can harm us – the spirit beings of viruses and bacteria and poisonous plants for example.  So it is a dangerous job.  Black shamans generally lived outside family groups because the contact was dangerous.

    They might also have foretold the future, and undertook exploration of the spirit realm and gave accounts of their journeys there.  Again both are potentially dangerous.

    In effect, black shamans are out of body travellers.  It is important, I think to realise that a black shaman is NOT an evil shaman – black does not symbolically represent evil in this context. The 'black shaman' is only professionally 'black', he helps men no less than the white shaman does, but he may have to deal with evil powers.  For this reason, he occupies a higher position than other types of shaman because the risks are greater. 
 

Symbolism of the Mind

The next symbolic meaning is the same as that used in Darkness and Light.  In this symbolism, the Conscious self is Black and the Subconscious self is White.  In order to gain spiritual experience one has to tame the Black side and marry it figuratively speaking with the feminine White subconscious.  The Masculine has to find the Feminine - Black and White combine to form a unit in which neither has the dominant position.  Thus in a sense Black and White also represent Balance.  Rather intriguingly in some symbol systems this same marriage is denoted by the colour Grey.

Or if you prefer Black and White = Grey [symbolically]

Overload and suppression

The final symbolism derives from the two contrasting means of spiritual experience and the two contrasting approaches to life. 

Black = Overload = All activities which overload the system and includes the activity of HATE = Destruction

White = Suppression = All activities which are gentle on the system and includes the activity of LOVE = Creation

The universe was designed around contrast - the two opposing forces; there can be no progress without the two acting against one another, as their interaction drives change.  One cannot create unless the old has been destroyed.  Thus both Black and White are needed.  They are needed in the role of the shaman, they are needed in the role of the Black Masculine and the White Feminine.

Neither side will ever 'win', because that is not the purpose of the 'game', the purpose is for each side to push the process - the Great Work.

Uses of the symbol

However bizarre this sounds, from this ancient symbolism derives much new symbolism, particularly the dress of the religious - black, white, long hair and the cross, all ancient symbols …………

     

Observations

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