Observations placeholder

Cirlot on landscape



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

A Dictionary of Symbols – J E Cirlot

Let us take, by way of illustration, landscapes as they appear in dreams.  Leaving aside the phenomenon of memory, reminiscence, or the complex association of various sense data, the scenes and towns which figure in dreams are neither arbitrary and indeterminate nor objective; they are symbolic – that is, they well up in order to illuminate certain momentary experiences called forth by varying combinations of influences in varying degrees of intensity.

Landscape scenes arising in the imagination in this way are sustained solely by the validity, duration and intensity of the feelings which aroused them.  Form – just as in physical morphology – is the diagram of force..

This then, is a question not of a projection of the mind but of an analogy whereby the landscape is adopted by the spirit in consequence of the inner bond linking the character of the scene with the spirit of the observer himself.  Subjectivism concerns only the act of choosing.  The intellection of the significance of a landscape is, then, wholly objective, as in the  grasping of the symbolic values of colours and numbers.  The Chinese saw this with utmost clarity; as Luc Benoist has observed, Chinese art has always placed more emphasis upon landscape than upon man (as a figure that is to say), and upon the macrocosm rather than the microcosm..

It is a well established tradition of symbology that the different worlds or zones are strictly only different states of being

The source of the experience

Cirlot, J E

Concepts, symbols and science items


Symbol system


Science Items

Symbol system

Activities and commonsteps



Beauty, art and music
Inherited genes