Symbols - What does heaven look like
In the era when men were regarded as superior to women, and where the old were regarded as those with wisdom, the image used to represent a spiritual being with ‘wisdom’ was an old [often bearded] man.
In Christianity, Jesus is almost always portrayed with a beard in iconography. In paintings and statues most of the Old Testament Biblical characters such as Moses and Abraham and Jesus' New Testament disciples such as St Peter are with beard, as was John the Baptist. Eight of the figures portrayed in the painting entitled The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci are bearded.
In India a statue of Brahma – the Creator was often portrayed with a black or white beard denoting wisdom and a longer beard denoting ‘eternal process’. [So here the symbol has some meaning across cultures]. This visionary symbolism spilled over into life and how it was lived. In ancient India, for example, the beard was allowed to grow long, as a symbol of dignity and of wisdom (cf. sadhu).
Now that women have achieved at least some level of parity with men, we start to find more and more figures of women appearing in descriptions of visions. But wisdom still seems to be related to age. As such whether male or female, the figures are nearly always old or at least elderly, with the traits of an elderly person - white hair, perhaps a wrinkled face, slightly stooped in stature.
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- Ancient Egyptian - The symbolism of Min
- Ancient Egyptian - The symbolism of the four sons of Horus
- Appendicitis produces an NDE
- Bruce Chatwin - Australian aboriginal – The First Morning
- Colin Wilson's mother sees a spirit helper
- Copan - Mayan - Stela D
- Crowley - 5 The Hierophant
- Crowley - 9 The Hermit
- Delos - 05 Bronze mask of Dionysos
- Dürer, Albrecht - Symbolism - The sea wonders
- Indus valley - Mohenjo-Daro - 08 The Hierophant
- Intelligences - PLANETS JUPITER Adad [or Hadad] and Šala
- Jean Noblet, Jean Dodal, Nicolas Conver - 0 the Fool
- Michelangelo - 1516 Tomb of Pope Julius II - Moses
- Moreau - The dream haunting the mogul
- Ninety year old remembers his teenage NDE vividly
- Norse - Staraya Ladoga
- Nuremberg Chronicle - Arms
- Organisation of Pictish society – Roles - The Hermit
- Rebecca Martin's near death experience
- Rider-Waite - 9 The Hermit
- Rubens - Drunken Silenus
- Sacred geography - Ancient Egyptian - Abu Simbel
- Schuré - The Great Initiates – 'Remolding' in order to attain mastery
- Schuré - The Great Initiates – Isis and Osiris
- Schwabe, Carlos - The Death of the Gravedigger
- Spencer, Stanley - Symbolism 19 - The Lovers (The Dustman)
- Susa - Darius' palace - Winged sphinx circa 510 BC
- Taq Bostan 02
- Through the Looking Glass - Ch 03 - 2 The Train
- Totem group – Picts – 00 Tattoos
- Ur - Nannar statue 2000 BC and purse or bag
- Various examples - 4 The Emperor
- Various examples - 5 The Hierophant
- Waterhouse, John William - Diogenes