Symbol & Archetype: A Study of The Meaning of Existence
“The answer to the question ‘What is Symbolism?’, if deeply understood, has been known to change altogether a man’s life; and it could indeed be said that most of the problems of the modern world result from ignorance of that answer. As to the past however, there is no traditional doctrine which does not teach that this world is the world of symbols, inasmuch as it contains nothing which is not a symbol. A man should therefore understand at least what that means, not only because he has to live in the herebelow but also and above all because without such understanding he would fail to understand himself, he being the supreme and central symbol in the terrestrial state. Needless to say, this little book does not claim to be exhaustive. Its purpose is to enable the reader to dwell on certain basic aspects of symbolism in relation to the Divinity, the hierarchy of the universe, the function of man, his faculties and his qualities, the conditions to which he is subject, the natural objects which surround him, his works of art, and his final ends, all with reference to the great living religions of the world, and in particular to Christianity and Islam.”
-from the Preface
This book does not claim to be exhaustive. Its purpose is to enable the reader to dwell on certain basic aspects of symbolism in relation to the Divinity. With references to all the world’s great faith traditions, both ancient and current (with special attention devoted to Christianity and Islam), Lings demonstrates how the science of symbols is inextricably linked with the path of Return.