Symbols of the Ancients

Advertising Appealing Illusions

Promoting a product or a range of services is known as advertising – part art form, part science – using psychologically inspired messages, both overt and subliminal, meant to effect a target audience revealing a need for “something,” suggesting the article or service offered can satisfy the inner craving better than anything else.

One could argue that how something is advertised can create a mass obsession (illusion), with television and other forms of communication especially when focused by someone (ad manager or director) who is astute, charismatic and able to influence collective thought and public opinion. The consumer, a recipient of these effects, interprets input differently, believing some and seeing through others by evoking past experiences that reveal preconceived notions and cultural influences.

Known in Hindu as Maya, illusion in a general sense is held as neither true nor false, but is as real as the reflection one sees in the mirror, although initially considered by most as a falsehood.  Some people may be able to see through illusion as Hindu philosophy believes, by shedding ego and  evolving, presumably to yet another illusion that lies hidden, suggesting that existence is layered like an onion, with tiers when peeled.

Illusions  rarely present sequentially,  often appearing simultaneously, which is part of the reason why it’s difficult to identify let alone distinguish them, although they have been the basis of parables, myths and legends often unnoticed, sometimes invisibly obvious. It is possible that dream imagery reveals them in symbolic form. The number seven is a good example to illustrate: “An individual faced with the appearance of seven perplexing forms (choices, tests) emerging from something as mundane as a series of seven chalices in a cloud or mist. The person’s back is toward us gazing at the dazzling array of ‘prizes’ appearing from these cups as aspirations, fears and rewards, with positive and negative obstacles. Jewels, a snake, a laurel-wreath, a dragon, castle, head, and a shrouded person.”

There is nothing mystical about these symbols, some of which are arch-type in nature. A veiled shrouded figure commonly represents  that which one cannot see, while a person’s head perhaps signifies a relationship or ill tidings during the French Revolution. Jewels can be wealth but also clarity of vision. The wreath of power denotes influence and control over others which can be benevolent or malevolent. All of them  suggest duality of positive and negative with clues suggesting the attainment of balance. The problem with symbols is that they can be archaic,  and it’s possible to read more into them than they convey. However, the one thing they all seem to have in common is they all contain the potential for attachment, which is in and of itself an illusion.

for more reading: The Sacred Symbols of the Ancients.

Symbols of the Ancients