The Dictionary of Symbols

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symbols cover


Cool Tools says:

In art, literature, film and life, even the littlest image or reference can open a world of interpretation. This thick encyclopedia, with contributions from scholars in various disciplines, is an excellent guide to the major and more esoteric origins of seemingly everything -- from "abracadabra" to "Zodiac."


Unfortunately, no illustrations inside, just text.

The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Dictionary, Penguin)

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Aaaaah...what good is a dictionary of symbols without 'symbols'? Gotta have pics. The best book is Barbara G Walker's "Woman's Dictionary of Symbols & Sacred Objects" - even though she is rabidly anti male and anti Christian! Next best is Carl G Liungman's "Dictionary of Symbols" though he has an elaborate 'group' system that is confusing. But he also has a web site to make you more confused! I make symbolic jewelry so I use these 2 sources a lot - at least I did until Wiki :)
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