This tulip was from my yard in early May. To me, it symbolizes spring since that’s the only time it blooms. It symbolizes beauty, one of many beautiful gifts around us every day.
Today’s headline on the news includes a call to stop flying the Confederate Flag in South Carolina. The flag carries a negative connotation, a symbol carried forward from the days of the Civil War.
Symbols only convey the meaning you give them. For example, a dove typically symbolizes peace. But does a dove create peace? No more than a gun creates war.
For a camper, rain symbolizes disappointment and sogginess. For a farmer in a drought, that same rain symbolizes hope and nourishment. It all depends what meaning you attach to the rain.
Imagine what the world would look like if everyone could put aside the self-created meanings we give to not only symbols but also to everything and everybody else we see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Flags would be flags, rain would be rain, doves would be doves. Everything would be what it is and everybody would be who they are. Imagine…
Universal symbols give meaning and stir up emotion without language. Many groups, countries, and religions use symbols for their own purposes, to create and reinforce their beliefs. Individuals can choose to go along with these created meanings or make their own connotations. Nature, human and non-human, are just part of the universe.