The Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism: The Body

Overview

The first volume of An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism was a stunning collection of color images and text organized around mythic themes that follow the solar calendar from cosmos and creation to death, transformation, and rebirth. In this second volume, the focus is the human body as a carrier of deep psychological insights and sacred meanings.

Whether idolized or abused, the body is the object of much fascinated attention, even obsessive preoccupation, in the contemporary...

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Overview

The first volume of An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism was a stunning collection of color images and text organized around mythic themes that follow the solar calendar from cosmos and creation to death, transformation, and rebirth. In this second volume, the focus is the human body as a carrier of deep psychological insights and sacred meanings.

Whether idolized or abused, the body is the object of much fascinated attention, even obsessive preoccupation, in the contemporary Western world. What has been missing from our culture's preoccupation is an appreciation of the body's organs as symbols of the deepest contents of the human psyche. This book surveys the richness of meaning found in a wide range of beautiful sacred images from the world's traditions and explains what the symbolism of our physical form teaches us about the inner realities of our consciousness, spirit, and divine essence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This extraordinary book offers a rare opportunity for both layperson and scholar to encounter and gain insight into the living symbols that reveal the sacred incarnated in the physical world."—Linda Schierse Leonard, author of Creation's Heartbeat: Following the Reindeer Spirit

"Volume 2 of this encyclopedia comes when we need it most—just when the body is coming back into the core of spiritual and religious concern. Organ by organ, from the heel of Achilles to the circumcision of Christ, The Body is an essential handbook for today's thought."—T. George Harris, editor of Deeper Health in Spirituality, Science, and Community

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is an astonishing book, an important publishing event and a significant sourcebook of body wisdom. Developed from the resources in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, this is a richly collaborative volume, the product of years of research and thoughtful encounter by members of the Archive. While volume one was organized around the mythic themes that follow the solar calendar from cosmos and creation to death, transformation and rebirth, this second volume focuses on the human body as the locus of the sacred and as the source of deep psychological insights. Each topic is presented in a four-page unit consisting of a full-page color illustration of an art work which captures the archetype, an art-historical discussion of the artifact, an archetypal commentary and a brief bibliography. The odd element of this structure is that the art-historical commentary on the artifact is given equal status to the archetypal commentary. As a result, the archetypal discussion is not as rich as it might be, for the archetypal commentaries do not connect the present iteration of the archetypes with past incarnations. Nevertheless, this enormously useful reference book will be a welcome addition to the scholar's library. Sept.
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