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The Illustrated Signs and Symbols Sourcebook

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THE SIGNS & SYMBOLS SOURCEBOOK is an Ato Z treasure trove of facts, stories, and hidden meanings of symbols from cultures around the world. Where does each symbol come from and what does it mean? Learn about Native American hunting symbols, secret alphabets, and coded message. Find out the true meanings of Indian murdras, the Masonic compass, the Eye of Horus, the Caduceus THE SIGNS & SYMBOLS SOURCEBOOK is an Ato Z treasure trove of facts, stories, and hidden meanings of symbols from cultures around the world. Where does each symbol come from and what does it mean? Learn about Native American hunting symbols, secret alphabets, and coded message. Find out the true meanings of Indian murdras, the Masonic compass, the Eye of Horus, the Caduceus, and hundreds of other ancient signs. Loaded with over a thousand lush images, this comprehensive sourcebook has everthing you need to unlock the secrets of the symboles of our world.


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THE SIGNS & SYMBOLS SOURCEBOOK is an Ato Z treasure trove of facts, stories, and hidden meanings of symbols from cultures around the world. Where does each symbol come from and what does it mean? Learn about Native American hunting symbols, secret alphabets, and coded message. Find out the true meanings of Indian murdras, the Masonic compass, the Eye of Horus, the Caduceus THE SIGNS & SYMBOLS SOURCEBOOK is an Ato Z treasure trove of facts, stories, and hidden meanings of symbols from cultures around the world. Where does each symbol come from and what does it mean? Learn about Native American hunting symbols, secret alphabets, and coded message. Find out the true meanings of Indian murdras, the Masonic compass, the Eye of Horus, the Caduceus, and hundreds of other ancient signs. Loaded with over a thousand lush images, this comprehensive sourcebook has everthing you need to unlock the secrets of the symboles of our world.

30 review for The Illustrated Signs and Symbols Sourcebook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Baal Of

    This is a very pretty book, and as long as the author just discusses symbology, it seems pretty decent. So why the low rating? Because it is so packed full is misinformation and mystical rubbish. I gave up making notes of everything that was wrong, because I was filling up my paper too quickly. Some of the most egregious are the medical claims. For example on page 185 she claims "Homeopathy relies on the power of water to be able to dilute and yet strengthen the essence of the remedy" - This is This is a very pretty book, and as long as the author just discusses symbology, it seems pretty decent. So why the low rating? Because it is so packed full is misinformation and mystical rubbish. I gave up making notes of everything that was wrong, because I was filling up my paper too quickly. Some of the most egregious are the medical claims. For example on page 185 she claims "Homeopathy relies on the power of water to be able to dilute and yet strengthen the essence of the remedy" - This is of course complete bullshit. Homeopathy has been tested repeatedly. It does not work, there is no essence, and nothing to strengthen. Other "alternative" medicine claims accepted uncritically include cancer fighting properties of mistletoe (pg 304) and copper bracelets aid pain relief (pg 345), and this isn't a book about alt med. This shit is dropped like stinking turds in the middle of what could otherwise be a useful reference book. page 191: She claims that squaring the circle is a fundamental part of secular geometry, which is not really correct at all. In fact it has been proven to be mathematically impossible, because pi is a transcendental number, which has nothing to do with flighty new-age notions of transcendence. page 210: Apparently accepts the actual existence of fairies, pixies, elves and spirits as really existing in twilight. page 214: Claims that there are enough sightings of Sasquatch and big cats to satisfy all but "the most hardened realists", simultaneously equating a mythical creature for which we have no verifiable physical evidence, with a class of creatures for which we have incontrovertible evidence, and subtly implying that anecdotal evidence is all we need to accept the reality of something. Rant to be continued...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gertrud

    I just bought the book yesterday at Barnes & Noble. It's full of fascinating information, and I think I will like it and reference if frequently. I have one major complaint, however: the typography is horrific. It seems that there was no proofreading before printing. Word spacing is very haphazard, there are end of line hyphens in the middle of the line. It takes some of the joy out of reading the text. I just bought the book yesterday at Barnes & Noble. It's full of fascinating information, and I think I will like it and reference if frequently. I have one major complaint, however: the typography is horrific. It seems that there was no proofreading before printing. Word spacing is very haphazard, there are end of line hyphens in the middle of the line. It takes some of the joy out of reading the text.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hudson

    I bought this after a quick glance, and was a little disappointed as I tucked into it. What I hoped for was something well-written and academically backed, and that would help spark creative ideas or inform me about literary symbolism. On closer examination it doesn't totally meet that criteria. Firstly, as another commenter pointed out, there's some typographical errors that distract from the content. In addition, the writing styles is all over the place, sometimes curt and encyclopedic, other t I bought this after a quick glance, and was a little disappointed as I tucked into it. What I hoped for was something well-written and academically backed, and that would help spark creative ideas or inform me about literary symbolism. On closer examination it doesn't totally meet that criteria. Firstly, as another commenter pointed out, there's some typographical errors that distract from the content. In addition, the writing styles is all over the place, sometimes curt and encyclopedic, other times proclaiming the power of symbols with child-like whimsy. More importantly, there is essentially zero academic value presented here. There are no citations besides image credits. There's anecdotal information that sounds completely unprofessional. Like I happened to have the page open on "scorpions" just now, and here's how it opens: "Because the scorpion is so dangerous - it has enough venom to kill a man - in the countries where it lives its name is often not mentioned in case the scorpion is somehow 'evoked'." What the absolute hell. This is the kind of thing you have to just ignore while you read this book. I'm going to break down why this sentence makes zero sense. 1. The Scorpion is actually 1500 species, 30 of which CAN prove fatal, and these instances are rare. So that's literally something this guy made up. 2. The simplistic phrasing honestly, to me, sounds like they're writing to children, which I guess maybe they are, but it doesn't work for adult audiences. 3. This cracker probably thinks there's like five countries with scorpions. I know this guy thinks there's like exactly Five Desert Countries out there where the monolithic native cultures don't DARE utter the name of the scorpion lest they invoke it's terrible wrath. 4. This book discusses religion and belief systems a LOT, and unlike academic texts on the topic has a weak conceptual framework and vocabulary for describing religion itself. This passage proves that. They say that people don't utter the name of the scorpion unless they "somehow 'evoke'" it, with their choice of putting "evoke" in quotes. It's as if the concept of evoking a name or image to cause that thing to appear is at once a silly and a novel idea (and a concept specific to scorpion-fearing countries), while in actuality this is THE principle behind basically ALL magic in EVERY culture. Isn't this book about magic symbols? Shouldn't you have a section on how different cultures perceive magic and invocations, and about cause and effect and related fallacies? No, that would belong in a more educational book. Most of the entries aren't as ridiculous as the scorpion's, of course. They typically do include a lot of (hopefully true) facts which I had never heard. If it's stuff I do know, I just glaze past it. The overall tone is one of non-committal, mainstream mysticism, which reveals that the author believes in magic and the importance of magic without them expressly stating that fact, and I think I would find more entertainment value if they doubled down and went into detail on their recommended applications of these magic runes and herbs. That would be funny. The author's preconceived notions of magic also hinder the facts here and there. Literally every symbol which involves a circle, no matter what the culture, the author will ascribe the aspects of eternity and wholeness. Now, the cauldron with its circular rim might have been written about as possessing those properties, but I'm also inclined to believe the author didn't have much to say about cauldrons and tacked on the circle symbolism from they're own gut feeling. A more heinous inaccuracy brought about by mystic supposition arises at every mention of the sun and moon, where the author insists that the sun is masculine and the moon is feminine regardless of the culture containing the given sun/moon symbol. If the claim is, in fact, that this is universally how the celestial bodies are perceived, then the author is wrong (there are loads of cultures where the genders are swapped). But I think, because they believe in magic, that when they say that the moon has feminine energy, they are speaking literally about moon spells and not about any actual cultural beliefs. Taken this way, it's not even a false anthropological assessment, it's religious gospel. In the end I learned things (I think) by reading this. And a lot of energy and time went into this book - this guy really loves symbols. I can't give it more or less than two stars. It's alright.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Good resource book on signs and symbols with useful illustrations. I Will definitely be referring to this regularly. The book does come from a perspective of openness to the meanings of signs and symbols which I think is helpful in understanding how they have retained their meanings or evolved in various ways.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Yocom

    This is a good light overview of signs and symbols. If you are looking for something to give you ideas and then help direct where you might want to dig further, then you might want to consider this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A very useful guide that looked at the various symbols with a non biased or discriminatory outlook.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mariel

    I only read a small portion of this before giving up because of the dubious information. I think this book might serve as an interesting jumping-off point, and the collection of such a wide variety of symbols may be helpful for identification (assuming the names are at least accurate), but I can't help but think some of the information on meaning is inaccurate or at the least skewed by modern interpretation. I don't have a problem with re-interpreting symbols, but one ought to draw the line betw I only read a small portion of this before giving up because of the dubious information. I think this book might serve as an interesting jumping-off point, and the collection of such a wide variety of symbols may be helpful for identification (assuming the names are at least accurate), but I can't help but think some of the information on meaning is inaccurate or at the least skewed by modern interpretation. I don't have a problem with re-interpreting symbols, but one ought to draw the line between what it meant before, and what it means now, and also in what culture a symbol holds that meaning. The lack of references makes me suspicious and I don't feel the author is enough of an authority on the history of such a wide variety of symbols to get away without them. Proceed with caution if you are looking for an accurate historical reference.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    An excellent reference book!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Skari

    This has taken my knowledge of obscure things no one else cares about up to 11. 10/10 would heavily highlight again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Great source for research. Colorful drawings and interesting information.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Moore

    A great collection for those who love researching conspiracy theory symbol meanings or into occult followings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    AvatarChae

    Cool reference book. In my opinion, it isn’t completely accurate.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Taylor

    Filled with false information and contains no sources except for the images, which are cited at the end of the book. Do not recommend this book at all. The cover is nice, I guess.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aymen Yahyaoui

    I like it

  15. 5 out of 5

    Margret

    An excellent book. It was informative and I really enjoyed it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    an amazingly comprehensive illustrated encyclopaedia of symbols from all roams of life. I have a few symbology books this is one of my favorites. Its divided into easy and well listed sections and covers a lot of ground. Its great for anyone who enjoys mythology, religion, ancient history or even psychoanalytical work. Anyone intrigued by the way the mind works when presented with different images will see many symbols that have been used for thousands of years with as many meanings identified w an amazingly comprehensive illustrated encyclopaedia of symbols from all roams of life. I have a few symbology books this is one of my favorites. Its divided into easy and well listed sections and covers a lot of ground. Its great for anyone who enjoys mythology, religion, ancient history or even psychoanalytical work. Anyone intrigued by the way the mind works when presented with different images will see many symbols that have been used for thousands of years with as many meanings identified with them. This book could go hand in hand with Carl Jungs books on man and his symbols. I cannot praise this book enough when im bored or have a spare 10 minuets i pick it up and learn a little something new about the hidden world of images.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jülie ☼♄ 

    This is a wonderfully fascinating reference book for signs and symbols! A person can get lost in this book for hours at a time! An A to Z compendium of very descriptive notes on all manner of signs, symbols and shapes. This is a very well compiled serious work with detailed descriptions and beautiful graphics to represent each entry. This book would be an asset to anyone's library or bookshelf as a ready reference guide, while at the same time being a fascinating book for even the casual reader to This is a wonderfully fascinating reference book for signs and symbols! A person can get lost in this book for hours at a time! An A to Z compendium of very descriptive notes on all manner of signs, symbols and shapes. This is a very well compiled serious work with detailed descriptions and beautiful graphics to represent each entry. This book would be an asset to anyone's library or bookshelf as a ready reference guide, while at the same time being a fascinating book for even the casual reader to peruse at random....and, as it is so beautifully presented it would be just as much at home on a coffee table. This is not a book you read and be finished with, rather it is a book to refer to again and again. I love this book...Highly recommend 5*s

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liz Delatore

    Very Interesting. I am interested in the Mandala. I have found after looking through this book, that most symbols used by most civilizations are based on the circle. The swastika, is actually a peace symbol used by many cultures. Hitler reversed the symbol and created probably the primary symbol of evil of our world. Interestingly, the Neo Nazis, tried to do the same with a Native American Symbol for peace. When this group flipped the peaceful symbol upside- down, it actually became the Native A Very Interesting. I am interested in the Mandala. I have found after looking through this book, that most symbols used by most civilizations are based on the circle. The swastika, is actually a peace symbol used by many cultures. Hitler reversed the symbol and created probably the primary symbol of evil of our world. Interestingly, the Neo Nazis, tried to do the same with a Native American Symbol for peace. When this group flipped the peaceful symbol upside- down, it actually became the Native American Symbol for ELK. Not really so scary. This book is very unifying. All humans are connected. This book is proof, to me!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Tarwater

    Sitting down and reading this book cover to cover is very tempting but obviously not necessary. Aptly titled, this tome is rife with symbols and signs that span time and creation, various cultures and traditions covered in this book. It's broken down into various sections and even has some instructions on how to make or use some of the signs. Virtually every symbol listed in the book is illustrated in some fashion and there is an index in the back which is a boon. In addition to the extensive ca Sitting down and reading this book cover to cover is very tempting but obviously not necessary. Aptly titled, this tome is rife with symbols and signs that span time and creation, various cultures and traditions covered in this book. It's broken down into various sections and even has some instructions on how to make or use some of the signs. Virtually every symbol listed in the book is illustrated in some fashion and there is an index in the back which is a boon. In addition to the extensive catalog, it was very reasonably priced.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Loureiro

    This is the most spectacular collection of ancient cultural, religious, and tribal symbols and language I have ever seen. A great resource and a fascination to read. There is so much history instilled in the signs and symbols. This book is listed as a paperback. The cover is actually much more study than your average paperback book. Seems to hold up well under repeated use. Definitely a must for anyone interested in understanding the basic concepts of symbology.

  21. 4 out of 5

    C.E.

    NOTHING SLAVIC HERE. This is a constant irritation. Slavic cultures do not view the world the same as Western/Northern European or Asian or Mediterranean do in all things, and just once it'd be nice if their symbols were included in such a "sourcebook". Otherwise, tho', it's a good reference for some of the things we see every day but don't always *see*. NOTHING SLAVIC HERE. This is a constant irritation. Slavic cultures do not view the world the same as Western/Northern European or Asian or Mediterranean do in all things, and just once it'd be nice if their symbols were included in such a "sourcebook". Otherwise, tho', it's a good reference for some of the things we see every day but don't always *see*.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    I read this book over some time, and found it very enjoyable. If you sit down and read every single word in this book, I suspect it will become boring. There is much to learn about all different kinds of ideas and beliefs. The book works particularly well with a visual memory, because I can recognise the symbols and recall the information.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brad Medd

    I've had this book for a while and found it endlessly helpful for a variety of things. It's colourful,divided into sections and provides lots of information on hundreds of symbols across hundreds of cultures. It's not something you're going to sit down and read cover to cover, but certainly something you'll pull from the shelf often. Who knew there was so much to learn about circles? I've had this book for a while and found it endlessly helpful for a variety of things. It's colourful,divided into sections and provides lots of information on hundreds of symbols across hundreds of cultures. It's not something you're going to sit down and read cover to cover, but certainly something you'll pull from the shelf often. Who knew there was so much to learn about circles?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Not a book a read cover to cover but one that is just a great sourcebook and well worth owning. Great illustrations

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tom Menke

    FANTASTIC book on symbols and thier origins Ill use this book alot. Bought it for my son Kevin but liked it so much I bought it for my libuary as well. Very very fun

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I haven't REALLY finished this book but I've read most of it. It's a great reference for people into occult, metaphysics, spirituality, etc. I haven't REALLY finished this book but I've read most of it. It's a great reference for people into occult, metaphysics, spirituality, etc.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    GREAT book. I learned so much from this. It is basically an encyclopedia but it's just so fascinating I found it extremely easy to just pick it up and read it like a normal book. GREAT book. I learned so much from this. It is basically an encyclopedia but it's just so fascinating I found it extremely easy to just pick it up and read it like a normal book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    This is by far the best accidental investment I made. Thank you Barnes & Noble bargain bin. I'm always looking to it for reference or a good starting point for research. Definitely worth the money. This is by far the best accidental investment I made. Thank you Barnes & Noble bargain bin. I'm always looking to it for reference or a good starting point for research. Definitely worth the money.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Spectacular to use for references in my stories, I've used it well for means of symbolism and identification for many characters of mine :) Spectacular to use for references in my stories, I've used it well for means of symbolism and identification for many characters of mine :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    I use this all the time!

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