… “Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and billows have gone over me.”
Continuing through The Book of Symbols, eds. Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin (2010). We are still in the “Cosmos and Creation” section:
Crescent: … Crescent reminds us of the mortality of everything that begins life, the transience of everything that comes into consciousness. Yet the nature of the crescent is not the completion of the circle or the confinement of what lies within. Rather, it suggests the horned gateway of the moon’s eternal cycling and if it promises an end to every beginning, it equally signifies the promise of beginning wherever there is end.
Eclipse: … For our prescientific ancestors who feared the permanent extinction of the sun’s vital light, the less than eight minutes spent in the 2,000 mph path of the umbra (shadow) of a total solar eclipse must have felt like an interminable time before the sun’s seemingly miraculous reappearance. The wonder of the eclipse is that the apparent size of the sun and the moon are nearly identical. This is caused by the fact that the sun’s diameter is 400 times greater than the moon’s and at the same time 400 times more distant.
… In partial eclipses, the planes of the orbits of the sun and moon are not perfectly aligned, and the moon cuts into only a portion of the sun’s body, deforming it. Many peoples imagined an eclipse of the sun as a wounding or devouring of the solar principle by cosmic snake, jaguar, demon or dragon, forces of night, dark and chthonic; in China the ideogram for eclipse and eat (ch’u) are identical.
Comet: … The word comet derives from kometes, a Greek word meaning “the long-haired,” referring to the comet’s hairlike tail. In the Iliad, Achilles connects the feature with the comet’s supposed malevolence. “Like the red star from his flaming hair / Shakes down disease, pestilence and war.” And when Electra saw Troy going up in flames, she was said to have torn her hair out with grief and was then placed by the gods among the stars as a comet.
Ocean: … such are the correspondences between ocean and our psychic depths that the two might be visible and invisible forms of the same reality. [ ... ] The undulations of our myriad intensities combine in ever-changing patterns reflected on our surfaces, just as the patterns of wave trains — “intermingling, overtaking, passing, or sometimes engulfing one another” [Rachel Carson] — are endlessly reconfigured over the face of the sea.
… just as the ocean can swallow whole our titanic ships, and jumbo jets, so our little vessels of human consciousness are liable to engulfment by the deepest waters of psyche.
River: … River is vital fluidity; the rivers move through both the upper world and the lower world, over ground and underground, inside and outside: rivers of fertility and prosperity, rivers of forgetting, rivers of binding oath, rivers of commerce, rivers of blood and rivers of water, rivers of rebirth, rivers of death, rivers of sorrow, all presided over in our mythic history by beneficent deities, dreadful nixies or changeable river spirits.
… Alongside the image of rebirth is the river crossing, an age-old symbol of crossing over to the other shore, the land of the dead. To die is to “cross over.” … Crossing is a transition and a metaphor for the possibility of traveling between the mind’s two shores, the conscious and familiar shore and the unconscious farther shore.
Lake/Pond: … At lake’s edge the earth is suddenly missing, gives way to another medium and appears again at the shore beyond. Hence our word “lacuna” is derived from “lac” or lake, and signifies something omitted or missing, a hiatus.
… Upon the surface of the lake’s reflective eye, the image of earth and sky are inverted at the water’s edge. The lake seems to say “as above, so below,” and turns its image of the world upside-down.
… Perhaps we think and dream so intimately next to the lake because it reflects us best as the most “body-like” of the bodies of water. Different from an ocean or a great river, the scale of a lake can be encompassed by the human imagination …
Whirlpool: … Many nautical myths combine the benign and violent aspects of the whirlpool, allowing the chaotic maelstrom (from Dutch for “whirling stream”) to function as ain initiation, and the center of the vortex to reveal a vision normally hidden from human perception.
Waterfall: … It has suggested the descent of the immutable into an ever-dividing stream that defies capture, cannot be contained, is eternal movement, eternal change, generating life and death. One can be broken in the tonnage of the waters: “Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and billows have gone over me,” cries the Psalmist to his god.
… The waterfall itself is an emblem of balance. Chinese landscape paintings portray the waterfall in contrast to the upward movement of the rock face over which it descends, and the dynamic movement of its rushing waters with the stillness of the rock.
Flood: … Floods are especially frightening because they intimate unpredictable forces of like nature within ourselves. Times of great stress and change, when consciousness can be submerged by flooding anxieties and affects. Incursions from the unconscious that can penetrate defenses and swamp a hard-pressed ego, uprooting its foothold in reality. Collective flooding where members of a group, caught up in waves on numinous emotions or ideas, lose touch with solidifying values.
… The waters have no form in themselves, but give birth to multiple forms, which, once separated from the source, are vulnerable to aging, change and decay and in time must be renewed thus the flood represents cosmic ablution and a new beginning.
Bubble: … The weightlessness of the bubble allows it to float freely in invisible currents of a gentle breeze, but its fragility soon causes it to burst and dissolve into mist.
In contrast, the archetypal symbol of bubble exists in the psyche beyond time and space. It constitutes an invisible reality imaged by mystics throughout the ages, a round nothingness that is paradoxically the primordial source of all.
The Local Bubble (click for larger)
… Like the circle or sphere, the globular roundness of the bubble connotes oneness, wholeness, totality, completion and spiritual perfection. The translucency of the bubble introduces, in addition, the numinosity, ethereality and spirituality associated with the celestial light of heaven.
Bubble nebula [image from Wikipedia]