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The actual meaning in Hades Rape of Persephone is open for debate. I have yet to see a plausible interpretation given for what the symbolism of Persephone’s abduction and rape actually means. 

Interpretations offered by academics are trite. Yet their “authoritative” views are published, accepted and shared with the general public. Subsequently, academia has the last say and myth is effectively written off as ancient drivel. 

Ancient myth is certainly not trite. World mythologies contain timeless wisdom hidden in the symbolism. When you take the time to learn what these enlightening stories really mean, you will have a deeper understanding of yourself, expand your conscious awareness and release repressed emotions.

Scholars generally acknowledge that the story recounting Hades Rape of Persephone is an allegory for the changing of the seasons and how crops grow. Others suggest the myth explains marriage.

Yet at the same time, scholars tell us the secrets of the Eleusian Mysteries were so closely guarded that anybody found revealing them would be punished by death.

Death is a harsh punishment for revealing the changing of the seasons and how to plant crops. People are dependent on food. Mankind needs to know how to cultivate food. 

I appreciate the ancient Greeks may have joked that marriage was death but its still not a topic any credible writer would describe by a beautiful young maiden being abducted by a man that lives underground. Rape doesn’t feel like the right topic for explaining marriage does it?

For a myth that has endured thousands of years and was central to the initiations rites of Eleusian Mystery Schools, the suggestions proposed by scholars do not make rational sense. As a student and teacher of esoteric symbolism, I know there is a deeper meaning. 

Other theories emerging from academia suggest the myth of Persephone's abduction by Hades is a preparation for death. This makes more sense given Demeter’s relationship to agriculture and the cycle of the seasons is akin to life, death and rebirth. 

A typical interpretation given for the rituals Eleusian schools performed with regards to the Abduction of Persephone can be found on worldhistory.org: 

“The rituals were based on a symbolic reading of the story of Demeter and Persephone and provided initiates with a vision of the afterlife so powerful that it changed the way they saw the world and their place in it. Participants were freed from a fear of death through the recognition that they were immortal souls temporarily in mortal bodies.” 

So are scholars saying that anyone who overcame the fear of death, would be put to death if they told the uninitiated how to overcome the fear of death?

It’s not very likely. The ancient Greeks were not ‘primitive’.

If these people paid for an education in classical mythology, they should ask for their money back. 

The most sensible theory to emerge from academia was proposed some forty years ago by H. Jeanmaire who noted the Eleusian Mystery schools taught initiation rituals to women. [1]

Is Persephone’s Abduction by Hades Initiation Rites?

Homer’s Hymn To Demeter does explain initiation rites. [2] Whilst they may have applied to women more than men in ancient Greece, today, in my view, they are not only initiation rites for women, they are initiation rites for everyone.

H Jeanmaire's view for Hades Rape of Persephone is the maturation of the feminine psyche from maiden to womanhood. Scholars base this interpretation on the fact that the Homeric word Kore meant “young girl of initiatory age”. [3]

There were two stages to the Elueusian Mysteries that initiatives had to pass to acquire the enduring secrets of life’s mystery. The Lesser Mysteries are said to have consisted of “procession, sacrifice and purification.” 

The Lesser Mysteries took place in the Spring and involved fasting, washing and sacrificing pigs by fire. The purpose of these rituals was to purify initiates and served as preparation for the Greater Mysteries held six months later to mark the Autumn season.

Mara Lynn Keller, ph.D. explains in her wonderful thesis, The Ritual Path of Initiation into the Eleusian Mysteries how the rituals performed by initiates helped them in their personal lives. She concludes: 

“In the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, a person could experience the renewal of his or her humanity and also the renewal of their connection to divinity, nature, community, and the cosmos. As the rites concluded, the initiates returned home with a new vision of life, blessed by the mysterious gifts of beauty and love.” 

Keller’s explanation that Persephone’s abduction relates to initiation rites is closer to the truth but you still need to know what is meant by a “connection to divinity, nature…and the cosmos.” 

All these terms are symbolic of your True Nature and the connection we have to the morphogenetic field. Life, death and rebirth is the transformation of energy; existing form (Persephone), destruction (Hades), rebirth (Demeter).

Followers of the Eleusian Mysteries recognised Demeter, Persephone and Hades as a trinity. In Attica, Demeter and Persephone were pictured as twins indicating they are recognised as the same aspect of consciousness. 

Furthermore, the symbolic meaning of agriculture and fertility relates to the tasks involved during the process of transforming energy. The tasks you perform determines which energies you manifest.

In my view, Hades Rape of Persephone is about overcoming depression - or for most people avoiding depression in the first place. 

Abduction of Persephone
The Abduction of Proserpine, Alessandro Allori

The myth of Demeter and Persephone is about cultivating thoughts, emotions and behaviours that bring you a better quality of life. It was the secrets to life that were taught in the Mysteries at Eleusis.

Thus the symbolic meaning of Persephone and the “all-nourishing” Demeter relates to the development of the caregiver archetype; the urge towards self-care and self-respect. 

When you look after yourself - psychologically and emotionally as well as physically - you develop your sense of self-worth.

In the following interpretation, I explain how the Homeric Hymn to Demeter is a lesson of personal transformation using the principles of archetypal psychology. The interpretation of symbols are grounded in esoteric wisdom.

The secrets of the Eleusian Rites teach us the importance of nurturing the seeds planted by the conscious mind so that we can transform subconscious programs into blooming flowers and fruit-bearing trees; the fruits of the Earth are the sweet moments created by your subconscious. 

When maiden’s and princes appear in myth, they represent the immature ego; an undeveloped subconscious. The seeds you plant in your subconscious through thoughts, feelings and experiences require nurturing. The more nourishment you provide your subconscious, the wiser you become - symbolised by the Crone.

On that note, let’s meet the maiden of the story, the Kore, Persephone. The following extract is taken from Homer’s Hymn To Demeter. If you want the full interpretation of the meaning behind Hades Rape of Persephone, sign up as a VIP member by purchasing a symbolism course.

All our VIP members get access to in-depth content that enables you to explore myth, symbolism and psychology in more detail. The resources we offer at Master Mind Content are powerful self-development tools designed to help you heal emotional trauma and expand conscious awareness.

Hades Abducts Persephone

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Homer describes her as being renowned for her beauty. When Hades first sees her, he falls in love. Dissatisfied with his lonely existence in the gloomy depths of the underworld, Hades approaches his brother to ask for Persephone’s hand in marriage. 

Knowing that Demeter would never consent to such an arrangement, Zeus refrains from expressing his consent to Hades. Although he does not outright refuse his brother, Hades takes this as a sign of encouragement. Zeus even helps to plot the abduction of his daughter.

One day, whilst the Kore (young maiden) is out picking flowers on the Plains of Nysa, Hades seizes his opportunity. Persephone is lured away from a party of 23 women - which includes Athena and Artemis - by an enchanting narcissus. The flower had been planted purposely to trap her.

“[the narcissus flower] was grown as a lure for the flower-faced girl by Gaia. All according to the plans of Zeus. She [Gaia] was doing a favour for the one who receives many guests [Hades].” ~ Homeric Hymn To Demeter translated by Gregory Nagy

Hades appears from beneath the earth and bundles Persephone into his golden chariot drawn by immortal winged horses.

Hades represents a complex, illness, disease or other Shadow energy that makes you “act out of character”. Jung notes that unconscious energies can take possession of the individual to indicate that something is wrong.

“...contents which the conscious cannot assimilate can evolve spontaneously out of the unconscious, and the repression hypothesis is inadequate in such instances. Moreover, the essential autonomy of these elements can be observed in the effects of daily life which obstinately obtrude themselves against our wills, and then, in spite of our earnest efforts to repress them, overwhelm the ego and force it under their control. No wonder that the primitive either sees in these moods a state of possession or sets them down to a loss of soul. Our colloquial speech reflects the same thing when we say: Ί don't know what has got into him today; 'He is possessed of the devil'; 'He is beside himself'; 'He behaves as if possessed’.” ~ Carl Jung, Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower

In the Hymn to Demeter, the force taking possession of the ego is depression.

Anyone that recognises they have a complex seeks a cure. They initiate the search for a treatment or a solution. This is why scholars are almost correct in their assumption that the Eleusian Mysteries are about Initiation Rites of Women. In symbolism, women represent emotions, feelings and the inner world.

The Symbolic Meaning of Persephone Picking Flowers

The symbolism in the opening scene of Homer’s Hymn To Demeter provides information with regards to Persephone’s immature state of mind.

Firstly, the island of Nysa is dedicated to the god Dionysus, known for being dismembered and “thrice born”. In psychological terms, dismemberment reflects dissociation; losing touch with your sense of self.

So by placing Persephone in Nysa, Homer is telling us she is disconnected from her emotions and out of touch with reality.

Hades Abduction of Persephone
The Fate of Persephone, Walter Crane

Disassociation can occur in various ways but are most common when we experience an event the brain deems traumatic.

It should be noted that emotional trauma does not have to be a tragic or physically devastating event like breaking a leg or falling from a horse. Traumas occur when the idyllic paradise you thought you were living in is shattered.

Early trauma typically occurs when a child has an experience that triggers overwhelming stress. This may be through neglect, harassment, abuse embarrassment, or a situation in which they feel unsafe or helpless.

The first trauma you experience is birth. The second, which comes in quick succession is abandonment. Your first day on planet earth exposes you to a least two traumatic experiences.

I don’t know whether either of these two events causes dismemberment, but it stands to reason that if these traumas are reinforced during childhood through neglect, a lack of emotional wellbeing and other factors, they will be coded into the personal unconscious as a program.

Subconscious programs are reflected by Persephone picking flowers. Flowers represent consciousness that has blossomed in the light of the mind; thoughts, habits, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes.

You will know from experiences that not all flowers are beautiful, nourishing and healing; some are intoxicating, some are deformed and some are never born.

The narcissus flower is poisonous. Persephone’s fascination with the deadly flower mirrors her poisonous mind. A lack of self-esteem secretes energy into your subconscious which is destructive to your way of life.

“Narcissism is yet another pitfall for some Persephone women. They may become so anxiously fixed on themselves that they lose the capacity to relate to others. Their thoughts are dominated by self questions: "How do I look? Am I witty enough? Do I sound intelligent?” And their energy goes into makeup and clothes. Such women spend hours in front of mirrors. People exist only to give them feedback, to provide them with reflecting surfaces in which to see themselves.” ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen MD, Goddesses in Everywoman

When we examine Persephone’s family life more closely, we find the same traits are described in myth as they are in real life.

Zeus is a distant father that rapes his daughter. Demeter smothers her with too much love. This is what psychologists refer to as an overbearing mother.

We know from clinical studies that child abuse and a lack of emotional wellbeing destroys a person’s sense of wellbeing and self-worth. These are typical traits in someone suffering from a Father Complex.

Jung described the Father Complex as an “animus possession”. This analogy is described by the ancient Greeks by Zeus raping Persephone.

Parents that are overprotective stunt the psychological development of their offspring. Unless a child is allowed to learn through experience, they will grow up helpless, immature and struggling to find a purpose in life.

Homer describes Persephone as the “one with the delicate ankles.” Ankles symbolise independence, flexibility and the ability to stand on your own two feet.

Delicate ankles, therefore suggest, Persephone mental capacity is fragile and vulnerable. She does not have the emotional stability to make her own choices, cannot adapt to the flow of life and does not know which direction to take her life.

In contrast, Demeter is described as having “beautiful ankles’ a symbol of self-confidence and a strong connection to the world around you.

Individuals that are not emotionally nourished (as children or as adults) have a lack of confidence because they have not developed a sense of individuality, purpose or meaning.

This state of mind is confirmed when we are told that Persephone is drawn towards an enchanting narcissus, a flower of such awe and splendour “its sweet fragrance spread over the wide skies.”

The narcissus flower represents the emotional immaturity of an ego-centred psyche. This state of mind is a condition seen in people that have lost their sense of self, and with it, the meaning of life.

The Symbolic Meaning of the Gods in The Rape of Persephone

To use archetypal symbolism as a self-development tool, it’s useful to understand what the gods and other characters represent in relation to the mind-body-energy connection.

Zeus, the god of the Sky and Earth represents the Self-ego axis; the brain and the seat of consciousness. As the king of the gods, he is the decision-making function. The Sky is the conscious mind. The earth is the subconscious mind to which the ego responds to.

Demeter, Goddess of the Grain, is also an aspect of the conscious mind (planting seeds, nurturing) that naturally has an impact on the subconscious and, ultimately, the cells of the body (mortals, humans). The earth that Demeter cares for represents the subconscious mind.

Demeter mourning persephone

Her role as a fertility goddess, Mother Earth, is synonymous with the caregiver archetype, the function that provides emotional nourishment. The role of the caregiver is to nurture self-worth in order to cultivate a healthy, fertile and abundant life (blossom, fruits, crops etc).

Hades, as we established above, is the unconscious mind in which content that is unknown to the ego is buried. He is the personification of what we describe today as the Shadow personality.

Homer tells us that the Lord of the Underworld “appears from beneath the earth”. Homer’s description shows us there are two functions to the unconscious; the subconscious which stores programs and memories that are easily retrieved and the unconscious which is generally believed to harbours your demons.

If the earth is the subconscious, then we can deduce the Underworld is where split-off fragments of consciousness are buried - the land of the dead which describes unlived consciousness. 

It’s worth noting that the contents of the unconscious are not only where you suppress demons. Jungians acknowledge it’s a great source of wealth also. The ancient Greeks also knew this. Another name for Hades is Ploutos, meaning god of abundance or wealth. Demeter also has a son called Ploutos.

“If a man's attitude is friendly toward his inner shadow, and he is willing to grow and change, the shadow will often appear as a helpful friend, a body, tribal brother who helps him in his adventures, maximum up, and teaches him skills. If he is trying to repress his shadow it will usually appear as a hateful enemy, Bouton monster who attacks him in his dreams. The same principles apply to a woman. Depending on her relationship to her shadow, she may appear as a loving sister or as a frightful witch.” ~ Robert Johnson, Inner Work

As the Kore, Persephone represents an individual with an undeveloped mind.  She reflects individuals that live in ego-conscious only. They are weak-minded, obsessed with material possessions, have no purpose or meaning in life and lack emotional stability.

As Queen of the Underworld, she is feeling-based content that is buried in the unconscious. Through self-reflection, these stirring of new life rise to the surface of the conscious mind and serve as a catalyst for new ways of being (the season of spring).

In Attica, Demeter and Persephone were thought of as two goddesses in one and are depicted as sisters. On the one hand, this means they represent the same aspect of consciousness, but as mother and daughter they are in different stages of development.

Devotees of the Eleusian Mysteries paid tribute to the three stages of a woman’s life; maiden, mother, crone. Applied to the development of the psyche, this translates to immaturity, developing conscious awareness and wisdom.

This idea is played out through the descriptions of the two women in Homer’s Hymn To Demeter. Persephone is initially described as “delicate” (fragile) and Demeter is described as “awful” implying she maltreats her daughter, and thus herself. 

This brings us back to the foundational function of the caregiver archetype; self-worth which is nurtured through self-care and self-respect. Homer shows you how. 

Want to know more about the Symbolism of Persephone’s Abduction? 

Why not sign up for a Master Mind Symbolism course or our Essential Self-Development Program and become a VIP Member! 

When you subscribe to any of our programs, you get access to loads of supporting content that takes you deeper into the symbolic meaning of ancient mythology - and thus a deeper into your understanding and appreciation of your True Self. 

In the VIP Members Area, you will be able to access the full interpretation of Homer’s Hymn To Demeter here. You will also find more information about the Caregiver and other archetypes. 

Ancient myths show you how to cultivate a richer quality of life. Moreover, archetypal symbolism is a very powerful self-development tool because the myth helps you to identify which archetypal energies you are projecting and provides insights that are conducive for healing and expanding conscious awareness. 

Master Mind Content offers in-depth symbolism courses which explain the esoteric meaning of symbols found in world mythologies. When you understand the meaning of symbols and how they relate to thoughts, emotions and actions that you experience, you can use symbols and numbers to make better decisions and improve your quality of life. 

References

[1] H. Jeanmaire, Couroi et Couretes (Lille: Bibliotheque Universitaire, 1939) 269-79, 298-305.

[2] The Rape of Persephone: A Greek Scenario of Women's Initiation, Bruce Lincoln

[3] H. Jeanmaire, Couroi et Couretes (Lille: Bibliotheque Universitaire, 1939) 269-79, 298-305.

Cows are recurring themes in ancient mythology. But the appearance of cattle is not simply because of their commonality as domesticated animals and sacrificial beasts. The symbolic meaning of cows teaches us about the importance of managing how you think and behave.

The thoughts, actions and emotions we process every day become subconscious programs. That is to say, habitual programs. Psychologists understand that between 90-95% of the decisions taken by the average person on a daily basis are determined by subconscious programs.

Not only that, but subconscious programs determine your beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. More precisely, subconscious programs determine your personality and character.

More importantly, they determine your experiences in life.

The way in which the symbolic meaning of cows is used in ancient mythology gives us a clue as to their esoteric meaning. It is in the hidden meaning that you find the true value of symbols.

Through exoteric channels, we learn the symbolic meaning of cows relates to fertility, motherhood, sacrifice, nourishment, generosity and life-giving qualities. There are also numerous myths from around the world that credit a cow with the origins of life.

Cow Symbolism in Hinduism 

Nowhere in the world are cows more venerated than in India. Bovines are so revered it is unlawful to harm them. Slaughtering a cow in India is punished with a minimum of 10 years in prison. The maximum is a life sentence.

In Hindu traditions, cows are sacred to three of the most important gods; Shiva, Krishna and Indra. The animal is also associated with goddesses because of its life-giving attributes symbolised by milk.

Cow symbolism in Hinduism has a close connection with milk. A Hindu creation story, The Churning of the Milky Ocean, is basically about the struggle between the gods and demons; unconscious and subconscious content. From the churning of the ‘cosmic ocean’, the cow, Kamadhenu emerges.

Kamadhenu is the mother of all cows and is pictured in Hindu iconography with all the principal gods housed in specific areas of her body (as seen in the Header Image). Mother Kamadhenu is considered to be the seed in all cows, the “one who fulfils devotees’ wishes.

A sculpture in the Badu Caves in Kuala Lumpur depicts the mother goddess with the body of a cow, the wings of a tropical bird (possibly a phoenix) and the tail of a peacock. The details point to Kamadhenu as a symbol of transformation.

Kamadhenu cow symbolism
Kamadhenu, Batu Caves: Image Credit Christian Haugen

Herein, we find a clue to the deeper symbolic meaning of cows. Whilst official channels merely tell us cows are sacrificial animals that represent fertility and healing, bovines also provide us with the sustenance (knowledge/power) we need to create the things we want in life (fertility).

There are more clues in the symbolism of Hindu myth. The ocean of milk the gods and demons are churning represents the conscious mind. The cow which emerges relates to the importance of changing your habitual patterns of behaviour (sacrifice) in order to expand conscious awareness and achieve your personal goals.

Symbolic Meaning of Cows in Greek Mythology 

Milk is regarded as ambrosia in Greek mythology. Both Demeter and Hera, goddesses closely associated with the cow, both feature in Greek mythology feeding babies ambrosia. Other Greek gods associated with cows are the sun gods Helios and Apollo, both of whom are cowherds.

One of the most famous stories in Greek mythology is the story of Io, the first priestess of the goddess Hera. When Zeus fell in love with Io, he tried to hide his indiscretion by transforming his illicit lover into a cow.

Hera, however, was too wise to Zeus’ tricks and ordered the “all-seeing” Argus to watch over the heifer. Frustrated, Zeus sends Hermes to help. The enigmatic god played such a soothing melody on his lyre that all one-thousand eyes of Argus fall to sleep.

But Hera was not to be fooled. Instead, she sent a gadfly to bother the cow. In her attempt to escape, Io wandered the earth before arriving in Egypt where she gave birth to a son. Io is identified with the Mother goddess Isis.

The symbolic meaning of the cow in this story relates to Hera’s penchant for developing psychological maturity - a process of nourishing the mind with knowledge and nurturing the information until you reach a state of self-awareness.

During periods of transformation, you will face challenging situations. These are the tests you must go through until you reach your moment of self-realisation. There are two ways to achieve this; through Demeter or through Hera.

Hera is associated with the hero archetype, the aspect of your character that has to overcome personal challenges in order to transform and grow. The name of the hero Herakles, for example, literally means “Glory of Hera.” During his 12 labours, Hera meddles with his tasks to make life harder for him.

When Herakles was a baby, Zeus secretly tried to feed him Hera’s breast milk, but the goddess woke and, in a fit of jealousy and anger knocked the child away. She would later send the hero into a mad frenzy and kill his wife and children. The ancient Greeks had some gruesome methods to help teach people about the necessity to make sacrifices.

Herakles and Hera
The Origin of the Milky Way by Jacopo Tintoretto

Hera's method for reaching self-awareness and re-programming the subconscious is the hard way; through challenges, humiliation, frustration and a search for meaning. During these moments, you need to adopt the attributes of a cow; patience, nurturing and sacrifice.

The most difficult experiences are often the most rewarding once the victory is won. This is reflected by Io giving birth to a son. Children represent the experiences you manifest in life and sons are a symbol of inner strength.

The cow is also associated with Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. Ancient myths that feature Demeter relate to transformation. Homer's Hymn to Demeter describes the maturation of the immature psyche.

Her primary symbol is wheat and corn which essentially share the same attributes as the cow in that food is nourishment. The only difference is that with agriculture, seeds are planted and need to be nourished and nurtured with water and manure (cow dung).

This is arguably a clearer analogy for how the subconscious mind is programmed.

The conscious mind plants the seeds of creation in the subconscious by thoughts and actions. The information you plant in your subconscious ultimately becomes the auto-pilot for future thoughts, actions and emotions.

"The subjective mind is always amenable to suggestion; it is controlled by suggestion. We must recognise that the subconscious mind accepts all suggestions; it does not argue with you, but it fulfils your wishes. All things that have happened to you are based on thoughts impressed on the subconscious mind through belief. The subconscious mind will accept your beliefs and your convictions." ~ Joseph Murphy - The Miracles of Your Mind

Earth is a symbol used for the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the seed that plants information (corn and wheat) in the subconscious mind and the nurturing qualities of Demeter, and thus the cow, help you maintain new ways of living until your subconscious program is upgraded.

The subconscious stores the programs that prompt the thoughts, emotions and actions which ultimately manifest as your existence of reality. This is why milk is called ‘ambrosia’ - considered to be the drink of the gods.

Cows in Egyptian Mythology

Cows were also connected with motherhood and fertility in Egyptian myth. Bovines were most noticeably associated with Mother goddesses, Mehet-Weret, a heroine of a creation myth.

As we find in Hindu mythology, Mehet-Weret is a cosmic cow that is a goddess of the primordial waters and is associated with death and rebirth. She is said to have given birth to the sun at the beginning of time.

The sun is a symbol of self-knowledge; enlightenment, illumination. Mehet-Weret is synonymous with other Egyptian goddesses Neith, Hathor and Isis, all of which have close connections with sun gods.

The Egyptian goddess Nut, the mother of the sun god Osiris, is also depicted as a cosmic cow with four stars on her belly. The stars are said to represent the “four cosmos quadrants of the earth” which are also known as the four elements - each of which has a symbolic meaning.

Cow Symbolism in Norse Mythology 

The creation story of Norse mythology also starts with a cosmic cow - Audhumla. The cow emits “four rivers of power” from her udders which nourish Ymir, the primordial giant which would later be dismembered and form the earth.

Audhumla and Ymir
Audhumla by Nicolai Abildgaard

Here again, we see the symbolic meaning of the cow representing nourishment, nurturing and motherhood. Isn’t it uncanny how all these mythologies from different cultures have the same meaning?

And to reiterate this fact, the earth which Ymir becomes is also a symbolic representation of the subconscious. Dismemberment in myth relates to dissociated consciousness which happens where the brain shields information absorbed by the five senses from the conscious mind and buries the hidden information in the unconscious.

At some point, the hidden knowledge wants to get out.

Conclusion

The symbolic meaning of the cow relates to staying connected yourself, nurturing your plans by nourishing your psychological development. To get to where you want in life, you have to become the person you need to be.

And that often means making sacrifices in order to upgrade the subconscious programs that block your path.

It is common to be confronted with obstacles along the path of life. You will face many challenges, but every experience is an opportunity to learn something about yourself. This learning process requires the knowledge which we get from the milk of the cow - the ambrosia of the gods, the power of the unconscious mind.

When you change habitual thoughts and behaviours you expand conscious awareness and your perception becomes more acute. When you put knowledge into action, you become wise - a trait symbolised by sun gods - the cowherds.

Master Mind Content offers in-depth symbolism courses which explain the esoteric meaning of symbols found in world mythologies. When you understand the meaning of symbols and how they relate to thoughts, emotions and actions that you experience, you can use symbols and numbers to make better decisions and improve your quality of life. 

The abduction of Persephone is among the most famous Greek myths. It’s ‘mysteries’ are believed to have laid the foundations for the Eleusinian Mysteries, secret rituals and imitation rites taught in ancient mystery schools.

Whilst it is known that the myth and the secret rites are closely intertwined, their true purpose is open for debate. According to historians, the rites were such a closely guarded secret that initiates were threatened with a painful death if the details were revealed. 

Prior to the 5th-century BCE, the rituals were public festivals. Evidence indicates the mysteries were performed during the Mycenaean between (c.1750–1400 BCE). It was only after the invasion of the Persians that the rites went underground.

Although little is known what the secret mysteries pertain to, the rituals were considered to be essential to human survival and were performed twice a year; the Lesser Mysteries during spring and the Greater Mysteries during autumn; around the time of the equinoxes. 

Scholars, of course, have come forward with several theories concerning what the ‘Mysteries’ might be. Some of the theories, such as the myth explains the changing of the seasons, how seeds grow to grain and afterlife, are clearly nonsense.

I intend to provide a full interpretation of the symbolic meaning presented in Homer’s Hymn to Demeter, one of the foremost renditions of the abduction of Persephone and her subsequent reunification with her mother. 

But for now, I invite you to familiarise yourself with the story depicting the Abduction of Persephone. The version below is a retelling of the Homeric Hymn To Demeter translated by Gregory Nagy.

The Story of The Abduction of Persephone

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. The fair maiden, ‘the one with the delicate ankles’ is renowned for her beauty. When Hades, Lord of the Underworld first sees her, he is immediately smitten. 

Hoping to take Persephone as his wife, the Lord of the Underworld approaches his brother Zeus and asks the King of the Gods for the hand of his daughter.

Archetypes in mythology

Zeus does not want to disappoint his brother but knows that Demeter will never consent to the marriage. Although Zeus refrains from expressing his consent to Hades, he does not outright refuse him either. Hades takes this as a sign of encouragement.

One day, whilst the young maiden is out picking flowers on the Plains of Nysa, Hades seizes his opportunity. Persephone is lured away from a party of 23 women - which includes Athena and Artemis - by an enchanting narcissus. The flower had been planted purposely to trap her.

The Homeric Hymn To Demeter tells us the narcissus flower:

“was grown as a lure for the flower-faced girl by Gaia. All according to the plans of Zeus. She [Gaia] was doing a favour for the one who receives many guests [Hades].” ~ Homeric Hymn To Demeter translated by Gregory Nagy

Hades appears from beneath the earth and bundles Persephone in his golden chariot drawn by immortal winged horses.

Persephone calls out to her father for help but Zeus does not hear her. Nobody hears her except Hecate - the moon goddess. Helios, the sun god, however, sees everything.

As Hades carries her across the Earth, Persephone weeps, but whilst ever she can see the land, sea and sky, she retains hope of seeing her mother again.

Demeter hears the echoes of her daughter’s scream resound off the peaks of the mountains and the depths of the sea. She Immediately knows something is wrong and anguish tears through her heart. She throws a dark cloak over her shoulders and speeds off like a bird soaring over land and sea. 

She asks everyone she meets if they have seen her daughter - but ‘no man, god or bird told her the truth.’

The mother goddess continues to search for nine whole days and nights. During that time, she does not eat, drink or bathe. On the tenth day, Hecate the Moon goddess comes to meet her holding a light ablaze and asks:

“Which one of the gods who dwell in the sky or which one of the mortal humans seized Persephone and brought grief to your philos thûmos [emotional distress]?"

Hecate explains that she had heard the screams of Persephone but did not see what happened. Demeter does not answer, so Hecate joins the goddess and helps her search for Persephone by holding a blazing torch.

They come to Helios, “the all-seeing eye of gods of men”. Demeter, knows that Helios would have seen what happened to her daughter. She asks the god to show her respect. Helios obliges and tells Demeter that ‘the cloud-gatherer Zeus” had arranged for Persephone to become the wife of Hades.

The sun god also advises Demeter to refrain from anger and lamentation for it is all in vain. He adds that Hades is a worthy son-in-law because of his semata [the capacity for thought and imagination].

Upon hearing the news that her daughter is lost to her forever, Demeter’s grief deepens. Angry with Zeus and shunned by the other gods, she leaves Olympus and wanders the earth disguised as an old woman. Nobody recognises her.

Demeter mourning persephone

One day, she arrives in Eleusis. Clearly expressing her sadness, Demeter sits under an olive tree by the side of the road watching the locals draw water from ‘the well called Parthenion’ [the Virgin’s Place].

The women were the four daughters of the ‘bright-minded' Keleos, King of Eleusis. When they see the stranger, they approach and ask why she has ventured away from the city.

Demeter invents a story, telling the four princesses that she was kidnapped by pirates in Crete. She asks the princesses if there is a family with children that she can take care of, adding that she wants to work as a childminder.

“I could take some newborn baby in my arms and nourish him well. I could watch over his house.”

Kallidike, the youngest and fairest of the sisters invites the old woman to the palace. Their mother Metaneira recently gave birth to a baby boy. Kallidike suggests the old woman accompanies them to the palace to ask Metanaria if she could raise the child until he comes of age.

The daughters of the ‘sky-nurtured’ Keleos take Demeter back to the palace with them. When Metaneira sees the old woman, she recognises the divine light of wisdom. The queen is seized by a sense of awe and invites their guest to take her seat. Demeter refuses. She also turns down the offer of food and wine.

Demeter and Metanira

Demeter instead covers a stool with fleece, and holding her veil up to her face, sits in silence for a long time, wallowing in her sadness. She is only stirred from her lament when Iambê, the goddess of humour ‘who knows what is dear and what is not’ starts making fun.

Seeing Demeter in good cheer, Metaneira offers her honey-sweet wine. The goddess refuses and explains she is divinely ordained not to drink red wine. Demeter instead asks Metaneira to mix some barley and water with delicate pennyroyal for her.

Metaneira recognises the wise woman has noble traits and invites her to raise her son, Demophon. The boy develops rapidly in the care of Demeter, so much so, that Metaneira is curious to know how the nursemaid is caring for him.

The queen hides from view and watches as Demeter anoints her child with ambrosia [food of the gods] and ‘breathes down her sweet breath on him as she held him to her bosom.’

But Demeter also conceals Demophon within the menos of fire which would make the boy immortal. Seeing this act, Metaneira is alarmed. Unable to contain herself, the queen shrieks and blows her cover.

Angry, Demeter rebukes the boy’s mother and calls her ignorant for she is ‘unable to recognise in advance the difference between future good fortune and future bad.’

Demeter tells her she has made a ‘mistake with remedy’ and swears by the river Styx that she would have made her son immortal if she had been given the time. ‘But now there is no way for him to avoid death and doom’.

The goddess orders Metaneira to arrange for all the citizen’s of Eleusis to build a temple on a prominent hill in her honour. By building the temple, Demeter promises to instruct the Eleusians in the sacred rites. Upon declaring this promise, Demeter transforms herself into her divine image.

Once the temple is built, Demeter reneges on her promise. Instead she sits in the temple brooding. She yearns for Persephone, and in her misery refuses to provide the mortals of the earth with food. She keeps the seeds ‘covered underground’ and the land becomes barren.

Seeing the world threatened with famine and starvation, Zeus sends Iris, ‘with the golden wings’ to bring Demeter back to Olympus. But Demeter refuses. One by the one, the immortals of Olympus visit with offerings of beautiful gifts but no one can persuade her to change her mind.

Demeter tells them all that she will not return to Olympus nor send harvest to the earth until her daughter is returned. Recognising he has no other option, Zeus sends Hermes to bring Persephone back.

When Hermes reaches Hades, he finds Persephone in a state of depression, unhappy at being dragged to the Underworld against her will. She is overjoyed with the news Hermes brings to her.

Before his bride leaves, Hades slips a pomegranate seed into her hand and forces her to eat it. Persephone obeys despite knowing that eating food from the underworld means she would have to return.

The Return of Persephone

Hermes immediately escorts Persephone to the temple at Eleusis where her mother is wallowing in sadness. When Demeter sees them, she rushes down the hill like a madwoman. Immediately, flowers of every sort begin to blossom.

Zeus arranges for Persephone to remain on the surface for two-thirds of the year and spend the remaining third of the year with her husband in the Underworld.

Rhea is then called for to go to the Rarian Fields and make the land fertile again. Rhea persuades Demeter to return to her duty as Goddess of the Grain and send harvest all over the world. Demeter agrees and the earth becomes abundant.

To further show her goodwill, Demeter teaches the mortal Triptolemus the art of ploughing and harvesting. With this knowledge, Triptolemus travels the world spreading the gift of agriculture.

Back in Olympus, Demeter and Persephone rejoice with joy and good fortune. So too the mortals of the earth - because the goddesses send to mankind that 'reside at his hearth, in his great palace, Ploutos [Wealth], who gives riches to mortal humans.’

Conclusion 

After her abduction, Persephone becomes Goddess of the Underworld and divides her time between Hades and Olympus.

It is said that during the three months Persephone spends with her husband, the land is not fertile, but when she returns in spring, flowers blossom and seeds grow.

Consequently, Persephone is regarded as a goddess of fertility, as well as of birth, death and resurrection.

Scholars postulate that the storytelling of Persephone’s abduction and return to her mother explains the changing of the seasons. However, the symbolism reveals much more than that.

Life, death and rebirth relate to the potential for transformation in your life.

Other scholars suggest the Hymn to Demeter are initiation rites for women. But men can learn from this timeless wisdom also.

The story of the abduction of Persephone is about developing the caregiver archetype; the urge towards self-care and self-respect. When you look after yourself - psychologically and emotionally as well as physically - you develop a sense of self-worth.

If you’re interested to learn about the deeper meaning behind the Abduction of Persephone, head over to the article, The Symbolism in the Hades Rape of Persephone. In this article, I explain the symbolic meaning in the first part of Homer's Hymn to Demeter described above.

For the fully decoded version of the poem, purchase one of our full symbolism courses (not the Beginner’s Guide) to get access to our VIP Members Area where you will find loads of supplementary content that helps you build your knowledge and understanding of esoteric symbolism.

Throughout the world, the symbolic meaning of 13 has a correspondence with bad luck because of its association with Friday 13th. This date is traditionally seen as a day when bad things can happen - but it is mostly a superstition.

This common belief dates back to 1307 when Emperor Philip V of France ordered the arrest, torture and death of the Knights Templar. It is thought the Knights Templars are the so-called “Illuminati” and the founding fathers of the modern Free Masonic Society.

The actual date the order was decreed was Friday 13th October – hence we still treat Friday the 13th as a day of bad omens. Some Templars escaped, others were given a pardon. They were the lucky ones.

Those that were tortured and murdered were clearly not the lucky ones.

Knights Templar

Symbolic Meaning of the Number 13 in China

In China, the 13 is mostly associated with good luck, but because of its ties with four is also associated with bad luck. 1 + 3 = 4 and four is the number of death, but the word four and the word death in China sound the same.

In tarot, the 13th card of the Major Arcana is the Death card. But the Death card is by no means a bad card. It’s actually a pretty good card to pull because it has a symbolic meaning of the final end to something.

And we are also told that the symbolic meaning of the number 13 relates to the ending of old ways in order to bring in new beginnings. The outcome you experience at these times in your life is merely perceived as good luck or bad luck.

And this is why the symbolic meaning of the 13 is associated with good luck and bad luck. 

However, the summation is misleading. The symbolic meaning of the number 13 can actually inform you of whether you are projecting good energy or bad energy. There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck, only good energy and bad energy. 

The result determines your experience of life. And this is the true meaning of the number 13. When you see 13 showing itself to you, take stock to assess what is happening in your life.

Are you transmuting good energy or bad energy?

You can learn the deeper meaning of the 13 in the article titled The Esoteric Meaning of the Number 13. It explains what I mean by good energy and bad energy.

Alternatively, why not explore esoteric knowledge in greater depth and use numbers and symbols as a self-development tool. We show you how in our symbolism courses - and believe me, symbolism is a guide you want by your side. 

Do you want to understand the secret language of numbers? Team up with Master Mind Content for a full, in-depth Number Symbolism Course and learn how numbers can help you make decisions with confidence and improve your quality of life.

The esoteric - or hidden - meaning of bells essentially relates to awakening consciousness. We use bells in the real world to issue a warning, a reminder, a wake-up call, or in the case of the old town crier, to grab your attention before making an announcement.

Ringing bells are universally accepted to symbolically mean communicating with “spirits”. Bells are also said to be “the symbol of God’s Voice" and thus heralded as the arrival of a supernatural, or holy power.

This makes much more sense if you know the esoteric meaning of “Spirit” and “God”. They represent the same thing; supreme consciousness. In Jungian terms, Spirit is the collective unconscious or world of the archetypes.

I explain the symbolic meaning of Mind, Soul and Spirit in the Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism. It’s important to know the difference. 

Mind Body Spirit

With that in mind, let’s take another look at the exoteric interpretations bells represent in symbolism.

Exoteric,  by the way, means information that is deemed suitable for the general public. At worst, it’s misleading. Oftentimes is plain useless. 

Symbolic Meaning of Spirits

If bells represent communicating with your higher consciousness, when you hear a bell, it’s a sign to listen to your inner wisdom. They are a symbol alerting you to the potential for self-realisation. 

So when you read that “ringing bells drive away demons or evil spirits, the real meaning relates to exorcising old beliefs, attitudes, personality traits or perceptions that do not serve you.

Moments of self-realisation enable you to expand conscious awareness and cultivate a richer quality of life. Self-awareness is the light which “God” saw was “good". 

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” ~ Genesis 1:3-4

This is why you often find bells on churches - “your body is a temple”. The body includes the brain. The brain is not the mind, it processes conscious awareness and separates consciousness the ego is not ready to accept.

You also hear the ringing of a bell to announce important moments, places, and events.

Churches ring bells at Christmas to announce the birth of Christ. Christ consciousness is a moment of realisation - which in terms of personal development is an important moment and event. 

Do you want to understand the secret language of esoteric symbolism and use it as a self-development tool? Team up with Master Mind Content and learn the art of self-development with one of our insightful Symbolism Courses. You will learn what esoteric symbols really mean and how you can use this powerful tool to make decisions with confidence and improve your quality of life.

When you see synchronicity in numbers and symbols, it’s a sign that an aspect of your personality is trying to make itself known to the conscious mind. 

The unknown aspect of your personality is a missing piece of you that has been buried in the unconscious. It is a part of you that Carl Jung called the Shadow. 

The symbolic meaning of hexagons signifies the appearance of your shadow. When you see the synchronicity of hexagon’s or sixes, pay attention to a stirring of intuition, restlessness, moments of anxiety, recurring thoughts and significant events that are happening in your life.

Hexagons, we are told, relate to marriage, co-operation, connection, reciprocal actions, sympathy, communion and magical healing. 

The esoteric interpretation of this relates to unconscious content awakening in the conscious mind. I explain this in greater depth in the longer version of this article; the esoteric meaning of the hexagon. 

Star of David

Lessons to learn from the symbolic meaning of hexagons 

In general, the lesson you learn when the hexagon shows itself to you could be anything. Just be aware that hexagons are a prompt for you to reach a moment of self-awareness. 

Self-realisation gives you the potential to learn something about yourself that brings harmony, balance, sincerity and love. Six is a number associated with healing emotional wounds or rifts with people. 

Watch out for negative traits associated with the number six. They can give you an insight into your shadow. Sixes bear a relation to feeling disconnected, being hypocritical, weak-minded, shallow, submissive, restless, selfish and easily stressed. 

People who give too much energy away are pulled in different directions by others. When you continually give your energy away to others, you reach a point when you don't have anything left for yourself. 

This can build up to resentment which causes you to ruminate; and potentially act childish. This type of behaviour will damage your relationship with friends, family and lovers. 

If you're being distracted by others when you see the six, it’s time to be strong and learn to say no. It’s not unusual for people to reach a moment of self-realisation when this happens. 

The underlying issue is that you have an inferiority complex. 

The ultimate goal when hexagons reveal themselves is to integrate unconscious content into the conscious mind whereby you can reprogram your subconscious. 

We show you how to identify unconscious content and reach moments of self-realisation in our Essential Self-Development Program. 

Symbols can be used as a powerful tool to help guide you through life and make important decisions with confidence. Our self-development courses use esoteric symbolism to demonstrate how you can expand conscious awareness and improve the quality of your human experience just by observing your unconscious mind and understanding your true nature.

Symbols appear to us in dreams or patterns of synchronicity. When they do, it is wise to take note. Symbols are the language of the unconscious and understanding their meaning can help you reach a moment of self-realisation.

Dolphins are a symbol you want to see revealing themselves to you. We are told these sophisticated mammals are a symbol of intelligence, peace and prosperity. They are actually more than that. In short, the symbolic meaning of dolphins augurs a connection with your True Nature.

When an aspect of the personality you were previously unconscious of is recognised by the light of the conscious mind, you have the opportunity to expand conscious awareness. In doing so you are able to grow. This is why exoteric sources say the symbolic meaning of dolphins represents intelligence, peace and prosperity.

Exoteric sources also say the symbolic meaning of symbols represent guidance, protection, communication, freedom, romance, transformation (death and rebirth), and psychic abilities.

Whilst none of these interpretations are wrong, they can be misleading.

In this article, I explain how to remove the veil of illusion the scraps offered by exoteric sources erect. By understanding the veiled wisdom, you are able to piece the scraps together and reveal the esoteric meaning.

First of all, we need to take a look at where and how dolphins appear in world mythologies. By examining the symbolic meaning of dolphins across different cultures, it is possible to identify patterns that lead you to the motifs hidden meaning.

Dolphins in World Mythologies

Before we explore the symbolic meaning of dolphins, let’s take a look at how these intelligent animals appear in ancient mythology. [I have also added in brackets, why the exoteric meaning might have been derived.]

In Greek mythology, Poseidon sends a Dolphin to persuade Amphitrite to be his bride. [Messages / communication / romance]. Below, you can see a mosaic of dolphins pictured with a trident representing the god Neptune, the Roman equivalent to the Greek Poseidon.

Dolphin

Poseidon is identified amongst the Greek gods because of the trident he carries. Do you find it strange that the dolphin is often depicted on a trident or a cross in Christian traditions - a motif reflecting the crucifixion and purity of Christ. [Transformation, death and rebirth]

It shouldn’t really come as any surprise given that dolphins have a reputation for saving human lives by guiding their ships to safety. Jesus Christ is also said to guide men to safety by offering protection.

In Christian churches, the trident is often replaced with an anchor to represent the symbolism of the dolphin.

Anchor

There is also a story in Greek mythology involving the god, Dionysus; another Greek god that shares numerous similarities with Jesus Christ. 

The god of wine was captured by Etruscan pirates and tied to a mast. The ship’s crew attempted to pull him limb from limb - dismemberment representing fragmented consciousness.

“Dionysus is also a creative deity, but creative through thought, as it were. He produces the idea of the world, and his knowledge sustains it in all its reality. At the same time he is dismembered by the Titans, who are the direct creators of physical matter, and distributed into the human race, i.e. he is also the higher mind in each one of us.” ~ Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, Joscelyn Godwin

Despite the best efforts of the pirates, Dionysus could not be annihilated. Dionysus, like Jesus, represents pure consciousness that has reunited. Dionysus is known as the ‘thrice born’ and Jesus’ resurrection as the second coming; death and rebirth.

On the pirate ship, Dionysus transforms the oars into serpents. Terrified, the crew jump overboard and are transformed into dolphins so they can spend the rest of their days helping to guide ships to safety.

The indigenous peoples of South America revere the pink river dolphin in such high esteem it is believed to bring bad luck if you kill them. [Freedom]. Legend states that, at night, the pink river dolphin transforms into a handsome man at seduces young girls that fall in love with him. The mysterious handsome stranger is said to make love with the girls and impregnates them. [Romance]

The Chumash culture, a native American Indian tribe from modern-day California, depict dolphins as the saviours of humans. Tribal myths tell of how Hutash, Mother Earth, sends a rainbow across the ocean so people can walk across it like a bridge.

However, some travellers fall into the ocean below. To rescue them from drowning, Hutash transforms them into dolphins. [Help, guidance, transformation].

In Chinese mythology, dolphins are the most celebrated creatures of the river Yangtze, deemed to be the goddess Baiji.

Dolphin myths

In one version of the story, Baiji is a princess who was thrown into the river by her father because she refused to marry a rich man. Another version tells how the young girl leaps into the river to avoid being raped by her evil stepfather.

To the local fishermen and boatmen, Baiji is a symbol of peace, prosperity and protection.

In Hindu mythology, a dolphin is said to have guided the goddess Ganga down from the heavens. [Protection, guidance, messages].

The Esoteric Meaning of Dolphins

Like all spirit animals that appear in ancient legends, dolphins reflect aspects of human consciousness. It was through the observation and study of wildlife that the ancient magi devised symbolic meaning for animals, plants and trees etc.

To understand the exoteric meaning behind a symbol, you have to piece together the exoteric meanings offered by various “authoritative” sources.

As mentioned above, the symbolic meaning of dolphins represent:

By themselves, these fragments of symbolism mean very little, and if anything is more misleading than helpful.

For example, we are told dolphins are a symbol of transformation, but we are not told why or how they are a symbol of transformation. The general conclusion is that when dolphins appear to you in dreams or through synchronicity, you have the capacity to transform your life.

You do, but would you know what you need to transform and how?

On the other hand, if you know what the esoteric meaning of dolphins relates to, you would know what you need to transform. The esoteric meaning of dolphins is the acquisition of self-knowledge that was previously unconscious.

When you acquire new knowledge about yourself, you are in a position in which you can transform your life. Such a transformation can liberate your mind from the bonds of ignorance - which is why dolphins are associated with freedom.

A transformational process in self-development involves the transformation of energy. All energy carries information and cells communicate with one another.

Here we see why dolphins are associated with messages and communication. When we say, “messages from the universe it means the same thing.”

In modern times, the universe, you could say, is a symbol for the unconscious. In ancient times, the sea was a universal symbol for the subconscious. It's worth noting that the subconscious and the unconscious play two different roles in how they influence our lives. You can find a detailed explanation for this in the VIP Members Area: How The Mind Works: Subconscious v Unconscious.

symbolic meaning of dolphins sea

Since dolphins live in the sea but rise to the surface, ancient writers associated them with self-knowledge that rises from the depths of the unconscious. When self-knowledge rises to the surface you have the opportunity to reprogram your subconscious.

I’ll explain this in greater depth below. It’s easier to grasp how the symbolism works using actual examples in myth. But before we get onto that, consider this:

Why did ancient writers associate dolphins with messages, communication and “psychic abilities”?

With the knowledge we have today, it’s easy to see why the poets would make this connection. Dolphins have complex communication systems which use sonar, or echolocation. They emit low and high-pitched frequencies to better understand their environment.

Did the ancient magi know and understand that dolphins had sonic communication, and how would they even understand what it was?

If we were to answer that question through the lens of academia and their official version of history, we would have to say no, the ancients could not have known how dolphins communicate.

Yet, dolphins repeatedly appear in myths as messengers. Poseidon sends a dolphin to deliver a message to Amphitrite. The Oracle of Delphi is said to receive messages from the sun god Apollo - a deity that is linked with dolphins.

The reason for this type of symbolism is because we receive messages from the unconscious to the conscious mind. As I explain in the Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism, the subconscious is where our personal programs are stored.

It's perfectly plausible to determine that ancient cultures knew this - the large body of writing indicates they did. So it begs the question, why did they choose an animal that uses echolocation to assess their environment as a symbol of communication. Echolocation involves sending out sound waves that bounce off nearby objects.

Messages are generally regarded as new information. We receive new information from the unconscious, not from subconscious programs that store information of past experiences. Furthermore, this exchange of information through energy is influenced by vibrations similar to sound waves.

Just a thought.

You may think this side question is a stretch of the imagination, but I will come back to it shortly with an example as to why I raised the question.

Symbolic Meaning of Dolphins in Greek Mythology

To explain the deeper symbolic meaning of dolphins, let’s dive into Greek mythology. Surrounded by the sea, dolphins are naturally featured in their mythology quite often.

As a matter of fact, dolphins are the sacred animals of at least four Olympian gods; Poseidon and Dionysus I have already mentioned. Dolphins were also sacred to Aphrodite - and the sun god Apollo.

It’s easy to see why Aphrodite would be associated with dolphins given she was born from the foam of the ocean. Although dolphins never feature in any of the mythologies concerning Aphrodite, the creatures often appeared alongside the goddess in artwork.

Aphrodite sitting on a Dolphin sculpture
Aphrodite sitting in a Dolphin: Image credit, Rama

It is widely regarded that the dolphin was a symbol of romance in ancient Greece. Many may suspect this is because of the sea creatures association with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

However, that is not the case.

Aphrodite represents the love of life; feelings of passion, intensity, enjoying the sensations felt by the body, things that you hold in high regard because they bring you joy.

It is the romantic nature of life that the dolphin and Aphrodite represents. For many of us, desensitised by life and society, this richness of feeling and sensation must be recovered and cultivated. For so many of us, such feelings are buried in the unconscious.

Another reason why dolphins are associated with romance is the symbolic coupling of the unconscious and the conscious minds. This phenomenon is known as the union of opposites - or in Hermeticism, the Alchemical Wedding.

When the brain rejects information from our environment, usually experiences that intend to protect the ego, it is said that consciousness is "split-off". The brain dissociates. Jung says ancient cultures called this dissociation "the loss of the soul."

To heal, you must recover the fragmented piece of the soul. This is symbolised by the union of man and woman in mythology, most often a prince and princess that become king and queen.

As we saw in the South American myth, the dolphin is a man that impregnates young girls. In symbolism, male characters represent the mind; or thoughts. Young women are subconscious programs that are not yet fully matured with wisdom.

The mind, you could say, impregnates the subconscious with information, knowledge, intelligence.

“Your subconscious mind behaves to the nature of your thoughts. You think with your conscious mind, and whatever you habitually think sinks down into your subconscious mind, which then creates according to the nature of your thoughts. Your subconscious mind is the seat of your emotions. It is the creative mind.” ~ Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Mind, knowledge and intelligence are where Apollo’s association with dolphins comes into play. We also find the Greek god is associated with music, a symbolic motif or vibration.

And so we return to the echolocation system of dolphins which enables them "to locate and discriminate objects by projecting high-frequency sound waves and listening for echoes as the sound waves reflect off objects." ~ seaworld.org

Why is Apollo Associated with Dolphins?

For the ancient Greeks, Apollo is the sun god, thus more aligned to the sky than the sea. His only affinity with water is due to his birthplace on the island of Delos which is naturally surrounded by water.

Still, an island birthplace is a far stretch for ancient magi to associate a sun god with an aquatic animal. Homer also links swans to Apollo. So there must be a reason why Apollo crosses the symbolic boundaries of sky and water.

As I mentioned above, the ocean is a symbol of the unconscious. The sky, on the other hand, is a symbol of the conscious mind. The mind and the unconscious are intrinsically interlinked.

As a sun god, Apollo represents self-awareness; self-knowledge rising from the unconscious to the surface of the conscious mind. You might find this phenomenon described as dolphins moving between the supernatural world (water) and the natural world (earth).

Apollo with lyre

Carl Jung pointed out that by integrating unconscious content into the conscious mind we become whole, fertile and complete. It is unconscious energies, which Jung called archetypes, that serves as your guide and leads you to the discovery of your True Self.

Jung called this the process of individuation. It is the challenge faced by anybody that seeks self-improvement to upgrade personal programs that drive habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour.

“Principal amongst the ideas dominating the philosophy and practice of alchemy, is the belief in some universal agent, some homogeneous medium into which the ego, the unpurified stone, is to be dissolved and then reconstructed according to another pattern.” ~ Israel Regardie, Gold

The quote above alludes to those mysterious “messages from the universe” that help and guide us. It is self-knowledge that brings us peace (inner peace) and prosperity (a wealth of knowledge - or wisdom). The wise man and woman know what to do in every situation.

In his assessment of Apollo, Carl Kerenyi explains the god was also known as Apollo delphinios. This is how his temple came to be built in Delphi. In ancient Greece, the word dolphin was also taken to mean uterus - the womb.

The sea is also regarded as the womb of the Great Mother. Just as all life is thought to come from the sea, when unconscious content is given life, it improves your life.

It’s worth noting that unconscious content is associated with the dead. Fragmented, or split-off consciousness that sinks into the unconscious mind needs to be given life.

“If you can touch your shadow - within form - and do something out of your ordinary pattern, a great deal of energy will flow from it. [The shadow needs to be given life in order for the ego to be given a new else of life - otherwise life becomes mundane and depressing.” ~ Robert Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow

Apollo was also the god of music - a symbol that reflects the vibratory nature of energy. Energy vibrates. Thoughts, actions and emotions are energy and transform your vibration - higher or lower.

We see this concept in the myth of Apollo and the satyr (a half-man, half-goat create) Marsyas. The latter challenges the god to a musical contest. Apollo wins and punishes Marsyas by having him flayed to death.

Death and rebirth is the transformation of energy.

We also see dolphins associated with music in the Greek myth involving Arion who, like Apollo, plays the lyre, and like Dionysus, is captured by thieves that want to steal his money.

To escape, Arion jumps into the sea and is rescued by dolphins.

You might be interested to note also that Apollo and Dionysus share the temple at Delphi, Apollo for six months of the year and Dionysus for the remaining six.

Delphi, associated with Dolphin, is where the famous oracle advised visitors by channelling the spirit of Apollo; or as the exoteric meaning of dolphin symbolism calls it, communication, psychic abilities and messages.

As an archetype, Apollo is the sage, also known as the Oracle. The key quality of the archetype is inner-wisdom, self-knowledge. And here we arrive at the esoteric meaning of dolphins.

Do you want to understand the secret language of esoteric symbolism? Team up with Master Mind Content and learn the art of self-development with one of our insightful Symbolism Courses. You will learn what esoteric symbols really mean and how you can use this powerful tool to make decisions with confidence and improve your quality of life.

Archetypes represent certain personality types of qualities that need to be developed to become whole. Psychologists recognise 12 main archetypes. 

The caregiver archetype is one of the most important archetypes to develop. It should also be one of the first, but sadly, is often neglected through social conditioning. 

People that have a dominant caregiver archetype as part of their personality armour typically feel fulfilled by helping others. They show compassion and empathy and know what to do in the right moments. 

Individuals that do not do things for others need to develop the caregiver in them. 

It’s also worth pointing out that people with dominant qualities of the caregiver archetype may also need to work on developing these qualities. It is often the case that caregivers give their energy to others and do not invest in themselves. 

The caregiver archetype does not only involve taking care of others. You also have to take care of yourself.

Let’s take a closer look.

Self-Love/Self-Care 

The principal quality of the caregiver archetype is self-love. When you love yourself you have the capacity to love others unconditionally. You also take good care of yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.

A surprising number of people have a lack of self-love. Even the narcissists you see posting selfies on Instagram every day and the body-beautiful fitness fanatics you see strutting around the gym. 

You may think these types of people “love themselves” but underneath they are suffering from a lack of self-care. They were probably starved of love and compassion as a child. 

Narcissism and body dysmorphia drives destructive behaviours such as pushing your body to its limits, taking steroids, bulimia etc. They are extreme cases but affect millions of people - 6.2 million people have reported bulimia in the United States alone. 

Another reason for a lack of self-love might be because you feel unworthy or because you are not good enough. Comparing yourself to other people and constantly worry about what people think of you are sure-fire traits of a negative caregiver archetype. 

In my opinion, this is due to school. We’re programmed to compare our performance with others from an early age. 

As a result, we become judgmental and critical of others to make ourselves feel better. We feel low and inferior when we do not match or better the achievements of others but can develop an overinflated ego when we outdo others. 

Either way, comparing ourselves to others is destructive behaviour. Even if getting one over on someone makes you feel better, it can cause disharmony in your relationship with that person. 

And the caregiver archetype involves nurturing relationships. Good social relationships cultivate positive emotional health.

Compassion 

The definition of compassion is an emotional response to another person’s suffering. Compassion can often be confused with empathy, but there is a slight difference as you will see below.

Compassion is an instinct that has evolved as part of human nature. A growing body of research in the fields of neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, behavioural psychology and developmental science among others reveals that compassion is vital to good health and even to the survival of the species.

The Compassionate Institute suggests practising compassion increases feelings of happiness, calmness and self-acceptance. It also decreases anger, worry, anxiety and emotional suppression. 

These are all qualities attributed to the caregiver archetype. Develop compassion towards others - but also remember to be compassionate towards yourself. 

Like everybody else, you have made mistakes in your life. Mistakes are meant to be made so that you can expand your conscious awareness and develop your full potential. 

So don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Empathy

Not everyone is empathetic. Whilst empathy is a built-in personality trait, a society designed to breed self-interest and egotism has crushed homo empathicus. 

However, empathy is a habit that can be nurtured. Cultivation is also a quality of the caregiver archetype. This is made clear by one of the Mother Goddesses of the ancient Greeks; Demeter, goddess of the grain. 

Neuroscientists have discovered our brains have an “empathy circuit”. When damaged, or inactive, we are unable to understand the feelings and perceptions of others. 

empathy caregiver archetype

On the flip side, empathetic people intuitively feel the emotional state of the other person and use that understanding to guide their actions. 

An article published by Roman Krznaric suggests adopting six habits to cultivate empathy. 

  1. Develop a curiosity about strangers. Be inquisitive towards the people you meet and show an interest in what they have to say. 
  2. Challenge your prejudices towards other people and determine what you have in common with them
  3. Live the life of another person 
  4. Listen carefully and try to understand what the person who is speaking is feeling
  5. Get involved with social issues and inspire change within your community
  6. Try to see the world from the view of others to understand their thinking and motivations - especially with the people you do not agree with. 

Altruism 

Caregivers are dependable, generous, caring and offer encouragement. These altruistic qualities need to be developed to cultivate this archetype - but they must be performed with a genuine desire to help. 

However, there is a downside to altruism - you can overburden yourself, and many of us do. We find ourselves helping others because we feel obligated or want to be liked.

Eventually, you will take on more duties than you can handle, and as a consequence, you neglect yourself. Then you will see a different side of the caregiver archetype. She becomes resentful and develops a victim mentality.

Another negative quality you should look out for is a feeling of guilt. If you feel guilty that you can’t help someone, even if it’s physically impossible for you to do so, the root course of your negative caregiver archetype is a lack of self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. See this article on the inferiority complex. 

Archetypal energies are powerful tools that help determine which unconscious energies are trying to break through into your conscious thinking. Master Mind Content has developed a healing program that shows you how to recognise archetypal energies and adjust your thoughts, actions and emotions accordingly. With these tools, you will be able to release repressed consciousness, develop your personality and upgrade your subconscious programs with energies that deliver a better quality experience of life. 

If you would like to know how to develop the caregiver archetype and more, sign up for our Essential Self-Development Program today. Our 18 tools enable you to cultivate the path to a better quality of life.

“The unconscious has a particular capacity to create images and to use those images as symbols. It is the symbols that form our dreams, creating a language by which the unconscious communicates its contents to the conscious mind… as we learn to read those symbols we gain the ability to perceive the workings of the unconscious within us… if we take the time to learn their language, we discover that every dream is a masterpiece of symbolic communication.” ~ Robert Johnson, Inner Work

Numbers and symbols are everywhere. Furthermore, they carry meanings that can help awaken your conscious mind and reveal the inner wisdom buried in your unconscious.

Believe it or not, but all of life's lessons are hidden in the esoteric meaning of numbers and symbols. Understanding the esoteric meaning is the key to decoding the ‘secrets’ to life.

! In fact, knowledge of esoteric symbolism is arguably the most powerful self-development tool there is !

It is through symbols that the unconscious mind communicates with the conscious mind. If you are alert, aware and schooled in the esoteric meaning of numbers and symbols, you have a valuable tool that will guide you through life, help you to make decisions with confidence and change your fortunes.

Numbers and Symbols Are Good Not Evil

Esoteric symbolism, or occultism, is often associated with Freemasonry and other secret societies.

Oh yes, and Satan!

As a consequence, it gets a bad rap by the profane. The irony is that these same symbols are used by the religious leaders that denounce them.

The same symbols that were used in ancient mythologies dating back at least 7000 years are still found in Christian churches, temples, monuments, company logos, bullion coins, banknotes, and civic buildings such as banks, theatres, government buildings and public spaces.

Numbers and Symbols in Corporate logos

You could argue the church, banks, corporations and governments are evil I suppose. But the symbols themselves are not.

Whilst they do have positive and negative meanings, your understanding of them is what really matters. When you are in control of your own mind, emotions and behaviour, it is more difficult for the powers that be to influence how you think, and ultimately how you act.

And when you know it’s there, you find esoteric symbolism everywhere. Including Nazi symbolism in popular culture.

The YouTube video below also provides some examples of subversive symbolism but there are loads more.

Esoteric Symbolism in Marketing

Corporations have learned how to manipulate the reptilian brain through the use of logos and marketing.

The reptilian brain is the most primitive part of the brain but also the most susceptible to symbols. Ancient symbols that have endured thousands of years are recorded in the unconscious and passed down through generations via genetic memories - either in DNA or through Morphic Resonance - and quite possibly both.

Past lives and the collective consciousness are considered pseudoscience. However, forward-thinking scientists researching the fields of quantum mechanics and para-phenomenon are getting closer to revealing that the human mind may receive information from quantum particles.

Who knows, but leading corporations seem to understand how effective occult symbolism is as a marketing tool. Otherwise, why would esoteric symbolism appear in so many logos and marketing campaigns of Fortune 500 companies?

Hollywood producers are not strangers to occult symbolism either. And the music industry peddles propaganda more than any other industry. Esoteric symbolism is so widely used in mainstream circles it’s frightening - it’s frightening because the people that are using it know what they are doing.

The people they are using it on, unfortunately, don’t.

I’m not into the trash they put on MTV and the like but I am aware there are a huge number of pop videos that covertly feature occult symbols.

Sometimes they are not even covert.

Do a Google search for yourself and you will find the likes of Katy Perry, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Brittney Spears, and Lady Gaga to name but a few.

The Esoteric Meaning of Numbers and Symbols

Numbers and symbols represent both positive and negative aspects of your mind, your emotions and your personality traits. They are a way for your unconscious to communicate with you thus you can be naturally drawn to them.

When numbers and symbols reveal themselves to you in a synchronous fashion, take notice. Symbols reflect the energy you are projecting. Often times you will be unconscious of the energy that is creating your life experiences.

Unconscious energy

After all, esoteric refers to the inner-self. The contents of the inner world that have not been given “life” seek to express themselves. However, until the conscious mind is aware of unconscious content, the split-off fragments of consciousness sunburned in the unconscious remain “dead”.

With an understanding of symbolism, you can move towards a better understanding of your mind, your intuition and your full potential.

Your inner world - and this your outer experience - becomes so much clearer when you understand what a symbol means for you at any given moment in your life. Every day is an opportunity to learn something about yourself.

The symbolism courses we offer at Master Mind Content reveal what symbols and numbers mean and show you how to apply the meanings of your life and personal development.

For me, esoteric symbolism has been the most powerful self-development tool I have discovered.

When you learn how to interpret numbers and symbols in your own life and apply that principle to whatever situation you are experiencing at that time, you will be able to make adjustments, decisions and go with the flow naturally and without stress.

There are multiple possibilities.

The Number Symbolism Course we offer at Master Mind Content explains how to explore your inner self – your True self - and what you should do when a certain number appears to you.

Before you can do that, you need to know something about how the unconscious and subconscious mind works. They perform different functions - and that’s important to know!

Understanding Your Subconscious Mind

By understanding how the Unconscious/subconscious mind works, you will have more control over your life. Ultimately you can develop the ability to manifest the things you most desire. It’s an exciting thought, isn’t it?

However, I must warn you that for many people the transition is not easy and, sometimes, the discovery of Truth can be disturbing.

How you react largely depends on your state of self-awareness at any given moment - or certainly how receptive you are to coping with new situations and taking on the information.

You will experience events that can be considered as tests. You already are. Every challenge you face is a test. You may as well be prepared with tools that help you understand how to overcome the challenges.

You will remain a Fool if you don’t!

The Fool Card

In his book “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” Dr Joseph Murphy explains everything that manifests in your life is a result of how you think. Your conscious mind feeds the subconscious information and the subconscious mind manifest those thoughts into reality.

Therefore it is important to take control of the thoughts, emotions and actions you are programming your subconscious mind with. You can only do that if you are consciously aware of how you think, act and feel.

The ancients understood this. On the temple walls at Delphi where the great Oracle resided are the words “Know thyself.” The Greek playwright, Euripides wrote, “the ills of mortals are of their own seeking.”

Buddha also said:

“Each of us is a God. Each of us knows all. We need only open our minds to hear our own wisdom.” Hermes Trismegistus, whom Hermeticism is attributed with saying, “If then you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot apprehend God; for like is known by like.”

The Laws of Nature

The ancient word for Lord is the law – or more precisely, the law of nature. You cannot change the law of nature, so must learn to work with it. Given you are a part of nature, you can develop the ability to control your own destiny. The lord – or law – is the unconscious mind.

Here we have the Morphic Field and Morphic Resonance we mentioned earlier. When you combine religion with science - as we do at Master Mind Content - the frontier sciences that are labelled “pseudo” make absolute sense.

And the mainstream science which is acknowledged by academia doesn’t fit the paradigm of new discoveries.

How the Unconscious-subconscious mind works fall within the realm of misleading science taught in the mainstream. Psychologists talk about either the subconscious or the unconscious depending on their schooling.

Trained professionals generally use the term “unconscious” whilst everybody else uses the term “subconscious”.

Essentially, the subconscious and the unconscious are classed as the same thing regardless of the term the user prefers. However, there are different roles of consciousness.

Information stores in the subconscious sit just below the surface of the conscious mind. Information is retrieved fairly easily. The subconscious also prompts habitual patterns of behaviour and can make decisions for you.

Psychologists estimate that 90-95% of purchasing decisions taken by the average person surface from the subconscious.

The unconscious, on the other hand, stores ‘Split-off’ fragments of consciousness. These are aspects of your personality, beliefs, attitudes, rituals etc that have not been given life.

The conscious mind is totally unaware of the ‘unlived’ content stored in the unconscious. Although unconscious content does surface in the conscious mind it is typically rejected by the ego on the grounds that the information does not correspond with existing programs.

The battles in myth between gods and demons, heroes and dragons, malevolent kings v benevolent kings and warring brothers etc, represent the conflict between the unconscious content that guides you to the realisation of the “True Self” and the ego.

Because the ego only responds to habitual programs stored in the subconscious, the Self has to battle with the ego.

Let it be known that it is the content stored in your unconscious that holds the key to wisdom, growth and a richer quality of life.

“There are certain events of which we have not consciously taken note; they have remained, so to speak, below the threshold of consciousness. They have happened, but they have been absorbed subliminally, without our conscious knowledge. We can become aware of such happenings only in a moment of intuition or by a process of profound thought that leads to a later realization that they must have happened; and though we may have originally ignored their emotional and vital importance, it later wells up from the unconscious as a sort of afterthought. As a general rule, the unconscious aspect of any event is revealed to us in dreams, where it appears not as a rational thought but as a symbolic image.” ~ Carl Jung, Man And His Symbols

Life is a journey and the path leads you back to your True Self, the source of your creation. Numbers and symbols are there to teach you, remind you and guide you back towards your goal.

And you can use symbols to help reach goals in every aspect of your life, big or small. Our Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism is the gateway to a better future.

A Final Word on Esoteric Symbols and Numbers

Over the centuries, every culture has developed a system of symbolism and numerology. Subsequently, the same symbols can have slightly different meanings, but there is often some cross over in the interpretation.

Given I live in Europe, the majority of the symbolism I will write about on this website will be sourced from Christian churches, Greco-Roman mythology together with ancient Celtic and Nordic traditions.

I also explore shamanic traditions from the Americas together with teachings that originated in the Far East and the ancient mystery schools of what is now the Middle East.

During my research, I have also discovered that modern-day practitioners of symbolism and numerology adopt different methods to reach the same end. This would be fine if the results are the same despite going about it in different ways.

The problem is the results are not always the same which makes me believe they have not connected the pieces of the jigsaw correctly.

For example, modern practitioners of numerology say everyone has a personality number that describes the most prominent characteristics - skills and personalities of an individual.

I found three methods of calculating your personality number, all of which produced different results. I therefore cannot rely on the results of modern systems. How do you know which to use?

The only to that is not to use any of them!

In our symbolism courses, we show you are working out. We take pieces of the jigsaw from multiple cultures and show you how they fit together. This is how you see the bigger picture.

Not only that, but once you understand how to use the esoteric system of symbolism, it is far easier to decode any system using the exoteric interpretation of a symbol.

If you don’t know how to use the esoteric system, exoteric interpretations of symbols are misleading. They are not wrong, but they only give you a hint of the actual meaning.

Using Number Symbolism

Throughout the day you encounter hundreds of numbers. You find them on clocks, car registrations, computers, bank statements, bills, advertising, sports shirts, buses. You get the idea.

When you notice a repetition of numbers over a short space of time, (it could be in a day, it could span across several days), the numbers are trying to tell you something. To know what that something is you need to know what the numbers mean and what to do when a number reveals itself.

If you are already aware of numbers revealing themselves to all of you, why not learn what they are telling you. But also learn when to ignore numbers. There is a difference between seeing numbers and numbers revealing themselves to you.

The secret is: don’t go looking for numbers and symbols. Let them appear naturally to you as you go about your day.

You will find, from time to time, that one particular number (or symbol) keeps appearing mysteriously or you get drawn to it without thinking.

It has a message for you, an opportunity to learn something about yourself and make a decision with confidence.

Do you want to understand the secret language of numbers? Team up with Master Mind Content for a full, in-depth Number Symbolism Course and learn how numbers can help you make decisions with confidence and improve your quality of life.

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