Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

The black cat and the power of symbols

Trulli houses

By on 5 April 2020

Trulli houses

Illustration: Trulli houses in Alberobello, southern Italy, with symbols on the roofs

The black cat and the power of symbols

"Symbol" - Word Meaning

The Greek word symbolon means: identification mark, distinguishing feature, and also proof, contract, identity card, password, or Code. With the last two meanings, one enters a realm of "spiritual obligation" or "right of access" and thus enters the dim space of magic.

The magical effect of the symbols

Suggestive effect

For thousands of years, people have attributed a magical effect to symbols. C.G. Jung wrote: "The symbol has a suggestive, persuasive effect and at the same time expresses the content of the conviction." [1]

Messages from the unconscious

The magical effect of symbols comes from the fact that they speak the language of the unconscious (see The Conscious and the Unconscious). This language is absorbed by the body, while the mind likes to dismiss the images as unrealistic "nonsense" (see The Language of Images and the Rational Mind).


C.G. Jung called important symbols and generally accepted ideas that are shared by several people ARCHETYPES. Examples are the HERO, the KING, the FATHER, the VIRGIN, CHRIST but also abstract concepts such as GOD, WHOLENESS or SENSE.

Symbols and magic - faith and superstition

Why and how do symbols work?

The power of the symbol lies in the meaning that the observer gives it, in other words, in faith.

An "abstruse" fear of unspecified negative consequences is called "superstition".

Example: The black cat

A black cat crosses my path. My companion jokingly says: "Oh, that's bad luck".
If I believe this and interpret it as an unlucky sign, it will most likely have consequences. Namely, in a negative expectation, I will be suspicious of what happens next. Moreover, there is a danger that I will associate difficult things with the black cat and hang my head fatalistically instead of taking the challenge by the horns.
But perhaps my companion will dispel my concerns by saying: "Oh, luckily it goes from right to left, so it doesn't matter...".

Which symbols are involved and what do they mean?

Feelings are always an impulse to think about the matter and to ask oneself: "What is this all about? These symbols are at play in the encounter with the cat:

1. the cat

She is an independent and indomitable predator, but can also be gentle when she feels like it. If she falls, she always lands on her feet. It is also said that she has "seven lives". With her gentle self-will and resilient unpredictability, she radiates something mysterious or "magical". 

2. the colour black

Black is the colour of death, the underworld and the unconscious. So here it already becomes more uncomfortable. An encounter with a black cat is said to bring bad luck. Questions arise here such as: What am I afraid of? Am I afraid of death or the unconscious or my own shadow? And above all: (Why) Do I have a reason to be afraid?

From left to right

The left side as the passive-supportive is considered "female" and belongs more to the unconscious, while the right side as "male" (active-initiating) can be assigned more to the consciousness (mind).

The question now is: Does the black animal walk as a messenger from the Is the black animal a messenger from the unconscious (left) into my conscious reality (right)?

In doing so, it gives me the opportunity to ask myself: "Is there something that has not yet come to my awareness and if so, what would it be?" This in particular can be quite positive in that it triggers a healing process of becoming aware.

Fear of loss of control and awareness

From these remarks it is clear that it is not so much the cat that is the problem, but more the meaning that is given to it. In fact, the unconscious can cause fear, especially fear of losing control. However, the discomfort can be defused by noticing it and asking questions like: What am I actually afraid of? What is bothering me right now? What can I do about it?

This allows me to get moving in a constructive way and I am happy about every cat that crosses my path.

Doctor Faust and the Addiction to Magic

Better to be carried along ...

Just as dangerous as the fear of magic is the addiction to magic. He would rather experience magic and surrender to it, even let it carry him away, than work (on himself!).

Goethe's Faust was no different. He justified his urge for magic with these words [2]:

Therefore I have surrendered to magic,
Whether many a secret would not be revealed to me through the power of the spirit and the mouth
That I no longer need to say with sour sweat
what I do not know;
That I recognise what holds the world
together in its innermost being.

Magic to escape the harshness of the curse

Faust wants to escape the curse, which reads: "The ground will be full of thorns and thistles, and in the sweat of your face you shall eat your bread! This means not least that the woman shows her prickly side to the man until he confesses his feelings to her (see The Curse after the Fall). Faust, however, does not want to say what he does not know (better: does not feel). In other words, he does not want to give himself and do hard relationship work, but rather take and consume (sex).

Pentagram for the Dynamics of the Five

Mephisto and the Pentagram (the symbol of the Drude's foot)

He thus grants access to a servile spirit of the devil, who installs or repairs the sign of the pentagram above his door and thus gives access to the "magic", which then "simply leaves". But this is precisely what leads to the fulfilment of the curse, namely the negative couple dynamic of power, to which Gretchen then falls victim (s. Black magic).

The symbols and their power decoded

The need for power

The symbols get their power from the meaning that is given to them. Often there is a conscious or even unconscious motive behind their use: "Let it be done as I will". Man wants to have power in his life. But paradoxically, this is precisely an indication of his powerlessness and dependence. The path to freedom, however, leads him through powerlessness and surrender. (Thus the crucifixion is a symbol for the dying of the ego, see Life and the Serpent: Ascent and Descent).

What is decisive is the intention of the person or his motive. Behind this is his true belief. This can ultimately be reduced to the question of power or love?
The symbols as messengers of the unconscious are an indication of the inner attitude.

Decoding through awareness

Man can decode the "magic" of the symbols by beginning to think about their effect and also about his faith, in other words, by mobilising his loving consciousness. If he brings the unconscious "messages" to light in this way, he can distinguish them and also decide which impulses he wants to follow. Inthis way he gains self-efficacy and truekingship in life.

Hard work in acid sweat

The person who sets out on the path to awareness is a true hero. His heroic path finally leads him to the confrontation with his own shadow in the trial by fire. In the process, the ego, the identity of power, "dies" and the self, the identity of love, rises. 

The positive power of symbols

Pointing out the unconscious

Images have a strong power and force. Ultimately, all symbols can be helpful by underlining hidden desires, fears and motives. All it takes is a close look. So the question: "What is this trying to tell me?" can become the question: "What meaning do I want to give it?

The heroic path of man

By beginning to deal with his unconscious, his drives and hidden motives, man sets out on the hero's path. This leads him to kingship in his own life and into the realm of the spirit and thus to eternal life.

As soon as man lets go of power and consciously sets out to courageously face his own truth, his existence turns in a positive direction.

Powerful positive symbols

This is true even when there is still some tidying up and integrating to do. This path requires true heroism and a trust in the greater existence of love and forgiveness.

Their symbols or archetypes are GOD, WHOLENESS, the SELF, CHRIST / MESSIAS, the VIRGIN, the HOLY WEDDING, BREAD AND WINE, the ANOINTING, the CROSS and many more. They have the power to lead man on the path to freedom.

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