Watching the snow softly fall this morning, I am reminded that each snowflake is exquisitely unique, each falling to earth in shapes that speak to the sacredness of our planet and the universe. The shapes are truly amazing.
Snowflakes are powerful symbols that point to the sacred individuality of each human being. Snow flakes descend from the heavens, from clouds. According to Cirlot’s Dictionary of Symbols,
There are two principal aspects to cloud-symbolism: on the one hand they are related to the symbolism of mist, signifying the intermediate world between the formal and the non-formal; and on the other hand they are associated with the ‘Upper Waters’—the realm of the antique Neptune. The former aspect of the cloud is symbolic of forms as phenomena and appearance, always in a state of metamorphosis, which obscure the immutable quality of higher truth. The second aspect of clouds reveals their connection with fertility-symbolism and their analogous relationship with all that is destined to bring fecundity. In ancient Christian symbolism interprets the cloud as synonymous with the prophet, since prophecies are an occult source of fertilization, celestial in origin. According to Bachelard the cloud should be taken as a symbolic messenger (page 50).
Clouds are symbols of the intermediate state between the upper and lower worlds. They relate to the symbolism of fog, which I have written about here. I said,
Fog is a low-lying cloud that pulls the vault of heaven down to earth, enveloping us. In this way, it symbolizes heaven and earth intertwined, an intermediate state of being, the metaxy of Soul.
In a sense, this applies to clouds, as well. There is a definite delineation between heaven and the earth. This is Corbin’s mundus imaginalis, the intermediate state of Soul, the realm of the Imaginal.
Snowflakes emanate from the heavens, as do we. Souls descend from the intermediate state of Being, just as snowflakes, and we each are beautiful, sacred forms, frozen in matter. Snowflakes are frozen water. Water is a deep and very ancient symbol of Truth:
Although water is, in appearance, formless, ancient cultures made a distinction between ‘upper waters’ and ‘lower waters’. The former correspond to the potential or what is still possible, the latter to what is actual or already created. In a general sense, the concept of ‘water’ stands, of course, for all liquid matter. Moreover, the primaeval waters, the image of prime matter, also contained all solid bodies before they acquired form and rigidity. For this reason, the alchemists gave the name of ‘water’ to quicksilver in its first stage of transmutation and, by analogy, also to the ‘fluid body’ of Man. This ‘fluid body’ is interpreted by modern psychology as a symbol of the unconscious, that is, of the non-formal, dynamic, motivating, female side of the personality. The projection of the mother-imago into the waters endows them with various numinous properties characteristic of the mother (Cirlot, ibid.).
Snowflakes do melt at some point after landing upon the earth. They become water again and are recycled through the ecosystem. Again, this is a powerful statement about Souls. We don’t remain upon this material planet; we once again ascend back into the heavens. There is symbolic justification in this for our reincarnations, again and again, until we reach our destiny.
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