Friday, August 31, 2007

walking sign

We cannot walk the Camino without some sort of secret sign wagging from our packs - perhaps a young Knight Templar or Hopitaller along the Way or one of Theano's daughters - might actually know what this esoteric image is all about.

My best guess - take our blog's name - sanctus vesica piscium - which is a symbol made from two circles of the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the centre of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. The name literally means "bladder of the fish", but is probably better, the body or mouth of the fish.

The almond shaped symbol is formed in the overlap between the circles and their centers, together with the upper arcs as far as the edges of a rectangle whose sides coincide with the widest points of the almond. The resulting figure looks both like a stylised fish, and a flattened greek alpha. A vesica piscus takes the proportion of the square root of the number 3 - (which is a near relative [1.73205080 vs 1.61803399] to the golden mean and the mean's association with the greek letter - phi - Φ).

The square of 3 and the vesica piscis was used by many mystical religions, such as that of Pythagoras, who considered it a holy shape. The mathematical ratio of its height to width was considered by such groups as 153:265, this was thought of as a holy number called the measure of the fish. The number 153 appears in the Gospel of John as the exact number of fish Jesus causes to be caught in a miraculous catch of fish, and is thought by some to be a coded reference to Pythagorean beliefs. Other uses of the shape include that by some early religions of the almond shaped central area as a representation of the vulva, and in use again by early Christians under the name Ichthys - an acronym for the greek names of Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

Then, taking our two literal Vesica Pisces bodies, we "orient" the fishies to encircle the striped column as a yin and yang taijitu - the mirrored column follows the red (female) and white (male) colors of the taijitu (that aint no barber pole - or is it?) using the scallop shells, symbol of St. James' Field of Stars (aka the Milky Way), as our captials - so our walking logo - a pictorial Φ - with allusions to balance and interrelations - some bawdy and some mystic (some say there is a difference).

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