Charlotte McGary & Sharon Faiola-Petersen
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May 27, 2017

The Shifting Meaning of Metaphors and the Possibility of Bliss
The power of allegorical writing lies in its ability to reveal new insights with each re-reading
By Sharon

In a popular episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, peaceful communication between the Enterprise and the alien Tamarian race was hamstrung because, even though the crew could translate individual alien words, sentence meanings were lost in what sounded like a haphazard jumble of nonsensical phrases. The reason for the breakdown in communication? The Tamarians spoke in metaphors and allegories, and unless one was already familiar with the symbolism of the mostly historical Tamarian tales (think "Napoleon at Waterloo" as a metaphor for a major defeat), the meaning was, as they say, lost in translation. (See and

Most languages are peppered with symbolic phrases. And those symbols often mean very different things to different people. A good-fortune dragon in one culture could represent diabolical evil in another. All symbolism—indeed, all communication—is understood through the filter of individual experience, personal biases, and cultural norms. As these elements are in continual flux within our lives, it's not surprising that one's first viewing of the movie "Star Wars" as a kid pales in comparison to a recent viewing today, the story now appearing much richer in political symbolism and spiritual metaphor.

The same can be said for ancient wisdom writings multilayered with symbols and parables (e.g., the Bible, Tao Te Ching, Homer's The Odyssey), each re-reading revealing deeper nuggets of wisdom and spiritual "truths" illuminated by the twists and turns of your own life's journey. Charting the multiple levels of ever-shifting meanings within truly inspired allegorical texts can turn into a mirror-within-a-mirror experience—dizzying but profoundly rewarding.

From dreams to sacred geometry, Charlotte and I are both fascinated by the power of symbols. So it should come as no surprise that our book The Dream Crystals of Gandara is crisscrossed with metaphors and symbols open to multiple interpretations. The overarching plot is, however, rooted in a broad allegorical "hero's journey" as defined by author/mythologist Joseph Campbell. In Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation, Campbell writes: "What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. . . . There's always the possibility of fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss."

Have some time to spare this summer? Then may we suggest you re-read our story about the harrowing quest to save the planet Gandara from threatening crystalline powers. By combining your own broadening experiences with an openness to exploring the tale's shifting symbolism, you may also discover new meanings that call you "to new horizons." And the adventure, like a hero's journey, will unfold to bring you the wonderful "possibility of bliss"!

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Thoughts, musings, and words of wisdom from our distinctly different minds and POVs.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in one author's blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the other author!

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