Beginning of a Personal Symbology

The suffix ‘-ology’ means, ‘the study of’. For example ‘cosmology’ means ‘study of the cosmos’, ‘biology’ means ‘study of biological phenomena’, and so on.  Today I begin studying the symbols that were and are important in my life. I want to identify the symbols from my early years that have, and continue to affect my psyche. My goal is to make a Rosetta Stone-like summary of my life and, by examining it during its creation, arrive at closure. In essence, I would like to end my cycle of examining and re-examining elements of my past and come, comfortably into the present.  As I mentioned yesterday, this project came to mind after seeing Miró’s painting, The Farm, and reading about what it meant to him.

Why should I do such a thing?

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I am a sibling of an autistic, low functioning, nonverbal individual, my older brother Michael. The dynamics of any family with an autistic or other special needs member is necessarily skewed. For example, in most cases, the individual who is least likely to care for himself or herself is gets the lion’s share of the attention. Other factors in the case of my family, during my childhood (in the 1950s and 60s), included the dearth of knowledge of autism; the prevailing ‘wisdom’ then, that time autism was caused by cold-hearted parents (the ‘refrigerator mother‘ theory); and the lack of medical or social support.

I am reasonably happy with how I turned out. I have a deep appreciation for the sciences, visual arts and music; I have the tools to gain knowledge about subjects that interest me, and get a great deal of satisfaction when I learn or read about new things.

However, I find that I continually return to irresolvable themes, one particular being the impossibility of communicating with Mike, and all its ramifications. By summarizing all the influences on my life growing up (via my symbology), I may not need to revisit them any more.

First symbol: The Pumpkins

As I explained in Three Pumpkins 1 and Three Pumpkins 2, I came upon a photo of three pumpkins that we carved when Michael, Dave and I were all living at home. I did not realize the symbolism that the middle pumpkin was the only one with the unhappy face. I am the middle child.

Below is the photo in question:

Three pumpkins on the stoop. Middle pumpkin with a frown

Here is its current position in the first draft of my ‘Rosetta Stone’:

Watercolor, Pen and Ink - Highlighting Pumpkin Symbols

Symbols – Legend 1

2 thoughts on “Beginning of a Personal Symbology

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