Symbolism (Metapsychical)
A term used by psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano in relation
‘‘. . . cases in which, by subconscious or mediumistic methods,
an idea is expressed by means of hallucinatory perceptions,
or ideographic representations, or forms of language differing
from the ideas to be transmitted, but capable of
suggesting them indirectly or conventionally. In other words,
there is metapsychical symbolism every time an idea is transmitted
by means of representations which are not reproductions.’’
F. W. H. Myers included one instance of such symbolic communication
in his book, Human Personality and Its Survival of
Bodily Death (1903) A botanical student passing inattentively in
front of the glass door of a restaurant thought he saw ‘‘Verbascum
Thapsus’’ printed on it. The real word was ‘‘Bouillon,’’
and that happens to be the trivial name in French for the plant
Verbascum Thapsus. The actual optical perception was thus
subliminally transformed.
Symbolism often occurs in occultism, particularly in prophetic
dreams, which are sometimes represented in visual or
etymological puns. Sigmund Freud drew attention to such
symbolic imagery in his psychoanalytical theory of dreams.
Many psychics find their visions of future events occur in symbolic
form. Traditional astrological predictions used to be presented
in symbolic pictures called hieroglyphs.