Tokens that Represent You
  • Aries:Cigarette lighter. You have a lot of fuel on the inside, waiting to be put to use. When that energy comes out, everyone is drawn to it's vibrancy and warmth. It's easy for you to get overwhelmed and lash out, though, so others should take caution. You have a cool outer demeanor, and it doesn't take much for you to be a useful contribution for any situation.
  • Taurus:Flashlight. You light up the dark for so many people with your bright disposition. It brings people relief to have you around, and you find solace in this. You weren't really made to hurt others, but you can be a formidable foe. Remember to use that light inside, not only for other people, but for yourself.
  • Gemini:Shot glass. It takes other people to fill you up a lot of the time. Otherwise, you feel somewhat useless, sitting pretty. But you don't need other people's wants and energies poured into you to make you valuable. You don't like dealing with pressure, and will lash out if it gets to be too much. You have a silent strength that helps others get by.
  • Cancer:Sea shell. Though you seem like a strong, rigid person, you're actually quite fragile. Pressure at the wrong points, and you become overwhelmed. You have a beauty that can be transformed in many ways, though, and it's possible for you to end up anywhere that you want to go. Some people take these things about you for granted, but many others cherish these traits that make you up.
  • Leo:Compact Mirror. You hold so much inside. Pain and happiness, intermingled. You often reflect on to others who they are, without ever having to give all of yourself away. You put yourself to use by helping others, but sort through your own feelings by yourself, a lot of the time. You need people that will take the time to really observe your hidden compartments.
  • Virgo:Coins. You find value and worth in what you mean in regards to other people. The happiness you bring, the jobs you can do; your usefulness. You're afraid of having that stripped away, or that you will cease to be useful. People put a lot of pressure on you, at times, but you always come out intact. Never fear. You are bright, and shiny, and authenticity is always worth so much!
  • Libra:Fountain Pen. You have so many thoughts trapped inside of you, waiting to come spilling out. But it takes those around you a lot of hard work and time to get to all of those inner emotions. You can be hard on the outside, but you easily bend for those that you like. Dedication can lead you to your full potential.
  • Scorpio:Fire cracker. You like to make things interesting. You wait for someone to come along and light you up, and then put on a show. The only thing is, if people aren't careful they could end up hurt; your intentions are good but you don't always have their safety in mind. Still, people are drawn to your energy, and are always interested to see what you'll do.
  • Sagittarius:Die (dice block).You are pretty much the Swiss army knife of the signs; you are useful in so many ways, depending on the person that comes into contact with you. People seem to find out things about their own fate just by being around you. You like to have a good time, and are known for it. You are solid, but at times misunderstood. Not only by other people, but sometimes by your self. You strive to be more useful, not realizing your own versatility.
  • Capricorn:Sunglasses. While you can be the epitome of a good time, you can also spend quite a bit of your time living in a world created of your own darkness. You like to keep people at a distance, except for a chosen few that really know you. You're more fragile than anyone would like to admit, but you try to keep yourself together at all times.
  • Aquarius:Marbles. Nobody that comes into contact with you ever knows exactly what you're made up of on the inside. To find out, they'd have to tear you open. But you're pretty sturdy and that would be no easy feat! Everyone can see your beauty and oddity from the outside, though, and that's what draws them to you.
  • Pisces:Batteries. You lend a quiet power to all that you come into contact with, and enjoy what you can do for other people. Be careful, though, because people will deplete your energy, if you let them! You have to recharge sometime! You're pretty solid, but if damaged, you retaliate by causing a sick amount of pain.
  • ((Inspired by the movie Inception, where each individual chooses a token, and keeps it to themselves to discern whether or not they are in reality, Or someone else's *fabrication* of reality))
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Ray’s hands: in the dream-like sequence (ep. 3 “Maybe tomorrow”) and after his alcohol/drug binge (ep. 6 “Church in ruins”), True detective season 2

There is a lot of speculation about meaning of (ep. 3) Ray’s Lynchian style dream (or a near-death experience after being shot): whether the Black Rose is a purgatory of a kind, whether the ‘dream’ is foreshadowing/prophecy of the events which are going to happen to Ray or if the father symbolises Ray’s inner world; father as an archetype - a figure of original authority and strength in our life – or lack of it; or is it  the “inner father” - how one relates to one’s own life process (i.e. Ray struggling with his own role as a father). In any case, the camera in ep. 6 paused long enough on Ray’s hands to remind me of the ep. 3 dream sequence especially as it followed Ray’s heartbreaking conversation with his own son.

life is strange ep 4 symbolism

one of the things i noticed in episode 4 that i think some of you might have overlooked were the two moons. like i’m sure you’re aware of the two moons, but not the meaning behind them. i did a little research and supposedly two moons symbolize choices, changes, and decisions. and what has this entire game been about? you guessed it: choices.

another thing that happens is that, toward the end, one of the moons disappears and the one that remains seems to stabilize. what could this possibly mean? you’ve had the entire past 4 episodes to make decisions that, whether major or minor, affected your gameplay. you’ve had all this potential to do whatever it is you thought was best. well, as with the disappearance of one of the moons, you’re endgame path has been finalized. there’s no going back. now it’s time for you to face the consequences of your actions, whether they were good or bad.

episode 5 is endgame. the moons only emphasize that.

amazon.com
Amazon.com: Witchcraft; A Guide to Ingredients eBook: Ginger Valentine: Books
Amazon.com: Witchcraft; A Guide to Ingredients eBook: Ginger Valentine: Books

Witchcraft
A Guide to Ingredients
Fantastic for those who are new or experienced! This amazing book contains chapters on Herbs, Essential Oils, Crystals and Gemstones, Incense, Animal Symbolism, and even a guide to casting your own circles and preparing your own spells! With this tool, you are bound to grow and become more in tune with your craft! You will never have to search spells again when you know how to make your own for meeting your desires and needs!

Black and White Symbolism: A Look into the Trope

We’ve noticed a volume of questions on the topic of Black and White symbolism in works. Light and white symbolizes good and pure. Dark and black is bad and evil. It’s an age-old trope deeply engraved throughout Western society, language, and cultures.

She’s having a “black day.”  He’s the “Black sheep” in the family. The evils of “Black magic.”  They’re “Black as one is painted.”

On the other hand…

They told an innocent “white lie.” He’s “whiter than white.” Good ole “White-collar” jobs.

These were just a few phrases found in the dictionary. The most frequently used dictionaries were written by racist old white men, so most of the language has been shaped by them.

If you flip further back you find entries like these:

Now, this guide comes from a western particularly American lens of the view of Black and White and its connotations. We recognize that B&W color symbolism and meaning varies across cultures.

However, western society imports its racist views across the globe, strengthening the Black as Evil and Good as White association within its “conquest” of mass media.

The Trope Incorporated into our Media

This trope is so normalized in Western culture that it is often unconsciously used and incorporated throughout many aspects of culture. It can easily be found in media, such as our TV-series, movies and literature:

  • The black, darkly-dressed or featured characters are often the villains or antagonists, 
  • The white or light-featured characters are often the heroes, dispelling the world of the dark Others. 

Also note that usually when good guys wear black, they’re more anti-heroes than full-heroes.

Tolkien really let himself go with this trope in Lord of the Rings and has the pure white race of elves be ethereal, wise, super good and natural *angelic singing*. Then there’s the orcs on the other side who are barbaric, unintelligent, violent and disgustingly ugly. Their language is black speech by the way.

“The Black Speech, also known as the Dark Tongue of Mordor, was the official language of Mordor. Sauron created the Black Speech to be the unifying language of all the servants of Mordor, used along with different varieties of Orkish and other languages used by his servants.”

“It is notable that the letter “e” is totally absent from the Black Speech. It was omitted on purpose for being a favourite letter of the Elves, and for forming a smile when uttering it.”

“In real life, J. R. R. Tolkien created this language with the intention of making it harsh and ugly…” then later on in the same piece is written: “…the forces of good refuse to utter it.” and “Tolkien designed it to be unpleasant in his own mind…”

So with these quotes you can see the link between calling it “Black speech” and the unpleasant, evil and anti-social aspects of the named. Quotes are taken from here. 

Many epic fantasy writers mimic Tolkien in his use of fantasy races and themes and such, so they unconsciously also mimic this trope. 

Game of Thrones also plays with the good vs evil but switches up the color code with the Kingsguard wearing white and the Night’s Watch wearing black. This posts speaks of the symbolism pertaining to the white cloaks of the Kingsguard.

Attracted to gray characters instead of orcs and angels, Martin regards the hero as the villain on the other side. The Wall’s Night’s Watch, whom Martin described as “criminal scum [who] are also heroes and they wear black”, was a deliberate twist on fantasy stereotypes. Furthermore, the use of black as the identifying colour for the essentially good Night’s Watch and the use of white for the much corrupted Kingsguard is another example of Martin subverting traditional fantasy which tends to link light colours with good and darker ones with evil. From here.

Then there’s Disney that’s notorious for their ingrained racism

This is easily seen in their visuals when portraying villains. When you look at the heroes vs villains, the villains are often portrayed as darker, more “ethnic” (see: Mother Gothel, Jafar) and sometimes queer-coded (like Ratcliff and Dr. Facilier). 

Another example: the shadowy,dark huns in Disney’s Mulan. They have greyish, dark skin with strange eye coloring, and they all look the same.

On the left: a hun as portrayed by Disney in Mulan. 

Furthermore, Disney typically depicts baddies as “less beautiful” with some exceptions of very beautiful and vain evil ladies (they have a trope with two types of beauty where one is pure and wholesome while the other is vain and egocentric. The second is also usually an older individual).

The Oz film was pretty visual, colorful, and magical until the evil witch and her black monkey minions come and then everything is dark suddenly. Oh, but there’s the “good” monkey, depicted in bright and lighter coloring.

Angels and Demons

Then there’s the trend where angels are always white and demons black/dark in fantasy. This doesn’t have to be and why this is a biased way to depict them, at least from a non-religious point of view, and as far as I know I never found a mention of white wings if wings at all when angels were mentioned. Exceptions go to the angels in higher orders, but still no white mentioned. Fallen angels suddenly have black wings, when they still have them.

The Harms of the Trope

Why is the B/W - Good vs Evil- trope harmful? Well, look at how the colors are associated. Dark as bad, evil. White as good, pure. But then you group a whole people as Dark + “Black” and the other as Light and “White” and you’ve literally set these people in opposition of each other.

There are Black people in the world. There are white people in the world. “Black” as a word is literally viewed as synonymous with darkness and evil. “White” is literally viewed as synonymous with goodness and purity. There’s an intentional pattern here.

Malcolm X’s discussion regarding how Black is used to describe a people adds clarify to this.

Read about it here.

Martin Luther King Jr. also discussed the association of Black to Evil and White to Good. 

Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it’s always something pure, high and clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight.

I want to get the language so right that everyone here will cry out: ‘Yes, I’m Black, I’m proud of it. I’m Black and I’m beautiful!

Check out the clip from this speech here.

Another notable example of the result of these engraved associations and aversion to Blackness is how racist fans reacted to the Rue character from the Hunger Games being (rightfully) portrayed as a Black girl in the movies.

A lot of these reactions can be found online. Like this one.

The trope is deeply ingrained into people’s minds and reinforced by the media that combined with systematic racism Black people and even Black children cannot be seen as pure and innocent. These traits incorporated in the Black and White Symbolism is enforced on Black people (and white people to some extent). The symbolism has been influenced further with racism and that is why it can be harmful.

What to do with the trope

Now, we don’t believe people should stop using Black and white in relation to people; running away from the word, even given its history, would only reinforce Black as a badge of shame when that’s simply a lie. We think the better solution is to built up a new dictionary. To stop using black to mean all things sinister and evil and white as all things blameless and good.

Black & White in our Writing

While it’d be difficult to deconstruct these associations overnight, it’s definitely not impossible to be more conscious of how one might be perpetuating the B&W trope within their works.

Pay attention to your writing and the color symbolism there.

  1. Where do you find Black & White imagery? How is it being used?
  2. Are you using shadows and night skies to foreshadow bad things to come?
  3. Morning light and white dresses to symbolize purity and hopefulness?

Now even these aren’t inherent pitfalls.

The following are some ways to make sure of that:

Defy the Trope

I was watching the first season of Sleepy Hollow, when there was an episode with a playful little girl running in the forest wearing a white dress. A little Black girl. While I don’t recall if she were meant to symbolize good or evil so neatly, but simply featuring this young child in white, both common emblems of “innocence” felt like a deviation from the typical white or pale girl to play such a part.

Even when using typically good and white symbolism, including Black and brown people to take part in these roles is a better option that shunning them out of such roles and thus the associated symbolism. How many dark-skinned angels do you see in media? How often are characters of color associated with beings that typically represent purity and goodness?

It’s like with heroes and villains. It’s more preferable to have a diverse mix of characters who play positive roles as opposed to making all your Characters of Color villains or antagonists.

Another example of deviating from the trope can be found with George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series as mentioned further up this post. 

Subvert the Trope

Suppose Black represented good. Suppose Black represented life, innocence, and good things to come.

Now suppose White symbolized evil. Suppose White represented death, immorality and ominous things on the horizon.

Subverting the B&W trope is another way to handle it in your writing. If your story is one based on a non-western or even fantasy culture, it’d be easier to sell the idea that this is simply a world that doesn’t treat Black as evil but of neutral or good (and here’s how & why). Attempting to pass this off in a more westernized culture might get confusion or skepticism from readers, though.

One idea is to subtly apply the symbolism. Death always or often occurs under bright, white lighting or sky. The dark, black forest protects the character who is being pursued by evil. A Black cat brings hope and good news.

And before you say this is enforcing “reverse racism!” Nah. Just like if you felt like having all white villains, there is no engraved association with whiteness that exists today that could actually reverse society’s overarching association of white to good and black to bad.

Not All Evil

Say you do have some negative imagery in connection to darkness. First, evaluate how heavily you’re enforcing Black as bad and consider if a change would be good. 

You could also avoid reinforcing the message of dark as only/always evil if you were to balance out your associations of darkness by also having some positive or neutral connections to darkness.

New B&W Meanings

Black & White don’t have to mean good or evil at all, as in not the case in every society anyhow. There are other associations with the colors you could emphasize in your writing. Take some of these examples below:

Black Associated Meanings:

  • Beautiful
  • Bold
  • Calmness/Comfort
  • Elegant
  • Health/Fertility
  • Heat/Warmth
  • Hidden
  • Life
  • Magical*
  • Mysterious
  • Protection
  • Seduction
  • Strength/Power*
  • Wealth
  • Wholeness

*Additional Notes:

  • Avoid strong = Black people tropes
  • The term “Black magic” is rooted in racism. Read about this as for alternatives to “Black magic” here.
  • See here for more associations with Black

White Associated Meanings:

  • Cold
  • Confusion
  • Death 
  • Distance/aloofness
  • Emptiness/Absence
  • Fairness/Balance
  • Isolation
  • Opportunity
  • Order
  • Organized
  • Peace/Calm
  • Plain
  • Protection
  • Sterile

Additional Notes:

  • The point with the White list is to provide more symbolism besides the typical good – pure – innocent therefore some of the images are less neutral and positive than that of the Black list.
  • See here for more associations with white. 

Construct New Images

  • Black & White aren’t the only colors that can oppose each other.
  • What about contrasting colors? Primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors? Earthy colors/oceanic colors?
  • You could even use bright and dimness as a means of symbolism, as discussed in this post

There’s so much more you can do with the Black vs. White trope. Getting away from the Black/Evil - White/Good overarching symbolism can add something fresh to your writing.

We hope this inspires you to at least be more conscious of the color symbolism in your writing. More discussion on Black & White can be found in our color symbolism tag!

–Mods Colette and Alice

10

The Dreamscape Symbolism of  JOHN STEPHENS

Fantasy never took on a more literal state than in the dreamscapes designed by John Stephens. Religious themes – both man-made and natural – are solidified in impressions of stained glass and gushing waterfalls, and each painting feels strangely grandiose and awe-inspiring. From a lack of proportion reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, to the depiction of entire mountain ranges residing within cathedrals, the absurdity of the subject matter is offset only by the philosophical symbolism it’s underlined with. Via

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