Symbolism; the Semiotics

I wanted to resume from where I left off from my “Semiotics” post on this blog, as you can see I was getting incredibly detailed on the Symbolic side of semiotics. I sort of showed a bias view on what symbolism is, what people automatically think when one speaks of symbolism – religion. Because, to be frank, that is what is emphasised as symbolic. The crucifix, the well-known image of Christ, Christianity. However, I want to broaden the reader’s horizons a bit, especially mine, as I fully well know that symbolism spreads further, branches off from religion.

Symbolism is used, possibly unnoticeably so in everything…manmade, as yes, religion is man-made, religion was a constructed group, to concentrate on the belief of a superior being. We gave God, Jesus Christ a symbol to worship, to respect….Sorry, getting a bit nihilistic…EVERYTHING MANMADE MEANS NOTHING…I’m joking.

What I’m trying to say is, symbols are used everywhere we go – that is what Semiotics is based on, symbols. Something people can relate to, whether there is a true meaning behind the concept. Pictogram images on signs, it’s all symbolic. I’m going to be silly now and, instead of using a religious symbol to shove in your face, I’m going to use Harry Potter as a visual example.

Deathly Hallows SYMBOL – (Don’t tell me the ending, still haven’t finished the book!)

What do people think when they see this? Do they see something negative, like Lord Voldemort? Or positive, like the Order of Phoenix? Or is there any meaning to it at all, is it just merely an image that is used to frighten the characters of the book as well as the readers? – (of course it’s not the latter, but I’m asking anyway)

In reality, and I’m sadly spoiling myself, this is the symbol of the Peverell Brothers, three deceased men from inside the seventh book, who have been with us the entire time. They held three objects, that was said to have been created by Death, and one of these objects was the Invisible Cloak. Which was coincidentally owned by James Potter, and now Harry Potter, given to him as a Christmas present in the first book. (Do not read this if anyone hasn’t read the book fully, or seen the second part of the film yet!) However, explaining this, does it justify the implications of the symbol? Was it founded to potentially be have an influential effect, positive or negative?

Now to compare it to something more…controversial.

The all-seeing eye/The eye of Providence

We all know what this is meant to represent, don’t we? The Illuminati. (Latin for “Illuminatus” – Enlightenment). Hold your horses, I’m not personally saying I am in on the so-called “Illuminati” that is planning on doing this “New World Order”. This is just a mere example, I am using because this symbol has so many implications behind it, so many origins of history. Let me give you a brief background first;

The (Order of) Illuminati were a 18th century society split from the Enlightenment movement, founded by the German Adam Weishaupt, a philosopher and first professor of canon Law of the University of Ingolstadt. The “secret society” was made on the basis of freethinkers (the philosophical believers of Freethought, a view that life should be seen through logic, science and reason and without authority, tradition and dogma) – many of these freethinkers being well-known intellectuals of the time; Ferdinand du Brunswick, a Prussian field marshal known for his participation on the Seven Years’ War of 1756 -1763; Franz Xaver von Zwack, the first president of the Speyer government, and governor of Munich; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German philosopher, writer and pictorial artist; Johann Gottfried (von) Herder, a German philosopher, literature critic and poet, as well as other ruling Dukes of Gotha and Weimar.

The ideals of the Illuminati were that of the Freemasons – a secret society, which is said to have originated as early as the 16th century in Scotland, and separated into individual lodges, which have been found throughout the United Kingdom, and the society having spread across the countries. The participants of each lodge had different views, depending on the individuals state of thought, however, they were to follow a few simple rules; being a man, freeborn of good repute and well recommended; to believe in the supreme being (God), to support one’s self and family, to come to Masonry by their own free will. (

The reign of the “Bavarian Illuminati”/”Perfectbilists” ended as the new governmental law of Enlightenment Despotism was instigated by Karl Theodore, the new ruler of Bavaria, coming into ruling in 1777. The Illuminati and other “secret societies” like it were slated as illegal in 1784, this led to the permanent downfall in 1785, when the struggle to find a new “leader” had failed.

Despite the loss of Illuminati, it had spread outside the Eastern European countries; the original documents made of the society, and of Adam Weishaupt having been released in 1787 by the ruling government. The authors, Augustin Barruel’s Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobism, and John Robinson’s Proof of Conspiracy had both expressed the theory that the secret society survived, and that crazily enough, the Illuminati had some involvement in the French Revolution. But let’s stop it right there. Didn’t the French Revolution have a positive effect on France? Wasn’t the aftermath of it all a success?

So, this lead’s me to the question – What is it about the Illuminati symbol, the use of the All-seeing eye that frightens people? Why has it had such a negative reaction when looking into the brief history of the Illuminati, the foundation of the society says otherwise? The all-seeing eye, has been a symbol for many ancient cultures; Ancient Egyptians, Christianity. It’s the eye of God/a God. Why should that frighten people? I’ll tell you why, because in the bible, in the Revelations it speaks of the rise of the Anti-christ, and modern conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati, or whoever is claiming to be the Illuminati is one of a few secret societies that are manipulating popular culture; films, and music, and governmental control. The religious people (Christians) believe the Illuminati are planning to wipe them out, that the Jews are somehow involved. Explaining the large war predicted from Heaven and Hell.

But why use the all-seeing eye, why use a God’s eye to represent such a malicious society? If the Illuminati, and the Freemasons were against God completely, wanting to throw him off his mantle, why use something that is borderline religious? If the Illuminati, are planning to create a New World Order, that is based on logic, and reasoning, and science – isn’t that what our world is trying to accomplish in the first place? I wouldn’t see much difference, other than there will be no “God” mentioned.

Benjamin Franklin was a Freemason, and just happened to be the founding father of the United States of America. To me, that is a positive influence. The Freemasonry used the symbol of God, which implies they founded a country on religious or spiritual bounds. There was nothing malicious about the act. Which leads to my conclusion that the symbol, that paranoia and fear of this symbol is misconstrued. The legends of the Illuminati and the Freemasons were taken out of hand, like any legend, because of the lack of information.


7 responses to “Symbolism; the Semiotics

  1. Ola! Laurenfrichards,
    I just stumbled across this and, Hi, I’m a college freshman and I have to write a semiotic essay that deals with the weather…I was thinking, for example, that there is a lot of symbolism between the weather and film/television, but I’ve been having trouble coming up with different categories.
    I was just hoping someone might be able to help me semiotically analyze the weather, or at least have a couple possible categories that I could use in my essay.
    Thank you so very much!!!
    Good Job!

  2. Hello,
    I’m only a student myself, so we’re on the same boat! So, your essay is going to delve into how the weather is used to symbolise a situation with regards to the plot of a film or television show? Like how colour is used to forewarn something?

    Well, one example I could use to help you summerise what you want to do, is…you look into The Lion King. Fast-forward it to where Scar has resumed the throne of Pride Rock, and Simba’s come back to regain it and set things right. Notice how the weather is used in that. It’s gloomy, thunder clouds; deceased corpses. It’s not just forewarning what’s going to happen; it’s showing what IS happening. Scar has allowed everything to go to ruin. No food, no water, but there are rain/thunder clouds and mist, hiding away the sun. There’s no happiness. How you could play on that, is by looking into Seasonal affective disorder. Possibly look into the symbolic semiotics in a realistic manner, and suggest that “Could the weather be affecting the psyche of the events, by the person developing this disorder, and depending on their mental stability, can it depend on how they react to this disorder” and go into detail perhaps that it could be a deliberate move of the director or playwright to use this as a influence?

    Anyway, this is all I can suggest. Have a play with it and if you want get back to me and let me know how you’re doing! 🙂

    Good luck.

  3. Hi, I didn’t get it I mean what does the illuminati and the eye thing have to do with harry potter and that symbol for the other hand NICE use of the semiotics!

    • The Deathly Hallow’s symbol and the “Illuminati” symbol/Eye of God have common ancestry, because both symbols originate back to religion, and commonly from Christianity. Though the Illuminati, supposedly took the original meaning of the All Seeing Eye for their own purposes (in this case, the enlightenment of knowledge), it visually still represents the Holy Trinity – thus representing the semiotics of the symbolism used. The same for the Deathly Hollow symbol, if the three artifacts are placed together, they resemble the All Seeing Eye. Despite J.K Rowling’s usage of Alchemy – the elements and objects that created the legend of the Hallow,, and symbol retell the story of Jesus Christ; The stone being the story of Jesus Christ (who Harry is meant to portray), being given the power to bring back those he cares for (Lazareth). The cloak is the story of Joseph, the boy who recieved the coat handed down from his father, Jacob, and the wand represents the Tree of Knowledge, anyone who takes hold of the wand will be given almight power, the same with anyone who eats from the Tree of Knowledge (Adam and Eve); surpassing God. All the characters of Harry Potter were a reference to biblical characters.

  4. Ask the Cow what she thinks of the rule of Man, her answer will sing close to what a Man might say towards the rule of the sacred few.

  5. First of all, great page, you are obviously extremely observant and intelligent. I commend your questioning persona, and your quest for knowledge. Symbolism is more powerful than many of us realize, and transcends traditional boundaries found in different countries. Your page reminded me of a book I just read.
    The cover of this book is the most symbolic cover I’ve ever seen on a book cover. The man in the center has ‘The All Seeing Eye’ tattooed on his chest, with a a sun and a moon. There are three girls around him, forming a triangle. There are 24 candles, probably representing the 24 hours in a day, which is much more thorough than our standard 12 hour clocks… Anyways, please check it out, and tell me what you think… You can message me directly on facebook, my name is Aaron La Lux. Oh, and here are the links to the book: Kindle Version:
    Amazon Version

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s