Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Myths, folklore, & symbolism
Horn: Because of its important function in the animal kingdom, it is a symbol of strength and power in the physical and spiritual senses. Consequently Dionysus, Alexander the Great, and Moses are often depicted with horns (although such depictions probably stem from an error in translation, namely, the confusion of facies coronata [haloed] and cornuta [horned]). Horns were used by many peoples as amulets. The sacrificial altar of the Israelites bore horns pointing in the four cardinal directions as a sign of the omnipotence of God. The horn having a shape similar to the moon sickle is associated with lunar symbolism. Horned animals are often considered fertility symbols; the horn itself is a phallic symbol.

In a negative sense, the symbolic significance of the horn appears in the many depictions of the horned Devil. Jung referred to the ambivalent symbolic significance of horns. Because of their form and power, they embody the masculine, active principle; because of their lyrelike, open form, however, they also represent the feminine, receptive principle. Horns therefore may symbolize spiritual balance and maturity.

The horn of plenty, which is the attribute of Fortuna or of the personification of autumn, is a symbol of the sperabundance of good fortune and of rich harvest; originally it was though to be the horn of the goat Amalthea or of the river god Achelous, whose horn Heracles had broken off in battle. (Herder)

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