When I was a child, I learned from Miss Lunn, my fifth-grade teacher, that Leonardo da Vinci wrote many of his notations in his notebooks…backward. For others to decipher the meaning, a mirror carefully placed to reflect the text, was required to reveal what had been scribed by Da Vinci’s exacting hand. As a ten-year-old, I found this mysterious process fascinating and it remains fascinating now, sixty years later.
Secret messages written with disappearing ink or scribed in reverse, numerically coded cryptograms and the strangely illuminated pages of ancient alchemical texts, all of these hold a particular mysterious interest and invite contemplation. Visual symbols also fall into the category of hidden meaning and message.
The moon, for example, at first glance has obvious learned, factual meaning. The moon controls the tides, marks time with her changing face, and creates light in the night sky. However, an image or symbol of the moon also holds personal meaning, unique to the viewer. In this context, the moon’s symbolic meaning might include the association of a child’s birth during the full moon and the memory of a stolen kiss in the moonlight. Birth and passion, in this way, become entwined within the viewer’s symbolic meaning of the moon.
The in-depth interpretation of the moon and other symbolic images can become a sacred practice through the intention to discover or decipher the “hidden message and meaning” within the symbol. Deciphering a Cypher is a recommended practice for use with the detailed visual cards of the Belle Coeur Wisdom Pacquet. This isn’t about magic, rather it’s a heart-centered, life-informed, Visio Divina practice to deepen personal understanding and discover portals to connect with the Divine Presence within the soul.
The word “Cypher” (usually spelled Cipher) according to Webster, refers to “a method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning” or “a message in code.” There are hidden meaning and wisdom, for example, within the images of a broom, apron, amulet, or a crow, queen bee, or cathedral. Each interpretation unlocks a doorway of discovery.
Dreams at night are alive with symbols. It’s often suggested by dream analysts to make a list of the symbols that appear in a dream and then to list all possible personal correlations or meanings that can be ascribed to a particular dream image. A house, for instance, may have different connotations for any two people, though the initial meaning of house as a place of shelter has a universal context. It’s the detailed nuances rooted in one’s personal experiences with what’s represented as a cypher/symbol that reveal the deeper meaning and inform the creative heart and spirit.
Make a list of the cyphers that hold significant information, guidance, and wisdom for you.
Contemplate the symbolic images that repeat in your dreams. You may wish to keep a sketchbook of your dream cyphers and make notes regarding the deeper meaning.
This month you’re invited to decipher the cyphers that inform, inspire, and engage your sacred imagination to grow your wisdom and enrich your spirit. May you be blessed by what you discover…