Yesterday's post from Wikipedia discussing the meaning of Fleur-de-lis was my lazy minded intro to my thoughts of how and why a particular symbol strikes a chord in one.
People as symbols -- archetypes -- are significant in my life. I've had a lot of psychotherapy (I know -- you couldn't tell) and some of those expensive minutes were spent talking about the Jungian approach to personality construction.
That is, that there may be certain elemental aspects of each of us that are common to all of us.
My friend L, whose blog Laurelines is a veritable gallery of her profound artistic skill, recently captured some beautiful representations of Joan of Arc, an archetype close to my heart.
What is there about Joan -- as a symbol -- that makes her so important to me? (And yesterday's Fleur-de-lis was also a nod to her.)
Her story is one of faith and futility, of obstinately being true to one's beliefs in the face of jeering crowds and clerics.
In a strange way, she is quixotic -- but, in my mind, she is the archetypal female tilting at windmills, who WILL NOT STOP even as she is torn to pieces by whirring blades.
A female who will not be deterred by any man who says she isn't what she says she is, cannot do what she intends to do, and could not possibly be receiving direction from God. Because, as everyone knew, God would not speak to a woman.
That is her faith. In herself and her beliefs, as much as in God.
And, of course, there is the futility: whether or not she has a mandate from God compelling her to move forward, she does inevitably fail. She wins, and then she loses. (And, I suppose, her sainthood means she wins.)
But her faith is never shaken, and that makes it even more appealing to me. For that is true faith, when there is absolutely no reason to maintain the belief that will pull you to the pyre.
And listening to the voices of angels, speaking to you in consolation, as the world of men sees to your immolation. Reaching for a symbol of heaven to comfort you in crossing over, through death to the everlasting life earned by your (ultimately futile?) obstinate faith.