If you are anything like me, you find that as the weather turns cold and the leaves start falling off the trees, you start thinking about things in your life, deep thinking. Thinking about the things that bring you joy and about those things that you like and want in your life. Recently my parents gave me a gift that got me thinking. It was a simple gift, a couple pairs of gloves that had skull and bone motifs on the back. I have always loved skulls and bones, but I have never really thought about where that came from or why, at this point in my life, that I still like them so much.
The love of this sort of motif came from my childhood where I helped my mother construct and run a haunted house every fall for years. It was such an integral part of my life at that time that I fell in love with everything Halloween, from evil looking jack-o-lanterns to skeletons and leering skulls. This joy of those things only deepened through the music that I listened to and the scene that I was a part of. All these aspects of my childhood and teenage years instilled the love of these things in me, but that was many years ago, so why the continued love? Is it just a holdover from those early years?
Step a few years into the future, still my past, and I am in college and getting close to the end of my degree. I majored in anthropology with an emphasis on archaeology. Now my love of skulls and bones had a twist of being a professional interest. How these things could tell us about the cultures of the past, of the people that walked this planet before us and how they went about their lives. It had become a desire for knowledge and growth in my profession and my understanding and it maintained that love.
Another jump into the future and I am a professional working in an office doing customer support and sales for an insurance company. Where in this life does this love for these commonly seen symbols of death have in my life now? I pondered this as I walked in the cold of predawn this morning and realized that, for me, these are not symbols of death. For me, they do not have the fatalistic message that all things will pass, but rather they are the symbol of our true self. They represent that core of our being that drives us, the place that everything revolves around in our lives, in our hopes and dreams, in our effort and learning. Just as the bones are the center of the physical body, they represent that core of our physicality and, as such, also represent that core of who we are. To me, this idea is very powerful. The most important thing to me in my life is to be true to that core of my being. I find that this ideal has attached itself to that childhood love of skulls and skeletons. For another time in my life, the meaning of the love has changed and evolved with who I am. I wonder what change in perception will next mold the meanings of these symbols for me.
What symbols or loves in your life have changed over the years from their first meaning for you? Do you have something that has been with you since you were a kid, but the reason that it holds value for you has changed as your life and circumstances have changed? I look forward to hearing about them!