Solomon’s knot in the complex symbolism concealed behind this emblem can be found at least two major genealogies of meanings. The first concerns the appearance of the knot following the plot, detectable in the setting of four identical fragments one inside the other. And finally that of the Serpent, not directly found on the symbol, but linked to it in several aspects. Solomon’s Knot immediately gives the idea of the bond, a fundamental concept that underlines the duality inherent in the symbol. A bond in fact can be positively understood as a beneficial force that unites, strengthens and protects. But also negatively as a bond that binds, forces and imprisons. In Solomon’s Knot the double valence is strengthened by the two series of rings that cross each other, forming a kind of cross (vertical element plus horizontal element).
The plot to which the Solomon’s Knot is more similar also has different values, especially when it is represented in a closed form, in fact it usually indicates eternity and cyclicality. In its undulating forms there may be allusions to the energetic vibrations or to the creative Force, always symbolically associated with water. Finally, it can have a protection value in spaces delimited by interlaced frames.
The Snake, another powerful magic symbol of all times, represents the life force, the primordial principle of life, the underground telluric currents. It also has an ambivalent nature because its poison can give death but at the same time, used as a medicine, it can give life. As a symbol it would require a more adequate treatment in a separate chapter, but in this area there are two of its many forms most closely related to the theme of the knot and the plot.
The first is that of the Ouroboros, the snake that wraps itself around itself and bites its tail. Combining the shape of the circle with that of the snake, it symbolizes the cyclic nature of life and regeneration better than other symbols. If then, as often happens especially in representations of hermetic-alchemical character, it is also shown in two colors, then it underlines its double polarity and refers to the two fundamental principles of Nature: the Male and the Female Principles.
This ambivalence is instead explicit in the Caduceus symbol — two snakes intertwining around a rod. Ancient Sumerian, Indian and classical symbol, which later became an alchemical symbol and finally a symbol of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Medicine. Visually the Caduceus represents a pair of snakes that unites and twists around a stick, which can symbolize the generating phallus, the tree of life or the axis of the world, and represents the balance between the forces and the creative potential that it is the most direct consequence.
The second genealogy of meanings is linked to all those definable symbols of the center, that is graphically represented with central symmetry. In them the central point is the most important, reference and connecting fulcrum that animates them.
In particular, the circle or the ring represents the cyclicality united with perfection, a symbol of the Divine Principle and associated with the sky, as opposed to the Square, which is instead associated with the Earth. In Solomon’s Knot the two horizontal and vertical arms are actually made up of rings in numbers ranging from one to four.
The Cross, in its simple form, alludes to the binary and polar nature of the cosmos, with the two opposing forces attracting each other; both at the Quaternary, which symbolizes the Four Elements (Air, Water, Fire and Earth), the four seasons, the four cardinal points, the four humours of the human body (Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile and Black Bile, or Atrabile), the four phases of the moon and those of the Great Alchemical Work.
The Swastika combines the meanings preceding that of rotation, or cyclicality and regeneration. An ancient Vedic symbol associated with the rotating movement of the Sun, which later became the symbol of the risen Christ, the Buddha and Athena, it appears in the cultural repertoire of every continent starting from Mesopotamia. In modern times it was taken over by Adolf Hitler as the emblem of the nascent Nazi party, but its positive value was reversed by reversing the sense of rotation, from clockwise to counterclockwise. In the Solomon’s Knot the Swastika is formed in the center of the four arms and is clearly visible, sometimes traced in the representations.
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