Winks 3 - Symbols Seen
"La nature est un temple où de vivants piliers / Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles; / L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles / Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers”
(- Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances. )
Correspondances, Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867
Each new chapter in the paperback and Kindle editions of 2012 starts with a symbol. The majority of these are classical Egyptian hieroglyphs. As someone who used to work with cryptography, the use of symbols is almost second nature to me. I used them here to give a strong clue to the dominant factor in each chapter.
You, the reader, will notice that I've used an owl for the sections where the American President is the focus of the events and, if you observe closely, you'll see that the vulture is used for the Chinese Ambassador in the chapters where he gets the upper hand in their meetings.
The Ankh symbol follows the exploits of Grey and Yakshi. This is a symbol traditionally used to represent Life or the Breath of Life. If you look in the Winks - Trivia section, you will see that this symbol appears often associated with ancient Egyptian deities. As the Christian era imposed itself on that of ancient Egypt, the Ankh was adopted by the Egyptian Copts as their own unique "crux ansata" (which means "cross with a handle") and became the crucifix symbol in the Coptic Church, representing the hope of future life and resurrection, and at the same time acknowledging the link to previous religions and beliefs of Egypt. Thus it was known as the Egyptian Cross and as "The Key of Life", its shape inspiring the belief that it could unlock the gates of death. Given how the novel ends, this was a clue I introduced as early as possible to hint that things might not work out as expected, and that Yakshi and Grey's actions might be leading elsewhere.
There is still a certain lack of clarity about the origins of the Ankh as it is a hybrid of two universal symbols, the cross and the circle. The circle suggests the Sun and the vertical line the horizon, with the vertical line the path of the Sun into our day. So here we encounter a suggestion of an Awakening. This is one of the more credible interpretations of the Mayan prophesies for 21st December 2012. Historically the Ankh has also symbolized the water used in purification rituals. Thus my use of Lake Baikal as the setting for the end of the novel. The question remains as to who or what is being purified.
Of course, the bad guys must also have their own symbol. The Ophites and their evil designs are prefixed by... well it really couldn't have been anything else.
The symbols used are all real hieroglyphs, except one. I wanted something especially meaningful for Ra's symbol. Although traditionally Ra, the Sun God, has been represented by a simple circle with a dot at its centre, and occasionally linked with the cobra as a sign of royalty , I wanted to tie this up with a specific location, while also showing a historical influence that has been handed down to the present day. So I started to explore the alphabets used by the Celtic peoples of the world. I found that their equivalent of the alpha letter (the commencement symbol) and their representation of the element Earth was this:
So the resultant symbol became a stylised combination of the two:
Note that I changed the position of the smaller horizontal line to accentuate the Ben Ben capstone concept.
Finally, the Eye of Horus symbol is used when the influence of Ra's Legacy is felt, but before it fully manifests, for example, when Saïd is explaining the story of the Legacy to the MIT team. When the influence takes centre-stage, I use my manufactured Ra symbol.
The Eye of the God Horus, (one of the other names for Ra) was a major symbol of royal power, often found in royal tombs for protection in the Duat. For example, under the 12th layer of bandages of King Tut's mummified remains, an amulet was found in the shape of the Eye of Horus.
Ra, through this symbol, was attributed with qualities of light and goodness. The ancient Egyptians believed the Eye of Horus to signify indestructibility that would help them in their rebirth. The all-seeing eye has, as many know, been adopted by Freemasons and appears as part of the Great Seal of the United States and on the US dollar bill. It can also be found today as the Eye of the World in Buddhism as a reference to the enlightenment of the Buddha. As has been alluded to in the novel, much of the ancient wisdom of the Egyptians was "exported" by explorers/mariners who often painted this symbol on the prow of their boats to ensure good fortune. In some Mediterranean cultures, this practice is carried out even today.
The symbol also holds significant importance for mathematicians. It is said to represent the perfect fractional relationship, and, if you do a little digging you will soon find innumerable references to the use of mathematical relationships in the constructions and artefacts of ancient Egypt.