Symbolon Press publishes books with new perspectives in Comparative Mythology. Recently released: Tree of Life, Mythical Archetype by Gregory Haynes, which features a Foreword by Michael Witzel, PhD, Wales Chair of Sanskrit at Harvard University, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and President of the International Association of Comparative Mythology. Witzel states that, "Tree of Life, Mythical Archetype provides the most plausible explanation yet offered of that ancient religious conception known as the World Tree, or Tree of Life." Haynes convincingly argues that the concept of the Tree of Life is based upon ancient observations of an objective phenomenon in the natural world.
"But the results of Haynes’ investigations are far wider than an analysis of the Tree of Life theme," Witzel says. "He convincingly demonstrates that many cultures represented the same natural phenomenon using widely varying anthropomorphic or zoomorphic images. These variations gave rise to many of the innumerable gods and goddesses, composite animals, and highly imaginative episodes described in the myths. Consequently, a detailed understanding of this natural phenomenon, and of the many guises in which it appears throughout the world, provides for the first time, a simple and powerful key to world mythology."
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Perhaps the most enigmatic of all the many symbols found at the ancient city of Troy is the swastika. This complex symbol has been used as a decorative motif for thousands of years in civilizations as diverse as Harappa, ancient Scandinavia, Greece, Egypt, the Far East, and in pre-Colombian America. When Heinrich Schliemann excavated Troy in the 1870's he discovered hundreds of examples of the swastika incribed on spindle whorls and other objects.
The use of the swastika by Nazi Germany, and its association with the inumerable evils perpetrated by that regime, has cast a stigma on the swastika that makes difficult an unbiased study of this ancient symbol. Consequently, Symbolon Press has decided to reprint the classic reference: "THE SWASTIKA, THE EARLIEST KNOWN SYMBOL, AND ITS MIGRATIONS," by anthropologist Thomas Wilson. Despite its early publication date of 1896, this book remains the most thorough and comprehensive look at the swastika and its worldwide use in antiquity.
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Heinrich Schliemann was a fiercely independent businessman who turned archaeologist after making his fortune in the California gold rush. Archaeological science was in its infancy at the time, so Schliemann wrote his own rules. Shrewd and wiley like a modern day Odysseus, he overcame a mountain of bureaucratic obstacles to excavate the ancient city of Troy. No friend to the mercenary Turkish authorities who at every turn attempted to rob him, he persevered in his goal to prove that the Trojan War had actually taken place in this strategic location where Europe and Asia meet.
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Symbolon Press is proud to bring this excellent guide to the California wildflowers back into print. Its charming style and masterful illustrations earn it a place in the library of every person in the state who cares to link him or herself profoundly to the natural world. Not knowing the names of the wild plants is much like not knowing the names of your neighbors -- being condemned to the most superficial of relationships.
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