Getting into the Groove of Symbols and Meanings.
The Story of Whats-Your-Sign.com
Have you ever come across something that completely consumed your attention? Seized you by your snarglies? Something that enchanted you so much, you couldn't get your mind off it?
That's what signs, symbols and meanings do for me. I suppose digging for symbolic meanings is a bit of an obsession. I've been mining for meanings for a long time. Even as a kid I was peeking behind the veil of common to catch a glimpse of uncommon meaning.
This drive to see and learn beyond the realm of mundane evolved into this website. I'm thrilled my passion manifested into whats-your-sign. Furthermore, I'm elated so many people are as interested in this kind of perception as I am. Last year, this website received over 10 million visitors! That gets me giddy as a goat. Why? Because that kind of traffic tells me a lot of people are looking for ways to live a connected life - a life intimately linked with Nature and all her miraculous wisdom. Very cool beans.
Nature is a phenomenal source for digging into symbols and meanings. A tree, a bird, a flower... even stones...they all represent massive meaning that is married to the whole of Nature. That's all a symbol is, really...a bit of something that reflects the meaning and energy of the whole.
Of course, symbols and meanings aren't confined to the realm of Nature. Although...Nature is super-generous in extending symbolic meanings. The Natural realm can churn out meaningful wisdom to infinity and beyond. But there are other sources we can tap for signs, symbols and meanings. Take the cosmos for example. Planets, stars, black holes, solar flares...these are all symbolic too. Even our bodies are vessels for symbolic meanings!
In short, there is no limit to meaningful illumination around and within us. Many of you already know this, and you're tapping into the uncommon on a daily basis; essentially living a "symbolic life". You rock! :)
Other than extolling the good juju symbols and meanings offer...there's another purpose to this article. I got an email from a visitor to the website. Here's his message:
"Hi Avia. Love your website. So much material here. Page after page of information. So much, I could spend weeks reading! How did you do it all? Also, what are your resources? Where did you get all your information from? Thanks, Chris."
Great questions, worthy of a response.
See that picture at the top of this page? Those are my journals. They're stuffed with bits of wisdom, anecdotes, observations, experiences with signs, symbols and meanings. And that's just 2013! I've got mountains of journals in the attic I refer back to for symbolic inspiration.
Some of my symbolic-journal-scribbling comes from friends, family and colleagues. I guess you could say I'm a symbol-collector. I squirrel away stories and experiences I learn from my peeps. After pondering these personal phenomenon, I start to process articles. A lot of my data on cultural symbolism (like Native American, Asian and Celtic) has come from close connections with groovy people with ancestral knowledge.
Other crib notes come from my personal forays into Nature through meditation and contemplation. My psychic eyes are always open to the opportunity for illumination. What seems like a random hawk crossing my path is hardly benign in the symbolic realm. Nope. Hawk crossings carry big mojo and big meaning. Even car trouble is symbolic for me! Nothing is off limits in the practice of living a symbolic life.
I've been accused of taking all this too far. I've gotten comments like, "Avia! Not EVERYTHING is symbolic!". I beg to disagree. What's more...symbols and meanings don't require a believer. They either are, or they aren't. A human can chose to take or leave deeper meanings shimmering just below the surface of awareness. Like Morpheus said in the Matrix: "What I believe doesn't require your belief." (or something like that).
So, the symbol-journals are my main source of information and inspiration. I'm also a bookmonger. I can't pass up a good book. Here's a list of a few great resources from authors who have helped galvanize some of the symbols and meanings on this site.
When people ask me how they can enrich their lives by interpreting the language of their environment, I encourage keeping journals, meditating, and mulling. Some folks crinkle their noses at that idea. I understand. Doing this stuff takes effort. It takes commitment. I confess, I've been scratching in journals since I could hold a pencil...it comes easy to me. Nevertheless, it's still a commitment...and a long-term one at that.
Do I always want to take time to record a bit of symbolic history? Nope. Do I always want to whip out my pocket pad to write down a hawk sighting and its implications? Uh-uh. Sometimes I don't want to meditate, or mull stuff over either. But I do, and it pays off by enriching my life...and offers enrichment to others through WYS (whats-your-sign) as an awesome side-effect. I suppose it's like exercise (ew!). We may not always want to do it, but the pay-off is worth the effort.
As far as how I built this website...well...that's nothing but old-fashioned hard work. I didn't have one blessed clue about how to build a website when I started WYS. As a greenhorn, I had to teach myself how to write web code (HTML and later, CSS). I also taught myself how build optimized content that got ranked on search engines (it's called SEO, "search engine optimization"). The company I use for webhosting, SiteSell.com, was instrumental in my education. -Couldn't have done it without their tutelage. But I have to admit, the whole learning curve sent me off the twist a few times. Overwhelming, frustrating, confusing.
In time and with practice (not to mention plenty of trial and error), the very first version of WYS.com started to form. What you see today is the 5th version of whats-your-sign. As my skill at web design evolves, I apply it to WYS with a goal to offer you increasingly better content that's pretty! :)
To be clear, 10+ million visitors didn't come overnight. At the time of this writing, WYS will be 10 years old in 2015. That means it took almost a decade to cram this website with quality content about symbols and meanings. And I'm still cramming, lol! That means a lot of research, a lot of writing, and a lot of devotion to provide you with the good scoops on signs and symbolism. Good thing I love this niche, eh?!
In the end, whats-your-sign wouldn't be nearly as fun if not for you, dear readers, who are taking the journey with me along the symbolic path.
Would I have still started a website if no one showed up to read it? Absolutely. In fact, when I first started WYS, I had no expectations. I rather thought my voice would go softly into the good night... unnoticed and unheard. But that was okay. I still wanted to create a lasting resource, just in case somebody out there DID want to get their groove on about symbols and meanings.
All this dialogue equates to one thing: A hearty, personal "thank you" to all of you who have been reading, contributing, emailing, following. WYS wouldn't be what it is without YOU! Thanks for rockin' and rollin' with me, and may we all continue our symbolic fellowship for many years to come.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!