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Wheaton, Illinois 60189
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Dr. Giles's Blog

Reflections from Dr. C. Scot Giles, the Consulting Hypnotist and practice owner at Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min., LLC

What Does That Symbol Mean?

Charles Giles

The square symbol you see in places on this website and on the printed materials for my practice is one form of a design called a “Celtic Knot.” It’s an ancient symbol among the Celtic peoples who primarily come from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. This is my own ethnic heritage and so it’s a symbol I adopted as my practice logo decades ago. Here it is again so you can get a good look at it.

The original meaning of the Celtic Knot, a looping design that has neither beginning nor end, probably was the interconnection of all life into a great living system of people, animals, plants and environment. Later, when Christianity came to Celtic lands the church adopted the symbol to mean eternal life and you will often see different forms of it in stained glass windows. I like both meanings.

I’m a liberal Protestant clergyman (Unitarian Universalist) from a small denomination that goes back to American Revolutionary times. Many of the founding patriots of Revolutionary America were associated with it: Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Clara Barton and more. However, this tradition doesn’t do much with symbols. Mostly, we use images from nature to express spiritual feelings. This became even more common among us after the 1838 “Divinity School Address” by one of our ministers, Ralph Waldo Emerson where he spoke of an American model for spirituality. He said:

“In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life. The grass grows, the buds burst, the meadow is spotted with fire and gold in the tint of flowers. The air is full of birds, and sweet with the breath of the pine, the balm-of-Gilead, and the new hay. Night brings no gloom to the heart with its welcome shade. Through the transparent darkness the stars pour their almost spiritual rays.”

I follow this tradition and use symbols sparingly. About the only symbols you see in my work are the Celtic Knot as a practice logo, the cross and stylized images of a flaming chalice, which is the logo of my denomination. Beyond that, the beauty of nature does it for me, and that’s why this web site is full of images of rainbows, sunshine, starry nights and forests.