Hit or Miss

Mysterious Symbol

Mysterious Symbol. Does this symbol mean anything to anyone? I’ve seen it drawn in a few places the last couple of days.

The old librarian in me sprang into action and found it defined at the online symbol dictionary (so, grad school was good for something after all). It symbolizes the planet Uranus and can mean “total and sudden change or upheaval, unpredictability, modern science, anarchy and the destruction of the established order.” It is also used as a military sign for a howitzer (“heavy long-range gun or cannon”).

Not knowing the context meant by the person who drew this symbol bothers me.

3 responses so far (Respond)


I went home and looked the symbol up in Dictionary of Symbols, by Carl G. Liungman, but it looks like the website is based off the book, or they’re one in the same. What I found interesting was how the main entry pointed out that the discovery of Uranas and the creation of its sigil occured at the same time as the French Revolution, another time of great upheaval… one, arguably, where things turned out eventually for the better. I think this is what your graffiti artists are pointing out, not “Howitzer.” 🙂

Jason | 18 Sep 2001

Jason… It doesn’t necessarily follow that since the French Revolution eventually turned out for the best, the symbol in question refers to an upheaval that ends in the better. I would submit that — given enough time between a heinous act and the commentator’s — most things lead to something better. I think it would probably be safer to assume that the symbol was merely refering to the chaos ensuant to the upheaval; to assume otherwise attributes too much to it.

Vis10n | 19 Sep 2001

Actually, I think it is a little safer to assume a deeper message meant by whomever’s leaving this symbol around campus. If they wanted to leave a simpler message, they would have either written “change is coming” or “kill Arabs” or “yeehaw, we’re going to war!” or a simple anarchy symbol… or anything else that’s easier to digest. Whoever’s leaving this mark around campus was either already aware of the connotations of the symbol, or was smart enough to do their research in looking for exactly the right sigil to broadcast their message.

If we can assume that they found this symbol in a similar resource as the site Matthew mentions and the book I used to look up the symbol, they would have *hundreds* of symbols to choose from, all with varying shades of meaning. They could have easily have chosen the alchemical sign for putreficatio (“the process of rotting”), for example, or another symbol meaning either “dissolve” or “solution,” a double-meaning punch. By choosing Uranus’ symbol, with all its connotations and its place in history, I’m thinking they knew *exactly* what it would say.

(I would have provided links to the symbols for anarchy, putreficatio, and dissolve/solution, but the Symbols website is down. Figures.)

Jason | 19 Sep 2001