Ritual decoration is not confined to other cultures, or
used in its true sense only by First Peoples. There are many situations in our own culture
that use decorations which still mean a lot to us as symbols, even though we may have
forgotten their original, ritual significance.
difference between a sign and a symbol is something that bears much contemplation. A
bauble on a Christmas tree is a sign of Christmas, but as a sphere or station on the Tree
of Life, it is a symbol. The sign is empty, although significant. The symbol is fuller
than words can express.
The decoration on the soldier's chest is a symbol of the
Solar hero, of whom the soldier became a part in a moment of transcendent courage. That
capacity which the soldier has demonstrated is honored with a decoration, in the truest
sense of the word.
The regal crown is another example of symbolic ornament, a
sign that its wearer is acting as monarch in a ceremonial occasion. It signifies a lot, in
that a crown jewel may be valued very highly for a number of reasons. But as a symbol, it
is the same whether encrusted with giant gems set in pure gold or made of pink tissue
As a symbol, the crown does something; as a symbol the
medal does something; likewise the ring, the sunglasses, the lipstick, in a limited way.