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17 November 2014  |  0 comment  |  Zeynep Bakir

We symbolize.

Before we put on school uniforms, we used to invent various methods to understand one another without talking.

We symbolize.

Much later, we learnt that this was a genetic thing. That all humans made symbols against others. In this way, our ancestors were able to understand one another without making any sound… There’s a song called Bilsen (If You Know) in Birsen Tezer’s album “Cihan”. Chorus of the song is, “Two eyes are enough if you know how to look, and the heart calls out, if only you could hear.” This is what I mean to say: Everything happening in this land is related to love. And stories of symbols and motifs making up the Turkish tradition are quite mystical and quite profound. Whether you have them tattooed on your skin, or you use them as bracelet, or put them on as earring…

Among countless symbols, let me tell you about my favorite ones… For instance, the ‘hand on her waist’ motif is the one I like best. It symbolizes motherhood and fertility, as well as good luck, abundance, happiness and mirth, all at the same time. This must be because fertility brings all of these sensations with it… Considering that worshipping the childbearing strong woman originated in Mesopotamia around 7000 BC first, the ‘hand on her waist’ motif also symbolizes the mother goddess. On seeing that females bear babies, the first humans divinized the woman, and wrote stories about her. In my opinion, this motif is the most special heritage of that period that has reached the present day. 

Snake is well-known. It stands out in various stories and in cinema. Humanity has always run after the thought it represents… The snake symbolizes the strength of human soul and immortality. Its expression of immortality comes from its molting. For this reason, the snake symbol has an immunity in the myth.

Another symbol I love is cocklebur, used by the Anatolian people in lieu of the evil eye talisman in order to protect from the evil eye. Cocklebur is a plant found in fields, sticking on humans and animals with its thorns. People believed that thorns on cocklebur kept the evil eye away, and held it responsible for fertility of the field, as can be seen from the idiom ‘like cocklebur’. For that reason, of you go to a village in Anatolia and see cocklebur embroidered on a wheat sack, remember this story. As you see, symbols speak by themselves… While the hand symbol drawn in the first caves represented creativity, bird expressed yearning, and tree life, an ever developing and changing universe. In the words of Birsen Tezer, “Two eyes are enough if you know how to look, and the heart calls out, if only you could hear”.

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