The fish lives in the depths that are synonymous with the Underworld, and it has access to secret places that are forbidden to humankind. Water is closely linked to the womb, and the idea of birth and rebirth, and so the fish takes on this meaning too. Because it quite literally has access to hidden depths, the fish is party to secret and sacred information—the Vedas, which are said to contain all arcane knowledge, were delivered by a fish acting as the avatar of Vishnu. Similarly for the Celts, the salmon was a fish associated with wisdom and hidden knowledge. Christ chose from fishermen for his disciples, and early Christians, who had to keep their religion a secret, identified one another by a piscine symbol called the Ichthys. Fish can lay vast numbers of eggs and therefore are symbolic of fertility and life. In the East, a pair of fish is used as a lucky charm in wedding ceremonies. There is an astrological sign that features two fish swimming in opposite directions—Pisces—and in Buddhism, a pair of golden fish is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols.
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Animals main description
THE SECRET SYMBOLS OF THE ANIMAL REALMThis section not only encompasses real animals, insects, and birds, but also takes a look at some of the more fantastical creatures that occupy a significant space in our collective psyche. The attributes of all our animals, real or otherwise, give us an incredibly rich and diverse catalog of symbols. Sometimes, the reasons behind these symbolic meanings are due to historical misconceptions about the habits of certain creatures, and probably date back to a time when we were less well informed than we are now. These curiosities—such as the beaver being a symbol of chastity because of the notion that it would rather eat its own testicles than be captured—give us a delightful insight into the minds of our ancestors.