Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

What's In A Symbol?

What's In A Symbol?

When you look at this symbol, what do you see?

I posed this question to the worldbuilding subreddit and received a variety of answers. Take a look for yourself (some are pretty amusing, I might add).

Symbols are an important part of society. At the most basic level, they inform the way we communicate and record information (e.g. the alphabet). At a higher level, they can represent everything from a nation to a cereal bar. I’ve always been fascinated by symbols, both real and fictional. In fact, five of my six tattoos are symbols in one form or another, so obviously I care a great deal about symbolism.

This symbol represents the Nameless One, an ancient God whose name has been forgotten. His followers, the Pale Men, use this marking to identify each other and to worship him. Some even carve it on their flesh (scarification). This symbol has extreme importance to them because it’s the only remaining piece of their God. Before I continue, rest assured you will learn more about the Pale Men (how they got their name, for instance).

At a certain point in Reckoning of the Gods, a larger group called the Heretics adopt this symbol as an act of defiance against the gods. The Pale Men are a fairly fanatical group of humans that refuse to worship any other God aside from the Nameless One. For this reason, they are despised by many of the Gods and other Races. When the Heretics adopt this symbol, they are sending a clear message to everyone: we don’t need you or your Gods.

As for the symbol itself, I wanted something primal and functional. Like the early Christians, the Heretics use the symbol to communicate with and identify each other. Say you want to know if someone supports the Heretics. You might draw a curved line on the right or left. If the other person finishes the symbol, you know they mean you no harm.

As for the actual meaning of the symbol, I hate to say it’s pretty horrifying. The Nameless One was infamous for requiring child sacrifices, usually from his own people. The two tall lines represent parents, the middle line represents their child, and the horizontal lines represent the ground. That being said, the symbol could mean something entirely different to you, and that’s the power of symbolism—simple shapes can represent complex ideas that are different for everyone.

What Makes a God?

What Makes a God?