Symbols for a society serve two primary functions: to unify its members, and to make the society uniquely recognizable to outsiders. Although visual vocabularies differ widely from group to group, principles and motivations are similar. While studying cultures through their symbols, I found that the parallels were much closer in conception than I had expected. Regardless of how odd or alien the symbols might be, most groups of people desire to build a society where children are not hungry, people are not afraid, and Divine Will is encompassed in everyday behavior. This concept of an ideal society has been referred to as the Dzyan society. The study of how different cultures articulate the hope for an ideal society is called theosophy.
This selected project is a “theosophical scrapbook,” a collection of attempts to contextualize symbols of different groups. Each society and their symbols is loosely defined as a popularized group (just as Maoris are associated with moko tattoos and lava-lavas). Each work is a record of my endeavor to understand the symbols used by different cultures to express their desire for a Dzyan society. At no time is the declaration made that pure comprehension is achieved; rather, these are mementos of a personal journey towards understanding.