This is taken from something I just posted over at TKR. Been thinking about it quite a bit lately though so figured I'd paste it here too.
One of the things that seems to really catch my attention about how I view is symbology.
For the longest time it was the most maddening thing I could imagine. I'd get feedback and it would suddenly become perfectly obvious what I was trying to tell myself with a given symbol, but it was so cryptic I was sure there was no way I could ever manage to interpret these in session so that they might do anything except frustrate and confuse me.
Palyne about summed it up when she said, "From all appearances, the subconscious speaks Etruscan in 4-D, translates it through geometry, encrypts it in some long-dead fish language, and then feeds you that information in code. Of course, it's always perfectly obvious in retrospect."
Over time though, it seems to have begun coming together for me. Slowly, to be sure, but a few breakthroughs here and there. I started getting symbols in session and (gasp!) interpreting them correctly. When this happens, it amazes me the level of data that a single symbol can convey. More often than not, it seems to be higher-level, conceptually heavy data.
For example, I did a session in the dojo a while back. The target turned out to be a Selective Services draft card from the Vietnam era. Basically a post card from Uncle Sam saying you're going to Nam whether you like it or not.
In session, I got a visual image of a bird's foot. Recognized it as a symbol and took a moment to think about what that little birdies foot meant to me, what it made me feel, what representations it seemed to evoke in my conscious mind at that moment.
First I noted that I inherently felt that it belonged to an eagle. The obvious association (for me at the moment anyway) being American government. It wasn't a dainty little foot either, it was a sharp talon and seemed to be gripping something tightly. My translation was American government "digging their claws" into someone.
I then got an image of something like a tornado that was comprised completely of paper. A big swirling mass of official feeling documents that were surrounding something. I translated that fairly simply as being surrounded/trapped by paperwork/red tape/bureaucracy.
I thought all of this fit quite well with the target (not to mention the visual of having a gun pointed at my face) and was really pleased with the data.
Yes, at no point did I describe a piece of paper (flat, yellow, writing on surface etc), but I feel like if I'd spent longer in session and gotten some more good data, I could have come pretty close to nailing down what the target was.
Another example is a session I did on a line of police, decked out in riot gear, standing guard on point against a crowd of people.
I got an image of the inside of a lock, like a doorknob lock mechanism. Since I'm a trained lock pick, this doesn't have any major meaning of being locked out to me lol. I then got the same symbol again, but the inner mechanism was surrounded by a black barrier. Like it was saying "You can't even get to the lock to pick it." I interpreted this as "access denied/unobtainable access" which is exactly what the row of police were doing – denying access to an area. This alone didn't crack the target, but combined with other data in the session, it went along way towards figuring out exactly what was going on at the target.
Interpreting symbols is an art form all it's own. It involves one's personal reaction to the symbol, thinking about what certain elements of it mean you personally – removed from other data you've gotten in session already.
It's hard as hell. But it also seems like it begins to work more naturally after a while with a bit of effort, attention and thought.
I think this kind of data is invaluable when it's done accurately.
Joe McMoneagle has a great blog post that touches on the subject. Check it out here.
It doesn't always have to be a massive translation effort either. Sometimes I'll get a visual that just has a heavy 'feel' to it and it's just a matter of identifying it as a symbol (which can be a whole can of worms in it's own, but I'm getting much better at it and believe it to merely be a matter of practice, attention, experience, more practice, more practice, more…).
For instance, I once had a session not long after I first started viewing where the target turned out to be Evita Peron standing on a balcony in Buenos Aires, giving a speach. I got a momentary image of a jungle but had a strong feeling that it was a South American jungle – (which is strange because I've never been to South America. I live in Hawaii, and never got the feeling that any of the jungles here are South American, but I digress…) Anyway, it was apparent the data was "South American / Latin," (which is what I wrote down) not 'green, leafy, vegetation…' and for that I nailed the region where the target was located.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not close to actually having a handle on this, but I'm confident that I can. At least partially…eventually.
And that's a start.