Crux ancora vitae.
The cross is the anchor of life.
pron = krooks AHN-kor-ah WEE-tai.
Comment: I can find no source for this proverb. Many readers will
already know various Christian interpretations of this saying, so I'd
like to offer one of the older interpretations of the cross.
The cross was used as an auspicious symbol in many ancient civilations
such as ancient India, Greece, and among the various Celtic tribes.
It had variations, but a most common form was the equilateral cross
where all of the arms are of equal length.
Among the Celts, the equilateral cross seemed to have been a symbol of
the four directions and the four elements associated with them: air
(east), fire (south), water (west) and earth (north). In many wisdom
traditions, it was believed that all things that existed came from
these four elements. Ovid's Metamorphoses holds that same idea to be
true. Thus, the four elements as the foundations of creation were
ideas and symbols common across many ancient cultures. As foundations
for all that is, these four elements themselves might be called
"anchors of life".
Various qualities were also attributed to these elements: air (mind
and intellect), fire (passion and creativity), water (emotion), and
earth (the body). We may now recall the famous drawing of DaVinci's,
the Vitruvian Man where the human body stretched out in four
directions takes on a cruciform. And if we apply the associations of
the elements: the mind, passion/creativity, emotions and body, we see
that they come together to form a life.
I find the cross and the four elements association to be a helpful way
of reflecting on things at times. In any situation, relationship,
problem, etc, I can ask: what is reasonable (air)? What is creative,
or what is fueling/driving this (fire)? What is fluid and mutable, or
overwhelming (water)? What is solid and stead, or sluggish, slow,
lethargic (earth)? How do they all inform the one? What is the one
of which they are a part, the anchor?
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive