Text very freely adapted from Mary Larsen's analysis on the Outlander Cast site (in English)
Link to the original text: https://www.outlandercast.com/2017/08/the-meaning-behind-outlanders-signs-and-symbols.html
This analytical study on the printing press at A Malcom has been widely circulated on the Internet in several languages. Rather than reporting it as it is my turn, I preferred to adapt it in my own way, because as much on certain symbols I find that the analyzes made made sense, as many others seemed to me really far-fetched .
I give readers the opportunity to give their opinion and suggestions in the comments at the end of the article.
This is not the first time the Outlander series has offered us symbols. Master Raymond and his Apothecary store and the House of Stars were teeming with sacred geometry and pagan and Judeo-Christian symbols.
Symbols are subjective: meanings change depending on who uses them, who reads them and how they are used. They were often used as a secret code or replaced words written in populations that could not read and write.
Thus, the sign in the boutique of A. Malcolm acted as an advertising poster, a means of transmitting who he was to his customers, and for that, he impregnated it with symbols, both supernatural and religious, which had a meaning in his life and a meaning for the visitor.
Let's try to understand what all of these symbols have to say.
Old astrological beliefs held that the orbits of stars, moons, planets and the sun have shaped our lives here on earth. The cursed lovers were at the mercy of their unhappy interplanetary crossings.
The relationship between Jamie and Claire can be seen as particularly intertwined. Just like stars, moons and planets move in their orbits, Jamie and Claire are constantly moving, sliding in time, always orbiting each other. But the orbits are circles and always return to their beginning.
- 'Promise me to always come back to me Claire. '
- 'I will find you I promise you. If I have to endure two centuries of purgatory… two long centuries distant from you, this will be my punishment, the price I have to pay for my crimes. '
Jupiter, Saturn and Earth
Three planetary symbols orbit the printing press sign: Jupiter, Saturn and Earth.
Jupiter and Saturn are both opposite and complementary symbols with many interesting features that blend well in our story.
Saturn represents strength, discipline, agriculture, pride and darkness. It denotes an energy that defines an individual derived from the social sphere - Jamie is a leader because he is defined by his public identity and his sense of duty to be a provider and a protector.
Jupiter is the star of intelligence, clarity, optimism and altruism. It looks like our doctor Claire, concentrated and compassionate. Jupiter is invoked in practices requiring special attention, delicacy and a high level of consciousness - good traits for a surgeon.
But these traits are not mutually exclusive; Jamie also has the precision and intelligence that is reserved by Jupiter, while Claire has the stubbornness, the carelessness and the pride that we associate with Saturn. These two planetary symbols represent the characters as individuals but also in relation to the other, both complementary and opposite.
We also see the symbol of Earth (or symbol of Venus upside down), which represents being grounded, in harmony with the Earth. The symbol is intended to represent matter on the mind, or how the physical world around us affects our spiritual lives.
Claire felt the intangible; she traveled through the stones to Craigh na Dun and felt the power of mystical healing. Despite her connection to the supernatural, she is not afraid of getting her hands dirty, literally; nurse, herbalist and mother, her physical world helps her define it. Just as Claire's spiritual life was shaped by her relationship to the physical world, Jamie had a refined relationship with the Earth, as a farmer, hunter and owner who shaped and were shaped by his Catholic beliefs
Circles and spheres are perfect shapes in sacred geometry. The circle, or orb, is an ancient symbol for the Earth. Historically, sovereigns and gods have been depicted holding the orb to symbolize their dominion over it. An orb surmounted by a cross, as we see in the sign of the printing press, is called a cruciger globus (Cruciferous orb) or triumphant cross. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the pagan orb was reused and a cross was added to send the message that paganism has been replaced by Christianity. And most of all, Christianity ultimately represents something even more important: faith.
Square and compass
In the center we see the square and the compass, a widely used and easily identifiable Freemason symbol. It is a way for Jamie to publicize his status as a Freemason to signal that it was safe for other Freemasons to frequent his printing press and that he would keep the secrets of Freemasonry safe. strangers.
The square and the compass also come together to form the letters, A and M, for Jamie's new name, Alexander Malcolm.
or white roses?
On the upper supports which support the plate, we see a floral representation which offers two possible analyzes
It may be the strawberry flower, which would of course represent the origin of the name Fraser
It could however be two white Jacobite roses. One for Jamie and the other for Claire. Although Jamie has no interest in getting publicly involved in the Jacobite rebellion, he offers his services to the resistance. So it is possible that this is another secret signal for potential customers to whom he means that he is ready to get involved in printing seditious documents.
Crown and thistle
The crown and the thistle are obviously represented, moreover they figure prominently on the cover of the original outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon.
It is the association of the British Crown and the flower of Scotland (whose thistle is the emblem). And well beyond the reminder of the Scottish loyalty to the British crown, it is rather the symbol of the union of Claire and Jamie, the English and the Scottish, the Laird and the Sassenach
This is the bass clef (C in English), flipped in all directions.
Upside down keys were frequently used in musical compositions, such as the canons of Bach and by other composers in the Baroque era, but let's not forget that it was the unusual use of musical keys that helped Mother Hildegarde to decode the messages sent to Prince Charles to organize the Jacobite rebellion.
The shape of the key when repeated is a spiral, that is to say, a visual representation of the Divine Proportion, or the Golden Ratio, a natural geometric pattern (nautilus, flower petals, galaxies). The golden ratio is reached when the longer part divided by the smaller part is equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It links each new generation to previous generations, preserving continuity and connecting generations over time and connecting all matter from the smallest molecule to the Universe in space; it is inclusive, representing the transcendence of time and space. In the study of quantum mechanics, the ratio of gold and the notion of time / matter as a spiral are used in theories by quantum physicists to explain the possibility (and the improbabilities) of time travel, nothing less only that !
The Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has many divine meanings. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega' can be translated from Hebrew to 'I am the Aleph (?) And Tav (?). An alternative sign for the tav is the X and the aleph also crosses to create an X.
Interestingly, the lower left descendant of the aleph makes the letter J. Opposite, we can see the other initial C, so we have J and C for Jamie and Claire juxtaposed with what could be interpreted as 'I am the 'Alpha and the Omega. 'They are the beginning and the end of the other, a divine union, star-crossed lovers caught by God.
Less enigmatic than some other symbols, the wave patterns on the sign are adjusted. The waves transport ships to distant lands, they displace the current and shape the shores. Relocation, nurturing and how lives are shaped are central themes in Voyager. Images of the South African coast and large ships made us wait with baited breath for the next Outlander season and on September 10, our ship will enter.
Or aquatic horses?
On this point of the sign, I disagree with everything that has been said so far (in any case, with everything I have read).
It is said that they are the heads of dogs, perhaps crossed with wolves ... and the connection with the saga is based in particular on the exitence of Rollo, the wolf dog of Yong Ian. However Rollo does not yet exist when Jamie makes his sign. To support this thesis, fidelity and all known canine attributes are mentioned. Okay.
For my part, I do not see dogs there but rather animals from Celtic mythology, especially the water horse. A reminder for Jamie the exile from his distant country?
What do you think ?