This is a practical guide to understanding and decoding the universal icons, signs and symbols that are used in literature, art, religion, astrology, communication, advertising, mythology and science. It shows how signs and symbols have been used from the dawn of humanity to the modern age as a means of conveying belief, concepts, identity, emotions, and ideas. It explores major thematic concepts, including patterns and graphics, myth and the cosmos, the cycle of life, flora and fauna, and the living planet. It includes special sections on the signs and symbols used in alchemy and astrology, which still have echoes in modern art, advertising and the media. It focuses on the most important cultural symbols of all: the wheel, cross, gateway, rainbow, dragon, sun, serpent, and the labyrinth, and how they are used through the centuries in different civilizations. Signs and symbols are integral to the world in which we live: from letters and words on a page to constellations in the night sky; from the figures in our dreams to the uniformed authority figures keeping order in the streets. This fascinating book examines the use of symbols across all the different ranges and aspects of human experience - from the mundane to the sacred, from the temporal to the eternal. Written by leading authorities in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy, and lavishly illustrated with beautiful fine art paintings that are rich in allegorical symbolism, and contemporary photographs showing the way signs are used today, the book contains a wealth of visual and textual information that will inform anyone interested in the timeless value of these iconic symbols.