Introduction / Using ARAS: The Symbolism of the Cross

[aras-image:5Gc.014,,12,274,353,Castle Valere Choir Stall]
  Each of these seven presentations of the crucifsixion carries its own unique import, each different from the others. All symbols have a plurality of meaning, and hence no single interpretation included all the configurations which surround a symbol. The seven crucifixions illustrate one form of amplification using art forms; and if we turn from the Christian use of the cross to its older and more widespread representations, we discover inter-relationships of symbols which extend our understanding. Crucifixion was a form of Roman execution reserved for the lowest criminals. The fact that the cross became for the Christian world a symbol of triumph and transcendence moves it beyond a reference only to an historical event, to its wider connotations within traditional symbolism, which, as Guénon observes, provides the matrix within which the shift of meaning could occur.
A relief from the choir stall in the chapel of the castle Valere shows Christ on the trunk of a grapevine with bunches of grapes around him so that the blood and the wine become synonymous
(5Gc.014,). This presentation of the cross as a tree is not unusual and occurs often in Christian iconography. Indeed, in my first example, the greenness of the cross relates it to a growing tree. ...