Copyright: Nick Sandberg 2000
The Starbucks logo, knowingly or otherwise, is a feast of interesting esoteric symbolism, and I am dedicating the whole of this fairly lightweight piece to its exploration. Readers should note that interpretations are largely my own, and do not reflect the beliefs or teachings of any specific individuals or group.
The girl in the centre is Isis, the Great Mother as she was known to the ancient Egyptians. She is the power of nature in all her glory and represents the creative power of the universe, generating physical form from the womb of the unmanifest. In Kaballah, Isis is recognized as existing in two distinct forms – veiled and unveiled. Isis veiled is the natural world, as it appears to us. Isis is the Great Mother of Creation and the world that appears around us is her clothing. Isis unveiled is that creative essence that resides unseen within form, known to the Hindus as “prakriti,” and to the alchemists as “prima materia.”
To experience Isis unveiled is a supreme ambition of devotees from many esoteric fields, whether they know her by the name of Isis or otherwise. Enlightened men and women from all backgrounds have made it their goal for many centuries. The well-known 19th century Indian mystic, Sri Ramakrishna, for example, spent much of his life in devotion to his “Mother,” as he called her, weeping inconsolably in the times she did not appear to him.
The Bible and Isis Unveiled – This passage from the Gospel of John has intrigued Christians for many years:
And on the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there, and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, “they have no wine”. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. – John 2 : 1-4. Authorized King James version
Modern biblical scholars have frequently critisized the Authorised King James version for this controversial passage, accusing the translators of innaccuracy and sexism. They point out that the word “Woman” should in fact be translated “Madam,” thus giving the passage a somewhat softer feel to it. However, by rendering the Greek original as “Woman,” the translators of the King James Bible may have cunningly left a clue as to the presence of a deeper meaning in the text at this point. For, by having Jesus refer to his mother in such an abrupt, and certainly unchristian, manner, they create an incongruity that arrests the attention of the observant reader. The point made, to those knowledgeable of the mystical interpretation of the Gospels, is that to experience Isis unveiled is not possible for the individual who has yet to make significant progress on the spiritual path.
This point is re-emphasized and expanded upon in the biblical tale of King Herod and Salome. King Herod symolizes the individual awakening to the spiritual presence within him. He so desires to see Salome perform the Dance of the Seven Veils that he agrees to any price she names. Salome demands the head of John the Baptist and Herod reluctantly agrees. Salome represents Isis, the creative principle within form. The Dance of the Seven Veils represents the opening of the seven chakras – the transformational process that, amongst other things, allows Isis to be experienced in the unveiled state. In order to get Salome to perform the dance, Herod must agree to cut off the head of John the Baptist. John the Baptist represents the spiritual ego – the energizing principle that, in the early stages, drives the individual on the spiritual path. The spiritual longings of the aspiring devotee have thus far found their expression via the ego, but in order that they been pursued to higher levels, all traces of this personal energizing principle must temporarily be destroyed.
This allegorical tale is also alluded to in many Hindu statues of the goddess Kali. Kali, who represents one of the three aspects of the Great Mother principle in Hindu cosmology, is often shown standing proud over the body of Shiva, her consort, who lies prostrated and adoring at her feet.
The Hair. In the logo, it can be seen that Isis is clothed only with her hair, which falls over her breasts in six wavy lines, thus signifying the material world, and the illusion of appearances. Six is the number of the Kaballistic “Macrocosm,” the universe, it being the number of sides of the three-dimensional cube. The wavy lines symbolize vibration – the root nature of all substance. The figure with hair thus reinforces the image of Isis, the Great Mother principle clad in the world of form.
On her head she wears a crown, seemingly constructed from a “cut-up” sphere, or globe, and featuring, in a central position, a five-pointed star or pentagram. The pentagram with a single point facing upwards represents the world of Spirit, the upper point, as having dominion over the four elements, the four lower points. The pentagram drawn in this manner, like the number 5 itself, is the symbol of spiritual Man, the Kaballistic “Microcosm.” The cut-up globe which surrounds the five-pointed star again symbolizes again the Macrocosm – the world. This crown could therefore be said to represent the presence of spirit hidden in worldly desire, or, alternately, spiritually-developed mankind emerging triumphant from a contorted and destructive global situation.
Five and Six together. In the esoteric doctrine of Kaballah, the number 65 is very important. Six is the number of the macrocosm – the world, and five the number of the microcosm – spiritually developed man. The number 65 thus symbolizes the power of spiritually evolved Man operating in the world. The phrase “Light in Extension” is used by Western esoteric orders to represent in words the above concept, and is reduced to the initials “L.V.X.”, (also representing “lux”, the Latin word for light), at the end of communications between Kaballists. As Roman numerals, the letters LVX add up to 65, and thus reinforce its symbolic meaning. The girl’s crown thus symbolises the motto “L.V.X.” and all it represents.
The two chevroned objects either side of Isis would appear to be fish and thus symbolise Pisces. The recently ended Piscean Era, (approx 100 BCE to 2,000 CE), was a time of much change and reformation. Many people the world over are looking to the newly-commenced Aquarian Era for changes in the way people relate to one another.
This logo shows Isis, naked but still naturally covered, emerging from the darkness of the late Piscean era, crowned with true knowledge of Man’s intrinsic spirituality. Knowingly or otherwise, it is a powerful symbol for positive planetary change, taking place via a resurgence of intrinsic feminity.