Symbols for Writers: Blood

About the Symbols for Writers Series: I’ve found that symbols and imagery can trigger valuable insights into writing, life, problem-solving, finding joy, and more. This series was born because I wanted a collection of symbolic images coupled with text and questions intended to kick-start the creative process, help identify a creative block, or aid expression of complex concepts in condensed packages–and I thought you might enjoy such a collection, too! If you’d like to know more about how this came to be, check out the first post in the series.

How to Use

Following the image is a brief visualization exercise to help you identify what the image means to your subconscious—but there are no rules. If you prefer, skip to the suggested meanings that follow and see if any resonate. You can also use the image as a creative prompt, or as a reminder of some key idea you want to remember in the coming week.












What thoughts and emotions does this image bring to mind?

Take a good look at the image above, then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let your mind relax and wander a moment, then imagine the clock shown above. What emotion does the image trigger? Does it bring to mind a particular project, scene, or character? Or perhaps a situation or person in the “real world”? If you’re stuck, take 5 minutes and free associate starting with the image and the words beside it, or use one of the following questions as a writing prompt:

  • What is the “blood” that is the life force of your writing? Is there something or someone that saps your writing energy?
  • When you imagine blood, what emotional tone does is carry for you—positive or negative? Does it bring to mind an emotional injury that you need to explore?
  • What would cause your character the deepest emotional pain?
  • What is the one thing that could bring your character healing?

Take some time to write about your experience and the insights, ideas, or questions it generates.

Common Meanings

In dreams, blood can suggest injury or death, particularly emotional hurt or injury. If one person sucks the blood from another, it may symbolize an “emotional vampire,” someone who is sucking the energy or life from another. Blood on the ground is often a marker that something important—and possibly deadly—occurred in that place.

Blood can also have more abstract meanings, such as life energy, passion, or strength. “Bad blood” refers to a negative history between individuals or groups.

Did this image resonate with you? Why or why not? Please share in the comments!

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