What are Personal Metaphors and Images?

What are Personal Metaphors and Images?

What are metaphors? If you’ve taken high school level English, you’ve probably encountered that term before. A metaphor is a comparison between two things without using the words ‘like’ or ‘as.’


Here is an example. My friend and her significant other planned to visit my house for dinner earlier this month. I asked my friend if her boyfriend was a picky eater, or if there were particular ingredients I should avoid. She laughed and responded, “He is basically a garbage disposal. Make whatever you want, and it will be fine.”


Essentially, my friend described her boyfriend using a comparison to a device in American sinks (composed of whirling blades that’s designed to destroy and take anything shoved into it and make it into pieces small enough to go down the drain). It isn’t exactly the image of a picky eater. Instead, if seems more like the way to describe someone who will inhale food regardless of the ingredients.


In this way, a loyal person might be described as dog-like in a metaphor. Dogs are symbols for loyalty. That is the basis for oracle and tarot decks. What does a rose mean? What does an arrow mean? Some of these images have meanings that are widely understood and common across regional and cultural barriers, but, some meanings are particular to you.


For example: school is usually not a pleasant metaphor or image for me. Many of my school years were very frustrating and quite frankly miserable. So the image of a school has a very different meaning for me than it might have for someone else. Take note of things that pop up in your dreams on a regular basis—and what your feelings about them are. You can do a similar exercise with pictures of tarot cards. The Chariot might translate better into the image of a bullet train or fast sports car these days. What does something like that mean to you? What do you associate with it?


What other exercises have you tried related to personal imagery or metaphors? Let me know in the comments below!

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