he unicorn has traditionally appeared as a Symbol of chastity and also an emblem of the word of God. Legend has it that the creature is tireless when pursued, yet falls meekly to the ground when approached by a virgin. It is reputed to live for a thousand years and to be the noblest of animals.
Jung in his work has studied a great many aspects of this fabulous animal, concluding that it has no one definite symbolic character, but rather many different variants
Men marvel at the unicorn, which fills them with reverence or fear, or even mystical desire. But in women is evoked only that simple tenderness peculiar to their gender, to which the unicorn is drawn like a bee to a fragrant flower. And in this attraction lies a sweet mystery! For by degrees, the unicorn forsakes his lonely privacy, becoming the maiden’s pet, or as an innocent child who trustingly surrenders to the soft caresses of a mother’s care.
The woman, for her part, is made sensible of that divine power that nurtures all living things and comes to know it is a power hardly lacking in her being. To any woman may this sweet friendship be granted, for age and station are of no account, only that she possess purity of heart. For the creature requires not that she has never known the touch of men, only that an untempered longing for that touch has not closed her inner vision, nor goaded her into a hungry desire for the pleasures of the world.
For the unicorn dwells at the very margins of our realm, and those entangled in visible delights can never follow him, but only those with an open and trusting heart.
And women have not the thirst for domination over others by which men are constantly possessed. Those who crave dominion seldom suffer themselves to be led, so how can they wisely select a guide to point their way?
"Know yourselves, brethren: Are ye as wise as ye flatter yourselves to be? He who wishes to lead, let him first learn to follow!”
A Dictionary of Symbols - J.E.Cirlot
Sun Signs: Unicorn Moon And Lion Sun
he Lion is a well established solar symbol in astrology. The Unicorn is not quite as widely accepted as a symbol for the moon. However, the association has been there and was commonly accepted by the time of England's James I.
When James I ascended to the English throne in 1603, he spelled out this association in his written comments about the heraldic Unicorn. He said that in heraldic terms the Lion and Unicorn not only represented the union of two formerly warring nations, but showed that the new order of things was supported by the balanced forces of nature, sun and moon in harmony.
The Lion-sun flies from the rising
Unicorn-moon and hides behind the
Tree or Grove of the Underworld;
the Moon pursues, and, sinking in
her turn, is sun slain.
— Robert Brown, the Unicorn: A Mythological Investigation (1881)
ymbolically, the Lion represents the urge to impose one's idea of order upon the world, while the Unicorn exemplifies the drive to bring harmony through insight and understanding. Their effects are often identical, but their different approaches tend to promote strife. However, when the Lion and the Unicorn work in harmony towards the same goal, no other creature can withstand them because they represent a union of opposites.
The Heavenly Chase
Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queen writes:
ike as a Lion whose imperial power
A proud rebellious Unicorn defies,
T'avoid the rash assault and wrathful stout
Of his fierce foe, him to a tree applies,
And when him running in full course he spies,
He slips aside; the whiles that furious beast
His precious horn, sought of his enemies,
Strikes in the stock, nor thence can be released,
But to the mighty victor yields a bounteous feast.
There are variations of this tale in different cultures all around the world. Some versions reverse the outcome and the Unicorn impales the Lion before he can reach the tree. This reversal may be a clue to the real meaning of the story. It's a drama we witness in the heavens every month: the new moon chases the sun across the sky, falling ever further behind but waxing as it does so, until finally it is charging towards the sun from the opposite direction, its crescent horn growing ever more slender and sharp. Then the sun devours it and for a few days and nights the moon disappears from the sky--to await rebirth. On the occasion of a solar eclipse, the tables are turned and it is the sun that briefly dies in the sky.