Post Reply Fullmetal Alchemist symbolism
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Posted 10/18/15
So after watching FMA: Brotherhood for about the fifth time or so, I've found myself interested in the symbols they use in there transmutation circles...

I know a good amount about the Ouroboros and recognize the image engraved in the gate of truth as being the world tree from Norse Mythology, Yggsdrasil. This got me wondering where they get all there other symbols from, since they go through the trouble of keeping each circle pretty unique.



But this got me thinking about the series as a whole too. I always ponder the symbolism behind a lot of the show, but never seem to pay it enough attention to figure it all out.

So peoples, I ask of you your thoughts.

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Posted 10/19/15
now that you mention it, that's pretty interesting. I never really paid attention to it, and fullmetal alchemist brotherhood is my favorite anime too ><" I'll rewatch it some time and look for more details about it. who knows, maybe it has some hidden meaning too heh
Posted 10/19/15
If you want something for nothing, then you are a loser.

Turn water into gold.
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Posted 10/19/15
You might want to have a look at this article as an additional starting point:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_of_Solomon
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Posted 10/19/15

EclipsedArchon wrote:

So after watching FMA: Brotherhood for about the fifth time or so, I've found myself interested in the symbols they use in there transmutation circles...

I know a good amount about the Ouroboros and recognize the image engraved in the gate of truth as being the world tree from Norse Mythology, Yggsdrasil. This got me wondering where they get all there other symbols from, since they go through the trouble of keeping each circle pretty unique.



But this got me thinking about the series as a whole too. I always ponder the symbolism behind a lot of the show, but never seem to pay it enough attention to figure it all out.

So peoples, I ask of you your thoughts.



You should play Xenogears
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Posted 10/20/15

brigand554 wrote:

If you want something for nothing, then you are a loser.

Turn water into gold.


Funny enough Ed did this as a trick in an early episode, so I'll be that thanks


@BlueOni Thanks, this is exactly what I mean!


As a side note, I noticed something about the homunculus. The Ouroboros can be said to represent a pre-ego state, which would make sense if "Father" was trying to make parts of his own psyche into separate beings.

But then I have to wonder, since the homunculus don't really follow any set rules in the show, why what the true meaning behind their namesake is. I mean "Father" says he separated them from himself to remove those "flaws" but this is obviously untrue. He separated his greed, but he still craves the power of a god? Moreover, the powers of each homunculus is related to their name mostly, but even there you can find exceptions that make entirely no sense, though that might just be the author running out of ideas at that point...
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Posted 10/20/15

EclipsedArchon wrote:

So after watching FMA: Brotherhood for about the fifth time or so, I've found myself interested in the symbols they use in there transmutation circles...

I know a good amount about the Ouroboros and recognize the image engraved in the gate of truth as being the world tree from Norse Mythology, Yggsdrasil. This got me wondering where they get all there other symbols from, since they go through the trouble of keeping each circle pretty unique.



But this got me thinking about the series as a whole too. I always ponder the symbolism behind a lot of the show, but never seem to pay it enough attention to figure it all out.

So peoples, I ask of you your thoughts.



Actually, the images on the gates of Ed and Al are different versions of the Tree of Life from Kabbalah also known as the 10 Sephirot. The symbolism in FMA seemed to be drawn pretty much from historical beliefs and practice of alchemy in various cultures.
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Posted 10/20/15

mythopoet wrote:


EclipsedArchon wrote:

So after watching FMA: Brotherhood for about the fifth time or so, I've found myself interested in the symbols they use in there transmutation circles...

I know a good amount about the Ouroboros and recognize the image engraved in the gate of truth as being the world tree from Norse Mythology, Yggsdrasil. This got me wondering where they get all there other symbols from, since they go through the trouble of keeping each circle pretty unique.



But this got me thinking about the series as a whole too. I always ponder the symbolism behind a lot of the show, but never seem to pay it enough attention to figure it all out.

So peoples, I ask of you your thoughts.



Actually, the images on the gates of Ed and Al are different versions of the Tree of Life from Kabbalah also known as the 10 Sephirot. The symbolism in FMA seemed to be drawn pretty much from historical beliefs and practice of alchemy in various cultures.


Wow, and here I thought I knew my stuff... Thanks for the correction there. I love learning about different systems of beliefs, so for me digging into Kabbalah will be pretty interesting.
Posted 10/21/15 , edited 10/21/15
A recurrent theme in most religions is a tree.

In Æsir and Vanic faith, trees and branches, as with umbilical cords, described through the Ing rune, and the god Ing, symbolize causation; cause and effect; the butterfly effect; how all matter is bound as one, in one way or another. More specifically, it represents that which is ever-growing. To expand on this, the serpent, usually depicted as gnawing at the roots, coming out of branches, or eating itself, is the aspect of death and decay, how life is a struggle, and how you're ultimately destroyed by what nourishes you. Buddhism is similar in this respect.

In Christian faith, Judaism and Islam, the tree represents knowledge. By eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge one would come into possession of awareness and autonomy; the ability to think and choose for oneself. Meaning, if they ate the fruit they could potentially reject God, if they wanted to. This was something that God, apparently, did not intend to grant humans; he simply created Lucifer with a certain type of personality, planted the tree in the presence of the humans, then created famine, because if there's one thing God loves more than YOLO-- it's to play mind games and sadistically fuck with people. In the end, everyone is punished severely, for reaching out of the prison cell that he had constructed for them.

Fullmetal Alchemist probably goes more in hand with Christian faith, that you're evil and should be punished mercilessly if you eat the fruit, and that you can only redeem yourself if you let the fruit go.

Truth a.k.a. God.



Just my two cents.
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