A symbol is often defined as „something that stands for something else.” This definition seems rather disappointing. It becomes more interesting, however, if we concern ourselves with those symbols which are sensory expressions of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, standing for a „something else” which is an inner experience, a feeling or thought. A symbol of this kind is something outside ourselves; that which it symbolizes is something inside ourselves. Symbolic language is language in which we express inner experience as if it we’re a sensory experience, as if it were something we were doing or something that was done to us in the world of things. Symbolic language is language in which the world outside is a symbol of the world inside, a symbol for our souls and our minds.

If we define a symbol as „something which stands for something else,”- the crucial question is: What is the specific connection between the symbol and that which it symbolizes? And here (…) we can differentiate between three kinds of symbols: the conventional, the accidental and the universal symbol. (…) Only the latter two kinds of symbols express inner experiences as if they were sensory experiences, and only they have the elements of symbolic language. ― (1951a: The Forgotten Language. An Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairy Tales and Myths, New York (Rinehart and Co.) 1951, pp. 12f.)