Just a quick thumbs up for Taschen's Book of Symbols. A collaborative effort edited by the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (aras.org), this beautifully printed, hefty volume lives up to the enthusiastic endorsement on its web page.
"It is still possible, even now, for publishers to do something we have never seen before. The Book of Symbols is a project of mind-blowing ambition and reach, and a book with an almost old-fashioned educational appeal. Bright, optimistic, bountiful and brainy, it makes you reel with a sense of wonder at the complexity of the human mind and soul… You can’t ask for more than that."
— Creative Review, London, United Kingdom
I have quite a collection of books of symbols, and this is far and away the best. Thoughtfully chosen works of art are used to illustrate each symbol, and each receives 2-4 pages, complete with references for further reading. I like the way it is organized: Creation and Cosmos; Plant World; Animal World, Human World, Spirit World, with subdivisions within each category.
The Book of Symbols is an ideal bedside table or bathroom book, which is not to suggest that it is prosaic fare. It is perfect to open at random and discover a fascinating, different view of things that do encompass our everyday world. And it is an absolute bargain, listed at $39.95.