Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Weekly Free Association : The Hourglass

Author: Paulo Coelho

Last week’s rocks have faced the test of time and converted itself into sand. Now we pass to the Hourglass.

Indeed, before being associated with death, the hourglass has its roots in time. The falling of sand, one of the first measurements of time, symbolizes instability and the constant transformation of things. It’s natural then that this object would remind people of “memento mori”, i.e “remember you will die”.
The hourglass is the main attribute of the gods of Time, Chronos or Aion.
Yet, given that this object needs to be turned constantly, it also conveys the idea of a cyclic time – reenacting the constant return of things and actions.
The hourglass is also a reminder of measurement in the sense that one has to use time wisely, preserving oneself and not simply throwing away the gift of life. Ascetic figures are often depicted with hourglass in western tradition.

Now you take the floor, what do you associate with the hourglass?

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