According to Clare Gibson in Signs and Symbols "the study of the role of symbols in informing and influencing the inner mind" has been shaped by Carl Jung. Jung's identification of archetypal symbols represented a major advance in psychological understanding and therapy.
Gibson also states "Our perceptions and responses to symbolism are inevitably personal, and different signs will evoke a variety of responses, depending on specific experiences, memories and character of the individual". Symbols are both archetypal and personal and an in depth exploration is not possible here, yet, according to Gibson, a look at common symbolic images may give us a broader "understanding of the evocative language of symbolic images".
Gibson, C., (1996). Signs and Symbols, New York: Barnes & Noble.