This icon, which I made myself in Paintbrush, represents the I Ching hexagram "tài," meaning "peace," "greatness" or "pervading," depending on the interpretation. I use it in the sense of "peace." In the I Ching divination system, hexagrams are comprised of two trigrams; in this case, the lower trigram is "qián" – "force" or "heaven" – and the upper trigram is "kūn" – "field" or "earth." Overall, it represents life in balance, a harmonious equilibrium. I personally think of this hexagram, referred to as "Earth over Heaven," as meaning that earth, the world in which we live, takes a certain priority over heaven for the time that we are alive, in how we manage our priorities; it is a grounding mechanism. For me, it's important to consider the ethereal, abstract, and universal truths associated with an idea like heaven; to be spiritual and always contemplating; but in life, it's important also to pay attention to how we live and to avoid ignoring the importance of material life. "Earth over Heaven" also, to me, means that Heaven is the foundation of Earth. So even while understanding the importance of the material world in our everyday lives, we must not forget to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and the universe.
This is a small piece of a larger image I no longer have and haven't found again. I believe I got it from Yerf, an old furry (anthropomorphic animals) art site, which apparently no longer exists.. sad, sad. I originally associated the picture with a character for a World Tree game mmsword was running; she was the love of my first character, the person he most cared about, but betrothed to someone else. I later adapted her to my own setting, a sort of near-future world in another universe (not an alternate Earth, but its own planet), in which she gained a full name: Che-li'na ter i'aa, known as Che-aa (Chay-ay) for short. She is an anthropomorphic lemur anthropologist in a world where humans and furs coexist. This is a future version of the same world in a role-playing setting I created about five years ago, Beldace ed Entrili. I'd meant to use it as a setting for a semi-free-form role-playing room on Illusionary Minds Chat (IMC), but never got around to it. The fun part was having this fairly primitive ancient world in my head and then imagining what the world was like a few thousand years into the future, with an archaeologist trying to discover a past I'd already, at least somewhat, known. I had a lot of fun just being creative, even designing a primitive sort of "chess" (called Tel'runi) inspired by Kalah. (I never actually got to play-testing it for revision.) I should really get back to this setting someday; it holds a special place in my heart and was one of my most lucid, freely creative projects. (I even drew a small, crude map of the land described on the web page for it.)
This icon is a miniature, super-deformed picture of Motoko Kusanagi, the lead character from Ghost in the Shell, which I found on a site full of adorable, super-deformed renditions of various characters, including Wolverine from the X-Men (which alk used as a picture for a while). Ghost in the Shell was one of my favorite films for a while, when I was still new to anime in the mid/late '90s. Since then, I've fallen in love with the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which is by far superior to either of the stand-alone films (as far as I'm concerned). It was Stand Alone Complex that was the single most prominent inspiration for the Cyber.net/ica setting I never actually wrote anything about.. which I think, in turn, also inspired pShift. GITS:SAC is also responsible for my fascination with sociology, whereas my original intent in going to college was to study archaeology with possibly a minor in cultural anthropology. (I've now taken no actual archaeology classes, but have taken introductory cultural anthropology, geography, and sociology classes.) GITS:SAC is also responsible for my interest in memetics, though the more I read about it, the less interesting I find memetics itself and the more interesting I find the relevant ideas which have already been discussed in other fashions in the various social sciences. (Every discussion on memetics I've read so far has been horrendously pretentious B.S. by people unqualified to discuss these things.) As far as the SD version of Motoko? I just thought it was adorable and used it as my "mun" pic in the pShift chat room on IMC (which seemed appropriate for a somewhat-near-future setting with cybernetics and such).
This is a small portion of the concept art for Yui Ichijo, the character who eventually became Ayanami Rei in Shinseiki Evangelion. I have a psychological connection to the character of Ayanami for a variety of reasons, partially because I relate to her very well and partially because of a lot more abstract things in my head. It falls in line with my oddball spirituality and some likenesses between the character, as well as some of the setting and events of the show, and my own identity in relation to extra-biological existence. That is to say that I do believe in existence beyond the flesh, reincarnation, things like that, but I do not believe myself to be the reincarnation of Ayanami or anything like that; I just see her as having a lot of similarities to a person I believe I was in another life (and in many ways, still am). The interesting thing is that this version (and this one) both bear more physical resemblances to my "memories" than the character as she appears in the series. (She was originally going to be named Yui Ichijo because she is a clone of Ikari Yui from the series, but later they changed both her look and her name.)
Rogue is another character I feel a close connection with, for a variety of reasons, though not in the same fashion as Ayanami. We've both suffered abusive upbringings, been regularly manipulated by sociopaths, and tend to get other people in our heads. I don't know what it is, exactly, or how it works, but the more contact I have with another person, the more of them seems to be allotted space in my brain, and over time I find myself starting to act like them and think like them on and off. It's a bizarre thing, and I don't know if it's neurological or what, but I do have a diminished sense of individuality and a persistent presence of other people in my mind. There was a time when I actually had a clear enough mind to sort through them all and actually hold conversations with the versions of people I know stored in myself. It's an interesting experience, whatever it is, and while it doesn't work simply by touching someone and absorbing their etheric energy or something, physical proximity and contact are factors in how much of them gets in there and how prominent a voice they become in my mind. Thinking about it now, and having read most of Cyteen, I can see this as relating to the idea of memetics (or at least ideas relevant to memetics, regardless of the silly things people discuss), though I've never thought of it that way before.
There's really quite a bit more to all of these things, but I don't want to ramble on forever, so here's what you get. ^*^ And feel free to ask me any further questions; I realize those last two, in particular, fall into the "crazy" category.
As a bonus, the icon on this post is of Rika from Phantasy Star IV, who was called Fal in the Japanese version of the game (and the basis for my character, Falinanja). She is a cheerful "numan" character, genetically engineered by a sentient supercomputer called SEED, which created her as its own progeny before self-destructing to stop the flow of errant commands in the global support network in this far-future post-cataclysmic world. Phantasy Star is one of my favorite game series, and that particular game was my favorite among them (though I haven't played Phantasy Star Universe yet). I largely connect to this character on a purely emotional level and because of having reused her image both for my own role-playing character and as a basis for new characters in the Phantasy Star Online series.
Oh! And don't forget to comment if you want me to pick icons of yours that I'd like you to explain.