Clouds

April 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Clouds, because of their tendency to change appearance – always being in a state of metamorphosis – are symbolic of indeterminate things. They are an intermediate between formal and non formal, because of their elusive state of being. Another symbolic function of clouds is the obscuring of processes (like the mask that hides the process of transformation/metamorphosis, see: Chrysalis).

They represent the combination of two elements; the fusion of Air and Water. Since water and heat (fire) combined, produce steam (clouds), the “Mist of Fire” is representative of all the non-solid elements: air, fire, water.

Clouds are sometimes described as the Upper Waters.

Other keywords: prophecies, messengers, fecundity

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Chrysalis

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

The term chrysalis is derived from the Greek word for gold, χρυσός (chrysós), because of the metallic gold-colouration that is found in the pupae of many butterflies.

A chrysalis (or nympha) is the pupal stage of butterflies. The pupal stage comes after the larval stage and before imago. During the time of pupation the larval structures are broken down, and the adult structures are formed. Pupation may last weeks, months or even years. Pupae are inactive; they have a hard coating and are usually not able to move, which renders them defenseless. Therefore their placement is often concealed.

The chrysalis has the same function as the mask. A metamorphosis must be hidden from view – and behind the mask of the chrysalis, the transformation of an individual can be kept out of view, in secret, disguised (This disguising effect is also ascribed to clouds, see: Clouds)

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Sacrifice

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Blood is symbolic of sacrifice; spilt blood, in particular, because of its function as an indexical sign of a sacrifice having taken place. Liquid substances, like milk, honey and wine, that were offered to spirits and gods in antiquity, are all images of blood as well – substitutes of the sacrificial blood, which was the most precious thing that could be offered.

Sacrifice is linked to the concept of inversion, which is the principle that everything can be transmuted into its opposite  – for example illness turned into health, defeat into victory, poverty into luxury, etc.

When a potentiality for inversion appears, symbolized by a cross-roads (X), the sacrifice can be made. After this the process of inversion and transmutation takes place. The spiritual energy that is gained from the sacrifice is thought to be proportional to the importance of what is lost (i.e. how great the sacrifice is).

Inversion, Intersection, Conjunction

December 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

X: Two lines intersecting, or intersection of two paths or two objects, is a symbol of inversion (but it is also a sign for conjunction). Where the two lines meet is the point or zone where a transcendental change takes place. At the focal point, which is where inversion takes place, opposites are for an instant fused and then inverted. The intersecting lines could also signify a change of direction, where the X is used for altering the course of a process so that it doesn’t reach its intended outcome. The mind is always promoting metamorphoses and inversions through the process of sublimination.

Symbols of inversion are: the double spiral, St Andrew’s cross, the letter X , everything X-shaped, the act of crossing the fingers, objects depicted upside down. The numerical expression of inversion is two and eleven.

The logic of inversion is related to the myth of sacrifice. The more terrible the situation, the more urgent the need to transform and invert it, and the greater the sacrifice must be.

Transformation

December 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

Both fire and water are symbols of regeneration and transformation.

Fire is a symbol of perpetual change, since it is the agent of transmutation: it transforms a substance into another substance without being a substance itself. Heraclitus claimed that fire is the primordial element: Fire is the origin of all matter; all things derive from fire and will return to fire. Heraclitus looked at everything as being in the state of permanent flux – reality being nothing else than a succession of transitory states.

J. E. Cirlot describes the difference between metamorphosis and transmutation as follows: Metamorphosis, the transformation of one being into another, is an expression for the “difference between the primigenial, undifferentiated Oneness and the world of manifestation.” (as well as being related to the general symbolism of Inversion). Everything may be transformed, substituted, for anything else. Transmutation, on the other hand, is metamorphosis in an ascending direction. Moving away from the rim of the ever turning wheel of transformation, moving instead towards the “non-spatial and timeless” Centre.

Mercury

November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mercury is the son of heaven and light. He is the messenger of heaven, the mediator between gods and humans; it’s his task to conduct the souls of the dead to the Underworld. The alchemists equated Mercury with concepts of fluency and transmutation. The alchemists considered the archetypal structure of the planet Mercury a double nature: closely related to both characteristics of the Moon (silver) and the Sun (gold), Mercury is both chtonian and celestial at the same time. The metal mercury often represents the unconscious because of its fluid and dynamic character. Its unlimited capacity for transformation can be regarded as symbolic for the aim of the alchemist, which is to transmute matter (or spirit) from inferior to superior. Molten metal is an alchemic symbol for the conjunction of Fire and Water, coniunctio oppositorium, which is related to Mercury and Plato’s primordial androgynous being.

Other keywords: Gemini myth, hermaphrodite

Amethystos

October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some sources offer different myths that explains how amethysts got their purple colour, and how they were given their name.

In some of the myths, Bacchus/Dionysus, the god of intoxication, is angry at the mortals and decides to slay the next mortal crossing his path. The next mortal  happens to be Amethystos, a beautiful maiden on her way to pay tribute to Diana/Artemis. Diana saves Amethystos from being killed by the tigers/lions that Dionysus had sent to kill the mortal. Diana transforms the maiden into a statue of crystalline quartz so that the tigers’ claws would not harm her. When Dionysus saw the beautiful statue he wept tears of wine, in remorse, and the tears stained the quartz purple.

In another version, Dionysus was pursuing a beautiful nymph who refused him. Amethystos prayed to Diana to remain chaste and the goddess answered the prayer by turning the young woman into a white stone. This humbled Dionysus, who poured wine over the stone to honour the maiden, and this dyed the crystals purple.

In yet another variant, the amethyst is given to Dionysus in order to preserve the wine-drinker’s sanity.

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