classes ::: Aion, chapter, Carl_Jung,
children :::
branches :::

Instances, Classes, See Also, Object in Names
Definitions, . Quotes . - . Chapters .


object:1.13 - Gnostic Symbols of the Self
book class:Aion
class:chapter
author class:Carl Jung

GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF


287 Since all cognition is akin to recognition, it should not come
as a surprise to find that what I have described as a gradual
process of development had already been anticipated, and more
or less prefigured, at the beginning of our era. We meet these
images and ideas in Gnosticism, to which we must now give our
attention; for Gnosticism was, in the main, a product of cul-
tural assimilation and is therefore of the greatest interest in
elucidating and defining the contents constellated by prophecies
about the Redeemer, or by his appearance in history, or by the
synchronicity of the archetype. 1

288 in the Elenchos of Hippolytus the attraction between the
magnet and iron is mentioned, if I am not mistaken, three times.
It first appears in the doctrine of the Naassenes, who taught that
the four rivers of Paradise correspond to the eye, the ear, the
sense of smell, and the mouth. The mouth, through which
prayers go out and food goes in, corresponds to the fourth river,
the Euphrates. The well-known significance of the "fourth"
helps to explain its connection with the "whole" man, for the
fourth always makes a triad into a totality. The text says: "This
is the water above the firmament, 2 of which, they say, the
Saviour spoke: 4 If you knew who it is that asks, you would have
asked him, and he would have given you a spring of living water
to drink.' 3 To this water comes every nature to choose its own

1 Unfortunately it is not possible for me to elucidate or even to document this
statement here. But, as Rhine's ESP (extrasensory perception) experiments show,
any intense emotional interest or fascination is accompanied by phenomena
which can only be explained by a psychic relativity of time, space, and causality.
Since the archetypes usually have a certain numinosity, they can arouse just that
fascination which is accompanied by synchronistic phenomena. These consist in
the meaningful coincidence of two or more causally unrelated facts. For details

1 would refer the reader to my "Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle."

2 Genesis 1:7. 3 Non-verbatim quotation from John 4 : 10.

184



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



substances, and from this water goes forth to every nature
that which is proper to it, more [certainly] than iron to the
Heracleian stone," 4 etc.

289 As the reference to John 4:10 shows, the wonderful water
of the Euphrates has the property of the aqua doctrinae, which
perfects every nature in its individuality and thus makes man
whole too. It does this by giving him a kind of magnetic power
by which he can attract and integrate that which belongs to him.
The Naassene doctrine is, plainly, a perfect parallel to the
alchemical view already discussed: the doctrine is the magnet
that makes possible the integration of man as well as the lapis.

9 In the Peratic doctrine, so many ideas of this kind reappear
that Hippolytus even uses the same metaphors, though the
meaning is more subtle. No one, he says, can be saved without
the Son:

But this is the serpent. For it is he who brought the signs of the
Father down from above, and it is he who carries them back again
after they have been awakened from sleep, transferring them thither
from hence as substances proceeding from the Substanceless. This,
they say, is [what is meant by] the saying, "I am the Door." 5 But
they say he transfers them to those whose eyelids are closed, 6 as
naphtha draws everywhere the fire to itself, 7 more than the Hera-
cleian stone draws iron . . . 8 Thus, they say, the perfect race of
men, made in the image [of the Father] and of the same substance
[homoonsion], is drawn from the world by the Serpent, even as it
was sent down by him; but naught else [is so drawn]. 9

29 1 Here the magnetic attraction does not come from the doc-
trine or the water but from the "Son," who is symbolized by the
serpent, as in John 3 : 14. 10 Christ is the magnet that draws to

Elenchos, V, g, i8f. (Cf. Legge trans., I, pp. i43f.) "Heracleian stone" = magnet.
5 John 10 : 9: "I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
6 1 use the reading: Ka/xixvovaiv 68a\fiov p\
close their eyes to the world?

7 The naphtha analogy reappears in the teachings of the Basilidians (Elenchos,
VII, 24, 6f.). There it refers to the son of the highest archon, who comprehends
the vo-qfiara airb rijs fiaKaplas vISttjtos (idea of the blessed sonship). Hippolytus'
exposition seems to be a trifle confused at this point.

8 Several more metaphors now follow, and it should be noted that they are the
same as in the passage previously quoted (V, 9, 19).

9 Elenchos, V, 17, 8ff. (Cf. Legge trans., I, pp. 158L)

10 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son
of man be lifted up."

185



AION



itself those parts or substances in man that are of divine origin,
the narpiKol xapa/c-njpe? (signs of the Father), and carries them back
to their heavenly birthplace. The serpent is an equivalent of the
fish. The consensus of opinion interpreted the Redeemer equally
as a fish and a serpent; he is a fish because he rose from the un-
known depths, and a serpent because he came mysteriously out
of the darkness. Fishes and snakes are favourite symbols for
describing psychic happenings or experiences that suddenly dart
out of the unconscious and have a frightening or redeeming
effect. That is why they are so often expressed by the motif of
helpful animals. The comparison of Christ with the serpent is
more authentic than that with the fish, but, for all that, it was
not so popular in primitive Christianity. The Gnostics favoured
it because it was an old-established symbol for the "good" genius
loci, the Agathodaimon, and also for their beloved Nous. Both
symbols are of inestimable value when it comes to the natural,
instinctive interpretation of the Christ-figure. Theriomorphic
symbols are very common in dreams and other manifestations
of the unconscious. They express the psychic level of the con-
tent in question; that is to say, such contents are at a stage of
unconsciousness that is as far from human consciousness as the
psyche of an animal. Warm-blooded or cold-blooded vertebrates
of all kinds, or even invertebrates, thus indicate the degree of
unconsciousness. It is important for psychopathologists to know
this, because these contents can produce, at all levels, symptoms
that correspond to the physiological functions and are localized
accordingly. For instance, the symptoms may be distinctly corre-
lated with the cerebrospinal and the sympathetic nervous sys-
tem. The Sethians may have guessed something of this sort, for
Hippolytus mentions, in connection with the serpent, that they
compared the "Father" with the cerebrum (iyKe
"Son" with the cerebellum and spinal cord (TrapeyKe^aXU
SpaKovTouBrj's). The snake does in fact symbolize "cold-blooded,"
inhuman contents and tendencies of an abstractly intellectual as
well as a concretely animal nature: in a word, the extra-human
quality in man.
*9* The third reference to the magnet is to be found in Hippoly-
tus' account of the Sethian doctrine. This has remarkable
analogies with the alchemical doctrines of the Middle Ages,

186



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



though no direct transmission can be proved. It expounds, in
Hippolytus' words, a theory of "composition and mixture": the
ray of light from above mingles with the dark waters below in
the form of a minute spark. At the death of the individual, and
also at his figurative death as a mystical experience, the two
substances unmix themselves. This mystical experience is the
divisio and separatio of the composite (to Sixdo-ai koL x^p^at ra
avyKeKpafxiva). I purposely give the Latin terms used in medieval
alchemy, because they denote essentially the same thing as do
the Gnostic concepts. The separation or unmixing enables the
alchemist to extract the anima or spiritus from the prima ma-
teria. During this operation the helpful Mercurius appears with
the dividing sword (used also by the adept!), which the Sethians
refer to Matthew 10 : 34: "I came not to send peace, but a
sword." The result of the unmixing is that what was previously
mixed up with the "other" is now drawn to "its own place" and
to that which is "proper" or "akin" to it, "like iron to the mag-
net" (<35s (Tib'ripos [jrpds] 'Hpd/eXetov \idov). 11 In the same way, the
spark or ray of light, "having received from the teaching and
learning its proper place, hastens to the Logos, which comes
from above in the form of a slave . . . more [quickly] than iron
[flies] to the magnet." 12
293 Here the magnetic attraction comes from the Logos. This
denotes a thought or idea that has been formulated and articu-
lated, hence a content and a product of consciousness. Conse-
quently the Logos is very like the aqua doctrinae, but whereas
the Logos has the advantage of being an autonomous person-
ality, the latter is merely a passive object of human action. The
Logos is nearer to the historical Christ-figure, just as the "water"
is nearer to the magical water used in ritual (ablution, aspersion,

11 Here, as in the previous passages about the magnet, mention is made of
electron (amber) and the sea-hawk, emphasis being laid on the bird's centre.

12 Elenchos, V, 21, 8 (Legge trans., I, p. 168). The ray of light (radius) plays an
analogous role in alchemy. Dorn (Theatr. chem., I, p. 276) speaks of the "invisible
rays of heaven meeting together at the centre of the earth," and there, as
Michael Maier says, shining with a "heavenly light like a carbuncle" (Symbola
aureae mensae, 1617, p. 377). The arcane substance is extracted from the ray, and
constitutes its "shadow" (umbra), as the "Tractatus aureus" says (Ars chemica,
1566, p. 15). The aqua permanent is extracted from the rays of the sun and moon
by the magnet (Mylius, Philosophia reformata, p. 314), or the rays of the sun are
united in the "silver water" (Beatus, "Aurelia occulta," Theatr. chem., IV, p. 563).

187



AION

baptism). Our three examples of magnetic action suggest three
different forms of magnetic agent:

1. The agent is an inanimate and in itself passive substance,
water. It is drawn from the depths of the well, handled by
human hands, and used according to man's needs. It signifies
the visible doctrine, the aqua doctrinae or the Logos, commu-
nicated to others by word of mouth and by ritual.

2. The agent is an animate, autonomous being, the serpent.
It appears spontaneously or comes as a surprise; it fascinates; its
glance is staring, fixed, unrelated; its blood cold, and it is a
stranger to man: it crawls over the sleeper, he finds it in a shoe
or in his pocket. It expresses his fear of everything inhuman and
his awe of the sublime, of what is beyond human ken. It is the
lowest (devil) and the highest (son of God, Logos, Nous, Aga-
thodaimon). The snake's presence is frightening, one finds it in
unexpected places at unexpected moments. Like the fish, it
represents and personifies the dark and unfathomable, the
watery deep, the forest, the night, the cave. When a primitive
says "snake," he means an experience of something extrahuman.
The snake is not an allegory or metaphor, for its own peculiar
form is symbolic in itself, and it is essential to note that the
"Son" has the form of a snake and not the other way round: the
snake does not signify the "Son."

3. The agent is the Logos, a philosophical idea and abstrac-
tion of the bodily and personal son of God on the one hand, and
on the other the dynamic power of thoughts and words.

294 It is clear that these three symbols seek to describe the un-
knowable essence of the incarnate God. But it is equally clear
that they are hypostatized to a high degree: it is real water, and
not figurative water, that is used in ritual. The Logos was in the
beginning, and God was the Logos, long before the Incarnation.
The emphasis falls so much on the "serpent" that the Ophites
celebrated their eucharistic feast with a live snake, no less
realistic than the Aesculapian snake at Epidaurus. Similarly,
the "fish" is not just the secret language of the mystery, but, as
the monuments show, it meant something in itself. Moreover,
it acquired its meaning in primitive Christianity without any
real support from the written tradition, whereas the serpent can
at least be referred back to an authentic logion.

188



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



295 All three symbols are phenomena of assimilation that are in
themselves of a numinous nature and therefore have a certain
degree of autonomy. Indeed, had they never made their appear-
ance, it would have meant that the annunciation of the Christ-
figure was ineffective. These phenomena not only prove the
effectiveness of the annunciation, but provide the necessary
conditions in which the annunciation can take effect. In other

s words, the symbols represent the prototypes of the Christ-figure
that were slumbering in man's unconscious and were then called
awake by his actual appearance in history and, so to speak,
magnetically attracted. That is why Meister Eckhart uses the
same symbolism to describe Adam's relation to the Creator on
the one hand and to the lower creatures on the other. 13

296 This magnetic process revolutionizes the ego-oriented psyche
by setting up, in contradistinction to the ego, another goal or
centre which is characterized by all manner of names and sym-
bols: fish, serpent, centre of the sea-hawk, 14 point, monad, cross,
paradise, and so on. The myth of the ignorant demiurge who
imagined he was the highest divinity illustrates the perplexity
of the ego when it can no longer hide from itself the knowledge
that it has been dethroned by a supraordinate authority. The
"thousand names" of the lapis philosophorum correspond to
the innumerable Gnostic designations for the Anthropos, which
make it quite obvious what is meant: the greater, more com-
prehensive Man, that indescribable whole consisting of the sum
of conscious and unconscious processes. This objective whole,
the antithesis of the subjective ego-psyche, is what I have called
the self, and this corresponds exactly to the idea of the An-
thropos.



297 When, in treating a case of neurosis, we try to supplement
the inadequate attitude (or adaptedness) of the conscious mind

13 "And therefore the highest power, seeing her stability in God, communicates
it to the lowest, that they may discern good and evil. In this union Adam
dwelt, and while this union lasted he had all the power of creatures in his highest
power. As when a lodestone exerts its power upon a needle and draws it to itself,
the needle receives sufficient power to pass on to all the needles beneath, which
it raises and attaches to the lodestone." (Meister Eckhart, trans, by Evans, I,
p. 274, slightly modified.) 14 [Cf. n. 11, supra.]

189



AION



by adding to it contents of the unconscious, our aim is to create
a wider personality whose centre of gravity does not necessarily
coincide with the ego, but which, on the contrary, as the pa-
tient's insights increase, may even thwart his ego-tendencies.
Like a magnet, the new centre attracts to itself that which is
proper to it, the "signs of the Father," i.e., everything that per-
tains to the original and unalterable character of the individual
ground-plan. All this is older than the ego and acts towards it as
the "blessed, nonexistent God" of the Basilidians acted towards
the archon of the Ogdoad, the demiurge, and- paradoxically
enough- as the son of the demiurge acted towards his father.
The son proves superior in that he has knowledge of the message
from above and can therefore tell his father that he is not the
highest God. This apparent contradiction resolves itself when
we consider the underlying psychological experience. On the
one hand, in the products of the unconscious the self appears as
it were a priori, that is, in well-known circle and quaternity sym-
bols which may already have occurred in the earliest dreams of
childhood, long before there was any possibility of conscious-
ness or understanding. On the other hand, only patient and
painstaking work on the contents of the unconscious, and the
resultant synthesis of conscious and unconscious data, can lead
to a "totality," which once more uses circle and quaternity sym-
bols for purposes of self-description. 15 In this phase, too, the
original dreams of childhood are remembered and understood.
The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the
nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, ex-
pressed this paradox through the symbol of the uroboros, the
snake that bites its own tail.

The same knowledge, formulated differently to suit the age
they lived in, was possessed by the Gnostics. The idea of an un-
conscious was not unknown to them. For instance, Epiphanius
quotes an excerpt from one of the Valentinian letters, which says:
"In the beginning the Autopator contained in himself every-
thing that is, in a state of unconsciousness [lit., 'not-knowing':
dyvwo-ta]." 16 It was Professor G. Quispel who kindly drew my

15 Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, pars. 127ft - ., and "A Study in the Process of
Individuation," in Part I of vol. 9.

16 'E &PXVS b AvTovrarup avrbs kv eavrui irepielxe to. Trdvra ovra ev eavrio kv
ayvwala /cr\. Panarium, XXXI, cap. V (Oehler edn., I, p. 314).

190



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



attention to this passage. He also points out the passage in Hip-
poly tus: 6 Uarrjp ... 6 avewo-qros Kal avov

which he translates: "le Pere . . . qui est depourvu de con-
science et de substance, celui qui est ni masculin, ni feminin." 17
So the "Father" is not only unconscious and without the quality
of being, but also nirdvandva, without opposites, lacking all
qualities and therefore unknowable. This describes the state of
the unconscious. The Valentinian text gives the Autopator more
positive qualities: "Some called him the ageless Aeon, eternally
young, male and female, who contains everything in himself
and is [himself] contained by nothing." In him was Iwoia, con-
sciousness, which "conveys the treasures of the greatness to
those who come from the greatness." But the presence of hvoia
does not prove that the Autopator himself is conscious, for the
differentiation of consciousness results only from the syzygies
and tetrads that follow afterwards, all of them symbolizing
processes of conjunction and composition. "Ewoia must be
thought of here as the latent possibility of consciousness. Oehler
translates it as mens, Cornarius as intelligentia and notio.
299 St. Paul's concept of ayvoia (ignorantia) may not be too far
removed from dyiwia, since both mean the initial, unconscious
condition of man. When God "looked down" on the times of
ignorance, the Greek word used here, WeptSwv (Vulgate: despi-
ciens) has the connotation 'to disdain, despise.' 18 At all events,
Gnostic tradition says that when the highest God saw what
miserable, unconscious creatures these human beings were
whom the demiurge had created, who were not even able to
walk upright, he immediately got the work of redemption under
way. 19 And in the same passage in the Acts, Paul reminds the
Athenians that they were "God's offspring," 20 and that God,
looking back disapprovingly on "the times of ignorance," had
sent the message to mankind, commanding "all men every-

17 Elenchos, VI, 42, 4; Quispel, "Note sur 'Basilide,' " p. 115.

18 Acts 17 : 30.

19 Cf. Scott, Hermetica (I, pp. 150L) where there is a description of the krater
filled with Nous which God sent down to earth. Those whose hearts strive after
consciousness (yvupi^ovca i-rrl rl yeyovas) can "baptize" themselves in the krater
and thereby obtain Nous. "God says that the man filled with Nous should know
himself" (pp. i26f.).

20 Vivos ovv VTrdpxovres rov Oeov (Acts 17 : 29).

191



AION



where to repent." Because that earlier condition seemed to be
altogether too wretched, the fxerdvoia (transformation of mind)
took on the moral character of repentance of sins, with the result
that the Vulgate could translate it as "poenitentiam agere." 21
The sin to be repented, of course, is ayvoia or ayvuma, uncon-
sciousness. 22 As we have seen, it is not only man who is in this
condition, but also, according to the Gnostics, the avewo-qros, the
God without consciousness. This idea is more or less in line
with the traditional Christian view that God was transformed
during the passage from the Old Testament to the New, and,
from being the God of wrath, changed into the God of Love-
a thought that is expressed very clearly by Nicolaus Caussin in
the seventeenth century. 23
3o In this connection I must mention the results of Riwkah
Scharf's examination of the figure of Satan in the Old Testa-
ment. 24 With the historical transformation of the concept of
Satan the image of Yahweh changes too, so that one can well say
that there was a differentiation of the God-image even in the
Old Testament, not to speak of the New. The idea that the
world-creating Deity is not conscious, but may be dreaming, is
found also in Hindu literature:

Who knows how it was, and who shall declare
Whence it was born and whence it came?
The gods are later than this creation;
Who knows, then, whence it has sprung?

Whence this created world came,

And whether he made it or not,

He alone who sees all in the highest heaven

Knows- or does not know. 25

21 Likewise the ^Tavoelre of the Baptist (Matt. 3 : 2).

22 Cf. the t6 rrjs kyvolas &/j.apTrm a , 'sin of unconsciousness' in pseudo-Clement
(Homilies XIX, cap. XXII), referring to the man who was born blind (John 9 : 1).

23 Polyhistor symbolicus, p. 348: "God, formerly the God of vengeance, who with
thunders and lightnings brought the world to disorder, took his rest in the lap
of a Virgin, nay, in her womb, and was made captive by love."

24 "Die Gestalt des Satans im Alten Testament."

25 Rig-Veda, X, 129. (Cf. MacNicol trans., Hindu Scriptures, p. 37.)

192



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



3 01 Meister Eckhart's theology knows a "Godhead" of which no
qualities, except unity and being, 26 can be predicated; 27 it "is
becoming," it is not yet Lord of itself, and it represents an
absolute coincidence of opposites: "But its simple nature is of
forms formless; of becoming becomingless; of beings beingless;
of things thingless," etc. 28 Union of opposites is equivalent to
unconsciousness, so far as human logic goes, for consciousness
presupposes a differentiation into subject and object and a rela-
tion between them. Where there is no "other," or it does not yet
exist, all possibility of consciousness ceases. Only the Father, the
God "welling" out of the Godhead, "notices himself," becomes
"beknown to himself," and "confronts himself as a Person." So,
from the Father, comes the Son, as the Father's thought of his
own being. In his original unity "he knows nothing" except the
"suprareal" One which he is. As the Godhead is essentially un-
conscious, 29 so too is the man who lives in God. In his sermon on
"The Poor in Spirit" (Matt. 5 : 3), the Meister says: "The man
who has this poverty has everything he was when he lived not in
any wise, neither in himself, nor in truth, nor in God. He is so
quit and empty of all knowing that no knowledge of God is alive
in him; for while he stood in the eternal nature of God, there
lived in him not another: what lived there was himself. And so
we say this man is as empty of his own knowledge as he was
when he was not anything; he lets God work what he will, and
he stands empty as when he came from God." 30 Therefore he
should love God in the following way: "Love him as he is: a not-
God, a not-spirit, a not-person, a not-image; as a sheer, pure,
clear One, which he is, sundered from all secondness; and in
this One let us sink eternally, from nothing to nothing. So help
us God. Amen." 31

26 "Being" is controversial. The Master says: "God in the Godhead is a spiritual
substance, so unfathomable that we can say nothing about it except that it is
naught [niht ensi\. To say it is aught [iht] were more lying than true." (Cf.
Evans trans., I, p. 354.)

27 "To this end there is no way, it is beyond all ways." (Cf. ibid., p. 211.)

28 ". . . von formen formelos, von werdenne werdelos, von wesenne weselos und
ist von sachen sachelos." (Cf. ibid., p. 352.)

29 "[The will] is the nobler in that it plunges into unknowing, which is God."
Cf. ibid., p. 351. Cf. also n. 16, supra: ayvuxria.

30 Evans, I, p. 219.

31 End of the sermon "Renovamini spiritu" (Eph. 4 : 23). Ibid., pp. 247L

193



AION



32 The world-embracing spirit of Meister Eckhart knew, with-
out discursive knowledge, the primordial mystical experience of
India as well as of the Gnostics, and was itself the finest flower
on the tree of the "Free Spirit" that flourished at the beginning
of the eleventh century. Well might the writings of this Master
lie buried for six hundred years, for "his time was not yet come."
Only in the nineteenth century did he find a public at all
capable of appreciating the grandeur of his mind.

33 These utterances on the nature of the Deity express trans-
formations of the God-image which run parallel with changes in
human consciousness, though one would be at a loss to say which
is the cause of the other. The God-image is not something in-
vented, it is an experience that comes upon man spontaneously
-as anyone can see for himself unless he is blinded to the truth
by theories and prejudices. The unconscious God-image can
therefore alter the state of consciousness, just as the latter can
modify the God-image once it has become conscious. This, obvi-
ously, has nothing to do with the "prime truth," the unknown
God- at least, nothing that could be verified. Psychologically,
however, the idea of God's ayvwaia, or of the avevvo-qros 0eo?, is of
the utmost importance, because it identifies the Deity with the
numinosity of the unconscious. The atman / purusha philosophy
of the East and, as we have seen, Meister Eckhart in the West
both bear witness to this.

34 Now if psychology is to lay hold of this phenomenon, it can
only do so if it expressly refrains from passing metaphysical
judgments, and if it does not presume to profess convictions to
which it is ostensibly entitled on the ground of scientific experi-
ence. But of this there can be no question whatever. The one
and only thing that psychology can establish is the presence of
pictorial symbols, whose interpretation is in no sense fixed be-
forehand. It can make out, with some certainty, that these
symbols have the character of "wholeness" and therefore presum-
ably mean wholeness. As a rule they are "uniting" symbols, repre-
senting the conjunction of a single or double pair of opposites,
the result being either a dyad or a quaternion. They arise from
the collision between the conscious and the unconscious and
from the confusion which this causes (known in alchemy as
"chaos" or "nigredo"). Empirically, this confusion takes the
form of restlessness and disorientation. The circle and qua-

194



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



ternity symbolism appears at this point as a compensating prin-
ciple of order, which depicts the union of warring opposites as
already accomplished, and thus eases the way to a healthier and
quieter state ("salvation"). For the present, it is not possible for
psychology to establish more than that the symbols of wholeness
mean the wholeness of the individual. 32 On the other hand, it
has to admit, most emphatically, that this symbolism uses images
or schemata which have always, in all the religions, expressed
the universal "Ground," the Deity itself. Thus the circle is a
well-known symbol for God; and so (in a certain sense) is the
cross, the quaternity in all its forms, e.g., Ezekiel's vision, the
Rex gloriae with the four evangelists, the Gnostic Barbelo
("God in four") and Kolorbas ("all four"); the duality (tao,
hermaphrodite, father-mother); and finally, the human form
(child, son, anthropos) and the individual personality (Ghrist
and Buddha), to name only the most important of the motifs
here used.
305 All these images are found, empirically, to be expressions for
the unified wholeness of man. The fact that this goal goes by the
name of "God" proves that it has a numinous character; and in-
deed, experiences, dreams, and visions of this kind do have a
fascinating and impressive quality which can be spontaneously
felt even by people who are not prejudiced in their favour by
prior psychological knowledge. So it is no wonder that naive
minds make no distinction between God and the image they
have experienced. Wherever, therefore, we find symbols indica-
tive of psychic wholeness, we encounter the naive idea that they
stand for God. In the case of those quite common Romanesque
pictures of the Son of Man accompanied by three angels with
animal heads and one with a human head, for example, it would
be simpler to assume that the Son of Man meant the ordinary
man and that the problem of one against three referred to the
well-known psychological schema of one differentiated and
three undifferentiated functions. But this interpretation would,
according to the traditional view, devalue the symbol, for it

32 There are people who, oddly enough, think it a weakness in me that I refrain
from metaphysical judgments. A scientist's conscience does not permit him to
assert things he cannot prove or at least show to be probable. No assertion has
ever yet brought anything corresponding to it into existence. "What he says, is"
is a prerogative exclusive to God.

195



AION

means the second Person of the Godhead in its universal, four-
fold aspect. Psychology cannot of course adopt this view as its
own; it can only establish the existence of such statements and
point out, by way of comparison, that essentially the same sym-
bols, in particular the dilemma of one and three, often appear
in the spontaneous products of the unconscious, where they
demonstrably refer to the psychic totality of the individual.
They indicate the presence of an archetype of like nature, one
of whose derivates would seem to be the quaternity of functions
that orient consciousness. But, since this totality exceeds the
individual's consciousness to an indefinite and indeterminable
extent, it invariably includes the unconscious in its orbit and
hence the totality of all archetypes. But the archetypes are com-
plementary equivalents of the "outside world" and therefore
possess a "cosmic" character. This explains their numinosity and
"godlikeness."



3 6 To make my exposition more complete, I would like to men-
tion some of the Gnostic symbols for the universal "Ground" or
arcanum, and especially those synonyms which signify the
"Ground." Psychology takes this idea as an image of the uncon-
scious background and begetter of consciousness. The most im-
portant of these images is the figure of the demiurge. The
Gnostics have a vast number of symbols for the source or origin,
the centre of being, the Creator, and the divine substance
hidden in the creature. Lest the reader be confused by this
wealth of images, he should always remember that each new
image is simply another aspect of the divine mystery immanent
in all creatures. My list of Gnostic symbols is no more than an
amplification of a single transcendental idea, which is so com-
prehensive and so difficult to visualize in itself that a great many
different expressions are required in order to bring out its vari-
ous aspects.

37 According to Irenaeus, the Gnostics held that Sophia repre-
sents the world of the Ogdoad, 33 which is a double quaternity.

33 A dversus haereses, I, 30, 3. In the system of Barbelo-Gnosis (ibid., 29, 4) the
equivalent of Sophia is Ilpovi>u
Prunicus (wpovveiKos) means both 'carrying a burden' and 'lewd.' The latter con-
notation is more probable, because this Gnostic sect believed that, through the

196



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



In the form of a dove, she descended into the water and begot
Saturn, who is identical with Yahweh. Saturn, as we have already
mentioned, is the "other sun," the sol niger of alchemy. Here he
is the "primus Anthropus." He created the first man, who could
only crawl like a worm. 34 Among the Naassenes, the demiurge
Esaldaios, "a fiery god, the fourth by number," is set up against
the Trinity of Father, Mother, and Son. The highest is the
Father, the Archanthropos, who is without qualities and is called
the higher Adam. In various systems Sophia takes the place of
the Protanthropos. 35 Epiphanius mentions the Ebionite teach-
ing that Adam, the original man, is identical with Christ. 36 In
Theodor Bar-Kuni the original man is the five elements (i.e.,
4 -|- i). 37 In the Acts of Thomas, the dragon says of itself: "I am
the son ... of him that hurt and smote the four brethren
which stood upright." 38
308 The primordial image of the quaternity coalesces, for the
Gnostics, with the figure of the demiurge or Anthropos. He is,
as it were, the victim of his own creative act, for, when he

sexual act, they could recharge Barbelo with the pneuma that was lost in the
world. In Simon Magus it is Helen, the ii^r-qp and Iwoia, who "descended to the
lower regions . . . and generated the inferior powers, angels, and firmaments."
She was forcibly held captive by the lower powers (Irenaeus, I, 27, 1-4). She
corresponds to the much later alchemical idea of the "soul in fetters" (cf. Dorn,
Theatr. chem., I, pp. 298, 497; Mylius, Phil, ref., p. 262; Rosarium philosophorum
in Art. aurif., II, p. 284; "Platonis liber quartorum," Theatr. chem., V, pp.
i85f.; Vigenere, Theatr. chem., VI, p. 19). The idea derives from Greek alchemy
and can be found in Zosimos (Berthelot, Alch. grecs, III, xlix, 7; trans, in Psy-
chology and Alchemy, pars. 456ft. ). In the "Liber quartorum" it is of Sabaean
origin. See Chwolsohn, Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus (II, p. 494): "The soul
once turned towards matter, fell in love with it, and, burning with desire to
experience bodily pleasures, was no longer willing to tear herself away from it.
So was the world born." Among the Valentinians, Sophia Achamoth is the
Ogdoad. In Pistis Sophia (trans, by Mead, p. 362) she is the daughter of Barbelo.
Deluded by the false light of the demon Authades, she falls into imprisonment
in chaos. Irenaeus (I, 5, 2) calls the demiurge the Heptad, but Achamoth the
Ogdoad. In I, 7, 2 he says that the Saviour is compounded of four things in
repetition of the first Tetrad. A copy of the Four is the quaternity of elements
(I, 17, 1), and so are the four lights that stand round the Autogenes of Barbelo-
Gnosis (I, 29, 2). 34 Adv. haer., I, 24, 1.

35 Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, p. 170. 36 Panarium, XXX, 3.

37 Theodor Bar-Kuni, Inscriptiones manda'ites des coupes de Khouabir, Part 2,
p. 185.
33 The Apocryphal New Testament, ed. James, p. 379.

197



AION



descended into Physis, he was caught in her embrace. 39 The
image of the anima mundi or Original Man latent in the dark of
matter expresses the presence of a transconscious centre which,
because of its quaternary character and its roundness, must be
regarded as a symbol of wholeness. We may assume, with due
caution, that some kind of psychic wholeness is meant (for in-
stance, conscious -f- unconscious), though the history of the sym-
bol shows that it was always used as a God-image. Psychology, as
I have said, is not in a position to make metaphysical statements.
It can only establish that the symbolism of psychic wholeness
coincides with the God-image, but it can never prove that the
God-image is God himself, or that the self takes the place of
God.

39 This coincidence comes out very clearly in the ancient Egyp-
tian Heb-Sed festival, of which Colin Campbell gives the follow-
ing description: "The king comes out of an apartment called
the sanctuary, then he ascends into a pavilion open at the four
sides, with four staircases leading up to it. Carrying the emblems
of Osiris, he takes his seat on a throne, and turns to the four
cardinal points in succession. . . . It is a kind of second en-
thronement . , . and sometimes the king acts as a priest, mak-
ing offerings to himself. This last act may be regarded as the
climax of the deification of the king." 40

3 1( > All kingship is rooted in this psychology, and therefore, for
the anonymous individual of the populace, every king carries
the symbol of the self, All his insignia- crown, mantle, orb,
sceptre, starry orders, etc.- show him as the cosmic Anthropos,
who not only begets, but himself is, the world. He is the homo
maximus, whom we meet again in Swedenborg's speculations.
The Gnostics, too, constantly endeavoured to give visible form
and a suitable conceptual dress to this being, suspecting that
he was the matrix and organizing principle of consciousness. As
the "Phrygians" (Naassenes) say in Hippolytus, 41 he is the "un-
divided point," the "grain of mustard seed" that grows into the
kingdom of God. This point is "present in the body/' But this
is known only to the trvevfiariKoi, the "spiritual" men as opposed
to the \pvxiK-oi and the vXlkoi ("material" men). He is to pijfxa tov

39 Bousset, pp. 1 14ft.

40 The Miraculous Birth of King AmonHotep III, p. 81.

41 Elenchos, V, 9, 5L (Legge trans., I, pp. i4of.).

198



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



Oeov, the utterance of God (sermo Dei), and the "matrix of the
Aeons, Powers, Intelligences, Gods, Angels, and Emissary
Spirits, of Being and Non-Being, of Begotten and Unbegotten,
of the Non-Intelligible Intelligible, of the Years, Moons, Days,
Hours. . . ." This point, "being nothing and consisting of
nothing," becomes a "certain magnitude incomprehensible by
thought." Hippolytus accuses the Naassenes of bundling every-
thing into their thought like the syncretists, for he obviously
cannot quite understand how the point, the "utterance of God,"
can have a human form. The Naassenes, he complains, also
call him the "polymorphous Attis," the young dying son of the
Great Mother, or, as the hymn cited by Hippolytus says, t6
Kare5 aKova/xa 'Pea?, the 'dark rumour of Rhea.' In the hymn he
has the synonyms Adonis, Osiris, Adam, Korybas, Pan, Bacchus,
and TroLfxriv XevKw aarpuv^ 'shepherd of white stars.'

311 The Naassenes themselves considered Naas, the serpent, to
be their central deity, and they explained it as the "moist sub-
stance," in agreement with Thales of Miletus, who said water
was the prime substance on which all life depended. Similarly,
all living things depend on the Naas; "it contains within itself,
like the horn of the one-horned bull, the beauty of all things."
It "pervades everything, like the water that flows out of Eden
and divides into four sources" (apxas). "This Eden, they say, is
the brain." Three of the rivers of Paradise are sensory functions
(Pison = sight, Gihon = hearing, Tigris = smell), but the
fourth, the Euphrates, is the mouth, "the seat of prayer and the
entrance of food." As the fourth function it has a double sig-
nificance, 42 denoting on the one hand the purely material ac-
tivity of bodily nourishment, while on the other hand it "glad-
dens, 43 feeds, and forms [xapaKT-qpi&i] the spiritual, perfect [tc'Aoov]
man." 44 The "fourth" is something special, ambivalent- a
daimonion. A good example of this is in Daniel 3 : 24L, where
the three men in the burning fiery furnace are joined by a
fourth, whose form was "like a son of God."

3 1 * The water of the Euphrates is the "water above the firma-
ment," the "living water of Which the Saviour spoke," 45 and

42 Psychology and Alchemy, index, s.v. "Axiom of Maria." Cf. infra, pars. $%&.

43 eixfrpabet, a play on the word eipadr}s } 'well-speaking.'

44 Elenchos, V, 9, i5ff. [Cf. Legge, I, p. 143.]

45 An allusion to John 4:10.

199



AION

possessing, as we have seen, magnetic properties. It is that
miraculous water from which the olive draws its oil and the
grape the wine. "That man," continues Hippolytus, as though
still speaking of the water of the Euphrates, "is without honour
in the world." 46 This is an allusion to the i-eAeios avOpuiros. In-
deed, this water is the "perfect man," the pr/fia Beov, the Word
sent by God. "From the living water we spiritual men choose
that which is ours," 47 for every nature, when dipped in this
water, "chooses its own substances . . . and from this water
goes forth to every nature that which is proper to it." 48 The
water or, as we could say, this Christ is a sort of panspermia, a
matrix of all possibilities, from which the irvevixariKo? chooses
"his Osob," his idiosyncrasy, 49 that "flies to him more [quickly]
than iron to the magnet." But the "spiritual men" attain their
proper nature by entering in through the "true door," Jesus
Makarios (the blessed), and thus obtaining knowledge of their
own wholeness, i.e., of the complete man. This man, unhon-
oured in the world, is obviously the inner, spiritual man, who
becomes conscious for those who enter in through Christ, the
door to life, and are illuminated by him. Two images are
blended here: the image of the "strait gate," M and that of
John 14 : 6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one
comes to the Father but through me." 51 They represent an
integration process that is characteristic of psychological indi-
viduation. As formulated, the water symbol continually coa-
lesces with Christ and Christ with the inner man. This, it seems
to me, is not a confusion of thought but a psychologically cor-
rect formulation of the facts, since Christ as the "Word" is in-
deed the "living water" and at the same time the symbol of the
inner "complete" man, the self.
3*3 For the Naassenes, the universal "Ground" is the Original
Man, Adam, and knowledge of him is regarded as the begin-

46 Legge, I, p. 144. 47 Elenchos, V, 9, 21.

48 V, 9, 19 (Legge trans., p. 144).

49 This means the integration of the self, which is also referred to in very similar
words in the Bogomil document discussed above (pars. 225ft.), concerning the
devil as world creator. He too finds what is "proper" (tdiov) to him.

50 Matt. 7 : 14: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto
life."

61 The passage discussed here is in Elenchos, V, 9, 4ft (Legge trans., I, p. 140).

200



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



ning of perfection and the bridge to knowledge of God. 52 He
is male/female; from him come "father and mother"; 53 he con-
sists of three parts: the rational (vocpov), the psychic, and the
earthly ( X olk6v). These three "came down together into one man,
Jesus," and "these three men spoke together, each of them from
his own substance to his own," i.e., from the rational to the
rational, etc. Through this doctrine Jesus is related to the
Original Man (Christ as second Adam). His soul is "of three
parts and (yet) one"- a Trinity. 54 As examples of the Original
Man the text mentions the Cabiros 55 and Oannes. The latter
had a soul capable of suffering, so that the "figure (wkdo-fjia) of
the great, most beautiful and perfect man, humbled to a slave,"
might suffer punishment. He is the "blessed nature, at once
hidden and revealed, of everything that has come to be and
will be," "the kingdom of heaven which is to be sought within
man" (lvr6^ avQp&icov), even "in children of seven years." 56 For
the Naassenes, says Hippolytus, place the "procreative nature of
the Whole in the procreative seed." 57 On the face of it, this
looks like the beginnings of a "sexual theory" concerning the
underlying psychic substance, reminiscent of certain modern
attempts in the same vein. But one should not overlook the fact
that in reality man's procreative power is only a special instance
of the "procreative nature of the Whole." "This, for them, is
the hidden and mystical Logos," which, in the text that follows,
is likened to the phallus of Osiris- "and they say Osiris is water."
Although the substance of this seed is the cause of all things, it
does not partake of their nature. They say therefore: "I become
what I will, and I am what I am." For he who moves everything
is himself unmoved. "He, they say, is alone good." 58 A further
synonym is the ithyphallic Hermes Kyllenios. "For they say
Hermes is the Logos, the interpreter and fashioner of what has

52 Elenchos, V, 6, 6: Qeov 5e ypuffts a.ir-r]pTi.op.v't\ reXdwais ("Knowledge of God is
perfect wholeness").

53 V, 6, 5 (Legge trans., I, p. 120). 54 v, 6, 6f. (p. 121).

55 Nicknamed KaWlwais, 'with beautiful children' or 'the beautiful child.' (Elen-
chos, V, 7, 4.)

56 According to Hippocrates, a boy at seven years old is half a father. (Elenchos,
V, 7, 21.)

57 rrjv apxeyopwv
father.

58 With express reference to Matt. 19: 17: "One is good, God."

201



AION



been, is, and will be." That is why he is worshipped as the
phallus, because he, like the male organ, "has an urge [6p^?jv]
from below upwards." 59



3 J 4 The fact that not only the Gnostic Logos but Christ himself
was drawn into the orbit of sexual symbolism is corroborated by
the fragment from the Interrogationes maiores Mariae, quoted
by Epiphanius. 60 It is related there that Christ took this Mary
with him on to a mountain, where he produced a woman from
his side and began to have intercourse with her: ". . . seminis
sui defluxum assumpsisset, indicasse illi, quod oporteat sic
facere, ut vivamus." 61 It is understandable that this crude sym-
bolism should offend our modern feelings. But it also appeared
shocking to Christians of the third and fourth centuries; and
when, in addition, the symbolism became associated with a
concretistic misunderstanding, as appeared to be the case in cer-
tain sects, it could only be rejected. That the author of the
Interrogationes was by no means ignorant of some such reaction
is evident from the text itself. It says that Mary received such a
shock that she fell to the ground. Christ then said to her:
"Wherefore do you doubt me, O you of little faith?" This was
meant as a reference to John 3:12: "If I have told you earthly
things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you
heavenly things?" and also to John 6 : 54: "Unless you eat the
flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in
you."

3*5 This symbolism may well have been based, originally, on
some visionary experience, such as happens not uncommonly
today during psychological treatment. For the medical psy-
chologist there is nothing very lurid about it. The context itself
points the way to the right interpretation. The image expresses
a psychologem that can hardly be formulated in rational terms
and has, therefore, to make use of a concrete symbol, just as a
dream must when a more or less "abstract" thought comes up
during the abaissement du niveau mental that occurs in sleep.
These "shocking" surprises, of which there is certainly no lack

59 Cf. Legge trans., p. 128. 60 Panarium, XXVI, cap. VIII.

61 ". . . partaking of his flowing semen, showed that this was to be done, that

we might have life."

202



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



in dreams, should always be taken "as-if," even though they
clothe themselves in sensual imagery that stops at no scurrility
and no obscenity. They are unconcerned with offensiveness,
because they do not really mean it. It is as if they were stammer-
ing in their efforts to express the elusive meaning that grips
the dreamer's attention. 62

The context of the vision (John 3:12) makes it clear that
the image should be taken not concretistically but symbolically;
for Christ speaks not of earthly things but of a heavenly or
spiritual mystery - a "mystery" not because he is hiding some-
thing or making a secret of it (indeed, nothing could be more
blatant than the naked obscenity of the vision!) but because its
meaning is still hidden from consciousness. The modern method
of dream-analysis and interpretation follows this heuristic rule. 63
If we apply it to the vision, we arrive at the following result:

1. The mountain means ascent, particularly the mystical,
spiritual ascent to the heights, to the place of revelation where
the spirit is present. This motif is so well known that there is no
need to document it. 64

2. The central significance of the Christ-figure for that
epoch has been abundantly proved. In Christian Gnosticism it
was a visualization of God as the Archanthropos (Original Man
= Adam), and therefore the epitome of man as such: "Man
and the Son of Man." Christ is the inner man who is reached by
the path of self-knowledge, "the kingdom of heaven within

62 On the other hand, I cannot rid myself of the impression that dreams do
occasionally twist things in a scurrilous way. This may have led Freud to the
singular assumption that they disguise and distort for so-called "moral" reasons.
However, this view is contradicted by the fact that dreams just as often do the
exact opposite. I therefore incline to the alchemical view that Mercurius- the
unconscious Nous- is a "trickster." [Cf. "The Spirit Mercurius" and "The Psy-
chology of the Trickster Figure."- Editors.]

63 But not the Freudian, "psychoanalytical" method, which dismisses the mani-
fest dream-content as a mere "facade," on the ground that the psychopathology
of hysteria leads one to suspect incompatible wishes as dream-motifs. The fact
that the dream as well as consciousness rest on an instinctual foundation has
nothing to do either with the meaning of the dream-figures or with that of the
conscious contents, for the essential thing in both cases is what the psyche has
made of the instinctual impulse. The remarkable thing about the Parthenon is
not that it consists of stone and was built to gratify the ambitions of the Atheni-
ans, but that it is- the Parthenon.

64 Cf. "Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales," par. 403.

203



AION

you." As the Anthropos he corresponds to what is empirically
the most important archetype and, as judge of the living and
the dead and king of glory, to the real organizing principle of the
unconscious, the quaternity, or squared circle of the self. 85
In saying this I have not done violence to anything; my views
are based on the experience that mandala structures have the
meaning and function of a centre of the unconscious person-
ality. 66 The quaternity of Christ, which must be borne in mind
in this vision, is exemplified by the cross symbol, the rex gloriae,
and Christ as the year.

39 3. The production of the woman from his side suggests that
he is interpreted as the second Adam. Bringing forth a woman
means that he is playing the role of the Creator-god in Genesis. 67
Just as Adam, before the creation of Eve, was supposed by vari-
ous traditions to be male /female, 68 so Christ here demonstrates
his androgyny in a drastic way. 69 The Original Man is usually
hermaphroditic; in Vedic tradition too he produces his own
feminine half and unites with her. In Christian allegory the
woman sprung from Christ's side signifies the Church as the
Bride of the Lamb.

320 The splitting of the Original Man into husband and wife
expresses an act of nascent consciousness; it gives birth to a pair
of opposites, thereby making consciousness possible. For the
beholder of the miracle, Mary, the vision was the spontaneous
visualization or projection of an unconscious process in herself.
Experience shows that unconscious processes are compensatory
to a definite conscious situation. The splitting in the vision
would therefore suggest that it is compensating a conscious con-
dition of unity. This unity probably refers in the first place to
the figure of the Anthropos, the incarnate God, who was then in
the forefront of religious interest. He was, in Origen's words,

65 Cf. "The Psychology of Eastern Meditation," pars. 9421".

66 Cf. "A Study in the Process of Individuation."

67 This is consistent with his nature as the Logos and second Person of the
Trinity.

68 Naturally this view is rejected by the Church.

69 Three different interpretations of Christ are combined here. Such contamina-
tions are characteristic not only of Gnostic thinking but of all unconscious image-
formation.

204



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



the "Vir Unus," 70 the One Man. It was with this figure that
Mary was confronted in her vision. If we assume that the recipi-
ent of the vision was in reality a woman- an assumption that is
not altogether without grounds- then what she had been missing
in the pure, deified masculinity of Christ was the counterbalanc-
ing femininity. Therefore it was revealed to her: "I am both,
man and woman." This psychologem is still incorporated to-
day in the Catholic conception of Christ's androgyny as the
"Virgo de Virgine," though this is more a sententia communis
than a conclusio. Medieval iconography sometimes shows Christ
with breasts, in accordance with Song of Solomon 1:1: 'For
thy breasts are better than wine" (DV). In Mechthild of Magde-
burg, the soul remarks that when the Lord kissed her, 71 he had,
contrary to expectation, no beard. The tokens of masculinity
were lacking. Mechthild had a vision similar to Mary's, dealing
with the same problem from a different angle: she saw herself
transported to a "rocky mountain" where the Blessed Virgin
sat, awaiting the birth of the divine child. When it was born,
she embraced it and kissed it three times. As the text points out,
the mountain is an allegory of the "spiritualis habitus," or
spiritual attitude. "Through divine inspiration she knew how
the Son is the innermost core [medulla] of the Father's heart."
This medulla is "strengthening, healing, and most sweet"; God's
"strength and greatest sweetness" are given to us through the
Son, the "Saviour and strongest, sweetest Comforter," but "the
innermost [core] of the soul is that sweetest thing." 72 From this
it is clear that Mechthild equates the "medulla" with the
Father's heart, the Son, and the inner man. Psychologically
speaking, "that sweetest thing" corresponds to the self, which is
indistinguishable from the God-image.

There is a significant difference between the two visions.
The antique revelation depicts the birth of Eve from Adam on

70 Gregory the Great, Expositiones in librum I Regum, Lib. I, cap. I (Migne,
P.L., vol. 79, col. 23): "For God and man is one Christ. Therefore in that he is
called one, he is shown to be incomparable." In accordance with the spirit of the
age, his incomparability or uniqueness is explained by the "excellence of his
virtue." It is, however, significant in itself.

71 "He offered her his rosy [sic!] mouth to kiss" (Liber gratiae spiritualis, fol. J
iw).

72 "Medulla vero animae est illud dulcissimum." Ibid., fol. B.

205



AION



the spiritual level of the second Adam (Christ), from whose side
the feminine pneuma, or second Eve, i.e., the soul, appears as
Christ's daughter. As already mentioned, in the Christian view
the soul is interpreted as the Church: she is the woman who
"embraces the man" 73 and anoints the Lord's feet. Mechthild's
vision is a continuation of the sacred myth: the daughter-bride
has become a mother and bears the Father in the shape of the
Son. That the Son is closely akin to the self is evident from the
emphasis laid on the quaternary nature of Christ: he has a
"fourfold voice" (quadruplex vox), 7 * his heart has four kinds
of pulse, 75 and from his countenance go forth four rays of
light. 76 In this image a new millennium is speaking. Meister
Eckhart, using a different formulation, says that "God is born
from the soul," and when we come to the Cherubinic Wan-
derer 77 of Angelus Silesius, God and the self coincide absolutely.
The times have undergone a profound change: the procreative
power no longer proceeds from God, rather is God born from
the soul. The mythologem of the young dying god has taken on
psychological form- a sign of further assimilation and conscious
realization.
322 4. But to turn back to the first vision: the bringing forth of
the woman is followed by copulation. The hieros gamos on the
mountain is a well-known motif, 78 just as, in the old alchemical
pictures, the hermaphrodite has a fondness for elevated places.
The alchemists likewise speak of an Adam who always carries
his Eve around with him. Their coniunctio is an incestuous act,
performed not by father and daughter but, in accordance with
the changed times, by brother and sister or mother and son. The
latter variant corresponds to the ancient Egyptian mythologem
of Amen as Ka-mutef, which means 'husband of his mother,' or
of Mut, who is the "mother of her father and daughter of her

73 Gregory the Great; Migne, P.L., vol. 79, col. 23. Cf. Jerem. 31 : 22: "A woman
shall compass a man" (AV).

74 Liber gratiae spiritualis, fol. A viir. The quaternity refers to the four gospels.

75 ibid., fol. B iiv.

76 Ibid., fol. B viiv.

77 Cf. Flitch, Angelus Silesius, pp. i28ff.

78 For instance, the hieros gamos of Zeus and Hera on "the heights of Gargaros,"
Iliad, XIV, 246ft. (Cf. Rieu trans., p. 266.)

206



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



son." 79 The idea of self-copulation is a recurrent theme in
descriptions of the world creator: for instance, God splits into
his masculine and feminine halves, 80 or he fertilizes himself in
a manner that could easily have served as a model for the Inter-
rogationes vision, if literary antecedents must be conjectured.
Thus the relevant passage in the Heliopolitan story of the Crea-
tion runs: "I, even I, had union with my clenched hand, I
joined myself in an embrace with my shadow, I poured seed into
my mouth, my own, I sent forth issue in the form of Shu, I sent
forth moisture in the form of Tefnut." 81

Although the idea of self-fertilization is not touched on in
our vision, there can be no doubt that there is a close connec-
tion between this and the idea of the cosmogonic self-creator.
Here, however, world creation gives place to spiritual re-
newal. That is why no visible creature arises from the taking in
of seed; it means a nourishing of life, "that we may live." And
because, as the text itself shows, the vision should be understood
on the "heavenly" or spiritual plane, the pouring out (aTroppota)
refers to a Ao'yo? o-Trep/xart/co?, which in the language of the gospels
means a living water "springing up into eternal life." The
whole vision reminds one very much of the related alchemical
symbolisms. Its drastic naturalism, unpleasantly obtrusive in
comparison with the reticence of ecclesiastical language, points
back on the one hand to archaic forms of religion whose ideas
and modes of expression had long since been superseded, but
forwards, on the other, to a still crude observation of Nature
that was just beginning to assimilate the archetype of man. This
attempt continued right up to the seventeenth century, when
Johannes Kepler recognized the Trinity as underlying the struc-
ture of the universe- in other words, when he assimilated this
archetype into the astronomer's picture of the world. 82

79 Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der alten Agypter, p. 94.

80 In the ancient Egyptian view God is "Father and Mother," and "begets and
gives birth to himself" (Brugsch, p. 97). The Indian Prajapati has intercourse
with his own split-off feminine half.

81 Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, I, pp. 3iof.

82 I owe this idea to a lecture delivered by Professor W. Pauli, in Zurich, on the
archetypal foundations of Kepler's astronomy. Cf. his "The Influence of Arche-
typal Ideas" etc.

207



AION



324 After this digression on the phallic synonyms for the Origi-
nal Man, we will turn back to Hippolytus' account of the central
symbols of the Naassenes and continue with a list of statements
about Hermes.

325 Hermes is a conjurer of spirits (i/^xaywyo's), a guide of souls
(i/a^oTro/xTros), and a begetter of souls (i/or^v atrto?). But the souls
were "brought down from the blessed Man on high, the arch-
man Adamas, . . . into the form of clay, that they might serve
the demiurge of this creation, Esaldaios, a fiery god, the fourth
by number." 83 Esaldaios corresponds to Ialdabaoth, the highest
archon, and also to Saturn. 84 The "fourth" refers to the fourth
Person- the devil- who is opposed to the Trinity. Ialdabaoth
means "child of chaos"; hence when Goethe, borrowing from
alchemical terminology, calls the devil the "strange son of
chaos," the name is a very apt one.

326 Hermes is equipped with the golden wand. 85 With it he
"drops sleep on the eyes of the dead and wakes up the sleepers."
The Naassenes referred this to Ephesians 5 : 14: "Awake, O
sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you
light." Just as the alchemists took the well-known allegory of
Christ, the lapis angularis or cornerstone, for their lapis philoso-
phorum, so the Naassenes took it as symbolizing their Protan-
thropos Adam, or more precisely, the "inner man," who is a
rock or stone, since he came from the Trlrp-q rov 'ASd/xavro^, "fallen
from Adamas the arch-man on high." 86 The alchemists said
their stone was "cut from the mountain without hands," 87 and
the Naassenes say the same thing of the inner man, who was
brought down "into the form of oblivion." 88 In Epiphanius the

83 Elenchos, V, 7, 30L (Cf. Legge trans., I, p. 128.)

84 Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, pp. 352f.

85 Here Hippolytus cites the text of Odyssey, XXIV, 2.

86 Elenchos, V, 7, 36 (Legge trans., I, pp. i20,f.).

87 Daniel 2 : 34: "Thus thou sawest, till a stone was cut out of a mountain with-
out hands" (DV). This was the stone that broke in pieces the clay and iron feet
of the statue.

88 Et's rb irXda/xa rijs XriOrjs, i.e., lethargia, the state of forgetf ulness and sleep
resembling that of the dead. The "inner man" is as if buried in the somatic man.
He is the "soul in fetters" or "in the prison of the body," as the alchemists say.
Lethe corresponds to the modern concept of the unconscious.

208



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



mountain is the Archanthropos Christ, from whom the stone or
inner man was cut. As Epiphanius interprets it, this means that
the inner man is begotten "without human seed," "a small stone
that becomes a great mountain." 89

The Archanthropos is the Logos, whom the souls follow
"twittering," as the bats follow Hermes in the nekyia. He leads
them to Oceanus and - in the immortal words of Homer - to
"the doors of Helios and the land of dreams." "He [Hermes] is
Oceanus, the begetter of gods and men, ever ebbing and flow-
ing, now forth, now back." Men are born from the ebb, and
gods from the flow. "It is this, they say, that stands written: 'I
have said, you are gods, and all of you the sons of the most
High.' " 90 Here the affinity or identity of God and man is ex-
plicit, in the Holy Scriptures no less than in the Naassene teach-
ings.



The Naassenes, as Hippolytus says, 91 derived all things from
a triad, which consists firstly of the "blessed nature of the
blessed Man on high, Adamas," secondly of the mortal nature of
the lower man, and thirdly of the "kingless race begotten from
above," to which belong "Mariam the sought-for one, and
Jothor 92 the great wise one, and Sephora 93 the seer, and Moses
whose generation was not in Egypt." 94 Together these four form
a marriage quaternio 95 of the classic type:

HUSBAND WIFE

I I

SISTER BROTHER

89 Ancoratus, 40. Cf. Daniel 2 : 35: "But the stone that struck the statue became
a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (DV).

90 Elenchos, V, 7, 37 (Legge trans., I, p. 130). Cf. Psalm 82 (Vulg. 81) : 6, to which
reference is made in Luke 6 : 35 and John 10 : 34.

91V, 8, 2 (ibid., p. 131).

92 'Io0o>p = Jethro, the priest-king of Midian and the father-in-law of Moses.

93 Zipporah, the wife of Moses.

94 This is probably an allusion to the pneumatic nature of the "generation" pro-
duced by Moses, for, according to Elenchos, V, 7, 41, "Egypt is the body" (Legge
trans., I, p. 130).

95 The marriage quaternio is the archetype to which the cross-cousin marriage
corresponds on a primitive level. I have given a detailed account of it in "The
Psychology of the Transference," pars. 425ff.

209



AION



Their synonyms are:


MOTHER


-


FATHER


QUEEN


-


KING


THE UNKNOWN WOMAN


-


THE DISTANT LOVER


ANIMA


-


ANIMUS



329 Moses corresponds to the husband, Sephora to the wife;
Mariam (Miriam) is the sister of Moses; Jothor (Jethro) is the
archetype of the wise old man and corresponds to the father-
animus, if the quaternio is that of a woman. But the fact that
Jothor is called "the great wise one" suggests that the quaternio
is a man's. In the case of a woman the accent that falls here on
the wise man would fall on Mariam, who would then have the
significance of the Great Mother. At all events our quaternio
lacks the incestuous brother-sister relationship, otherwise very
common. Instead, Miriam has something of a mother signif-
icance for Moses (cf. Exodus 2 : 4fL). As a prophetess (Exodus
15 : 20L) she is a "magical" personality. When Moses took a
Moor to wife- the "Ethiopian woman"- this incensed Miriam
so much that she was smitten with leprosy and became "as white
as snow" (Numbers 12 : 10). Miriam is therefore not altogether
unsuited to play the role of the anima. The best-known anima-
figure in the Old Testament, the Shulamite, says: "I am black,
but comely" (Song of Songs 1 : 5). In the Chymical Wedding of
Christian Rosenkreutz, the royal bride is the concubine of the
Moorish king. Negroes, and especially Ethiopians, play a con-
siderable role in alchemy as synonyms of the caput corvi and
the nigredo. 96 They appear in the Passion of St. Perpetua 97 as
representatives of the sinful pagan world.

33 The triad is characterized by various names that may be
onomatopoetic: Kaulakau, Saulasau, Zeesar. 98 Kaulakau means
the higher Adam, Saulasau the lower, mortal man, and Zeesar
is named the "upwards-flowing Jordan." The Jordan was caused

96 Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, par. 484.

97 See the study by Marie-Louise von Franz.

98 These words occur in the Hebrew of Isaiah 28 : 10, where they describe what
"men with stammering lips and alien tongue" speak to the people. [The Hebrew
runs: "tsaw latsaw, tsaw latsaw, kaw lakaw, kaw lakaw, zeer sham, zeer sham."-
Editors.] AV: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line
upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little."

210



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



by Jesus to flow up-stream; it is the rising flood and this, as
already mentioned, is the begetter of gods. "This, they say, is the
human hermaphrodite in all creatures, whom the ignorant call
'Geryon of the threefold body' [that is, d>s h yijs frkovra, 'flowing
from the earth']; but the Greeks name it the celestial horn of
the moon." The text defines the above-mentioned quaternio,
which is identical with Zeesar, the upwards-flowing Jordan, the
hermaphrodite, Geryon of the threefold body, and the horn
of the moon, as the cosmogonic Logos (John 1 : iff.), and the
"life that was in him" (John 1 : 4) as a "generation of perfect
men" (reXeioi avdp&TOL). 99

This Logos or quaternity is "the cup from which the king,
drinking, draws his omens," 10 or the beaker of Anacreon. The
cup leads Hippolytus on to the wine miracle at Cana, which, he
says, "showed forth the kingdom of heaven"; for the kingdom
of heaven lies within us, like the wine in the cup. Further paral-
lels of the cup are the ithyphallic gods of Samothrace and the
Kyllenic Hermes, who signify the Original Man as well as the
spiritual man who is reborn. This last is "in every respect con-
substantial" with the Original Man symbolized by Hermes. For
this reason, says Hippolytus, Christ said that one must eat of his
flesh and drink of his blood, for he was conscious of the individ-
ual nature of each of his disciples, and also of the need of each
"to come to his own special nature." 101

Another synonym is Korybas, who was descended from the
crown of the head and from the unformed (axapaKTVp'^rov) brain,
like the Euphrates from Eden, and permeates all things. His
image exists - unrecognized - "in earthly form." He is the god
who dwells in the flood. I need not describe this symbol here, as
I have already discussed it at some length in one of my Para-
celsus studies. 102 So far as Korybas is concerned, the parallel
between him and the Protanthropos is explained by the ancient
view that the corybants were the original men. 103 The name
"Korybas" does not denote a particular personality, but rather
the anonymous member of a collectivity, such as the Curetes,

99 Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, pars. 55of. [Cf. Legge trans., I, p. 131.]

100 cf. Genesis 44 : 5.

101 Elenchos, V, 8, 12 (Legge trans., I, p. 133).

102 "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon," pars. i8iff.

103 Roscher, Lexikon, II, part 1, col. 1608, s.v. "Kuretes."

211



AION



Cabiri, Dactyls, etc. Etymologically, it has been brought into
connection with Kopvri (crown of the head), though this is not
certain. 104 Korybas seems in our text to be the name of a single
personality - the Kyllenian Hermes, who appears here as syn-
onymous with the Cabiri of Samothrace. With reference to this
Hermes the text says: "Him the Thracians . . . call Kory-
bas." 105 I have suggested in an earlier publication 106 that this
unusual single personality may perhaps be a product of con-
tamination with Korybas, known to us from the Dionysus
legend, because he too seems to have been a phallic being, as we
learn from a scholium to Lucian's De dea Syria. 101
333 From the centre of the "perfect man" flows the ocean (where,
as we have said, the god dwells). The "perfect" man is, as Jesus
says, the "true door," through which the "perfect" man must go
in order to be reborn. Here the problem of how to translate
"teleios" becomes crucial; for- we must ask- why should anyone
who is "perfect" need renewal through rebirth? 108 One can
only conclude that the perfect man was not so perfected that
no further improvement was possible. We encounter a similar
difficulty in Philippians 3:12, where Paul says: "Not that I
. . . am already perfect" (rereAd'co^ai). But three verses further on
he writes: "Let us then, as many as are perfect (re'Aeioi) be of this
mind." The Gnostic use of rcAeios obviously agrees with Paul's.
The word has only an approximate meaning and amounts to
much the same thing as Tn/o^ariKos, 'spiritual,' 109 which is not
connected with any conception of a definite degree of perfection
or spirituality. The word "perfect" gives the sense of the Greek
reAetos correctly only when it refers to God. But when it applies
to a man, who in addition is in need of rebirth, it can at most
mean "whole" or "complete," especially if, as our text says, the

104 Ibid., col. 1607. The descent from the brain may be an allusion to the ancient
idea that the sperm was conducted down from the head to the genitals, through
the spinal cord. [Cf. Onians, The Origins of European Thought, p. 234. - Editors.]

105 Elenchos, V, 8, 13 (Legge trans., I, p. 133).

106 "The Spirit Mercurius," par. 278.

107 Roscher, col. 1392, s.v. "Korybos," where the text is given in full.

108 The alchemists say very aptly: "Perfectum non perficitur" (that which is per-
fect is not perfected).

109 Elenchos, V, 8, 22, describes the irpev/xariKol as "perfect men endowed with
reason," from which it is clear that the possession of an anima rationalis is what
makes the "spiritual" man.

212



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



complete man cannot even be saved unless he passes through
this door. 110

The father of the "perfectus" is the higher man or Protan-
thropos, who is "not clearly formed" and "without qualities."
Hippolytus goes on to say that he is called Papa (Attis) by the
Phrygians. He is a bringer of peace and quells "the war of the
elements" in the human body, 111 a statement we meet again
word for word in medieval alchemy, where the filius philoso-
phorum "makes peace between enemies or the elements." 112
This "Papa" is also called vIkv? (cadaver), because he is buried in
the body like a mummy in a tomb. A similar idea is found in
Paracelsus; his treatise De vita longa opens with the words:
"Life, verily, is naught but a kind of embalmed mummy, which
preserves the mortal body from the mortal worms." 113 The
body lives only from the "Mumia," through which the "pere-
grinus microcosmus," the wandering microcosm (corresponding
to the macrocosm), rules the physical body. 114 His synonyms are
the Adech, Archeus, Protothoma, Ides, Idechtrum, etc. He is the

110 Elenchos, V, 8, 21 (Legge trans., I, p. 134). Cramer (Bibl.-theol. Worterbuch
der Neutestamentlichen Grazitdt) gives as the meaning of re'Xcios 'complete, per-
fect, lacking nothing, having reached the destined goal.' Bauer {Griech.-deutsch.
Worterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments, col. 1344) has, with refer-
ence to age, 'mature, full-grown,' and with reference to the mysteries, 'initiated.'
Lightfoot (Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, p. 173) says: "T
of which the parts are fully developed, as distinguished from 6\6k\tipos, that in
which none of the parts are wanting, 'full-grown/ as opposed to vfivios, 'child-
ish/ or ircudla, 'childhood.' " Teleios is the man who has received Nous: he has
gnosis (knowledge). Cf. Guignebert, "Quelques remarques sur la perfection
(reXecWis) et ses voies dans le mystere paulinien," p. 419. Weiss (The History of
Primitive Christianity, II, p. 576) declares that it is just the "consciousness of
imperfection and the will to progress that is the sign of perfection." He bases
this on Epictetus (Enchiridion, 51, if.), where it says that he who has resolved
to progress (TrpoKoirTeiv) is, by anticipation, already "perfect."
ill First mentioned at V, 8, 19. [Cf. Legge, I, p. 134.]

112 Her me t is Trismegisti Tractatus vere Aureus cum scholiis (1610), p. 44.

113 Published 1562 by Adam von Bodenstein. In Paracelsus Samtliche Werke, ed.
Sudhoff, III, p. 249. [Cf. "Paracelsus the Physician," par. 21.]

114 De origine Morborum invisibilium, beginning of Book IV, says of the Mumia:
"All the power of herbs and of trees is found in the Mumia; not only the power
of the plants grown of earth, but also of water, all the properties of metals, all the
qualities of marcasites, all the essence of precious stones. How should I count all
these things, and name them? They are all within man, no fewer and no less, as
strong and as powerful, in the Mumia." (Volumen Paramirum, pp. 291ft.)

213



AION



"Protoplast" (the first-created), and, as Ides, "the door whence
all created things have come." 115 (Cf. the "true door" above!)
The Mumia is born together with the body and sustains it, 116
though not to the degree that the "supercelestial Mumia"
does. 117 The latter would correspond to the higher Adam of the
Naassenes. Of the Ideus or Ides Paracelsus says that in it "there is
but One Man . . . and he is the Protoplast." 118

335 The Paracelsian Mumia therefore corresponds in every way
to the Original Man, who forms the microcosm in the mortal
man and, as such, shares all the powers of the macrocosm. Since
it is often a question of cabalistic influences in Paracelsus, it
may not be superfluous in this connection to recall the figure of
the cabalistic Metatron. In the Zohar the Messiah is described
as the "central column" (i.e., of the Sephiroth system), and of
this column it is said: "The column of the centre is Metatron,
whose name is like that of the Lord. It is created and constituted
to be his image and likeness, and it includes all gradations from
Above to Below and from Below to Above, and binds [them]
together in the centre." 119

336 The dead man, Hippolytus continues, will rise again by
passing through the "door of heaven." Jacob saw the gate of
heaven on his way to Mesopotamia, "but they say Mesopotamia
is the stream of the great ocean that flows from the midst of the
perfect man." This is the gate of heaven of which Jacob said:
"How terrible is this place! This is no other but the house of
God, and the gate of heaven." 12 The stream that flows out of
the Original Man (the gate of heaven) is interpreted here as the
flood-tide of Oceanus, which, as we have seen, generates the
gods. The passage quoted by Hippolytus probably refers to
John 7 : 38 or to an apocryphal source common to both. The
passage in John - "He who believes in me, as the scripture has
said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" - refers to
a nonbiblical source, which, however, seemed scriptural to the
author. Whoever drinks of this water, in him it shall be a foun-

115 Fragmentarische Ausarbeitungen zur Anatomie (Sudhoff, III, p. 462).

116 The Mumia is, accordingly, an alexipharmic. (De mumia libellus; ibid., p. 375.)

117 De vita longa, Lib. IV, cap. VII (ibid., p. 284).

118 "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon," par. 168.

119 Zohar, cited in Schoettgen, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae, II, p. 16.

120 Gen. 28: 17 (DV).

214



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



tain of water springing up into eternal life, says Origen. 121 This
water is the "higher" water, the aqua doctrinae, the rivers from
the belly of Christ, and the divine life as contrasted with the
"lower" water, the aqua abyssi, where the darknesses are, and
where dwell the Prince of this world and the deceiving dragon
and his angels. 122 The river of water is the "Saviour" himself. 123
Christ is the river that pours into the world through the four
gospels, 124 like the rivers of Paradise. I have purposely cited the
ecclesiastical allegories in greater detail here, so that the reader
can see how saturated Gnostic symbolism is in the language of
the Church, and how, on the other hand, particularly in Origen,
the liveliness of his amplifications and interpretations has much
in common with Gnostic views. Thus, to him as to many of his
contemporaries and successors, the idea of the cosmic corre-
spondence of the "spiritual inner man" was something quite
familiar: in his first Homily on Genesis he says that God first
created heaven, the whole spiritual substance, and that the
counterpart of this is "our mind, which is itself a spirit, that is,
it is our spiritual inner man which sees and knows God." 125

These examples of Christian parallels to the partly pagan
views of the Gnostics may suffice to give the reader a picture of
the mentality of the first two centuries of our era, and to show
how closely the religious teachings of that age were connected
with psychic facts.

121 in Genesim horn. XI, 3 (Migne, P.G., vol. 12, col. 224): "And that ye may see
the well of vision, and take from it the living water, which shall be in you a
fountain of water springing up unto eternal life."

122 ibid., I, 2 (col. 148).

123 in Numeros horn. XVII, 4 (Migne, P.G., vol. 12, cols. 7oyf.): "For these para-
dises upon the waters are like and akin to that paradise in which is the tree of
life. And the waters we may take to be either the writings of the apostles and
evangelists, or the aid given by the angels and celestial powers to such souls; for
by these they are watered and inundated, and nourished unto all knowledge and
understanding of heavenly things; although our Saviour also is the river which
maketh glad the city of God; and the Holy Spirit not only is himself that river,
but out of those to whom he is given, rivers proceed from their belly."

124 See the valuable compilation of patristic allegories in Rahner, "Flumina de
ventre Christi," pp. 269ft. The above reference is on p. 370 and comes from
Hippolytus' Commentary on Daniel, I, 17 (Werke, I, pp. 28f.).

125 In Genesim horn. I, 2 (Migne, P.G., vol. 12, col. 147).

215



AION



33 8 Now let us come back to the symbols listed by Hippolytus.
The Original Man in his latent state- so we could interpret the
term axapaKrqpi
goats and she-goats," but because he is ocittoAo?, the Pole that
turns the cosmos round. 126 This recalls the parallel ideas of the
alchemists, previously mentioned, about Mercurius, who is
found at the North Pole. Similarly the Naassenes named Aipolos
-in the language of the Odyssey- Pro teus. Hippolytus quotes
Homer as follows: "This place is frequented by the Old Man of
the Sea, immortal Proteus the Egyptian . . . who always tells
the truth . . ." 127 Homer then continues: ". . . who owes
allegiance to Poseidon and knows the sea in all its depths." 128
Proteus is evidently a personification of the unconscious: 129 it
is difficult to "catch this mysterious old being ... he might see
me first, or know I am there and keep away." One must seize
him quickly and hold him fast, in order to force him to speak.
Though he lives in the sea, he comes to the lonely shore at the
sacred noon-tide hour, like an amphibian, and lies down to
sleep among his seals. These, it must be remembered, are warm-
blooded-that is to say, they can be thought of as contents of the
unconscious that are capable of becoming conscious, and at cer-
tain times they appear spontaneously in the light and airy world
of consciousness. From Proteus the wandering hero learns how
he may make his way homewards "over the fish-giving sea," and
thus the Old Man proves to be a psychopomp. 130 Ov TwrpacrKeTai,
Hippolytus says of him, which can best be translated by the
French colloquialism "il ne se laisse pas rouler." "But," the text
goes on, "he spins round himself and changes his shape." He
behaves, therefore, like a revolving image that cannot be
grasped. What he says is vrjfiepTrjs, 'in sooth,' infallible; he is a

126 Elenchos, V, 8, 34 (Legge, I, p. 137). This is a play on the words alirSXos (from
alyoirSXos), 'goat-herd,' and &enr6\os (from del voXeiv, 'ever turning'). Hence
voXos = the earth's axis, the Pole.

127 Odyssey, trans, by Rouse, p. 65. 128 Ibid., trans, by Rieu, p. 74.

129 He has something of the character of the "trickster" (cf. n. 62, supra).

130 Proteus has much in common with Hermes: above all, the gift of second sight
and the power of shape-shifting. In Faust (Part II, Act 5) he tells the Homuncu-
lus how and where to begin his labours.

2)6



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



"soothsayer." So it is not for nothing that the Naassenes say that
"knowledge of the complete man is deep indeed and hard to
comprehend."
339 Subsequently, Proteus is likened to the green ear of corn in
the Eleusinian mysteries. To him is addressed the cry of the
celebrants: "The Mistress has borne the divine boy, Brimo has
borne Brimos!" A "lower" correspondence to the high Eleu-
sinian initiations, says Hippolytus, is the dark path of Per-
sephone, who was abducted by the god of the underworld; it
leads "to the grove of adored Aphrodite, who rouses the sickness
of love." Men should keep to this lower path in order to be
initiated "into the great and heavenly" mysteries. 131 For this
mystery is "the gate of heaven" and the "house of God," where
alone the good God dwells, who is destined only for the spiritual
men. They should put off their garments and all become w^ioi,
'bridegrooms,' "robbed of their virility by the virgin spirit." 132
This is an allusion to Revelation 14:4:". . . for they are vir-
gins. These . . . follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." 133

131 When I visited the ancient pagoda at Turukalukundram, southern India, a
local pundit explained to me that the old temples were purposely covered on the
outside, from top to bottom, with obscene sculptures, in order to remind ordi-
nary people of their sexuality. The spirit, he said, was a great danger, because
Yama, the god of death, would instantly carry off these people (the "imperfecti")
if they trod the spiritual path directly, without preparation. The erotic sculp-
tures were meant to remind them of their dharma (law), which bids them fulfil
their ordinary lives. Only when they have fulfilled their dharma can they tread
the spiritual path. The obscenities were intended to arouse the erotic curiosity of
visitors to the temples, so that they should not forget their dharma; otherwise
they would not fulfil it. Only the man who was qualified by his karma (the fate
earned through works in previous existences), and who was destined for the life
of the spirit, could ignore this injunction with impunity, for to him these obsceni-
ties mean nothing. That was also why the two seductresses stood at the entrance
of the temple, luring the people to fulfil their dharma, because only in this way
could the ordinary man attain to higher spiritual development. And since the
temple represented the whole world, all human activities were portrayed in it;
and because most people are always thinking of sex anyway, the great majority
of the temple sculptures were of an erotic nature. For this reason too, he said,
the lingam (phallus) stands in the sacred cavity of the adyton (Holy of Holies), in
the garbha griha (house of the womb). This pundit was a Tantrist (scholastic;
tantra = 'book').

132 Their prototypes are the emasculated Attis and the priests of Eleusis, who,
before celebrating the hieros gamos, were made impotent with a draught of
hemlock.

133 Cf. Matt. 5 : 8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

217



AION



8

340 Among the objective symbols of the self I have already men-
tioned the Naassene conception of the d^epi " 5 any^, the indi-
visible point. This conception fully accords with that of the
"Monad" and "Son of Man" in Monoimos. Hippolytus says:

Monoimos . . . thinks that there is some such Man as Oceanus, of
whom the poet speaks somewhat as follows: Oceanus, the origin
of gods and of men. 134 Putting this into other words, he says that
the Man is All, the source of the universe, unbegotten, incor-
ruptible, everlasting; and that there is a Son of the aforesaid Man,
who is begotten and capable of suffering, and whose birth is outside
time, neither willed nor predetermined . . . This Man is a single
Monad, uncompounded [and] indivisible, [yet] compounded [and]
divisible; loving and at peace with all things [yet] warring with all
things and at war with itself in all things; unlike and like [itself],
as it were a musical harmony containing all things . . . showing
forth all things and giving birth to all things. It is its own mother,
its own father, the two immortal names. The emblem of the per-
fect Man, says Monoimos, is the jot or tittle. 135 This one tittle is
the uncompounded, simple, unmixed Monad, having its composi-
tion from nothing whatsoever, yet composed of many forms, of
many parts. That single, indivisible jot is the many-faced, thousand-
eyed and thousand-named, the jot of the iota. This is the emblem
of that perfect and indivisible Man. . . . The Son of the Man is
the one iota, the one jot flowing from on high, full and filling all
things, containing in himself everything that is in the Man, the
Father of the Son of Man. 136

134 A condensation of Iliad, XIV, 200L and 246: "I am going to the ends of the
fruitful earth to visit Ocean, the forbear of the gods, and Mother Tethys . . .
even Ocean Stream himself, who is the forbear of them all." (Rieu trans., pp. 262I)

135 The iota (ttjv /xlav Kepaiav), the smallest Greek character, corresponding to our
"dot" (which did not exist in Greek). Cf. Luke 16 : 17: "And it is easier for
heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fall." Also Matt. 5:18.
This may well be the origin of the iota symbolism, as Irenaeus (Adv. haer., I,
3, 2) suggests.

136 Elenchos, VIII, 12, 5ft. (Legge, pp. io7ff.). All this is a Gnostic paraphrase of
John 1 and at the same time a meaningful exposition of the psychological self.
The relationship of the t to the self is the same as that of the Hebrew letter
Yod 0) to the lapis in the cabala. The Original Man, Adam, signifies the small
hook at the top of the letter Yod. (Shaare Kedusha, III, 1.)

2l8



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



34 1 This paradoxical idea of the Monad in Monoi'mos describes
the psychological nature of the self as conceived by a thinker of
the second century under the influence of the Christian message.

342 A parallel conception is to be found in Plotinus, who lived
a little later (c. 205-70). He says in the Enneads: "Self-knowledge
reveals the fact that the soul's natural movement is not in a
straight line, unless indeed it have undergone some deviation.
On the contrary, it circles around something interior, around a
centre. Now the centre is that from which proceeds the circle,
that is, the soul. The soul will therefore move around the centre,
that is, around the principle from which she proceeds; and,
trending towards it, she will attach herself to it, as indeed all
souls should do. The souls of the divinities ever direct themselves
towards it, and that is the secret of their divinity; for divinity
consists in being attached to the centre. . . . Anyone who with-
draws from it is a man who has remained un-unified, or who is
a brute." 137

343 Here the point is the centre of a circle that is created, so to
speak, by the circumambulation of the soul. But this point is the
"centre of all things," a God-image. This is an idea that still
underlies the mandala-symbols in modern dreams. 138

344 Of equal significance is the idea, also common among the
Gnostics, of the ainvB^p or spark. 139 It corresponds to the scintilla
vitae, the "little spark of the soul" in Meister Eckhart, 140 which
we meet with rather early in the teachings of Saturninus. 141
Similarly Heraclitus, "the physicist," is said to have conceived
the soul as a "spark of stellar essence." 142 Hippolytus says that
in the doctrine of the Sethians the darkness held "the bright-

137 Ennead, VI, 9, 8 (Guthrie trans., p. 163, slightly mod.).

138 See "A Study in the Process of Individuation" and "Concerning Mandala
Symbolism."

139 Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, p. 321, says: "[The Gnostics believed]
that human beings, or at any rate some human beings, carry within them from
the beginning a higher element [the spinther] deriving from the world of light,
which enables them to rise above the world of the Seven into the upper world of
light, where dwell the unknown Father and the heavenly Mother."

140 Meerpohl, "Meister Eckharts Lehre vom Seelenfunklein."

141 Irenaeus, Adv. haer., I., 24. The pneumatikoi contain a small part of the
Pleroma (II, 29). Cf. the doctrine of Satorneilos in Hippolytus, Elenchos, VII, a8,
3 (Legge trans., II, pp. 8of.).

142 Macrobius, Commentarium in Somnium Scipionis, XIV, 19.

219



AION

ness and the spark of light in thrall," 143 and that this "very small
spark" was finely mingled in the dark waters 144 below. 145 Simon
Magus 146 likewise teaches that in semen and milk there is a very
small spark which "increases and becomes a power boundless
and immutable." 147
345 The symbol of the point is found also in alchemy, where it
stands for the arcane substance; in Michael Maier 148 it signifies
"the purity or homogeneity of the essence." It is the "punctum
solis" 149 in the egg-yolk, which grows into a chick. In Khunrath
it represents Sapientia in the form of the "salt-point"; 15 in
Maier it symbolizes gold. 151 To the scholiast of the "Tractatus
aureus" it is the midpoint, the "circulus exiguus" and "media-
tor" which reconciles the hostile elements and "by persistent
rotation changes the angular form of the square into a circular
one like itself." 152 For Dorn the "punctum vix intelligibile" is

143 Elenchos, V, 19, 7: "Iva %xy rbv amv6r\pa. SovXevovra.

144 This idea reappears in alchemy in numerous variations. Cf. Michael Maier,
Symbola aureae mensae, p. 380, and Scrutinium chymicum, Emblema XXXI:
"The King swimming in the sea, and crying with a loud voice: Whosoever shall
bring me out, shall have a great reward." Also Aurora Consurgens (ed. von Franz),
p. 57: "For this cause have I laboured night by night with crying, my jaws be-
come hoarse; who is the man that liveth, knowing and understanding, deliver-
ing my soul from the hand of hell?"

145 Elenchos, V, 21, 1: Tov amvdripa rbv i\ax<-
Karafxe/xlxdaL Xe7TT(5s-

146 Elenchos, VI, 17, 7. Cf. "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass," par. 359.

147 Cf. the vision reported by Wickes, The Inner World of Man, p. 245. It is a
typical piece of individuation symbolism: "Then I saw that on the shaft there
hung a human figure that held within itself all the loneliness of the world and
of the spaces. Alone, and hoping for nothing, the One hung and gazed down
into the void. For long the One gazed, drawing all solitude unto itself. Then
deep in the fathomless dark was born an infinitesimal spark. Slowly it rose from
the bottomless depth, and as it rose it grew until it became a star. And the star
hung in space just opposite the figure, and the white light streamed upon the
Lonely One." Conversely, it is related of Zoroaster that he drew down sparks
from a star, which scorched him. (Bousset, p. 146.)

148 Maier, De circulo physico quadrato (1616), p. 27.

149 Or punctus solis. "In the egg therefore are four things: earth, water, air, and
fire; but the 'punctum solis' is apart from these four, in the midst of the yolk
(which) is the chick." (Turba, Sermo IV.) Ruska (Turba philosophorum, p. 51)
puts "saliens" instead of "solis" ("springing point" instead of "sun-point"), in the
belief that all the copyists repeated the same error. I am not so sure of this.

150 Von hylealischen Chaos, p. 194. 151 De circulo quadrato, p. 27.
152 Theatr. chem., IV, p. 691.

220



GNOSTIC SYMBOLS OF THE SELF



the starting point of creation. 153 Similarly John Dee says that all
things originated from the point and the monad. 154 Indeed, God
himself is simultaneously both the centre and the circumference.
In Mylius the point is called the bird of Hermes. 155 In the
"Novum lumen" it is spirit and fire, the life of the arcane sub-
stance, similar to the spark. 158 This conception of the point is
more or less the same as that of the Gnostics.
346 From these citations we can see how Christ was assimilated
to symbols that also meant the kingdom of God, for instance
the grain of mustard-seed, the hidden treasure, and the pearl of
great price. He and his kingdom have the same meaning. Objec-
tions have always been made to this dissolution of Christ's per-
sonality, but what has not been realized is that it represents at
the same time an assimilation and integration of Christ into the
human psyche. 157 The result is seen in the growth of the human
personality and in the development of consciousness. These
specific attainments are now gravely threatened in our anti-
christian age, not only by the sociopolitical delusional systems,
but above all by the rationalistic hybris which is tearing our
consciousness from its transcendent roots and holding before
it immanent goals.

153 "Physica genesis," Theatr. chem., I, p. 382.

154 Monas hieroglyphica (first edn., 1564). Also in Theatr. chem. (1602), II, p. 218.

155 Phil, ref., p. 131. 156 Mus. herm., p. 559.

157 Here I would like to cite a theological opinion: "Jesus is a synthesis and a
growth, and the resultant form is one which tells of a hundred forces which went
to its making. But the interesting thing is that the process did not end with the
closing of the canon. Jesus is still in the making." Roberts, "Jesus or Christ?-
A Reply," p. 124.



221



questions, comments, suggestions/feedback, take-down requests, contribute, etc
contact me @ integralyogin@gmail.com or via the comments below
or join the integral discord server (chatrooms)
if the page you visited was empty, it may be noted and I will try to fill it out. cheers



--- OBJECT INSTANCES [0]


--- PRIMARY CLASS


chapter

--- SEE ALSO


--- SIMILAR TITLES [0]


1.13 - Gnostic Symbols of the Self
select ::: Being, God, injunctions, media, place, powers, subjects,
favorite ::: cwsa, everyday, grade, mcw, memcards (table), project, project 0001, Savitri, Savitri (extended toc), the Temple of Sages, three js, whiteboard,
temp ::: consecration, experiments, knowledge, meditation, psychometrics, remember, responsibility, temp, the Bad, the God object, the Good, the most important, the Ring, the source of inspirations, the Stack, the Tarot, the Word, top priority, whiteboard,

--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [0 / 0 - 0 / 0] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)


NEW FULL DB (2.4M)


*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***


--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



1







1.13_-_Gnostic_Symbols_of_the_Self, #Aion, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  object:1.13 - Gnostic Symbols of the Self
  class:chapter

change font "color":
change "background-color":
change "font-family": 23802 site hits