Quintessence & the Circle of Spirit

eye of horusThe survey of the elements hardly seems complete without discussion of the Quintessence, also known as Aether, Anima Mundi, Spirit and root of the word ethereal

It’s the primary source element present in all things. It’s an animating force or principle, providing space, relatedness and balance for all Elements to exist.

The Quintessence is mentioned throughout the Alchemical Teachings, by Plato in the Timeaus and is integral to the Hermetic Philosophy.

As a sister science, Astrology requires an awareness of the Quintessence, even though for practical purposes it isn’t discussed much. The Four Elements we know is what is manifest and part of our daily lives. But they wouldn’t exist without Aether.

We couldn’t directly calculate a given person’s Humour using Aether, but not to have understanding of the source is very great liability. The Quintessence is in a very real sense our source and our way home to the Circle of Spirit. You might say it’s the *solution* with the varying meanings of the word. It permeats and animates all of Creation.

Sri Yantra, formed by the interpenetration of two sets of triangles, four, apex upward, representing the male principle and five, apex-downward, representing the female principle. Rajasthan, c. 170

Sri Yantra, formed by the two sets of triangles, four, apex upward, representing the male principle and five, apex-downward, representing the female principle. This is a virtually universal mandala – Rajasthan, c. 1700

The symbol for Aether is the Circle of Spirit, one of the three forms used in astrological glyphs. It is the same as the symbol for the Sun and Spirit, without the dot in the middle. The Solar symbol is found in the  glyphs of Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars.

The task of representing what cannot be seen directly in relation to the elements has been the impetus for many exquisite forms of art

The Four Element System with a Quintessence, sometimes implied rather than expressed, is virtually universal among our spiritual traditions, from the earliest Siberian Shamans to the Celts, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sufis and the Judea Christian tradition. Any one of them would easily recognize the mandalas of the Hopi. There are of course mostly superficial cultural differences of expression, but the core symbols remain to be seen and interpreted..mandala

Some, such as the Navajo Sand Paintings are ritual artifacts, primarily used for many different kinds of healing. The same can be said for the 17 th Century Ragistani Mandala above, but the actual ritual would look very different until you could see the essence of the Great Work..

In celebration and invocation of this Circle of Spirit there is usually ritual  music. and dancing. The rituals are performed in a a clockwise direction.

We’ve seen how the Pentagram is ubiquitous in astrology, including that of the eight year Venus cycle. Five elements  are recognized by the Indians in a way that parallels our own. The Chinese also have a Five Element system, with notable differences. The Fifth Element in the Chinese System is Metal.5elements

In the Pentagram on your right we find the Four Natural Elements and Four Primary Directions with Spirit at the top and occupying the center. Aether is the origin of everything and the source of all being. It’s associated with Prajna, a divine energy spoken of by yogis and adepts.

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