The ternary system is created by the emergence of a third latent element which so modifies the binary situation as to impart to it a dynamic equilibrium. As Jung has observed, Plotinus with his characteristic combination of philosophical precision and poetic allusiveness compared Oneness the creative principle with light, intellect with the sun, and the world-soul with the moon. Unity is split internally into three 'moments'—the active, the passive and the union or outcome of these two . Undoubtedly, the vital, human significance of the number three and the ternary embraces the multi-secular origins of biological evolution. The existence of two father and mother must almost inevitably be followed by three the son . As Lao-Tse says: 'One engenders two, two engenders three, three engenders all things' .
Hence three has the power to resolve the conflict posed by dualism, it is also the harmonic resolution of the impact of unity upon duality. It symbolizes the creation of spirit out of matter, of the active out of the passive . Besides the triangle, there are a number of symbols relevant to the ternary, since, in a sense, it may be said to be the 'inner structure of unity'. Hence, many infernal beings that are base counterparts of the ternary are three-headed like Cerberus or Hecate, or else wield three-pronged weapons such as the trident.
The notion of the 'three suns'—the East, the zenith and the West— is related to this symbolism and, according to Dontenville, the form of the tripod is derived from it. If the number four has been found the most fitting 'model' to symbolize exterior or situational quantitative values, three has proved itself the number attached to the interior or vertical order of things. Hence, disposed in accordance with the essential points pertaining to the symbolism of level—the high, the middle and the low—it comes to be related to the 'Three Worlds' the celestial, terrestrial and infernal, in turn closely connected with the three-part division of man into spirit the impalpable or the mind, the soul sentiments and body the instincts, and with the moral categories of the good, the indifferent and the bad.
There are some writers who analyse the ternary structure of man in terms of intuition or moral light, thought intellectual light and instinct animal light . Also corresponding to this division, modified by the influence of a particular rulingk force, are the well-known stages of mystic perfection: the unitive, illuminative and purgative; in alchemy these stages are symbolized by the colours red, white and black. In Hindu thought the three levels are termed sattva the highest state or that of the predominance of the spirit, rajas the intermediate, dynamic and transforming state and tamas the instinctive or inferior state. Eliade suggests that the image of the three levels as three cosmic divisions carved out by moral precepts and diffused by human thought is very ancient, for it is present among the pigmies of the Semang tribe in Malaya and among other races at the very earliest stage of cultural development .
In Ireland this idea is symbolized by a threestoried tower . For Diel, the essential functions of man are three in number: conservation, reproduction and spiritualization, and the deformation or perversion of these three functions is represented by the three traditional 'enemies' of the soul—the world, the flesh and the devil, in turn representing the inversion of the three theological Virtues. Guenon, dealing with the 'three worlds' described by Dante in the Commedia, suggests the following interesting ternary correspondences: Sattva, rajas and tamas related respectively to the sky, the atmosphere and the earth's surface or interior; to the future, the present and the past; and to the superconscious, the conscious and the unconscious .
According to Schneider, the tetrachord do, re, mi, Ma may be regarded in the mystic sense as the mediator between heaven and earth; while the tetrachord sol, la, ti, do could be taken to represent the divine order. The common note—do—relates the symbol to the eagle of the tetramorphs .
This is an illustration of the quaternary principle, linked with the concept of situation just as the ternary is connected with that of activity and with the intuitive sense of spatial order. It is to the Christian tetramorphs, with their synthesis of the four symbols of the Evangelists, that we are bound to look for the purest and truest expression of this ancient and universal idea. Megalithic culture, possibly reflecting some obscure tradition of remote antiquity, was given to expressing the struggle of the gods against the monsters that, from the beginnings of creation, sought to devour the sun. When they formed the cosmos out of chaos, the gods, in order to safeguard what they had created, placed the lion on the celestial mountain and posted four archers at the Cardinal Points to ensure that none might disrupt the cosmic order .
This proves that the four Cardinal Points, besides representing the extremities of the four horizontal Directions of Space which, since they pertain to the earth as the zone of manifestation, denote the superficial and the tangible, whereas the nadir and the zenith relate to heaven, may also denote autonomous, spatial zones, as worlds in themselves. This idea is expressed in graphic symbolism by those forms of crosses whose four limbs are rounded to imply circular motion or hammer-headed. These personified, autonomous zones may take on a beneficent or a malign character. As a defence against the latter influence stand the four archers already mentioned. In the tetramorphs, the beneficent aspects of the spatial 'order' are all equidistant from the 'Centre'. Schneider relates the animals of the tetramorph to the notes of the tetrachord.
The relatively common habit of dividing a country into four provinces implies the same basic idea. Ireland used to be called the 'Island of the Four Kings', these Kings corresponding to four regions, with a fifth in the centre where the High King reigned, like the Pantokrator among the four symbols. This analogy vividly expresses the strength and cohesion of a spatial order derived intuitively, according to Jung, from spiritual and psychological principles and modelled either upon three or upon four depending upon whether those principles pertain to the notions of activity and inner structure or to passivity and situation. This pattern is completed by the number five: four plus the central point, sometimes denoted by a circle or almond-shaped mandorla; or else by the number seven: four outside and three inside.
This scheme finds expression in a great many monuments designed upon the basis of a square, walled-in space with three towers in the centre—the Escorial, for instance. Before coming back to the Christian tetramorphs, let us consider some comments of Schneider about the quaternary order in China: 'In the Ta-tai-li, the philosopher Tseng-tse distinguished, as was the custom, four animals destined for the service of a saint; two of these animals those covered with hair and feathers proceed from Yin the feminine and passive principle and two others are depicted bearing a hide, a cuirass or scales. In this way they clearly reflect the four Elements with the 'Centre' corresponding to the quintessence, or the spirit —air, fire, water and earth. Another four-part grouping of animals is to be found in Sumerian art, composed of a lion, an eagle and a peacock mounted on the back of an ox.
The Book ohs the Dead, on the other hand, mentions a group of three beings with the heads of animals and a fourth being with a long-eared human head like the heads in some Romanesque paintings. Likewise, Ezekiel's vision contains the lion, the eagle, the ox and man. Oriental iconography must have had a great influence upon Ezekiel's vision—and Egyptian images must have been specially influential. The four mystic beings in Christian tradition are usually the lion, the eagle, the ox and the winged man. A 4th-century mosaic in the apse of Santa Pudenziana in Rome groups them in pairs on either side of he crucifix. Biblical illustrations do not always follow the order laid down in the holy writ. St. Jerome suggested the following corre spondences: the lion corresponding to resurrection, the eagle to ascension, the man to incarnation, the ox to passion.
By comparing the. four-part grouping of ancient Mesopotamia of the lion, the eagle, the ox and the peacock with that of Ezekiel the lion, eagle, ox and man, we arrive at the equation peacock=Man' . According to Chochod, the equivalent Chinese animals afford the following correspondences: the dragon corresponding to the lion, the unicorn to the bull, the turtle to Man, the phoenix to the eagle . The spatial arrangement set out in Ezekiel i, 1 is: the lion on the right with the man above him, the ox on the left and, above him, the eagle . Applying the principles of spatial symbolism, whereby, psychologically speaking, the superior is always a sublimation of the inferior, and the right side invariably appertains to the consciousness while the left side concerns the unconscious, we arrive at the conclusion that the winged man is the sublimation of the lion and the eagle of the ox.
In esoteric thought the four beings can be interpreted symbologically as follows: the eagle is air, intelligence and action; the lion is fire, strength and movement; the ox is earth, labour, forbearance and sacrifice; and the winged man is an angel symbolizing the intuitive knowledge of truth. According to Levi, certain 'disciples of Socrates' substituted the cock for the eagle; the horse for the lion; the sheep for the ox the latter substitution being explained by the proximity of the two zodiacal signs of Aries and Taurus, while that of the cock for the eagle would follow from the aerial character of both animals 7, 5. Correspondences such as these, we repeat, are not identical relationships but analogies— that is, close affinities, or relationships between component elements of separate 'series', resulting from their analogous situation within the series.
Consequently, all the various meanings attributed to the tetramorphs help to suggest the range of their allusions, as well as the complex mechanism governing the pattern of their properties. In Christian symbolism, the symbolic associations of the four Evangelists as the archers defending truth and the order of Christ —the 'Centre' are: Matthew, the winged man; Mark, the lion; Luke, the ox; John, the eagle Plate XXVIII.
The symbolism of texture has received scant attention nor has it even been recognized as a problem. But certain trends of contemporary art indicate that the material quality of a work of art, or the relationship between the apparent surface—space—and the surface proper—the inter-relationship of points in space—is once again being accorded that recognition it formerly enjoyed in ornamental and even in figurative art. We may see in texture two essential component elements: one that produces a pattern of lateral concurrences and one which, so to speak, thrusts upwards. The first—the lateral—factor gives rise to features which are sometimes pre-formal—nascent, symbolic forms only to be glimpsed after careful study, related to the paradoxical 'informal forms' symbolic blots, klexographies, paper-transfers, and so on, to the so-called 'buried symbolism' of some works of art—which has been seen as a kind of infra-configuration produced by the play of light and shade, by the brush-strokes or by the background patterns and associated also with the symbolism of composition in so far as this creates an effect of perspective.
But texture proper is determined by the quality and thickness of the impasto, of the material, and by the structure of this material as it is understood in mineralogy, producing textures which are caked or fibrillar or pearlitic or porous or cellular, and so on. Broadly speaking, textures may be divided into the hard and smooth and the soft and porous. Since the impression of smoothness or continuity is increased in proportion to the distance from which it is viewed, all smooth textures may be regarded as symbolic of remoteness and, by analogy, of cold colours. Conversely, porous textures symbolize nearness and warm colours, expressing a greater degree of inner dynamism in the material and in the corresponding tactile sensation. More detailed conclusions than the above could be educed only after a closer study of the problem of texture.
An image of the world of phenomena, for both the theatre and the world are 'stages'. Guenon has noted that the theatre is not limited to representing the terrestrial world alone: in the Middle Ages it stood for both this world and the next. The author symbolizes the demiurge; the actors stand in relation to their parts as the Jungian Selbst stands to the personality .
According to Diel, the successive reigns of Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter express the progressive stages of the mind, equivalent to unconscious, conscious and superconscious . Primeval Neptune, as the ancient Uranian god associated with the Upper Waters, also symbolized the unconscious, like all aged kings and like the sea-king himself, standing, that is, both for the historical aspect of the unconscious—man's ancestral memory—and for its cosmic aspect, or the latent seeds of thought which did not burgeon until the reign of Saturn signifying time and, consequently, man as an existential being. By superconsciousness is meant intuition of the supernatural and recognition of the celestial sphere.
In the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs they express strength , a significance which corresponds exactly to their function as the dynamic support of the body. This symbolism was preserved by the Cabala, laying special emphasis upon the firmness and majesty of the thighs.
Symbolized by the dragon, and denoting the blind appetite for life, according to Evola.
The thorn of the acacia, in particular, was regarded by the Egyptians as an emblem of the mother-goddess Neith. It is also related to the world-axis, and therefore to the cross . The thorn on the rose-bush helps to emphasize the counterpoise or 'conjunction' between thesis and antithesis, that is, between the ideas of existence and non-existence, ecstasy and anguish, pleasure and pain; this again is related to the symbolism of the cross. The crown of thorns adds to the basic symbolism of the thorn the evil characteristics of all things multiple and also the cosmic symbolism of the circle by virtue of the shape of the crown.
According to the Zohar, thread is one of the most ancient of symbols like hair. It denotes the essential connexion between any of the different planes—the spiritual, the biological, social, etc. .
A symbol of transition and transcendence. In architectural symbolism, the threshold is always given a special significance by the elaboration and enrichment of its structure by means of porches, perrons, porticoes, triumphal arches, battlements, etc., or by symbolic ornamentation of the kind which, in the West, finds its finest expression in the Christian cathedral with its sculpted mullions, jambs, archivolts, lintels and tympana. Hence the function of the threshold is clearly to symbolize both the reconciliation and the separation of the two worlds of the profane and the sacred. In the East, the function of protecting and warning is effected by the 'keepers of the threshold' dragons and effigies of gods or spirits. The Roman god Janus also denoted this dualism characteristic of the threshold, which can be related analogically to all other forms of duality . Hence the tendency to speak of the threshold between waking and sleeping.
In Asiatic symbolism, the throne stands midway between the mountain and palace on the one hand and the head-dress on the other, for they are all rhythmic variants of one and the same morphological family that symbolize—or, rather, allude to—the 'Centre'. They are also signs expressive of synthesis, stability and unity . In the Egyptian system of hieroglyphs, the throne is a determinative sign embracing the concepts of support, exaltation, equilibrium and security .
This mythic realm derives its name from Tula—or the 'Peerless Land'—which Guenon considers more ancient than Paradesha. It is found in many languages from Russia to Central America. In Sanskrit, Tula signifies 'scales' and is related to the zodiacal sign of Libra. But there is an ancient Chinese tradition which suggests that the antique 'scales' were related to the Great Bear. This would seem to point to the conclusion that Thule is identical with the polar region, that is, with the 'Centre' par excellence. Thule has also been called the 'white island'—identical with the 'white mountain'—or the symbol for the world, as well as with the Blessed Islands of Western tradition. Guenon has also mentioned that whiteness, in relation to topographical features, is always an allusion to these paradisiac isles which man has lost and to which he returns again and again in his legends and folktales.
Guenon adds that Latin albus white corresponds to the HebrewD Lebanah, signifying the moon, and points to the examples of Albania,: Albion and Alba Longa as places signifying 'whiteness'. The equational of island with mountain is explained by him by the fact that both express ideas of stability, superiority and of refuge from prevailing 5 mediocrity. The island, rising unscathed in the midst of the swirling ~1 ocean representing the outer world—the 'sea of the passions', Of corresponds to the biological symbol of the mountain, as the 'mount of salvation' which towers above the transient 'stream of forms'
The thunderbolt or lightning is celestial fire as an active force, terrible and dynamic. The thunderbolt of Parabrahman, the fire-ether of the Greeks, is a symbol of the supreme, creative power. Jupiter possesses this attribute by way of emphasizing his demiurgic nature. At the same time, the flash of lightning is related to dawn and illumination. Because of these parallels, lightning is connected with the first sign of the Zodiac, symbolic of the spring-principle and of the initial stage of every cycle . The thunderbolt is held to be an emblem of sovereignty. The winged thunderbolt expresses the ideas of power and speed . Jupiter's three thunderbolts symbolize chance, destiny and providence—the X forces that mould the future . In the majority of religions we find that the godhead is hidden from man's gaze, and then suddenly the lightning-flash reveals him momentarily in all his active might.
This image of the Logos piercing the darkness is universal . The vajra, the Tibetan symbol for both 'thunderbolt' and 'diamond', is also connected with the world-axis ; but, if the cross or crucifix, the steps and the sacrificial stake, are all symbols of man's longing for the higher world, the thunderbolt expresses the inverse: the action of the higher upon the lower, It is also related to the glance from the third eye of Shiva or Siva, the destroyer of all material forms.
Two interpretations of the tiger have been offered which are easily reconciled: 'It is associated with Dionysos, and is a symbol of wrath and cruelty' ; 'In China, it is symbolic of darkness and of the new moon' . For darkness is always identical with the darkness of the soul, and corresponds to that state which the Hindus term tamas and which falls within the general symbolism of level, and also denotes the unbridled expression of the base powers of the instincts. Now, in China the tiger seems to play a role comparable with that of the lion in African and Western cultures: both animals —like the dragon—take on two different characters—as the wild beast and as the tamed animal. This is what lies behind the tiger as an allegorical expression of strength and valour in the service of righteousness. Five mythic tigers together constitute a symbol which is invested with the same meaning as the tetramorphs in Christian tradition, in so far as they are the defenders of the spatial order against the forces of chaos.
The Red Tiger reigns in the south, his season being summer and his Element fire; the Black Tiger reigns in the north—winter is his season, and his Element water; the Blue Tiger reigns in the East, in the spring and amidst vegetation; the White Tiger predominates in the west, in autumn and among the metals; and, finally, the Yellow Tiger solar in colour inhabits the earth and reigns supreme over all the other tigers. This Yellow Tiger is located in the 'Centre', as the Emperor was situated in the heart of China and as China lies at the centre of the world . This quaternary division plus the centre as the fifth Element is, as Jung has shown, of archetypal significance in the symbolism of situation. When the tiger appears in association with other animals, his symbolic significance varies according to the relative status of the animals within the hierarchy: for instance, the tiger struggling with a reptile stands for the superior principle, but the converse applies if it is locked in combat with a lion or a winged being.