[Carl Jung: “The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”—like the hen on the egg—He impregnated it.]
Professor Jung: This idea also suggested itself to the classical Pythagorean and the Neoplatonist philosophers.
The Gnostics, too, had a sequence of stages of earth, water, air, and fire.
Dr. Frey: In modern astrology, other points are more important for the classification into stages.
In connection with the trigon, the following applies: in the fire trigon, for example, Aries represents the deepest, Leo the middle, and Sagittarius the highest stage.
In psychological terms, we could say that the first stage is the unconscious, the second what is colored by the ego, and the third one the superego.
The order in each trigon group results from the fact that in each respective case, the first signs—Sagittarius, Taurus, and so on—are more collective, more primitive, than the later ones.
Professor Jung: The idea of a sequence of stages is the image of a creative process: an emergence from the earth through water, through air, and through fire.
We find this image in those philosophers of Neo-Pythagorean and Neoplatonist orientation.
The four stages correspond psychologically to the four stages of individuation.
Earthly man—a Gnostic concept—is hylikos; then a higher development is psychikos, water and air in one.
The word “psyche” (soul) is connected to “physein” (Greek, to blow); psychos corresponds with psychros (Greek, cold, damp).
“The soul of a drunkard is moist,” says Heraclitus.
The soul oscillates between air and water.
It is always the go-between for the two principles marking the extremes: below there is earth, the material matter; above there is pneumatikos (spirit), air, and fire.
Dry, hot air—this is the spirit.
The psyche is originally moist vapor: brooding mist, a creature of the mist.
The air settles on the water, fertilizing.
“The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”—like the hen on the egg—He impregnated it.
The germ of fire enters man as his soul, as his life, and makes man warm; this is a kind of descensus of the spirit into matter.
The mysteries are about setting these germs of fire free again.
This is an idea that goes way back to megalithic times.
All initiations have had the goal of creating an immortal human being, surviving death.
This is always about peeling the immortal germ out of mortal nature, and giving this germ a form, that is, there is an effort, so to speak, to replace consciousness, identical with the ego, with the new, the spiritual man.
The dogmatic life of Christ demonstrated all of this: the transfiguration, when the fire man, the light man appears; the death, the rising again, the ascension into heaven.
This idea is also prominent in the teachings of Mani. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Pages 100-101.