Zosimos calls the rotundum the omega element (fi), which probably signifies the head.
The skull is mentioned as the vessel of transformation in the Sabaean treatise “Platonis liber quartorum,” the “Philosophers” styled themselves “children of the golden head,” which is probably synonymous with “filii sapientiae.”
The vas is often synonymous with the lapis, so that there is no difference between the vessel and its content; in other words, it is the same arcanum.
According to the old view the soul is round and the vessel must be round too, like the heavens or the world.
The form of the Original Man is round.
Accordingly Dorn says that the vessel “should be made from a kind of squaring of the circle, so that the spirit and the soul of our material, separated from its body, may raise the body with them to the height of their own heaven.” the anonymous author of the scholia to the “Tractatus aureus” also writes about the squaring of the circle and shows a square whose corners are formed by the four elements.
In the centre there is a small circle.
The author says: “Reduce your stone to the four elements, rectify and combine them into one, and you will have the whole magistery.
This One, to which the elements must be reduced, is that little circle in the centre of this squared figure.
It is the mediator, making peace between the enemies or elements.”
In a later chapter he depicts the vessel, “the true philosophical Pelican,” as shown on the next page. ~Carl Jung, Aion, Pages 238-239
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: despiciens) has the connotation ‘to disdain, despise.’
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.
And in the same passage in the Acts, Paul reminds the Athenians that they were “God’s offspring,” and that God, looking back disapprovingly on “the times of ignorance,” had sent the message to mankind, commanding “all men everywhere to repent.”
Because that earlier condition seemed to be altogether too wretched, the (transformation of mind) took on the moral character of repentance of sins, with the result that the Vulgate could translate it as “poenitentiam agere.”
The sin to be repented, of course, is unconsciousness.
As we have seen, it is not only man who is in this condition, but also, according to the Gnostics, 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. ~Carl Jung, Aion, Pages 191-192