That gives you the whole alchemical series.
Now I will supply you with a psychological parallel to the two series of symbols:
( 1) The original state corresponds to avidya, unconsciousness. We all assume we are not unconscious.
But in a certain respect we are all unconscious. We are not conscious of all of our contents by a long shot.
Because we don’t know these matters, we also don’t know that we are unconscious. “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”
If someone does not know that America exists, then for that person there is simply no America.
But of course others notice it.
(2) If you encounter a person who for some reason has had a shove from the unconscious, who “has a screw loose,” they must be shown that this reason is not unconscious but are close at hand, even if those affected resist learning of it.
Here begins the tetramery, because something presses to be brought back into order, if, for example, someone complains that people do not understand him, or is troubled by difficulties with his wife and child, he does not know why, then something is out of order.
He is not conscious of how all of this could have happened. if overcome by hypnosis or by being drunk.
Here, there is a dark unconscious state that we must bring to light. So he requires analysis.
That is why Freud named his work psycho-analysis, i.e., the dissolution of the dark state.
In that way one manages to bring a bit of order into the situation. And this bit of order is always a system of four.
Of course, with such a dissolution, the image that one had of oneself also completely dissolves.
There are those who have a very high idea of their ability and their qualities, who experience no self-doubt.
Despite all that, everything goes pear-shaped, and others have to suffer him and complain about it.
When these people land in a neurosis, one is faced with the unpleasant task of showing these people that not everything about them is made of gold, for all sorts of dross has accumulated.
For sure, when the generous man gets to discover where he is greedy, and the upstanding man where he is disreputable, people experience a lot of self-doubt.
An unsatisfactory, secret condition in which one can completely lose oneself.
(3) Yet somewhere there is a firm place-where one can say: this is how I am, I see exactly that here I am upstanding, here not; clear here, dark there; right here, completely wrong there-at least this is what I am.
Something clearly emerges, like a mountain, like Mount Ararat did for Noah’s ark in the flood.
Finally, there is an instinctive foundation. At last he sees: I am not completely right but also not completely wrong.
This is the mountain: the sure conviction that emerges. At first it is a small island that comes up out of the flood.
Then something becomes manifest that one can describe as the actual Self of the person.
All this means that one actually knows very little of oneself-that there is no ground for certainty-yet a certain instinct is present, which ultimately decides.
One can call to mind one’s own foundations: “At root, I am simply like this or like that.”
(4) This insight is precious and promises much because it is a new attitude for the person. Hence the symbol of the city.
It is like a magic circle that one places around oneself so that no one else prattles their way into it, not even one’s own reason.
One requires a certain inner and outer protection against all of that.
We have considered the psychological explanation of the series of symbols, and we paused at the quaternity, this being the synthesis of the four into the quinta essentia which is contained in this magic circle, the mandala.
(5) The circle signifies the encompassing of the individual who, through insight, has found himself to some degree and who has established his perimeter, his wholeness.
This perimeter was also used at all times, when a city was founded, for example.
Such a circle was marked out with a plough, enclosing the boundary of the city’s area and magically demarcating it from the surrounding area.
The practice of beating the bounds that one can still encounter today stems from these ancient customs.
Circumambulatio, i.e., the encircling of an area to be defined.
The concept of encircling always contains the idea of walking round and round.
It is still to be seen today in India where certain god images are really circumambulated.
This can also be found here in our country, e.g., at the ringing of the “Sechselauten.”
These encircling rites in Buddhism are always executed in a clockwise
direction, i.e., the yogi has his left side facing outwards, the right side circumambulating
The divinity being encircled must always be on the right.
The talks of the Buddha repeatedly show this phrase: he greeted him and encircled him towards the right in order to show his veneration.
This division of a circle is not only found in Tibetan symbolism but also in alchemical philosophy where the work is first described as [a] rota (wheel), as a circulating operation or circulating distillation.
Somehow a circle had to be produced in order that, through this, the gold, the primal image of the sun, would be formed.
The idea is that the sun had to circulate the earth over many millions of years and through this the gold was spun in the center of the earth.
This is psychological; it means concentration upon the center, the circular movement actually means the center.
In this center the four are combined. This corresponds psychologically to a situation where the boundary of the individual has been established through self-knowledge.
One has realized: “I am like this and like that.
I am not only a light but also a dark person, with positive and negative qualities.” This is all combined.
Within hermetic philosophy, the idea of colors belongs to this synthesis of the quaternity.
Cauda pavonis, i.e., the peacock tail, as one calls the stadium. Here unfolds the fullness of colors. These are feeling values.
Whenever colors are used they have a certain symbolic meaning related to feelings.
There are strong and light colors for specific feeling tones, for example, dark to create melancholic moods and such like.
The unfolding of the colors has the meaning that the wholeness of the personality has come together, which takes place through realization.
It is a fullness of feelings not only in a positive but also a negative way.
( 6) This wholeness is first understood as a type of intuition about the wholeness of the personality.
We must not imagine anything familiar by this.
Only a small part of the human personality is known to us, and we do not know how far this unconscious expanse of the human personality reaches.
Certain very mysterious things that do not fit easily into a conscious world view.
The unconscious can contain an infinite amount that is not attributed to the human personality from the outset, but that nonetheless does belong to it.
The perimeter of the conscious personality can be determined naturally because we roughly know its scope.
The perimeter of the unconscious cannot be determined by us. We do not know its extent.
If we were to give a complete description of the whole personality we would be embarrassed.
We do not know where things become dark, where we cannot penetrate because of the unconscious.
We cannot ascertain a clearly delineated boundary anywhere.
The wholeness of the personality holds something very mysterious.
If people have an experience of this wholeness, it is usually the case that they experience this wholeness as something mysterious, if not mystical. 196-200