Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On the Scintillae [Soul Sparks]

The point is identical with the (higher element deriving from the world of light), scintilla, the “little soul-spark” of Meister Eckhart. We find it already in the teaching of Saturninus.

Similarly Heraclitus, “the physicist,” is said to have conceived the soul as a “spark of stellar essence.” Hippolytus says that in the doctrine of the Sethians the darkness “held the brightness and the spark of light in thrall,” and that this “smallest of sparks” was finely mingled in the dark waters below. Simon Magnus likewise teaches that in semen and milk there is a very small spark which “increases and becomes a power boundless and immutable.”

“When a man is illuminated by the light of nature, the mist vanishes from his eyes, and without difficulty he may behold the point of our magnet, which corresponds to both centres of the rays, that is, those of the sun and the earth.” This cryptic sentence is elucidated by the following example: When you place a twelve-year-old boy side by side with a girl of the same age, and dressed the same, you cannot distinguish between them. But take their clothes off and the difference will become apparent. According to this, the center consists in a conjunction of male and female.

This is confirmed in a text by Abraham Eleazar, where the arcane substance laments being in the state of nigredo:

The eye, like the sun, is a symbol as well as an allegory of consciousness. In alchemy the scintillulae are put together to form the gold (Sol), in the Gnostic systems the atoms of light are reintegrated. Psychologically, this doctrine testifies to the personality- or ego-character of psychic complexes: just as the distinguishing mark of the ego-complex is consciousness, so it is possible that other, “unconscious” complexes may possess, as splinter psyches, a certain luminosity of their own. ~Carl Jung