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Chapter 5 - How the Divided and Separated Chaotic Water Is Reborn and Becomes a General Primordial Seed Of All Things

Philosophical

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Hermetic Pilgrim
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GCH - Chapter 5 said:
By what has been said above, a lover of the Art sees and understands how the primal and age old Chaos was divided into four parts, according to the teachings of all sages, and that it had been divided into heaven or, strictly speaking, fire, air, water, and earth by the irrevocable order of God. While God commanded them not to flow together again until a further order, he simultaneously commanded them by the Word of multiplication to regenerate unceasingly and to give birth to the divided chaotic water or the universal seed, the World Soul or the World Spirit, for the birth, preservation, destruction, and rebirth of all things.

Now this may appear strange to many a man who wonders where he will again forge the first Chaos which has been separated for so many thousands of years. Yes, it is odd. First, when a farmer hears about it, he will greatly wonder, although he sees it daily with his physical eyes and grasps it with his hands. But because it is called by a different name and he does not understand what it is and what is hidden under it. It is enough for him that his fields and meadows grow by it, by which he and his cattle are fed, and he does not speculate any further. A scholar, however, and a beginning student should heed it more, because it is clear. For if someone does not understand the main purpose and chief reason, how then will he get on in the Art? It is regrettable that so many embark upon the Art, more for shame and dishonor, since they immediately rush thoughtlessly into the processes and do not even reflect upon the origin of each thing.

Now then, it is certain that the four elements, fire, air, water, earth have originated in the Chaos from one matter and foundation. That is why one of them cannot be different from another, so that one could not say to another, “I was born of another, nobler or baser matter.”
No! Matter is one, but the difference consists in that heaven has become subtle and volatile through putrefaction and has risen to the highest together with the air. Earth and water, however, have become fixed and have sunken into the depths with their heaviness.

But when heaven is made fixed, it is also earth; and when earth is made volatile and subtle, it is also heaven. The same applies to air and water. For it must be possible to transform one into another, or else they would not be of one matter, and no change could occur in their increase or decrease if one could not be transformed into another.
These four, then, have come into being out of the Chaos, but Chaos was nothing but water and spirit, two things comprised in one.

These two then divided into four, and these four are nothing but water and spirit. From this we can therefore understand that water and spirit are distributed through all the members of the four elements, heaven, air, water, and earth, and in these four not a mote can be found where this water and spirit can’t be met, be it in a liquid or dry, dissolved or coagulated condition. Thus everything in the whole world is water and spirit and a resolved and coagulated word of the eternal Creator. For the word became water, and consequently everything by it lives and is the Word.

Now it is also known that the finer and subtler a thing is, the purer, more vivacious and mobile it is: But the coarser it is, the more immobile, inert, and sleepier it is. The more mobile a thing is, the more spiritual it is, and through such motion, it becomes ever more mobile. The motion, however, produces warmth, and the more it is moved, the hotter it becomes. Therefore, it also warms and heats what is next to it.

We must admit that heaven is very subtle, and because of its subtlety it keeps moving, and through its constant, perpetual motion, it gets heated. Since steam is a Chaotic Water, and is made of Chaotic Water, this heating causes Heaven to Steam, emit vapor, and perspire. But this steam or perspiration, because it cannot rise above itself, as God has set boundaries to it, must penetrate below itself and thus comes down into the Air from above, and there the coarsest portion is retained and captured by the Air. The subtlest ascends back to Heaven again due to its affinity with it, and it continues up and down this way until it also thickens and becomes coarser by such constant course of circulation, that the Air can also retain it as well.

This then is the influence from Heaven which we enjoy by means of the Air, and the astral seed. Since Heaven is mobile, it also induces and causes Air, its neighbor, to be mobile. The Air moves the Water, and this the Earth, and thus the four move in perfect order. This type of motion can be observed in a clockworks where one wheel drives another, drives another, etc.

Just as Heaven gives its effluence, Air, Water and Earth also give their effluence. In combination, they thus forge the universal (general) seed or Spiritus Mundi, the World Spirit.
 

Pilgrim

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GCH said:
We must admit that heaven is very subtle, and because of its subtlety it keeps moving, and through its constant, perpetual motion, it gets heated. Since steam is a Chaotic Water, and is made of Chaotic Water, this heating causes Heaven to Steam, emit vapor, and perspire. But this steam or perspiration, because it cannot rise above itself, as God has set boundaries to it, must penetrate below itself and thus comes down into the Air from above, and there the coarsest portion is retained and captured by the Air. The subtlest ascends back to Heaven again due to its affinity with it, and it continues up and down this way until it also thickens and becomes coarser by such constant course of circulation, that the Air can also retain it as well.


There are a couple of issues with the "philosophical/religious" analogy being used here.

Firstly there is the notion of perpetual motion which we know to be impossible. It is perhaps perpetual in terms of the expanse of time that the system will keep on trucking compared to human life, but eventually the motion will cease and then everything changes quite dramatically. I guess that could be trillions of years from now.

Secondly, the ideology used is essentially saying that heaven is constantly losing part of itself because it is "sweating" and giving off vapours and some of that is caught by the air and falls to earth. So bit by bit the "heavens" should be disappearing and after billions of years doing this already you'd imagine there might not be much left of it!

The statement "God has set boundaries to it" is also highly challenging of the religious angle and I think by this point the objective reader must conclude that the religious doctrine of ineffability and an unfathomable limitless heaven are simply mythology or else the texts here are not reflecting reality. They can't both be right. The idea that heaven has boundaries and is limited, fenced in, will likely challenge those who have been religiously programmed from childhood imo.

Myself, I just see this as being nothing but an allegorical explanation of basic digestion. i.e. a sealed flask to which we have some form of heat applied to generate motion causing vapours to rise to the top where, unable to go further they consense and drop back down in a constant cycle mirroring our weather. Thus the earth is constantly rained upon by the subtle vapours which have risen and then fall back down, over and over.

Everything in the flask, the earth, the water, the air and fire are all borne from water and spirit, they are all one just in different forms.

Changes obviously result in the flask, change of states etc. Putrefaction and the rebirth but I guess this comes in later chapters.
 

Kiorionis

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Secondly, the ideology used is essentially saying that heaven is constantly losing part of itself because it is "sweating" and giving off vapours and some of that is caught by the air and falls to earth. So bit by bit the "heavens" should be disappearing and after billions of years doing this already you'd imagine there might not be much left of it!

My response would be: that at the same time the heaven’s are disappearing, the earth is being reborn as the air carries the “sweat” down to earth. Thus compensating and balancing things.

Sounds very Emerald Tablet to me.
 

Pilgrim

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My response would be: that at the same time the heaven’s are disappearing, the earth is being reborn as the air carries the “sweat” down to earth. Thus compensating and balancing things.

Sounds very Emerald Tablet to me.

Interesting. This would of course mean that Heaven NEEDS Earth as much as Earth needs Heaven. For without the Earth to replenish the volatile energies, Heaven would seep away into nothing. Without Heaven to supply the denser energies, the Earth would . . die.

Quite the dilemma

"In the beginning created God the Heavens AND the Earth"

Yin and Yang, Up and Down, To and Fro

Motion, Attraction, Wet, Dry, Hot, Cold and everything inbetween

Temet Nosce

Who are we? Are we not products of that subtle energy, without which we would not be alive?
If so then surely we have already traveled up and down in this endless cycle between Heaven and Earth? How many times?