Consider the three-concept archetype system sensation/cognition/emotion. Sensation refers to the body and physicality; cognition to the intellect; and emotion to the feelings, in a more mental sense, as distinct from bodily sensations.

Now consider the two-concept archetype system love/wisdom. We can see a relationship between love and feelings, and between wisdom and cognition. With respect to the love/wisdom duality, we could consider sensation a neutralizing force, in that sensation can be wise (concentrated thought consists of visualization), but sensation can also be loving.

Is cognition equal to wisdom? I’m inclined to say no, because this conception leaves out (as I myself so often leave out!) the idea that wisdom can also be intuitive, as opposed to intellectual. We could better model the situation by turning our three-concept system into a four-concept system, sensation/cognition/emotion/intuition. (This becomes the basis for Jung’s system of personality typology.)

With our new system, we can map cognition and intuition onto wisdom, and sensation and emotion onto love. This removes some of the strain from having sensation as neutral between love and wisdom, because sensation feels to me more loving than wise. And this further illustrates the flexible, flowing nature of these correspondences. The ideas are not rigid and fixed like the ideas of science.

Now let’s throw the chakras into the mix. We can easily say that the rays orange and green are loving, whereas the rays yellow and blue are wise. The correspondences play out, in that yellow and blue both correlate nicely with cognition, and orange and green correlate nicely with emotion.

What I’ve been trying to illustrate is that it seems like all of the archetype systems map onto each other. They don’t always overlap perfectly, but they always seem to be mapping the same territory. Each system puts a slightly different angle on things, puts a slightly different emphasis, and probably each system leaves some things out. But it seems like each of them is expressing the same basic set of qualities.

Now let’s make a math analogy. If I have a polynomial function, I can describe it as an equation, as a graph, as a set of roots, etc. In each case I give the same information, but in a slightly different way, which may be good for slightly different things.

A closer analogy. I’ve been searching for an ideal metamathematical theory: a mathematical theory which best expresses the nature of mathematics itself. The main candidates are category theory, model theory/universal algebra, and set theory. Each of these theories looks very similar to all of the others, and you can map them onto each other, though the pieces don’t quite fit perfectly. They seem tantalizingly easy to unify, so that all of a sudden we’d have just one theory instead of three, but you can’t actually do that.

What a perfect analogy to the archetype systems! They’re almost the same, all of them, but not quite. The differences turn out to be just important enough that you can’t blur them out. So you’re left with a whole pocketful of archetype systems, rather than just one. And which lens you pick up and use at a given moment is a matter of expedience.

In math, sometimes what is most convenient is a category theoretic analysis; sometimes a set theoretic analysis; sometimes a model theoretic analysis. Similarly, in spiritual work, sometimes you require a chakral analysis; sometimes a Tarotic analysis; sometimes a Qabalistic analysis. It’s whichever tool most neatly fits the problem at hand.

But all the same, all these systems are describing one Self, and after a while the descriptions should sound about the same. The Self is love and wisdom. The Self is male and female. The Self is thought, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Aren’t I repeating myself? I hope it seems that way!

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