. . . the alchemists gave the name of ‘water’ to quicksilver in its first stage of transmutation and, by analogy, also to the ‘fluid body’ of Man. This ‘fluid body’ is interpreted by modern psychology as a symbol of the unconscious, that is, of the non-formal, dynamic, motivating, female side of the personality. The projection of the mother-imago into the waters endows them with various numinous properties characteristic of the mother (Cirlot, Dictionary of Symbols).
Water is our mother. It is one of the most perfect symbols we have available to us in this realm of existence. We can learn many deep things from it if we apply the idea of correspondence, as we do with all natural symbols.
That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing (The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus).
According to Robert Fludd (Utriusque Cosmic Historia, II), “Man is a whole world of its own, called microcosm for it displays a miniature pattern of all the parts of the universe” (Wikipedia).
Our bodies are composed of about 70% water, which is vastly important to the issue at hand. If Man is truly a microcosm, as Fludd claims, then what does the abundance of water on our planet and in our bodies point to in the higher realms? I find it very intriguing that our planet is also about 70% water. This is more evidence of our interconnectedness to the Earth. There are many parallels on the various levels of Being when we begin to investigate these matters.
The ocean has been considered for millennia to be a symbol of the unfathomable and limitless, but also of potentiality, for all creation proceeds from it, the fons et origo. Jung considered the ocean to be a prime symbol for the collective unconscious. This tells me that Soul is this ocean, although no one symbol can encompass its depth. The ocean is but one of many symbols that speak to the truth of Soul.
Of all the four classic elements of antiquity, water is perhaps the most transitional. It is an intermediary between life and death because it brings forth life in abundance, but it is also a destroyer par excellence. Just think of the Japanese tsunami in 2011. I am also reminded of the Greek conception of death as having to pay Charon to cross the river Styx, prior to entering Hades.
Water is such a powerful and multifaceted symbol of Soul, it would take a lifetime to think about it. It is one of the primary archetypes of our world. These few thoughts are but a trifle of the riches to be found in water symbolism.
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