For Aristotle, “the intelligible resides in the sensitive” (De Anima, L. III, c. 8). Such a statement can be understood from the idea that the essential forms (specific to the real), cannot be “perceived” (or understood) “directly”, but must be given “through a medium”. Such a medium is the sensitive image, and through it, according to Aristotle, it is possible to find the essential.
Aristotle maintains in the same book that there is “such an intellect to become all things“, and another “to do all things“. Thus, according to Aristotle, the human intellect would be double, and only a part of the same “immortal and eternal” (the “nous”).
The philosopher adds that “The nous does not think without images” (De Anima, L. III, c. 7), which means that the “nous”, the spiritual Soul, uses symbolic ideas and, therefore, needs symbols to form “universal ideas”.
If we think about it carefully, it has its logic. The reality of the transcendent (the universal concepts) is in itself ungraspable, and it is only possible to arrive at it through “induction” (intuition): “Induction is the way to the universal concepts from the individual realities” (Topics, L. A. c. 12). In other words, the definitions and concepts (based on intellectual knowledge) sin of inaccuracy, because they are directed to the intellectual reason, while the symbol (directed to the intuition), explains the incomprehensible (what is not yet understood by reason), in a spontaneous way. Such is the cause that, from the most remote antiquity, the symbol has been used when disclosing spiritual teachings, because a part of the mental body of the human being (generally, the only developed part), is associated with a psychological-cultural background of illusory thoughts, while the “Pure Idea” or “Archetype”, is associated with the immortal “nous” (the Soul united to the Spirit).
After these clarifications, it will be easier for us to understand the symbolism of a geometric figure known as the “Hexagram”, “Star of David”, or “Seal of Solomon”, composed of two inverted and interlaced equilateral triangles, which determine a regular central hexagon, surrounded by six equal and coincident equilateral triangles of smaller size.
“Metraton”, with the 13 circles of the “Fruit of Life”. The Star of David is easily identifiable in its central structure:
Star of David. Synagogue of Capernaum, Israel, 3rd-4th century A.D.:
Like every symbol, the Hexagram, in its graphic expression, contains multiple meanings. In its most obvious expression, it represents the link between the celestial and the terrestrial, the divine (macrocosm) and its reflection in creation: the microcosm (which is why, for the Jewish people, it evokes the pact between the deity and Abraham). On an alchemical level, it is presented to us as the emblem of fire and water. On a kabbalistic level, the triangle pointing upwards symbolizes the “Supreme Being”, while the triangle with the vertex pointing downwards would be the final sephirah, maljut (royalty), the final attribute within Creation, associated with the soul and with the power of self-expression, which absorbs the energy of the superior attributes and uses them to descend and create everything.
From another perspective, the superimposition of the triangles would symbolize the “androgen”, the masculine-feminine being, in perfect balance with divinity. In this sense, the (invisible) centre of the star represents the internal (divine) nucleus of the spiritualized human being, from which the external vertices receive their strength (it would therefore represent the divine presence within the human being).
The material and spiritual triad of the human being
After the previous clarifications, we will now try to go deeper into another symbolic aspect of the Star of David.
We know that the manifested universe is number and geometry (such scientific and esoteric reality is perceptible only by observing the geometric structures that surround us: the formations of crystals and other minerals, etc.).
Also, the human being consists of a triple material body and, along with what we usually call “spiritual process”, must develop a Trinitarian, immortal Light Body. Undoubtedly, both the material and the spiritual triad present geometrical forms, more or less subtle. It is not our intention, however, to talk about them, but about how Sacred Symbology alludes to both triads through Geometry.
The spiritual Triad, or Higher Triangle, of the human constitution is formed by three aspects that Theosophy calls:
-Manas (higher mental).
The lower triad (material), or lower triangle, of the human constitution (personality) is formed by him:
-Physical-etheric body (linked to three states of energy: solid, liquid, gaseous, and four etheric states)
-Manas (lower mental).
The spiritual development of the human being implies and entails the development and union of the spiritual Triad (the upper Triangle), and its subsequent union with the lower Triad (lower Triangle), thus forming the six-pointed Star (Star of David).
We are more or less aware of what is the physical body with its etheric or vitalizing counterpart, the astral body (or body through which the human being expresses his emotions and feelings) and the lower mental body (the body that allows us to reason, the principle that differentiates the human being from the animal).
Less known is the spiritual Triad, the higher Triangle. It can be said that the spiritual structure of the human being is the expression of his Monadic Principle or Monadic Nucleus.
The Monadic nucleus, atom-spark of spirit, or divine spark, is the spiritual principle coming from the Fire of the Absolute or “Cause without a Cause”, the Father, present in every human being. In this sense, it is the purest essence, the inner god to which every human being is united.
We can consider the Monadic Sparks as life exhaled by the Logos, or thoughts of the Absolute, which spread throughout the universe, to develop the plan of the divinity.
Once such Monadic Sparks are created, they reincarnate in the lower kingdoms (involution), gradually progressing through the diverse kingdoms (mineral, vegetal, animal, human), until, incarnated in a human being, they can undertake their return to the divine regions from which they have emerged (evolution). Throughout such evolutionary process, the Monadic Nucleus or Spark Atom of spirit absorbs or incorporates in itself the essence of the diverse kingdoms, so that it develops self-consciousness.
We have pointed out that the Monad or Monadic Nucleus, present in the human being, develops as a means of expression a triple spiritual structure that Theosophy calls, Atman-Buddhi-Manas.
Atman is the expression of the pure and eternal Spirit. Atman-Buddhi is the first sheath of Atman, the divine Soul of the human being, pure Reason or intuitive Reason. It is up to the human being to “awaken” and “vitalize” Buddhi, in order to make it the vehicle that will allow him to access the true Wisdom.
Superior Manas is the human being as a reflection of the universal Mind, the true mental body of the human being, the “sensing” principle (that is, provided with sensitivity and consciousness), the true Ego.
Manas is dual in essence. United with lower principles: physical body, etheric or vital body and astral body, it forms the mortal personality of the human being. United with Buddhi, it forms the Spiritual Soul (as opposed to Káma-Manas, the non-spiritualized human soul). Together with Buddhi and Atman, they form the imperishable superior Triad, and, through it, the immortal body or “Spiritual Man”.
Thus, we see how Sacred Symbolism brings, over the centuries, the intuitive knowledge that man needs to become a true Manas, a true Thinker.