THE SCINTILLAE

 Scintillae:   If you drop an unlit match in some gasoline, nothing will happen.  What you require is: the spark

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 centre 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. (99)  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, “unconsciouscomplexes may possess, as splinter psyches, a certain luminosity of their own.  

In his chapter on knowledge, Dorn uses the concept of the scintillae in moral form:  “Let every man consider diligently in his heart what has been said above, and thus little by little he will come to see with his mental eyes a number of sparks shining day by day and more and more and growing into such a great light that thereafter all things needful to him will be made known.”  This light is the “light of nature.”  As Dorn says in his Philosophia meditative”:

What madness deludes you?  For in you, and not proceeding from you, he wills all this to be found, which you seek outside you and not within yourselves.  Such is the vice of the common man, to despise everything his own, and always to lust after the strange.  … The life, the light of men, shineth in us, albeit dimly, and as though in darkness.  It is not to be sought as proceeding from us, though it is in us and not of us,  but of Him to Whom it belongeth, Who hath deigned to make us his dwelling place.  … He hath implanted that light in us that we may see in its light the light of Him who dwelleth in light inaccessible, and that we may excel his other creatures.  In this especially we are made like unto Him, that He hath given us a spark of His light.  Thus the truth is to be sought not in ourselves, but in the image of God which is within us. 

In (the alchemists) eyes the fire-point, the diving centre in man, was something dangerous, a powerful poison which required very careful handling if it was to be changed into the panacea.  The process of individuation. Likewise, has its own specific dangers.  Dorn expresses the standpoint of the alchemists in his fine saying:  “There is nothing in nature that does not contain as much evil as good.” 

What was then brewing in the unconscious came to fruition in the tremendous development of the natural sciences, whose youngest sister is empirical psychology.

Everything that was naively presumed to be a knowledge of transcendental and divine things, which human beings can never know with certainty, and everything that seemed to be irretrievably lost with the decline of the Middle Ages, rose up again with the discovery of the psyche.