Sep 24, 2011

The Rule of Three

It is hard to define precisely what the universe is, or what our existence means, but one thing I am sure of is that it is made of patterns. The thing is that it is quite hard to see these patterns, for they appear in a number of unconventional ways, that is to say, it is difficult to see patterns that are not the basic patterns we need for our survival.

One such example is the rule of three. I does seem to be very vague or general, but I see it as one of the most basic patterns out of which others unfold. Astrology explains that this rule of three is divided into the Cardinal, the Fixed and the Mutable. With one of each for each of the four elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) we have the resulting twelve signs. Aquarius, for instance, is the Fixed Air sign, and it displays characteristics of both.

We can, however, see how this patterns shows itself in different manners. Let us consider for instance the cycle of rain. The Cardinal rivers flow until they reach bodies of water or underground reserves. Interestingly, the Cardinal Water is Cancer, and crabs dwell in or near fresh water, or close to the coast. The water then lies in the Fixed body of water until it rises and becomes a Mutable cloud. The clouds are moved by the Aquarian wind, ruled by Uranus, god of the masses. Of course, two frequent descriptions of Aquarians and Pisceans is that they have their head in the clouds.

This pattern can be found in the fauna as well. The most obvious is the cycle of life of the butterfly. It starts out as a caterpillar (Cardinal), then transforms into a cocoon (Fixed), out of which comes the winged (Mutable) butterfly. The butterfly is a recurring theme here in NoMII, naturally. The cycle works both ways, though, and we see it in pretty much every living species. The Cardinal Egg becomes the Fixed (cannot fly) chick, followed by the winged (Mutable) chick. A human being starts out as a Cardinal baby, turns into a Mutable adolescent and ends as a Fixed adult. Trees are first Cardinal seeds, then grow (Mutable) into full-grown Fixed plants. Insects go from Cardinal egg to Fixed larva and then Mutable adult.

Of course, this doesn't mean that the lengths of these parts should be equal. A man is usually an adult for much longer than he is a baby, for instance. But this fundamental division in three is present everywhere. Matter exists in essentially three phases: Cardinal liquid, Fixed solid and Mutable gas. Even God is divided into three: the Cardinal father, the Fixed (i.e.: comes to Earth) son and the Mutable Holy Ghost. Notice in the picture below how the godhead is divided into three parts, with Jesus carrying a wooden (Fixed) cross and the the Holy Ghost depicted as a winged (Mutable) dove.

Green = Earth, and Cardinal Earth is Capricorn (= old man/father)
Red = Fire, and Fixed Fire is Leo (=jesus)
Yellow = Air, and Mutable Air is Gemini (=messenger-bird)

We can consider, speaking of religion, the division in three between Hades, (Middle) Earth and Olympus. Hell is frequently associated with caves, and rivers are all over it, making it clearly Cardinal, while Heaven is in the clouds, that is, it is Mutable. We are left stuck (Fixed) here on Earth for now.

There is also the essential family unit of Fixed father, Mutable Mother and Cardinal child. The child then becomes either Fixed father or Mutable mother, who then creates another Cardinal child, and so on and so forth. This is where it becomes interesting to consider mythology in archetypal terms, that is, based on the fundamental patterns of the Universe. The pattern is God, simply. Or, if you prefer, God is the pattern. God is not a separate, individual mind, but just a way of showing the essential underneath it all.

This reminds me of the connections I was trying to make between the Planets and the Greek gods of old, which are just different manifestations of a pattern of a higher level. It is hard to really see all of this because our minds are so focused on the three spatial dimensions. Putting all of this into words is quite complicated (thanks Mercury in Pisces), but hopefully this will all give you a glimpse of how I see things, and a (Cardinal) seed will be planted in your brain, growing (Mutable) over time until it becomes a coherent (Fixed) idea.

The most basic pattern is the pattern of two (Yin-Yang, Sun-Moon, dualism and all that jazz I've been talking about), which unfolds into a double pattern of two, that is a cross (gee, where have I seen that idea before?). Dr. Roderick Peters mentions in his book Living with Dreams this archetypal cross, explaining how we tend to divide allness into four, as Jung said. Quartering the circle, that is. This can be seen in the four elements and in the points of the compass.

The Celtic Cross

If we apply the rule of three on the Sun Circle, we get the tetrahedron (i.e. four triangles, giving us the same number as the zodiac, the hours on a clock and so on do) inside the sphere, that is, the minimum and maximum volumes. Nassim Haramein gets into more detail about this, if you have the patience. Maybe you will disagree with some of what he argues, but that this idea seems pervasive is undeniable. Perhaps you can see a little bit where I'm going with this? I'm not entirely sure myself, but I'm sure we'll get there.

Update: right after posting I read in the Modern Mythology blog:
Geometries branch. The one world becomes two, and the two becomes eight billion—without ever ceasing to be two. As to the order that hides behind the panoramic flux, Heraclitus says, “The transformations of fire—first, sea; and of sea, half becomes earth and half the lightning flash.” (emphasis mine)

Cardinal sea becomes either Fixed earth or Mutable lightning and...oh, you get it