"According to Empedocles, Fire and Air are “outwardly reaching” elements, reaching up and out, whereas Earth and Water turn inward and downward. In his view, and that of later alchemists, the elements are not only material substances but also spiritual essences."
- The symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle, since Fire with its hot and dry qualities is the most volatile element and seeks to ascend.
- The symbol for Water is a downward-pointing triangle, since Water with its cold and moist qualities seeks to descend or condense. Fire and Water are the two purest elements, and the other two elements of Air and Earth are considered to be more material versions of them.
- Thus, the symbol for Air is the upward-pointing triangle of Fire with a horizontal line through it. Air is hot and moist and seeks to ascend, but its moist component blocks the full ascent of the Fire principle, as indicated by the horizontal line in the triangle. Thus Air is suspended in time and space, caught between the extremes of the Above and the Below.
- The symbol for Earth is the downward-pointing triangle of Water with a horizontal line through it.
"Since we know that Carl Jung (1), one of the founders of modern psychology, studied mystical literature and alchemy, we can easily conclude that his conceptualization of intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling as the four basic archetypes or components of personality is clearly a derivation of Empedocles' ancient theories about fire, earth, air and water. Jung focused initially on the polarities of introversion (directing one's attention inward toward thoughts, feelings and awareness) and extroversion (directing one's energy outward toward people, actions and external objects), combining each polarity with predominances in thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting, to develop eight basic personality types.
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