Patterns & Metaphors

Incorporeal and formless symbols

Other Names:
Symbols that are formless are of two kinds: those of things that never take a form, and those that are of things that are impressible plastic or malleable and can take any form, such as wax and clay. Those things that have body (corporeality or mass) but which are formless include water in its liquid and gaseous state (as well as other liquids and gases, smoke and vapours) earth, mud, and other large aggregates of particles, for example quantities of salt, and flour and, generally, pulverized and powdered substances of all sorts. Any other mass is also in a formless condition, such as lava, or foundry metals and slag. Some things like clouds, which change their shapes often and rapidly, symbolize an incapability to achieve or retain form or organization. Things which are incorporeal in themselves (electro-magnetic phenomena, dreams, thoughts, etc) are classified among energy-related symbols, but symbols exist for such incorporeal realities or concepts as nothingness, abyss, hole, emptiness, vacuum, prime matter, matter, space, sky, heaven, air, nature and existence.
The archetypal incorporeal and formless symbols are numbers which, according to Greek philosophy, represented each, a specific Idea or Form. A preeminent symbol of incorporeality and formlessness, and thus of origins and beginnings, is darkness. The curdling of milk is a symbol of formation, or form emerging out of formlessness (as in Vedic cosmogenic myth).<