There are 36 references to the Axiom of Maria in the index to the Collected Works, it was important to Jung.

Edinger, Edward, The Mystery of The Coniunctio, Alchemical Image of Individuation, Inner City Books, Toronto, 1994.

 Maria Prophetissa, Maria the Jewess, was a famous early alchemist; she was a kind of ancestress of the alchemists. Her axiom is this: "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth." 42 And there's another version: "One and it is two; and two and it is three; and three and it is four; and four and it is three; and three and it is two, and two and it is one." 43

              You know, the more one reflects on the first simple integers the more mysterious and significant they become. The axiom of Maria corresponds to the ancient Pythagorean tetractys which was represented like this:

 "The brotherhood of the Pythagoreans worshipped the tetractys as their most sacred emblem. They were living at a time when numbers were just being discovered. The numinosity of numbers and the relation between numbers gripped these early discoverers profoundly; they were in such close touch with the archetypal background of numbers that its sacred aura was immediately perceptible to them. We have to work very hard to get back into that state of mind, and in order to do so we must go down into the unconscious. Pythagorean philosophy still lives in our unconscious, and if we go down deeply enough then the numinosity of those original things starts to grip us also. This sort of thing is built into this first picture. The alchemists still had some feeling for these qualities but we've very largely lost it.

              Jung says somewhere that the first five simple integers, 1,2,3,4,5, are the basis of a whole cosmogony. 44 If we had more time I would run through this double axiom of Mara and show you how it represents the psychological development of both the first and second half of life. One becomes two, two becomes three, three becomes four; four becomes three, three becomes two, two becomes one. Down and back up again, from unity down to fourfold multiplicity and then back, in steps, up to unity.

              That's a symbolic resume of the first and second halves of life. I don't have time to go into it now but maybe that's sufficient for you to figure it out for yourselves. 45

42        Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, par. 209.

43        Ibid., par. 210, note 86.

44        See Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 310f.

45        For a fuller discussion see Edinger, The Mysterium Lectures, lecture 23.


"That the 9-Magic Square possibly originated from the same ultimate source as the Pentagram 72 badge of the Greek Pythagorean Brotherhood which flourished as Crotona in Southern Italy from about 525 B.C. may be seen from [p.39] … and diagrams…

72 Mathematically, this is the figure formed by producing the sides of a Pentagon both ways until they intersect.

       The Pentagram appears prominently on both sides of a spouted ewer, found at Jemdet Nasr in southern Mesopotamia and now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. A reproduction is to be seen as Plate XIV (a) of Gordon Childe's 'New Light on the Most Ancient East' : and as the ewer dates from earliest Sumerian times. i.e. 3000 B.C., this confirms the idea already mentioned (pp. 9 and 20, n. 37) that Pythagorean philosophy was based on theories already current - perhaps even for millennia - in the Middle East.

                  From the Table on p. 24, it will be seen that the Pentagon was associated at Harran with the chief local deity, the Moon : while the geometrical plans of all the other Harranian Planetary Temples may be regarded as ultimately made up of triangles."

H. E. Stapleton, The Antiquity of Alchemy, Ambix, Vol. V, October, 1953, Nos. 1 & 2.

 Tetramorphs - see: Circlot




`Here is the number four, within whose bounds the number three, together with the number two combined into ONE, fulfills all things.:

Physica Trithemi - Dorn.

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