Third Quarter

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Air glyph: Element of Air

Quarter in which Creative Mind dominates

Phase 15 or South is symbolised by the flower, beautiful but evanescent and, after the Full Moon’s peak of beauty, the cycle passes the peak of antitheticality. Whether the Wheel is taken to symbolise both life and after-life or just the incarnate part of life, Phase 15 comes at its centre, representing maturity and realisation of oneself as an individual; it is also loosely linked with parenthood (Yeats became a father well past the midpoint of his life, in his fifties). If the Wheel represents incarnate and discarnate life, the Phases of the Third Quarter represent the second half of life from maturity to death (at Phase 22), and if the Wheel is taken for a single incarnate life, it is linked even more closely with maturity, with old age represented by the last quarter.

The Third Quarter is associated ‘with elemental air, because through air, or space, things are divided from one another, and here intellect is at its height’ (AV B 93). Yeats tends to view intellect as discriminating or distancing, seeing these as the necessary conditions for judgment, and these are represented in the Faculty of Creative Mind which is either ‘intellect, as intellect was understood before the close of the seventeenth century—all the mind that is consciously constructive’ (AV A 15) or, in its more antithetical form, imagination (AV B 142). It perceives both what really is (the Body of Fate) and also the ideals of universal principles, generalising and abstracting from the particular. The Creative Mind of those whose Will places them in this quarter is in fact located in the sensuous and aesthetic Second Quarter, so the creative aspect of Creative Mind, imagination, is still strong, and it is only after the Tinctures close that its more abstract aspects start to assert themselve. Artistry moves from lyric subjectivity towards dramatic externalisation, and the Phase of ‘greatest dramatic power’ (AV B 123) is Phase 20.

Yeats places Blake, Rabelais, Aretino and Paracelsus at Phase 16, ‘the mythopoeic and ungovernable’ (AV B 294) initial Phase of the quarter’s first triad. Also, in the afterglow of Phase 15, ‘some beautiful women’ are placed in this Phase, most notably Maud Gonne, and the description which Yeats gives of the Phase (AV B 137-140) alludes to her in many of its aspects. Phase 17 is particularly priveleged, being the Daimonic Phase where Unity of Being is most possible, and contains Dante, Shelley, Landor and Yeats himself. George Yeats is placed in Phase 18 along with Goethe and Matthew Arnold, where emotion becomes more realistic and it becomes possible to love a real person rather than an image of that person, as here ‘the primary tincture closes once more, and at Phase 19 the antithetical’ (AV B 88). At Phase 19 a more externalised, dramatic form of thought appears, typified by Wilde, Byron, Mrs Patrick Campbell, and perhaps Gabriele d’Annunzio. This reaches its consolidated form at Phase 20 with Shakespeare, Balzac and Napoleon, while Phase 21 prepares for the disappearance of the antithetical dominance, with the writers Shaw, Wells and Moore, and the evolutionary scientist Lamarck (Lamarck’s idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics contrasts with Darwin’s aleatory theory of the natural selection of random variations, and Darwin is placed at the more objective Phase 22).

East, the cardinal point of Phase 22, represents the point of transition and the beginning of the ascendancy of the primary or Solar elements. Because the soul has now passed through the quarters of Will, Mask and Creative Mind, it can comprehend to some degree the tensions of the two Tinctures, so that, unlike Phase 8, Phase 22 does produce people who make an impression upon history.

The Tinctures   The Phase Triads   The Cardinal Phases   The Wheel   Geometry   Terminology

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