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Vol.28 pp.207-230
DOI :

Occult Elements of the Soul in A Vision

Shin Hyun-Ho

Abstract

Throughout Yeats's life, his occultism absorbed much of his time and energy.Yeats's occultism supported and enriched his poetry and plays, providing him withthemes, the symbols, a philosophy that affirmed recurring self-renewal. Through thedevelopment of Yeats's occult thinking, from the Golden Dawn, through Per AmicaSilentia Lunae, to A Vision, a continuous, coherent direction can be traced.
Books II and III of A Vision, deal with the nature of the human soul, itsdifferent principles, and its progression after death. In "The Completed Symbol,"Yeats elaborates on the Four Principles of the soul ? the Husk, the PassionateBody, the Spirit, and the Celestial Body. The Principles find their Unity in theCelestial Body, man's archetype in Heaven.
In "The Soul in Judgement", examining the six after-death states, death, ingeneral, is also presented as a transfer of consciousness from the physical plane toa higher one. During the first three states, or until Beatitude, the Spirit passes eachtime into a higher state of consciousness; after Beatitude, following the circularpattern of "The Great Wheel," the Spirit lapses slowly into relative unconsciousness.
These six states, like the twenty-eight phases, affect each other, and in each onethe Spirit has to act under certain laws. The soul has to pass through all of thesestates in order to progress and to prepare for its reentry into the physical world.This belief in the six after-death states stems from the occult sources mainlyTheosophy which also teaches that the soul passes through six planes ofconsciousness after death ? the divine, the monadic, the spiritual, the intuitional,the mental, and the astral plane or plane of passions and emotions.
Yeats uses the lunar cycle to explain the soul's journey between lives. Theconcept of the Thirteenth Sphere is important because in the occult traditions, the number thirteen is also symbolic of unity and perfection. In A Vision the ThirteenthSphere represents Unity since in it all antinomies are resolved.
Yeats's view of the soul is directly related to his belief in a universal duality? the existence of opposite but equal forces that dominate a cycle alternately.

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