A Sevenfold Trinity

Taking the famous Chinese T’ai Chi symbol as our model – a circle divided into a curved black fish with a white dot and a curved white fish with a black dot – we can imagine seven permutations of the trinity, Kenosis-Gnosis-Pistis.

Consider the original Chinese elements in the T’ai Chi. The white half represents yang (active) and the black half represents yin (passive). The circle itself represents tao (unmanifest). We can adapt this schema to the idea of consciousness and say that the white half represents the conscious, the black half represents the unconscious and the circle represents the subconscious/superconscious.

As with the Rubin Vase optical illusion, where you see either a vase or two faces, depending on where your focus is, we can take the white and black halves of the T’ai Chi symbol to represent figure (conscious) and ground (unconscious). The black dot in the white fish symbolises the vestige of awareness of the unconscious ground which persists in our awareness of the conscious figure and vice versa.

What happens when we apply this understanding to the trinity Kenosis-Gnosis-Pistis?

When gnosis (mystical experience) is foregrounded and conscious, kenosis (emptiness) is backgrounded and unconscious. When kenosis is foregrounded and conscious, gnosis is backgrounded and unconscious. This oscillation of emptiness and form occurs within the horizon of intelligibility, which means that it must be held in intelligent awareness, which is inferred from the fact of emptiness and form but is itself subconscious/superconscious. This is pistis (faith).

The same dynamic obtains when we pair gnosis with pistis and pistis with kenosis. This gives us six possible relationships in total:

  1. Conscious gnosis and unconscious kenosis held in superconscious pistis.
  2. Conscious kenosis and unconscious gnosis held in superconscious pistis.
  3. Conscious gnosis and unconscious pistis held in superconscious kenosis.
  4. Conscious pistis and unconscious gnosis held in superconscious kenosis.
  5. Conscious pistis and unconscious kenosis held in superconscious gnosis.
  6. Conscious kenosis and unconscious pistis held in superconscious gnosis.

And the seventh? The seventh is the eternal cycle of kenosis, gnosis and pistis in linear time.