The Third Essence

Now God did not make the soul after the body, although we are speaking of them in this order; for having brought them together he would never have allowed that the elder should be ruled by the younger; but this is a random manner of speaking which we have, because somehow we ourselves too are very much under the dominion of chance. Whereas he made the soul in origin and excellence prior to and older than the body, to be the ruler and mistress, of whom the body was to be the subject. And he made her out of the following elements and on this wise: Out of the indivisible and unchangeable, and also out of that which is divisible and has to do with material bodies, he compounded a third and intermediate kind of essence, partaking of the nature of the same and of the other, and this compound he placed accordingly in a mean between the indivisible, and the divisible and material.

Plato, “Timaeus”, 360 BCE

Of all the overlooked keys to the ongoing processes of creation left to us by the ancients, none is more elusive and pressing than this:

There is something between spirit and physical form.

Plato described that something as a “third essence,” an intermediary between the realm of spirit and the realm of physical form.


What does that word mean? We cannot possibly define it. It is immeasurably vast, yet we can come to understand it. Our great philosophers over the ages have pointed to its existence and there is, generally speaking, a recognition of the relationship of spirit to each and every human being. But what is it? Let us leave that for moment.

Physical form.

Physical form is much more familiar to us. We see it, feel it, and our sciences are much more facile at explaining it. Matter matters to materialists. Matter is the stuff of reality and the rest, according to the wisdom of the materialists is, well, beside the point.

Read through the lens of materialism, the ancient stories and their references to the invisible and indivisible realms, aka the heavens and the spirits, look fantastic, unreal, and well, immaterial. But are they?

Without an understanding of the third essence, spirit and physical form are understandably incomprehensible and spirit remains distant, if not unrelatable. The pattern of spirit can have no meaning in physical substance without this something, this third essence.

The third essence is the link–the vital means of connection–between the realm of spirit and of physical form.

More on this later…

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