In a previous theory, I outlined how the 4 lower elements corresponded to the four aspects of tarot alchemy, which were: Fire to soul and spirit, Earth to physical bodies, Water to emotion and the heart, and Wind to the Mind and thought. One little hole in that theory was always how the higher elements (Space, Mirage and Time) fit into that paradigm. I originally looked at solving this problem through looking at older Western cosmology, with the four lower elements representing the terrestrial, sublunary spheres whereas the three higher elements belonged to the celestial, translunar spheres. Whilst I still believe there is a strong likelihood that this is the case, this time I would like to suggest an alternative paradigm which incorporates all seven in a slightly different way.
In the post-CSIV interview with Kondo (translated by Gu4n https://medium.com/@gu4n/trails-of-cold-steel-iv-spoiler-ridden-interview-with-kondo-toshihiro-3fed57af363) we receive the following passage:
“The Sept-Terrion of Fire governed over the spirit and the Sept-Terrion of Earth over the flesh. Think of what constitutes ‘hun’ and ‘po’ [an ancient Chinese soul dualist tradition], where ‘hun’ represents the spiritual aspect of the soul and ‘po’ the corporeal.”
The Earth and Fire concept is still a 1:1 with my previous model, but this got me thinking about Chinese traditions. I remember when ‘Feng Shui’ was bouncing around as a potential theory for Wind and Water, brought up by several people over the years. What I didn’t know was that Feng Shui is actually part of a larger system, which may reconcile its place with the other five elements.
There are three aspects that influence the world in Chinese tradition: ‘destiny’, the ‘human factor’ and the earthly factor.
Fire (the spirit/Hun) and Earth (the body/ Po) together make up what is known as the human factor, and it is the belief that our own actions and values influence our lives. The power of our human bonds, the way we treat one another and how that influences the state of the world. This is exactly what we see in the the way Ishmelga manipulates people and and their actions, steering the world towards destruction.
Next comes the Earthly factor, which is essentially ‘Feng Shui’ (literally Wind/Water, so you can see where I’m going with this). This is the idea that the environment and surroundings can have an influence, and is part of Chinese geomancy involving Yin and Yang. Feng Shui comes from an ancient poem and reflects upon how human life can be ideal if we connect and live in flow with the environment. It is also deeply connected with Qi. Wind represents the forces which cannot be seen (i.e: something like gravity, electricity etc) and Water represents the forces which are more tangible and can be interacted with (like comfortable shoes or the food we eat). These are all things that surround us, but are not part of us- yet they can influence our thoughts, feelings and actions. It has been brought up countless times that Water and Wind might be opposing concepts but as you can see here that isn’t necessarily the case.
Lastly, we have Destiny, or Heaven luck. This is unfortunately completely beyond your control, and is the fate you are simply born to. This would be made up of Space (the universe’s physical existence, including all laws and matter), Time (the linear progression of events) and Mirage, causality, or the divine reason for why one thing leads to another).