[Carl Jung on the “Assimilation of the Christ-image” and the Passion of Christ.]
If the adept experiences his own self, the “true man,” in his work, then, as the passage from the “Aquarium sapientum” shows, he encounters the analogy of the true man—Christ—in new and direct form, and he recognizes in the transformation in which he himself is involved a similarity to the Passion.
It is not an “imitation of Christ” but its exact opposite: an assimilation of the Christ-image to his own self, which is the “true man.”
It is no longer an effort, an intentional straining after imitation, but rather an involuntary experience of the reality represented by the sacred legend.
This reality comes upon him in his work, just as the stigmata come to the saints without being consciously sought. They appear spontaneously.
The Passion happens to the adept, not in its classic form—otherwise he would be consciously performing spiritual exercises—but in the form expressed by the alchemical myth.
It is the arcane substance that suffers those physical and moral tortures; it is the king who dies or is killed, is dead and buried and on the third day rises again.
And it is not the adept who suffers all this, rather it suffers in him, it is tortured, it passes through death and rises again.
All this happens not to the alchemist himself but to the “true man,” who he feels is near him and in him and at the same time in the retort.
The passion that vibrates in our text and in the Aurora is genuine, but would be totally incomprehensible if the lapis were nothing but a chemical substance.
Nor does it originate in contemplation of Christ’s Passion; it is the real experience of a man who has got involved in the compensatory contents of the unconscious by investigating the unknown, seriously and to the point of self-sacrifice.
He could not but see the likeness of his projected contents to the dogmatic images, and he might have been tempted to assume that his ideas were nothing else than the
familiar religious conceptions, which he was using in order to explain the chemical procedure.
But the texts show clearly that, on the contrary, a real experience of the opus had an increasing tendency to assimilate the dogma or to amplify itself with it.
That is why the text says that Christ was “compared and united” with the stone.
The alchemical Anthropos showed itself to be independent of any dogma. ~Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, Page 349, Para 492.