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Psychology and Alchemy

The sun, rising triumphant, tears himself from the enveloping womb of the sea, and leaving behind him the noonday zenith and all its glorious works, sinks down again into the maternal depths, into all-enfolding and all regenerating night.

This image is undoubtedly a primordial one, and there was profound justification for its becoming a symbolical expression of human fate: in the morning of life the son tears himself loose from the mother, from the domestic hearth, to rise through battle to his destined heights.

Always he imagines his worst enemy in front of him, yet he carries the enemy within himself—a deadly longing for the abyss, a longing to drown in his own source, to be sucked down to the realm of the Mothers.

His life is a constant struggle against extinction, a violent yet fleeting deliverance from ever-lurking night.

This death is no external enemy, it is his own inner longing for the stillness and profound peace of all-knowing non-existence, for all-seeing sleep in the ocean of coming-to-be and passing away.

Even in his highest strivings for harmony and balance, for the profundities of philosophy and the raptures of the artist, he seeks death, immobility, satiety, rest.

If, like Peirithous, he tarries too long in this abode of rest and peace, he is overcome by apathy, and the poison of the serpent paralyses him for all time.

If he is to live, he must fight and sacrifice his longing for the past in order to rise to his own heights.
And having reached the noonday heights, he must sacrifice his love for his own achievement, for he may not loiter.

The sun, too, sacrifices its greatest strength in order to hasten onward to the fruits of autumn, which are the seeds of rebirth. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 553

Only that which can destroy itself is truly alive. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 93