Mysterium Coniunctionis (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.14)

And yet the attainment of consciousness was the most precious fruit of the tree of knowledge, the magical weapon which gave m.an victory over the earth, and which we hope will give him a still greater victory over himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 289

The unconscious has a thousand ways of snuffing out a meaningless existence with surprising swiftness. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 675

There are murderers who feel that their execution is condign punishment, and suicides who go to their death in triumph. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 149

Bodies die, but can something invisible and incorporeal disappear? ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 53

Man himself is partly empirical, partly transcendental . . . Also, we do not know whether what we on the empirical plane regard as physical may not, in the Unknown beyond our experience, be identical with what on this side of the border we distinguish from the physical or psychic. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 765

Unequivocal statements can be made only in regard to immanent objects; transcendental ones can be expressed only by paradox. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 715

Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 737

Nothing in us ever remains quite contradicted, and consciousness can take up no position which will not call up, somewhere in the dark corners of the psyche, a negation or a compensatory effect, approval or resentment. This process of coming to terms with the “Other” in us is well worth while, because in this way we get to know aspects of our nature which we would not allow anybody else to show us and which we ourselves would never have admitted. ~Carl Jung, CW 14: Page 706

There are two offshoots from all the Aeons, having neither beginning nor end, from one root, and this root is a certain Power, an invisible and incomprehensible Silence. One of them appears on high and is a great power, the mind of the whole, who rules all things and is a male; the other below is a great Thought, a female giving birth to all things. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Page 136.

Woman’s consciousness has a lunar rather than a solar character. Its light is the “mild” light of the moon, which merges things together rather than separates them. It does not show up objects in all their pitiless discreteness and separateness, like the harsh, glaring light of day, but blends in a deceptive shimmer the near and the far, magically transforming little things into big things, high into low, softening all colour into a bluish haze, and blending the nocturnal landscape into an unsuspected unity. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 223

A Christian of today no longer ought to cling obstinately to a one-sided credo, but should face the fact that Christianity has been in a state of schism for four hundred years, with the result that every single Christian has a split in his syche. Naturally this lesion cannot be treated or healed if everyone insists on his own standpoint. Behind those barriers he can rejoice in his absolute and consistent convictions and deem himself above the conflict, but outside them he keeps the conflict alive by his intransigence and continues to deplore the pig-headedness and stiff-neckedness of everybody else. It seems as if Christianity had been from the outset the religion of chronic squabblers, and even now it does everything in its power never to let the squabbles rest. Remarkably enough, it never stops preaching the gospel of neighbourly love. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

Just as a man has a body which is no different in principle from that of an animal, so also his psychology has a whole series of lower stores in which the spectres from humanity’s past epochs still dwell, when the animal souls from the age of Pithecanthropus and the hominids, then the “psyche” of the cold-blooded saurians, and, deepest down of all, the transcendental mystery and paradox of the sympathetic and parasympathetic psychoid systems. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 279

One cannot and may not think about an object held to be indisputable. One can only assert it, and for this reason there can be no reconciliation between the divergent assertions. Thus Christianity, the religion of brotherly love, offers the lamentable spectacle of one great and many small schisms, each faction helplessly caught in the toils of its own unique rightness. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 786

That a psychological approach to these matters draws man more into the centre of the picture as the measure of all things cannot be denied. But this gives him a significance which is not without justification. The two great world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, have, each in its own way, accorded man a central place, and Christianity has stressed this tendency still further by the dogma that God became very man. No psychology in the world could vie with the dignity that God himself has accorded to him. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 789

The physical world and the perceptual world are two very different things. Knowing this we have no encouragement whatever to think that our metaphysical picture of the world corresponds to the transcendental reality. Moreover, the statements made about the latter are so boundlessly varied that with the best of intentions we cannot know who is right. The denominational religions recognized this long ago and in consequence each of them claims that it is the only true one and, on top of this, that it is not merely a human truth but the truth directly inspired and revealed by God. Every theologian speaks simply of “God,” by which he intends it to be understood that his “god” is the God. But one speaks of the paradoxical God of the Old Testament, another of the incarnate God of Love, a third of the God who has a heavenly bride, and so on, and each criticizes the other but never himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 781

If the demand for self-knowledge is willed by fate and is refused, this negative attitude may end in real death. The demand would not have come to this person had he still been able to strike out on some promising by-path. But he is caught in a blind alley from which only self-knowledge can extricate him. If he refuses this then no other way is open to him. Usually he is not conscious of his situation, either, and the more unconscious he is the more he is at the mercy of unforeseen dangers: he cannot get out of the way of a car quickly enough, in climbing a mountain he misses his foothold somewhere, out skiing he thinks he can negotiate a tricky slope, and in an illness he suddenly loses the courage to live. The unconscious has a thousand ways of snuffing out a meaningless existence with surprising swiftness. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 675

In the domain of pathology I believe I have observed cases where the tendency of the unconscious would have to be regarded, by all human standards, as essentially destructive. But it may not be out of place to reflect that the self-destruction of what is hopelessly inefficient or evil can be understood in a higher sense as another attempt at compensation. There are murderers who feel that their execution is condign punishment, and suicides who go to their death in triumph. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 149

Just as a lapis Philosophorum, with its miraculous powers, was never produced, so psychic wholeness will never be attained empirically, as consciousness is too narrow and too one-sided to comprehend the full inventory of the psyche. Always we shall have to begin again from the beginning. From ancient times the adept knew that he was concerned with the “res simplex,” and the modern man too will find by experience that the work does not prosper without the greatest simplicity. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 759

In general, meditation and contemplation have a bad reputation in the West.
They are regarded as a particularly reprehensible form of idleness or as pathological narcissism. No one has time for self-knowledge or believes that it could serve any sensible purpose. Also, one knows in advance that it is not worth the trouble to know oneself, for any fool can know what he is. We believe exclusively in doing and do not ask about the doer, who is judged only by achievements that have collective value. The general public seems to have taken cognizance of the existence of the unconscious psyche more than the so-called experts, but still nobody has drawn any conclusions from the fact that Western man confronts himself as a stranger and that self-knowledge is one of the most difficult and exacting of the arts. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 709

The limitations of knowledge which leave so many incomprehensible and wonderful things unexplained do not, however, exempt us from the task of trying to understand the revelations of the spirit that are embodied in dogma, otherwise there is a danger that the treasures of supreme knowledge which lie hidden in it will evaporate into nothing and become a bloodless phantom, an easy prey for all shallow rationalists. It would be a great step forward, in my opinion, if at least it were recognized how far the truth of dogma is rooted in the human psyche, which is not the work of human hands. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 489

Although contemporary man believes that he can change himself without limit, or be changed through external influences, the astounding, or rather the terrifying, fact remains that despite civilization and Christian education, he is still, morally, as much in bondage to his instincts as an animal, and can therefore fall victim at any moment to the beast within. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para xviii

Only the living presence of the eternal images can lend the human psyche a dignity which makes it morally possible for a man to stand by his own soul, and be convinced that it is worth his while to persevere with himself. Only then will he realize that the conflict is in him, that the discord and tribulation are his riches, which should not be squandered by attacking others; and that, if fate should exact a debt from him in the form of guilt, it is a debt to himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 511

Disappointment, always a shock to the feelings, is not only the mother of bitterness but the strongest possible incentive to a differentiation of feeling. The failure of a pet plan, the disappointing behaviour of someone one loves, can supply the impulse either for a more or less brutal outburst of affect or for a modification and adjustment of feeling, and hence for its higher development. This culminates in wisdom if feeling is supplemented by reflection and rational insight. Wisdom is never violent where wisdom reigns there is no conflict between thinking and feeling. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 334

All the worlds that have ever existed before man were physically there. But they were a nameless happening, not a definite actuality, for there did not yet exist that minimal concentration of the psychic factor, which was also present, to speak the word that outweighed the whole of Creation That is the world, and this is I! That was the first morning of the world, the first sunrise after the primal darkness, when that inchoately conscious complex, the ego, knowingly sundered subject and object, and thus precipitated the world and itself into definite existence, giving it and itself a voice and a name. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 129

It needs a very moon-like consciousness indeed to hold a large family together regardless of all the differences, and to talk and act in such a way that the harmonious relation of the parts to the whole is not only not disturbed but is actually enhanced. And where the ditch is too deep, a ray of moonlight smoothes it over. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 227

The moon-nature is its own best camouflage, as at once becomes apparent when a woman’s unconscious masculinity breaks through into her consciousness and thrusts her Eros aside. Then it is all up with her charm and the mitigating half-darkness; she takes a stand on some point or other and captiously defends it, although each barbed remark tears her own flesh, and with brutal short-sightedness she jeopardizes everything that is the dearest goal of womanhood. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 228

The Sol who personifies the feminine unconscious is not the sun of the day but corresponds rather to the Sol niger. . .It is as void of light and charm as the gentling moonlight is all heavenly peace and magic. It protests too much that it is a light, because it is no light, and a great truth, because it invariably misses the mark, and a high authority, which nevertheless is always wrong, or is only as right as the blind tom-cat who tried to catch imaginary bats in broad daylight, but one day caught a real one by mistake and thereafter became completely unteachable. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 229

The view that good and evil are spiritual principles outside us, and that man is caught in the conflict between them is more bearable by far than the insight that the opposites are the ineradicable and indispensable preconditions of all psychic life, so much so that life itself is guilt. Even a life dedicated to God is still lived by an ego, which speaks of an ego and asserts an ego in God’s despite, which does not instantly merge itself with God but reserves for itself a freedom and a will which it sets up outside God and against him. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 206

We do not devalue statements that originally were intended to be metaphysical when we demonstrate their psychic nature; on the contrary, we confirm their factual character. But, by treating them as psychic phenomena, we remove them from the inaccessible realm of metaphysics, about which nothing verifiable can be said, and this disposes of the impossible question as to whether they are “true” or not. We take our stand simply and solely on the facts, recognizing that the archetypal structure of the unconscious will produce, over and over again and irrespective of tradition, those figures which reappear in the history of all epochs and all peoples, and will endow them with the same significance and numinosity that have been theirs from the beginning. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 558

Generally the proximity as well as the absence of women has a specifically constellating effect on the unconscious of a man. When a woman is absent or unattainable the unconscious produces in him a certain femininity which expresses itself in a variety of ways and gives rise to numerous conflicts. The more one-sided his conscious, masculine, spiritual attitude the more inferior, banal, vulgar, and biological will be the compensating femininity of the unconscious. He will, perhaps, not be conscious at all of its dark manifestations, because they have been so overlaid with saccharine sentimentality that he not only believes the humbug himself but enjoys putting it over on other people. An avowedly biological or coarse-minded attitude to women produces an excessively lofty valuation of femininity in the unconscious, where it is pleased to take the form of Sophia or of the Virgin. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 221

Just as a man has a body which is no different in principle from that of an animal, so also his psychology has a whole series of lower storeys in which the spectres from humanity’s past epochs still dwell, when the animal souls from the age of Pithecanthropus and the hominids, then the “psyche” of the cold-blooded saurians, and, deepest down of all, the transcendental mystery and paradox of the sympathetic and parasympathetic psychoid systems. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 279

Not only in the psychic man is there something unknown, but also in the physical. We should be able to include this unknown quantity in a total picture of man, but we cannot. Man himself is partly empirical, partly transcendental . . . Also, we do not know whether what we on the empirical plane regard as physical may not, in the Unknown beyond our experience, be identical with what on this side of the border we distinguish from the physical or psychic. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 765

The tendency to separate the opposites as much as possible and to strive for singleness of meaning is absolutely necessary for clarity of consciousness, since discrimination is of its essence. But when the separation is carried so far that the complementary opposite is lost sight of, and the blackness of the whiteness, the evil of the good, the depth of the heights, and so on, is no longer seen, the result is one-sided ness, which is then compensated from the unconscious without our help. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 470

Every father is given the opportunity to corrupt his daughter’s nature, and the educator, husband, or psychiatrist then has to face the music. For what has been spoiled by the father can only be made good by a father, just as what has been spoiled by the mother can only be repaired by a mother. The disastrous repetition of the family pattern could be described as the psychological original sin, or as the curse of the Atrides running through the generations. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 232

“The one after-another is a bearable prelude to the deeper knowledge of the side-by-side.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, par. 206.

Again, the view that good and evil are spiritual forces outside us, and that man is caught in the conflict between them, is more bearable by far than the insight that the opposites are the ineradicable and indispensable preconditions of all psychic life, so much so that life itself is guilt. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, par. 206.

The Fall was inevitable even in paradise. Therefore Christ is “without the stain of sin,” because he stands for the whole of the Godhead and is not distinct from it by reason of his manhood. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, par. 206.

The wings of the dove temper the malignity of the air, the wickedness of the aerial spirit (“the prince of the power of the air”—Ephesians 2 : 2), and they alone have this effect.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 206

The Red Sea is a water of death for those that are “unconscious,” but for those that are “conscious” it is a baptismal water of rebirth and transcendence. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

The exodus from Egypt signifies the exodus from the body, which is Egypt in miniature, being the incarnation of sinfulness, and the crossing of the Red Sea is the crossing of the water of corruption, which is Kronos. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

The other side of the Red Sea is the other side of Creation. The arrival in the desert is a “genesis outside of generation.” There the “gods of destruction” and the “god of salvation” are all together. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

St. Augustine says, “The Red Sea signifies baptism”; and, according to Honorius of Autun, “the Red Sea is the baptism reddened by the blood of Christ, in which our enemies, namely our sins, are drowned.”  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

It is without doubt the Microcosm, the mystical Adam and bisexual Original Man in his prenatal state, as it were, when he is identical with the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 8

It is clear from this text that the “hidden” thing, the invisible centre, is Adam Kadmon, the Original Man of Jewish gnosis. It is he who laments in the “prisons” of the darkness, and who is personified by the black Shulamite of the Song of Songs.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 44

The eye, like the sun, is a symbol as well as an allegory of consciousness. In alchemy the scintillulae are put together to form the gold (Sol), in the Gnostic systems the atoms of light are reintegrated.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 47

Hence we get the parallel of the dragon’s head with Christ, corresponding to the Gnostic view that the son of the highest divinity took on the form of the serpent in paradise in order to teach our first parents the faculty of discrimination, so that they should see that the work of the demiurge was imperfect.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 141

The personal unconscious is the shadow and the inferior function, in Gnostic terms the sinfulness and impurity that must be washed away by baptism. The collective unconscious expresses itself in the mythological teachings, characteristic of most mystery religions, which reveal the secret knowledge concerning the origin of all things and the way to salvation. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 257

The opus is a “transitus,” a in the Gnostic sense, a “transcension” and transformation whose subject and object is the elusive Mercurius.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 287

Irenaeus, reporting the views of the Gnostics, says: “The spiritual, they say, [is] sent forth to this end, that, being united here below with the psychic, it may take form, and be instructed simultaneously by intercourse with it. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 327

The union of the spiritual, masculine principle with the feminine, psychic principle is far from being just a fantasy of the Gnostics: it has found an echo in the Assumption of the Virgin, in the union of Tifereth and Malchuth, and in Goethe’s “the Eternal Feminine leads us upward and on.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 327

Anyone familiar with the spirit of alchemy and the views of the Gnostics in Hippolytus will be struck again and again by their inner affinity. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 328

The inner spiritual man of the Gnostics is the Anthropos, the man created in the image of the Nous, the (true man). He corresponds to the chin-yen (true man) of Chinese alchemy. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 490

And just as the Queen “flows with all delicious unguent” so, in the Acts of Thomas, a sweet smell pours from the heavenly goddess. She is not only the mother but the “Kore, daughter of the light.” She is the Gnostic Sophia, who corresponds to the alchemical mother. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 490

In this connection it should not be forgotten that in antiquity certain influences, evidently deriving from the Gnostic doctrine of the hermaphroditic Primordial Man, penetrated into Christianity and there gave rise to the view that Adam had been created an androgyne.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 526

Accordingly the arcane substance would appear to be the “inner” man or Primordial Man, known as Adam Kadmon in the Cabala. In the poem of Valentinus, this inner man is swamped by the goddess of love—an unmistakable psychologem for a definite and typical psychic state, which is also symbolized very aptly by the Gnostic love-affair between Nous and Physis. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 548

In Gnosticism the original man Adamas, who is nothing but a paraphrase of Adam, was equated with the ithyphallic Hermes and with Korybas, the pederastic seducer of Dionysus, as well as with the ithyphallic Cabiri. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 589

Zosimos is the connecting link between alchemy and Gnosticism, where we find similar ideas.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 627

I have pointed out that outwardly Mercurius corresponds to quicksilver but inwardly he is a “deus terrenus” and an anima mundi—in other words, that part of God which, when he “imagined” the world, was as it were left behind in his Creation or, like the Sophia of the Gnostics, got lost in Physis. Mercurius has the character which Dorn ascri bes to the soul.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 699

The “sweet odour” of the Holy Ghost occurs not only in Gnosticism but also in ecclesiastical language, and of course in alchemy—though here there are more frequent references to the characteristic stench of the underworld, the odor sepulchrorum. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 701

Its chief function is ablution, the cleansing of the sinner, and in alchemy this is the lato, the impure body; hence the oft-repeated saying attributed to Elbo Interfector: “Whiten the lato and rend the books, lest your hearts be rent asunder” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 316

The alchemists did not hesitate to call the transformative process a “baptism.” Thus the “Consilium coniugii” says: “And if we are baptized in the fountain of gold and silver, and the spirit of our body ascends into heaven with the father and the son, and descends again, then our souls shall revive and my animal body will remain white, that is, [the body] of the moon.” The subject of this sentence is Sol and Luna. The Aurora consurgens I distinguishes three kinds of baptism, “in water, in blood, and in fire,” the Christian ideas being here transferred directly to the chemical procedure. The same is true of the idea that baptism is a submersion in death, following Colossians 2:12: “(Ye are) buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 316

The effect of Christian baptism is the washing away of sin and the acceptance of the neophyte into the Church as the earthly kingdom of Christ, sanctification and rebirth through grace, and the bestowal of an “indelible character” on the baptized. The effect of the aqua permanens is equally miraculous. The “Gloria mundi” says: “The mystery of every thing is life, which is water; for water dissolves the body into spirit and summons a spirit from the dead.” Dissolution into spirit, the body’s volatilization or sublimation, corresponds chemically to evaporation, or any rate to the expulsion of evaporable ingredients like quicksilver, sulphur, etc. ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 318

Psychologically it corresponds to the conscious realization and integration of an unconscious content. Unconscious contents lurk somewhere in the body like so many demons of sickness, impossible to get hold of, especially when they give rise to physical symptoms the organic causes of which cannot be demonstrated. The “spirit” summoned from the dead is usually the spirit Mercurius, who, as the anima mundi, is inherent in all things in a latent state. It is clear from the passage immediately following that it is salt of which it is said: “And that is the thing which we seek: all our secrets are contained in it” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 318

 

Salt, however, “takes its origin from Mercurius,” so salt is a synonym for the arcane substance. It also plays an important part in the Roman rite: after being blessed it is added to the consecrated water, and in the ceremony of baptism a few grains of the consecrated salt are placed in the neophyte’s mouth with the words: “Receive the salt of wisdom: may it be a propitiation for thee unto eternal life” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 318

The alchemical texts were written exclusively by men, and their statements about the moon are therefore the product of masculine psychology. Nevertheless women did play a role in alchemy, as I have mentioned before, and this makes it possible that the “symbolization” will show occasional traces of their influence ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 221

Generally the proximity as well as the absence of women has a specifically constellating effect on the unconscious of a man. When a woman is absent or unattainable the unconscious produces in him a certain femininity which expresses itself in a variety of ways and gives rise to numerous conflicts. The more one-sided his conscious, masculine, spiritual attitude the more inferior, banal, vulgar, and biological will be the compensating femininity of the unconscious. He will, perhaps, not be conscious at all of its dark manifestations, because they have been so overlaid with saccharine sentimentality that he not only believes the humbug himself but enjoys putting it over on other people ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 221

An avowedly biological or coarse-minded attitude to women produces an excessively lofty valuation of femininity in the unconscious, where it is pleased to take the form of Sophia or of the Virgin. Frequently, however, it gets distorted by everything that misogyny can possibly devise to protect the masculine consciousness from the influence of women, so that the man succumbs instead to unpredictable moods and insensate resentments ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 221

The moon is not only dark but is also a giver of light and can therefore represent consciousness. This is indeed so in the case of woman: her consciousness has a lunar rather than a solar character. Its light is the “mild” light of the moon, which merges things together rather than separates them. It does not show up objects in all their pitiless discreetness and separateness, like the harsh, glaring light of day, but blends in a deceptive shimmer the near and the far, magically transforming little things into big things, high into low, softening all colour into a bluish haze, and blending the nocturnal landscape into an unsuspected unity ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 223

The concept of the uroboros must be much older, and may ultimately go back to ancient Egyptian theology, to the doctrine of the homoousia of the Father-God with the divine son, Pharaoh ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 423

In the Cantilena, the mythologem of the uroboros is unexpectedly, and most unusually, translated into feminine form: it is not the father and son who merge into one another, but the mother who merges with her own substance, “eating her own tail” or “impregnating herself,” as the king in the “Allegoria Merlini” drank his “own” water. The queen is in a condition of psychic pregnancy: the anima has become activated and sends her contents into consciousness. These correspond to the peacock’s flesh and the lion’s blood ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 424

If the products of the anima (dreams, fantasies, visions, symptoms, chance ideas, etc.) are assimilated, digested, and integrated, this has a beneficial effect on the growth and development (“nourishment”) of the psyche. At the same time the cibatio and imbibitio of the anima-mother indicate the integration and completion of the entire personality. The anima becomes creative when the old king renews himself in her ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 424

It requires a real solution and necessitates a third thing in which the opposites can unite. Here the logic of the intellect usually fails, for in a logical antithesis there is no third. The “solvent” can only be of an irrational nature. In nature the resolution of opposites is always an energic process. She acts symbolically in the truest sense of the word, doing something that expresses both sides, just as a waterfall visibly mediates between above and below. The waterfall itself is then the incommensurable third. In an open and unresolved conflict dreams and fantasies occur which, like the waterfall, illustrate the tension and nature of the opposites, and thus prepare the synthesis ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 705

This process [of active imagination] can, as I have said, take place spontaneously or be artificially induced. In the latter case you choose a dream, or some other fantasy-image, and concentrate on it by simply catching hold of it and looking at it. You can also use a bad mood as a starting-point, and then try to find out what sort of fantasy-image it will produce, or what image expresses this mood. You then fix this image in the mind by concentrating your attention. Usually it will alter, as the mere fact of contemplating it animates it. The alterations must be carefully noted down all the time, for they reflect the psychic processes in the unconscious background, which appear in the form of images consisting of conscious memory material ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 706

In this way conscious and unconscious are united, just as a waterfall connects above and below. A chain of fantasy ideas develops and gradually takes on a dramatic character: the passive process becomes an action. At first it consists of projected figures, and these images are observed like scenes in the theatre. In other words, you dream with open eyes ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 706

As a rule there is a marked tendency simply to enjoy this interior entertainment and to leave it at that. Then, of course, there is no real progress but only endless variations on the same theme, which is not the point of the exercise at all. What is enacted on the stage still remains a background process; it does not move the observer in any way, and the less it moves him the smaller will be the cathartic effect of this private theatre ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 706

The piece that is being played does not want merely to be watched impartially, it wants to compel his participation. If the observer understands that his own drama is being performed on this inner stage, he cannot remain indifferent to the plot and its dénouement. He will notice, as the actors appear one by one and the plot thickens, that they all have some purposeful relationship to his conscious situation, that he is being addressed by the unconscious, and that it causes these fantasy-images to appear before him. He therefore feels compelled, or is encouraged by his analyst, to take part in the play and, instead of just sitting in a theatre, really have it out with his alter ego. For nothing in us ever remains quite uncontradicted, and consciousness can take up no position which will not call up, somewhere in the dark corners of the psyche, a negation or a compensatory effect, approval or resentment ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 706

This process of coming to terms with the Other in us is well worth while, because in this way we get to know aspects of our nature which we would not allow anybody else to show us and which we ourselves would never have admitted. It is very important to fix this whole procedure in writing at the time of its occurrence, for you then have ocular evidence that will effectively counteract the ever-ready tendency to self-deception. A running commentary is absolutely necessary in dealing with the shadow, because otherwise its actuality cannot be fixed. Only in this painful way is it possible to gain a positive insight into the complex nature of one’s own personality ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 706

Expressed in the language of Hermetic philosophy, the ego personality’s coming to terms with its own background, the shadow, corresponds to the union of spirit and soul in the unio mentalis, which is the first stage of the coniunctio ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 707

 

What I call coming to terms with the unconscious the alchemists called “meditation.” Ruland says of this: “Meditation: The name of an Internal Talk of one person with another who is invisible, as in the invocation of the Deity, or communion with one’s self, or with one’s good angel.” This somewhat optimistic definition must immediately be qualified by a reference to the adept’s relations with his spiritus familiaris, who we can only hope was a good one. In this respect Mercurius is a rather unreliable companion, as the testimony of the alchemists agrees ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 707

In order to understand the second stage, the union of the unio mentalis with the body, psychologically, we must bear in mind what the psychic state resulting from a fairly complete recognition of the shadow looks like. The shadow, as we know, usually presents a fundamental contrast to the conscious personality. This contrast is the prerequisite for the difference of potential from which psychic energy arises. Without it, the necessary tension would be lacking. Where considerable psychic energy is at work, we must expect a corresponding tension and inner opposition. The opposites are necessarily of a characterological nature: the existence of a positive virtue implies victory over its opposite, the corresponding vice. Without its counterpart virtue would be pale, ineffective, and unreal. The extreme opposition of the shadow to consciousness is mitigated by complementary and compensatory processes in the unconscious. Their impact on consciousness finally produces the uniting symbols ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 707

The light that gradually dawns on him [the patient] consists in his understanding that his fantasy is a real psychic process which is happening to him personally. Although, to a certain extent, he looks on from outside, impartially, he is also an acting and suffering figure in the drama of the psyche. This recognition is absolutely necessary and marks an important advance ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 753

So long as he simply looks at the pictures he is like the foolish Parsifal, who forgot to ask the vital question because he was not aware of his own on in the action. Then, if the flow of images ceases, next to nothing has happened even though the process is repeated a thousand times ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 753

But if you recognize your own involvement you yourself must enter into the process with your personal reactions, just as if you were one of the fantasy figures, or rather, as if the drama being enacted before your eyes were real. It is a psychic fact that this fantasy is happening, and it is as real as you as a psychic entity are real. If this crucial operation is not carried out, all the changes are left to the flow of images, and you yourself remain unchanged ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 753

But if you place yourself in the drama as you really are, not only does it gain in actuality but you also create, by your criticism of the fantasy an effective counterbalance to its tendency to get out of hand. For what is now happening is the decisive rapprochement with the unconscious. This is where insight, the unio mentalis, begins to become real. What you are now creating is the beginning of individuation, whose immediate goal is the experience and production of the symbol of totality ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 753

It not infrequently happens that the patient simply continues to observe his images without considering what they mean to him. He can and he should understand their meaning, but this is of practical value only so long as he is not sufficiently convinced that the unconscious can give him valuable insights. But once he has recognized this fact, he should also know that he then has in his hands an opportunity to win, by his knowledge, independence of the analyst. This conclusion is one which he does not like to draw, with the result that he frequently stops short at the mere observation of his images ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 754

Patients who often come to a standstill at this point. As this experience is not uncommon I can only conclude that the transition from a merely perceptive, i.e., aesthetic, attitude to one of judgment is far from easy ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 754

The step beyond a merely aesthetic attitude may be unfamiliar to most of my readers. I myself have said little about it and have contented myself with hints. It is not a matter that can be taken lightly. I tried it out on myself and others thirty years ago and must admit that although it is feasible and leads to satisfactory results it is also very difficult ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 755

It can be recommended without misgiving if a patient has reached the stage of knowledge described above. If he finds the task too difficult he will usually fail right at the beginning and never get through the dangerous impasse ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 755

Naturally there is an enormous difference between an anticipated psychosis and a real one, but the difference is not always clearly perceived and this gives rise to uncertainty or even a fit of panic. Unlike a real psychosis, which comes on you and inundates you with uncontrollable fantasies irrupting from the unconscious, the judging attitude implies a voluntary involvement in those fantasy-processes which compensate the individual and in particular the collective situation of consciousness. The avowed purpose of this involvement is to integrate the statements of the unconscious, to assimilate their compensatory content, and thereby produce a whole meaning which alone makes life worth living and, for not a few people, possible at all ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 756

The danger inherent in analysis is that, in a psychopathically disposed patient, it will unleash a psychosis. This very unpleasant possibility generally presents itself at the beginning of the treatment, when, for instance, dream-analysis has activated the unconscious. But if it has got so far that the patient can do active imagination and shape out his fantasies, and there are no suspicious incidents, then there is as a rule no longer any serious danger. One naturally asks oneself what fear if fear it is prevents him from taking the next step, the transition to an attitude of judgment. (The judgment of course should be morally and intellectually binding.) There are sufficient reasons for fear and uncertainty because voluntary participation in the fantasy is alarming to a naïve mind and amounts to an anticipated psychosis ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 755

The reason why the involvement looks very like a psychosis is that the patient is integrating the same fantasy-material to which the insane person falls victim because he cannot integrate it but is swallowed up by it. In myths the hero is the one who conquers the dragon, not the one who is devoured by it. And yet both have to deal with the same dragon. Also, he is no hero who never met the dragon, or who, if he once saw it, declared afterwards that he saw nothing. Equally, only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard, the “treasure hard to attain.” He alone has a genuine claim to self-confidence, for he has faced the dark ground of his Self and thereby has gained himself. This experience gives him faith and trust, the pistis in the ability of the Self to sustain him, for everything that menaced him from inside he has made his own. He has acquired the right to believe that he will be able to overcome all future threats by the same means. He has arrived at an inner certainty which makes him capable of self-reliance, and attained what the alchemists called the unio mentalis ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 756

As a rule this state is represented pictorially by a mandala. Often such drawings contain clear allusions to the sky and the stars and therefore refer to something like the “inner” heaven, the “firmament” or “Olympus” of Paracelsus, the Microcosm ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 757

He needs to be ruled by a higher authority, such as is found in the great religions. Even when Reason triumphed at the beginning of the French Revolution it was quickly turned into a goddess and enthroned in Notre-Dame ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 342

 

The shadow exerts a dangerous fascination which can be countered only by another fascinosum. It cannot be got at by reason, even in the most rational person, but only by illumination, of a degree and kind that are equal to the darkness but are the exact opposite of “enlightenment.” For what we call “rational” is everything that seems “fitting” to the man in the street, and the question then arises whether this “fitness” may not in the end prove to be “irrational” in the bad sense of the word. Sometimes, even with the best intentions this dilemma cannot be solved ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 343

This is the moment when the primitive trusts himself to a higher authority and to a decision beyond his comprehension. The civilized man in his closed-in environment functions in a fitting and appropriate manner, that is, rationally. But if, because of some apparently insoluble dilemma, he gets outside the confines of civilization, he becomes a primitive again; then he has irrational ideas and acts on hunches; then he no longer thinks but “it” thinks in him; then he needs “magical” practices in order to gain a feeling of security; then the latent autonomy of the unconscious becomes active and begins to manifest itself as it has always done in the past ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 343

The alchemists did not insist on this aspect, so I need say only a few words about it here. Usually, however, in the non-alchemical literature Adam is a “light” figure whose splendour even outshines that of the sun. He lost his radiance owing to the Fall. Here we have a hint of his dual nature: on the one hand shining and perfect, on the other dark and earthy. Haggadic interpretation derives his name from adamah, earth ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 585

Adam’s dual nature is confirmed by Origen: one Adam was made out of earth, the other “after the image and likeness of God. He is our inner man, invisible, incorporeal, unspotted, and immortal.” Similar views are expressed by Philo. It is worth noting that in Colossians 1 : 15 Christ is this “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 586

The adoption was represented in ancient times either by a figurative act of birth or by the suckling of the adoptive child. In this manner Heracles was “adopted” by Hera ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 384

Concealment under the skirt is a widely disseminated rite, and until quite recently was still practised by the Bosnian Turks. The motif of the “tutelary Madonna” in a mantle has a similar meaning, namely, the adoption of the believer ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 385

 

“Only through a medium can the transition take place,” and, “Mercurius is the medium of conjunction.” Mercurius is the soul (anima), which is the “mediator between body and spirit” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

The same is true of the synonyms for Mercurius, the green lion and the aqua permanens or spiritual water, which are likewise media of conjunction. The “Consilium coniugii” mentions as a connective agent the sweet smell or “smoky vapour,” recalling Basilides’ idea of the sweet smell of the Holy Ghost. Obviously this refers to the “spiritual” nature of Mercurius, just as the spiritual water, also called aqua aëris (aerial water or air-water), is a life principle and the “marriage maker” between man and woman ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

“The aerial water existing between earth and heaven is the life of everything. For that water dissolves the body into spirit, makes the dead to live, and brings about the marriage between man and woman” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

Mercurius, however, is not just the medium of conjunction but also that which is to be united, since he is the essence or “seminal matter” of both man and woman. Mercurius masculinus and Mercurius foemineus are united in and through Mercurius menstrualis, which is the “aqua” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 659

Dorn gives the “philosophical” explanation of this in his “Physica Trismegisti”: In the beginning God created one world (unus mundus). This he divided into two heaven and earth. “Beneath this spiritual and corporeal binarius lieth hid a third thing, which is the bond of holy matrimony. This same is the medium enduring until now in all things, partaking of both their extremes, without it they cannot be at all, nor they without this medium be what they are, one thing out of three”( Theatr. chem., I, p. 418 ). The division into two was necessary in order to bring the “one” world out of the state of potentiality into reality. Reality consists of a multiplicity of things. But one is not a number; the first number is two, and with it multiplicity and reality begin ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 659

It is apparent from this explanation that the desperately evasive and universal Mercurius that Proteus twinkling in a myriad shapes and colours is none other than the “unus mundus,” the original, non-differentiated unity of the world or of Being; the[agnosia] of the Gnostics, the primordial unconsciousness ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

The Mercurius of the alchemists is a personification and concretization of what we today would call the collective unconscious. While the concept of the unus mundus is a metaphysical speculation, the unconscious can be indirectly experienced via its manifestations. Though in itself an hypothesis, it has at least as great a probability as the hypothesis of the atom. It is clear from the empirical material at our disposal today that the contents of the unconscious, unlike conscious contents, are mutually contaminated to such a degree that they cannot be distinguished from one another and can therefore easily take one another’s place, as can be seen most clearly in dreams. The indistinguishableness of its contents gives one the impression that everything is connected with everything else and therefore, despite their multifarious modes of manifestation, that they are at bottom a unity ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

The only comparatively clear contents consist of motifs or types round which the individual associations congregate. As the history of the human mind shows, these archetypes are of great stability and so distinct that they allow themselves to be personified and named, even though their boundaries are blurred or cut across those of other archetypes, so that certain of their qualities can be interchanged ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

In particular, mandala symbolism shows a marked tendency to concentrate all the archetypes on a common centre, comparable to the relationship of all conscious contents to the ego. The analogy is so striking that a layman unfamiliar with this symbolism is easily misled into thinking that the mandala is an artificial product of the conscious mind. Naturally mandalas can be imitated, but this does not prove that all mandalas are imitations. They are produced spontaneously, without external influence, even by children and adults who have never come into contact with any such ideas. One might perhaps regard the mandala as a reflection of the egocentric nature of consciousness, though this view would be justified only if it could be proved that the unconscious is a secondary phenomenon. But the unconscious is undoubtedly older and more original than consciousness, and for this reason one could just as well call the egocentrism of consciousness a reflection or imitation of the “self”-centrism of the unconscious ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

Another widespread primitive idea is the snake-form of the spirits of the dead. This may well have given rise to the worm version of the phoenix myth ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

Examples [of heroes worshiped as snakes] are Trophonios in his cave and Erechtheus in the crypt of the Erechtheion. The heroes themselves often have the form of snakes, or else the snake is their symbol ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

The dead in general are frequently depicted as snakes. Like the “hero” of alchemy, Mercurius, another ancient alchemical authority, the Agathodaimon, also has the form of a snake ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

 

In Amente, the Egyptian underworld, dwells the great seven-headed snake, and in the Christian underworld is the most celebrated snake of all, the devil, “that old serpent” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 482

Actually it is a pair of brothers that inhabit hell, namely death and the devil, the devil being characterized by the snake and death by worms. In old German the concepts of worm, snake, and dragon coalesce, as they do in Latin (vermis, serpens, draco) 482

It [the tree] is therefore a source of life. The alchemists called both the vessel and the bath the “womb.” The cloven or hollow trunk bears out this interpretation. The King’s bath is itself a matrix, the tree serving as an attribute of the latter. Often, as in the Ripley Scroll, the tree stands in the nuptial bath, either as a pillar or directly as a tree in whose branches the numen appears in the shape of a mermaid (= anima) with a snake’s tail ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 75

The analogy with the Tree of Knowledge is obvious. The Dodonian oak was the abode of an oracle, the anima here playing the role of prophetess. The snake-like Mercurius appears as a tree numen in Grimm’s fairytale of “The Spirit in the Bottle” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 75

According to Hegemonius, Jesus was the paradisal tree, indeed the Tree of Knowledge, in Manichaean tradition: “The trees which are [in paradise] are the lusts and other temptations that corrupt the thoughts of men. But that tree in paradise whereby good is known is Jesus, and the knowledge of him which is in the world: and he who receives this discerns good from evil.” Here the Tree of Knowledge is regarded as a remedy for concupiscence, though outwardly it is not to be distinguished from the other (corrupting) trees ( Acta Archelai, p. 18 ) ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 75

heriomorphic symbolism is always an indication of a psychic process occurring on an animal level, i.e., in the instinctual sphere. The dream depicts a reversed birth as the goal of a sexual act. This archetypal situation underlies the incest motif in general and was present in modern man long before any consciousness of it ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 178

The archetype of incest is also at the back of the primitive notion that the father is reborn in the son, and of the heiros gamos of mother and son in its pagan and Christian form; it signifies the highest and the lowest, the brightest and the darkest, the best and the most detestable. It represents the pattern of renewal and rebirth, the endless creation and disappearance of symbolic figures ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 1

It is the spirit of the chaotic waters of the beginning, before the second day of Creation, before the separation of the opposites and hence before the advent of consciousness. That is why it leads those whom it overcomes neither upwards nor beyond, but back into chaos. This spirit corresponds to that part of the psyche which has not been assimilated to consciousness and whose transformation and integration are the outcome of a long and wearisome opus. The artifex was, in his way, conscious enough of the dangers of the work, and for this reason his operations consisted largely of precautions whose equivalents are the rites of the Church ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 252

The alchemists understood the return to chaos as an essential part of the opus. It was the stage of the nigredo and mortificatio, which was then followed by the “purgatorial fire” and the albedo. The spirit of chaos is indispensable to the work, and it cannot be distinguished from the “gift of the Holy Ghost” any more than the Satan of the Old Testament can be distinguished from Yahweh. The unconscious is both good and evil and yet neither, the matrix of all potentialities ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 253

“Only through a medium can the transition take place,” and, “Mercurius is the medium of conjunction.” Mercurius is the soul (anima), which is the “mediator between body and spirit” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

The same is true of the synonyms for Mercurius, the green lion and the aqua permanens or spiritual water, which are likewise media of conjunction. The “Consilium coniugii” mentions as a connective agent the sweet smell or “smoky vapour,” recalling Basilides’ idea of the sweet smell of the Holy Ghost. Obviously this refers to the “spiritual” nature of Mercurius, just as the spiritual water, also called aqua aëris (aerial water or air-water), is a life principle and the “marriage maker” between man and woman ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

“The aerial water existing between earth and heaven is the life of everything. For that water dissolves the body into spirit, makes the dead to live, and brings about the marriage between man and woman” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 658

Mercurius, however, is not just the medium of conjunction but also that which is to be united, since he is the essence or “seminal matter” of both man and woman. Mercurius masculinus and Mercurius foemineus are united in and through Mercurius menstrualis, which is the “aqua” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 659

Dorn gives the “philosophical” explanation of this in his “Physica Trismegisti”: In the beginning God created one world (unus mundus). This he divided into two heaven and earth. “Beneath this spiritual and corporeal binarius lieth hid a third thing, which is the bond of holy matrimony. This same is the medium enduring until now in all things, partaking of both their extremes, without it they cannot be at all, nor they without this medium be what they are, one thing out of three”( Theatr. chem., I, p. 418 ). The division into two was necessary in order to bring the “one” world out of the state of potentiality into reality. Reality consists of a multiplicity of things. But one is not a number; the first number is two, and with it multiplicity and reality begin ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 659

It is apparent from this explanation that the desperately evasive and universal Mercurius that Proteus twinkling in a myriad shapes and colours is none other than the “unus mundus,” the original, non-differentiated unity of the world or of Being; the[agnosia] of the Gnostics, the primordial unconsciousness ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

The Mercurius of the alchemists is a personification and concretization of what we today would call the collective unconscious. While the concept of the unus mundus is a metaphysical speculation, the unconscious can be indirectly experienced via its manifestations. Though in itself an hypothesis, it has at least as great a probability as the hypothesis of the atom. It is clear from the empirical material at our disposal today that the contents of the unconscious, unlike conscious contents, are mutually contaminated to such a degree that they cannot be distinguished from one another and can therefore easily take one another’s place, as can be seen most clearly in dreams. The indistinguishableness of its contents gives one the impression that everything is connected with everything else and therefore, despite their multifarious modes of manifestation, that they are at bottom a unity ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

The only comparatively clear contents consist of motifs or types round which the individual associations congregate. As the history of the human mind shows, these archetypes are of great stability and so distinct that they allow themselves to be personified and named, even though their boundaries are blurred or cut across those of other archetypes, so that certain of their qualities can be interchanged ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

In particular, mandala symbolism shows a marked tendency to concentrate all the archetypes on a common centre, comparable to the relationship of all conscious contents to the ego. The analogy is so striking that a layman unfamiliar with this symbolism is easily misled into thinking that the mandala is an artificial product of the conscious mind. Naturally mandalas can be imitated, but this does not prove that all mandalas are imitations. They are produced spontaneously, without external influence, even by children and adults who have never come into contact with any such ideas. One might perhaps regard the mandala as a reflection of the egocentric nature of consciousness, though this view would be justified only if it could be proved that the unconscious is a secondary phenomenon. But the unconscious is undoubtedly older and more original than consciousness, and for this reason one could just as well call the egocentrism of consciousness a reflection or imitation of the “self”-centrism of the unconscious ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 660

Even if the peregrination up to this point was not an allegory of the opus alchymicum, from now on it certainly is. The opus is a “transitus,” in the Gnostic sense, a “transcension” and transformation whose subject and object is the elusive Mercurius. I will not discuss the nature of the transitus here in any great detail, as this would be the proper concern of an account of the opus itself. One aspect of the transitus, however, is the ascent and descent through the planetary spheres, and to this we must devote a few words ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

As the “Tabula smaragdina” shows, the purpose of the ascent and descent is to unite the powers of Above and Below. A feature worthy of special notice is that in the opus there is an ascent followed by a descent, whereas the probable Gnostic-Christian prototype depicts first the descent and then the ascent ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

In contrast to this, in alchemy the ascent comes first and then the descent. I would mention the ascent and descent of the soul in the Rosarium illustrations and above all the exordium in the “Tabula smaragdina,” whose authority held sway throughout the Middle Ages ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 289

There can be no doubt that the arcane substance, whether in neuter or personified form, rises from the earth, unites the opposites, and then returns to earth, thereby achieving its own transformation into the elixir ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 291

“The descent to the four and the ascent to the monad are simultaneous.” The “four” are the four elements and the monad is the original unity which reappears in the “denarius” (the number 10), the goal of the opus; it is the unity of the personality projected into the unity of the Stone. The descent is analytic, a separation into the four components of wholeness; the ascent synthetic, a putting together of the denarius ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 294

This speculation accords with the psychological fact that the confrontation of conscious and unconscious produces a dissolution of the personality and at the same time regroups it into a whole. This can be seen very clearly in moments of psychic crisis, for it is just in these moments that the symbol of unity, for instance the mandala, occurs in a dream. “Where danger is, there / Arises salvation also,” says Hölderlin ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 294

 

Nevertheless, we possess witnesses enough to the high esteem in which they held their science and to the wonderment which the mystery of matter instilled into them. For they discovered to keep to sulphur as our example in this substance, which was one of the customary attributes of hell and the devil, as well as in the poisonous, crafty, and treacherous Mercurius, an analogy with the most sacrosanct figure of their religion ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 147

They therefore imbued this arcanum with symbols intended to characterize its malicious, dangerous, and uncanny nature, choosing precisely those which in the positive sense were used for Christ in the patristic literature. These were the snake, the lion, the eagle, fire, cloud, shadow, fish, stone, the unicorn and the rhinoceros, the dragon, the night-raven, the man encompassed by a woman, the hen, water, and many others ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 147

This strange usage is explained by the fact that the majority of the patristic allegories have in addition to their positive meaning a negative one. Thus in St. Eucherius 168 the rapacious wolf “in its good part” signifies the apostle Paul, but “in its bad part” the devil ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 147

The hero set out to find his lost sister Europa, whom Zeus had carried away with him after turning himself into a bull. Cadmus, however, received the divine command to give up the search, and instead to follow a cow, with moon markings on both her sides, until she lay down, and there to found the city of Thebes ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 85

At the same time he was promised Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite as a wife. When the cow had lain down, he wanted to sacrifice her, and he sent his companions to fetch water. They found it in a grove sacred to Ares, which was guarded by a dragon, the son of Ares. The dragon killed most of the companions, and Cadmus, enraged, slew it and sowed the dragon’s teeth. Immediately armed men sprang up, who fell to fighting among themselves until only five remained. Cadmus was then given Harmonia to wife ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 85

The spitting of the snake (dragon) to the oak seems to be an addition of Philaletha’s. It represents the banishment of the dangerous daemon into the oak, a point made not only by the commentary on the Aelia inscription in Malvasius but by the fairytale of “The Spirit in the Bottle” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 85

 

The psychological meaning of the myth is clear: Cadmus has lost his sister-anima because she has flown with the supreme deity into the realm of the suprahuman and the subhuman, the unconscious. At the divine command he is not to regress to the incest situation, and for this reason he is promised a wife. His sister-anima, acting as a psychopomp in the shape of a cow (to correspond with the bull of Zeus), leads him to his destiny as a dragon-slayer, for the transition from the brother-sister relationship to an exogamous one is not so simple. But when he succeeds in this, he wins “Harmonia,” who is the dragon’s sister ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 86

The dragon is obviously “disharmony,” as the armed men sprung from its teeth prove. These kill one another off as though exemplifying the maxim of Pseudo-Democritus, “nature subdues nature,” which is nothing less than the uroboros conceptually formulated. Cadmus holds fast to Harmonia while the opposites in projected form slaughter one another. This image is a representation of the way in which a split-off conflict behaves: it is its own battle-ground ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 86

By and large this is also true of yang and yin in classical Chinese philosophy. Hand in hand with this self-contained conflict there goes an unconsciousness of the moral problem of opposites. Only with Christianity did the “metaphysical” opposites begin to percolate into man’s consciousness, and then in the form of an almost dualistic opposition that reached its zenith in Manichaeism. This heresy forced the Church to take an important step: the formulation of the doctrine of the privatio boni, by means of which she established the identity of “good” and “being.” Evil as a(something that does not exist) was laid at man’s door ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 86

This idea [of the privatio boni] together with that of original sin formed the foundation of a moral consciousness which was a novel development in human history: one half of the polarity, till then essentially metaphysical, was reduced to a psychic factor, which meant that the devil had lost the game if he could not pick on some moral weakness in man. Good, however, remained a metaphysical substance that originated with God and not with man. Original sin had corrupted a creature originally good. As interpreted by dogma, therefore, good is still wholly projected but evil only partly so, since the passions of men are its main source ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 86

Alchemical speculation continued this process of integrating metaphysical projections in so far as it began to dawn on the adept that both opposites were of a psychic nature. They expressed themselves first of all in the duplicity of Mercurius, which, however, was cancelled out in the unity of the Stone. The lapis wade concedente made by the adept and was recognized as an equivalent of the homo totus. This development was extremely important, because it was an attempt to integrate opposites that were previously projected ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 86

Thus the Rosarium says: Sublime with fire, until the spirit which thou wilt find in it [the substance] goeth forth from it, and it is named the bird or the ash of Hermes. Therefore saith Morienus: Despise not the ashes, for they are the diadem of thy heart, and the ash of things that endure ( Art. aurif., II, pp. 282f. ). In other words, the ash is the spirit that dwells in the glorified body ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 247

This bird or spirit is associated with various colours. At first the bird is black, then it grows white feathers, which finally become coloured. The Chinese cousin of the avis Hermetis, the “scarlet bird,” moults in a similar way. We are told in the treatise of Wei Po-yang: “The fluttering Chu-niao flies the five colours” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 248

Another widespread primitive idea is the snake-form of the spirits of the dead. This may well have given rise to the worm version of the phoenix myth ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

Examples [of heroes worshiped as snakes] are Trophonios in his cave and Erechtheus in the crypt of the Erechtheion. The heroes themselves often have the form of snakes, or else the snake is their symbol ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

The dead in general are frequently depicted as snakes. Like the “hero” of alchemy, Mercurius, another ancient alchemical authority, the Agathodaimon, also has the form of a snake ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 481

In Amente, the Egyptian underworld, dwells the great seven-headed snake, and in the Christian underworld is the most celebrated snake of all, the devil, “that old serpent” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 482

Actually it is a pair of brothers that inhabit hell, namely death and the devil, the devil being characterized by the snake and death by worms. In old German the concepts of worm, snake, and dragon coalesce, as they do in Latin (vermis, serpens, draco) ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 482

The underworld signifies hell and the grave. The worm or serpent is all-devouring death. The dragon-slayer is therefore always a conqueror of death. In Germanic mythology, too, hell is associated with worms. Hell in Old English is called the “worm’s hall” (wyrmsele). and in Middle High German it is the “worm-garden” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 482

 

Like the heroes and spirits of the dead, the gods too (particularly the earth-gods), are associated with the snake, as are Hermes and Asklepios. Indeed, the Greek god of healing, on being hatched from the egg, seems to have taken the form of a snake ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 483

The worm stands for the most primitive and archaic form of life from which ultimately developed the direct opposite of the earth-bound creature the bird. This pair of opposites snake and birdies classical. The eagle and serpent, the two animals of Zarathustra, symbolize the cycle of eternal return ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 483

I have drawn attention earlier to the passage in Hippolytus where the Gnostic interpretation of Psalm 24 : 7-10 is discussed. The rhetorical question of the psalm, “Who is this king of glory?” is answered in Hippolytus thus: “A worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the people. He is the king of glory, mighty in battle.” This passage, says Hippolytus, refers to Adam and his “ascension and rebirth, that he may be born spiritual, not fleshly.” The worm therefore signifies the second Adam, Christ. Epiphanius also mentions the worm as an allegory of Christ, though without substantiating it further ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 484

This is another quotation, namely from Psalm 21 : 7 (DV) . It is interesting that this psalm begins with the words: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” an indication that the transformation of the King of Glory into the least of his creatures [worms] is felt as abandonment by God. The words are the same as Matthew 27 : 46 : “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 484

As the dreamer himself remarked, the dream had a numinous quality, and this is quite understandable in view of its meaning: it repeats the miracle of the phoenix, of transformation and rebirth (the transformation of the nigredo into the albedo, of unconsciousness into “illumination”) as described in the verses from the Rosarium philosophorum: ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 82

This split in the masculine psyche and the regular darkening of the moon in woman together explain the remarkable fact that the woman is accused of all the darkness in a man, while he himself basks in the thought that he is a veritable fount of vitality and illumination for all the females in his environment. Actually, he would be better advised to shroud the brilliance of his mind in the profoundest doubt. It is not difficult for this type of mind (which besides other things is a great trickster like Mercurius) to admit a host of sins in the most convincing way, and even to combine it with a spurious feeling of ethical superiority without in the least approximating to a genuine insight. This can never be achieved without the participation of feeling; but the intellect admits feeling only when it is convenient ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 332

The novilunium of woman is a source of countless disappointments for man which easily turn to bitterness, though they could equally well be a source of wisdom if they were understood. Naturally this is possible only if he is prepared to acknowledge his black sun [Sol niger], that is, his shadow ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 332

Even if the peregrination up to this point was not an allegory of the opus alchymicum, from now on it certainly is. The opus is a “transitus,” in the Gnostic sense, a “transcension” and transformation whose subject and object is the elusive Mercurius. I will not discuss the nature of the transitus here in any great detail, as this would be the proper concern of an account of the opus itself. One aspect of the transitus, however, is the ascent and descent through the planetary spheres, and to this we must devote a few words ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

As the “Tabula smaragdina” shows, the purpose of the ascent and descent is to unite the powers of Above and Below. A feature worthy of special notice is that in the opus there is an ascent followed by a descent, whereas the probable Gnostic-Christian prototype depicts first the descent and then the ascent ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

In contrast to this, in alchemy the ascent comes first and then the descent. I would mention the ascent and descent of the soul in the Rosarium illustrations and above all the exordium in the “Tabula smaragdina,” whose authority held sway throughout the Middle Ages CW14 ¶ 289

There can be no doubt that the arcane substance, whether in neuter or personified form, rises from the earth, unites the opposites, and then returns to earth, thereby achieving its own transformation into the elixir ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 291

“The descent to the four and the ascent to the monad are simultaneous.” The “four” are the four elements and the monad is the original unity which reappears in the “denarius” (the number 10), the goal of the opus; it is the unity of the personality projected into the unity of the Stone. The descent is analytic, a separation into the four components of wholeness; the ascent synthetic, a putting together of the denarius ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 294

Even if the peregrination up to this point was not an allegory of the opus alchymicum, from now on it certainly is. The opus is a “transitus,” in the Gnostic sense, a “transcension” and transformation whose subject and object is the elusive Mercurius. I will not discuss the nature of the transitus here in any great detail, as this would be the proper concern of an account of the opus itself. One aspect of the transitus, however, is the ascent and descent through the planetary spheres, and to this we must devote a few words ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

As the “Tabula smaragdina” shows, the purpose of the ascent and descent is to unite the powers of Above and Below. A feature worthy of special notice is that in the opus there is an ascent followed by a descent, whereas the probable Gnostic-Christian prototype depicts first the descent and then the ascent ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 288

In contrast to this, in alchemy the ascent comes first and then the descent. I would mention the ascent and descent of the soul in the Rosarium illustrations and above all the exordium in the “Tabula smaragdina,” whose authority held sway throughout the Middle Ages ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 289

There can be no doubt that the arcane substance, whether in neuter or personified form, rises from the earth, unites the opposites, and then returns to earth, thereby achieving its own transformation into the elixir ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 291

“The descent to the four and the ascent to the monad are simultaneous.” The “four” are the four elements and the monad is the original unity which reappears in the “denarius” (the number 10), the goal of the opus; it is the unity of the personality projected into the unity of the Stone. The descent is analytic, a separation into the four components of wholeness; the ascent synthetic, a putting together of the denarius ~Carl Jung, CW14, Para 294

 

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