Symbolic Life

The drama of Faust has its primary sources in alchemy; these are on the one hand dreams, visions, and parables, on the other, personal and biographical notes regarding the Great Opus.

One of the latest and most perfect examples of this sort is the Chymische Hochzeit of Christian Rosencreutz (1616), actually written by Johann Valentin Andreae ( 1586—1634) , a theologian of Wurttemberg who was also the author of Turbo (1616), a comedy written in Latin.- The hero of this play is a learned know-it-all who, disillusioned with the sciences, finally returns to Christianity.

The Chymische Hochzeit represents the opus Alchymicum under the aspect of the hierosgamos of brother and sister (Venus gives birth to a hermaphrodite). But these things are only hinted at in veiled terms.

Because the royal children are still too infantile (identification with the parents, incest with the mother ), they are slain, purified, and put together again, by being subjected to every alchemical procedure.

To be restituted, the bridal pair is taken over the sea, and a kind of Aegean festival is celebrated with nymphs and sea-goddesses and a paean to love is sung. Rosencreutz is revealed as the father of the young king or, respectively, the royal couple.

Alchemy had long known that the mystery of transformation applies not only to chemical materials but to man as well.

The central figure is Mercurius, to whom I have devoted a special study.

He is a chthonic spirit, related to Wotan and the Devil.

Faust is introduced like Job, but it is not he who suffers; it is others who suffer through him, and even the Devil is not left unscathed. Mercurius enters in the shape of Mephistopheles (Devil and Satan), as a dog to begin with, son of Chaos, and fire (alch. filius cards, arises out of chaos, natura ignea). He becomes the servant of Faust (familaris, servus fugitivus) . Mephisto has two ravens (cf. Wotan).

He is the “northern phantom”‘ and has his “pleasure-ground” in the “north-west.”

The axiom of Maria (3 + I ) pervades the whole work (4 main phases, 4 thieves, 4 ( — 1 ) grey women, 4 elements, Pluto’s four-inhand team of horses, 3 + 1 boys, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 in the witches’ tables, 3-4, 7-8 Kabiri, “Three and one and one and three,” etc.).

Mephisto brings about the projection onto the anima with its tragic end (child murder).

There follows the suppression of Eros by the power drive (Walpurgisnacht = overpowering by the shadow). In the fire magic and the gold swindle there appears the Boy Charioteer, a Mercurius juvenis, on the one hand hermaphrodite like his preform, the Devil, a kyllenios, and on the other an analogy to Christ and the Holy Spirit ; at the same time he brings the wild host ( Wotan!).

The underworld tripod embodies the feminine chthonic trinity (Diana, Luna, Hecate, and Phorkyads).

It corresponds to the vas hermeticum (and the early Christian communion table of the catacombs with 3 loaves and 1 fish).

The Tripus Aureus of alchemy is the one that Hephaestus cast into the sea.

Faust falls into a faint when he tries to possess Helen.

This is the beginning of Phase II, and the second upsurge of Eros. Faust is again rejuvenated (as in Phase I) as the Baccalaureus; the Devil, however, is “old.”

The Homunculus corresponds to the Boy Charioteer.

His father is Wagner (Rosencreutz) ; his cousin is the Devil, hence Mercurius in a younger shape.

Faust is taken to the classic “world of fable” (collective unconscious) for “healing.”

The “water” heals (aqua permanens, mare nostrum).

From it emerges the mountain (rebirth of the personality, alch. arising of the terra firma out of the sea).

The Aegean Festival is the hierosgamos of Homunculus and Galatea (both are “stones brought to life”) in the sea.

Touching the tripod with the key and the hierosgamos prefigure the “chymical” marriage of Faust to Helen, the sister anima.

Their child Euphorion is the third renewal form of Mercurius.

Phase III ends with the death of Euphorion, and once again the next and last phase begins with the power drive.

The devout Philemon and Baucis are murdered. After Faust’s death the Devil is cheated.

The conflict goes on.

Faust’s place is taken by his “entelechy,” the puer aeternus, who never can realize his united double nature because Faust is always the victim of whatever his shape may be at the time.

He loses himself in smatterings of knowledge, in autoerotic Eros, in magic and deception, in the delusion of being a demigod (Helena), and finally in the inflation of thinking himself the saviour of the whole world.

He is always blind about himself, does not know what he is doing, and lacks both responsibility and humour.

But the Devil knows who he himself is; he does not lie to himself, he has humour and the small kind of love (insects), all of which Faust lacks.

The shadow cannot be redeemed unless consciousness acknowledges it as a part of its own self—that is, understands its compensatory significance.

The “blessed boy” is therefore only a representation of a prenatal state that in no way throws light on what the experience of earthly life was really for.

Dr. Marianus is the “son of the mother.”

A possible parallel might be an eighth-century alchemist, Morienes, Morienus, Marianus, who was one of the most spiritual of all alchemists and understood the opus as a human transformation system. He says: “Temporum quidem longa mutatio hominem sub tempore constitutum confundit et mutat . . . ultimam autem mutationem mors dira subsequitur.” ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 747-750