Remo F. Roth

Dr. oec. publ., Ph.D.

dipl. analyt. Psychologe (M.-L. v. Franz)




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With many thanks to Gregory Sova, Ph.D. and Patricia Sova (LA, CA) for translation assistance

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The Archetype of the Holy Wedding

 in Alchemy and in the Unconscious of Modern Man

(Part 5)

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3. The Alchemical Rosarium Philosophorum


3.6 The Holy Wedding or conjunction (coniunctio)  

But let us first go back to the alchemical text Rosarium philosophorum. The next image (see picture on the left; 5th picture of Jung’s essay) illustrates the coniunctio of the king and the queen in the true meaning of the word, which is, for the eyes of a Middle Age’s human, portrayed in an extremely crass manner. In the accompanying text, the comparison with a pairing of dog and bitch is drawn, through which the “son of a bitch” is produced. At the same time, however, the process and its result are described as a miracle out of which the “new light” is engendered that “outshines sun and moon”[1]. This son of a bitch that eclipses everything will then guard the humans “in this world and in the next”[2]. According to Jung the coniunctio and its result, the archetypal child, “restores the vanished ‘man of light’”[3], who existed before all creation, the so-called Anthropos or primal man. This man that existed before the Genesis belongs, as we will see, to the world of the so-called unus mundus. Thus, as also Jung concludes[4], the creation of the bitch’s son indicates a mystery of creation and incarnation of cosmic proportions. In contrast to the common belief it begins, however, not in Heaven, but in stercore, in the dirt.  

Obviously, this stage of the alchemical opus reminds us of the above mentioned sexual promiscuity lived so intensely since the sixties’ revolution of the last century. It seems therefore that today the deeper process of the divine coniunctio is very much constellated and that its observation by more and more people in their own inside becomes very important for the development of a new zeitgeist.  

Apparently, Jung is overwhelmed by the grandeur and unfathomable nature of the cosmic myth. Therefore, he admits in his commentary on the Rosarium, published in 1946, that he does not know what the coniunctio represents here, and what its product, the infans solaris, could mean. As I have shown in my German essay Der Pauli/Jung-Briefwechsel[5], one of the main reasons for this failure is the fact, also mentioned above, that the depth psychologist was not yet able to see that besides the (Logos) Self postulated by him, there exists also the Eros Self, and that the alchemical coniunctio was the first hunch of a unification of these two principles, so intensely constellated today. However, as he defines the center of the collective unconscious, the Self, as unipolar, he interprets the coniunctio as the union of the consciousness with the Self. It is obvious that like this the Holy Wedding, the union of the Logos Self with the Eros Self, hidden in the deepest realms of the unconscious, cannot be observed.  

We are therefore not surprised that even seven years later, in 1953, Carl Jung, now at the age of almost 78, writes to the physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Wolfgang Pauli[6]: 

"The problem of the coniunctio must be kept for the future, it is more than I can cope with…“.  

However, as a short article in the Swiss weekly newspaper Die Weltwoche (Nr. 1078) from July 9, 1954 indicates, in exactly these years he became intensely involved with the UFO phenomenon. In his UFO essay Ein moderner Mythus (1957) [Flying Saucers[7]], he will guess four years after his confession to Pauli (in the year 1957) that this phenomenon “represents the projected – that is, concretized – symbolism of the individuation process.”[8]. I mention this connection as in the Body-Centered Imagination that follows below [see Chapters 7 to 10], in exactly the moment when the divine coniunctio happens, a UFO appears. Thus, these facts point out that the alchemical creation and incarnation of the infans solaris or the extraction of the red tincture and today’s UFO phenomena with great probability belong together (see also The UFO and the Subtle Body).  

That with this child as the result of the coniunctio something quite different than the product of human sexuality is meant, shows us the continuation of the Rosarium. After the conception a death-like state takes place that is described in the text as follows: "Corruptio unius generatio est alterius"[9] (the destruction of the one is the production of another). As a consequence, the surprising result of the royal wedding is now compared to the vegetative reproduction, wherein the seed is buried into the earth where it first dies and only then awakes to new life.  

This detail is very essential for the translation of the symbolic language of the alchemical myth into a modern language. Namely, it shows that in exactly the moment of the sexual union a change from the animal or human to the vegetative level happens. It obviously means that now a vegetative renewal of life occurs. In this manner there is also a connection to the sympathetic nervous system – in German it is called the vegetative nervous system – as well as to the chakra system of Tantrism. The chakras belong on the one hand to so-called plexi, i.e., nerve nodes of the autonomous system – the sthula or gross body aspect – , on the other to the so-called suksma, their subtle body or matter-psyche aspect. (See figure on the right[10]).  

As we will see, it is this subtle body aspect of the chakra system, the suksma, that is equivalent to the alchemical hexagonally arranged flowers, the archetypal child as the fourth and the seal of Solomon.

I have previously mentioned that in the concepts of the alchemists the Rosarium philosophorum symbolized a process that can occur both in the microcosm, i.e., in the human body, as well as in the macrocosm, in the universe. A further idea, which for us who are educated in a scientific worldview is very difficult to imagine, is the concept that the microcosmic process can under circumstances lead into a transmutation in the macrocosm. This means nothing less than that the introverted work of one human can “effect” a change of the world for the better. We know, for example, that this microcosmos/macrocosmos identity in specific moments happened in the Swiss saint Nicholas von Flue (see The Wheel Image of Nicholas von Flue...).  

According to the alchemical viewpoint, also macrocosmic changes affect the microcosm. In a letter from August 12, 1954 to Wolfgang Pauli Carl Jung exemplified such a process in our modern times. He guessed a connection between the explosion of the atomic bomb and the more and more visible tendencies in modern man to become a hollow man[11] in terms of his individuality and individuation drive and to let himself become a mass particle (group sex!). The fact that more and more modern people suffer from aggressive sexual fantasies that appear to force them into the individuation process (or into an illness), seems to me to indicate that like this – for the moment however only unconsciously – a compensation to this mass behavior has begun to be initialized. In stercore invenitur... – in the dirt we will find it (the lapis).  

[proofread GJS, 4/22/05]

[1] CW 16

[2] CW 16

[3] CW 16

[4] CW 16

[5] Der Pauli-Jung-Briefwechsel, Ein Dokument des ungelösten psychophysischen Problems des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Pauli/Jung Letters, A Document of the Unsolved Psychophysical Problem of the 20th Century)

[6] Atom and Archetype, p. 101

[7] CW  10

[8] Atom and Archetype, p. 166; last letter of Jung to Pauli; see also CW 10, §§ 589. We will see later, that the UFO phenomenology is not a projection, as Jung guessed, but a real creation and incarnation myth however only perceivable with the help of the Eros consciousness.

[9] CW 16

[10] Motoyama, H., Brown, R.: Chakra-Physiologie, Freiburg i. Br., 1980, p. 123

[11] The similarity with the contents of the film The Hollow Man is intended.

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