Remo F. Roth

Dr. oec. publ., Ph.D.

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




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© 2005 by Pro Litteris, Zurich, Switzerland and Remo F. Roth, Horgen-Zurich. All Rights Reserved. Republication and redissemination of the contents of this screen or any part of this website are expressly prohibited without prior written consent. This book is intended for private use only, and is copyrighted under existing Internet copyright laws and regulations.

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 6)

back to part 5

3. The Alchemical Rosarium Philosophorum

3.7 The  death of the body and the creation of the spirit-psyche


Let us, however, once again return to the text from the Middle Ages. As the next picture shows (see image on the left; 6th image of Jung’s essay), the king and the queen unite and thus become one body with two heads. As we can clearly see, this hermaphrodite – Hermes-Mercurius united with Aphrodite-Venus – , because of his two heads along with the two arms and two legs again corresponds to the number 6 – here now characterized as a double-triad. It depicts a sort of an intermediate product of the union, as it contains indeed the androgynous attribute of the infans solaris, i.e., it is double-gendered, but has not yet come to life. In other words, this product of the coniunctio is still a potential new creation. For the incarnation and the revival of this double-triadic hermaphrodite, yet a further operation is needed. I will show in the following sections that in it man as a co-creator plays a great role.

As in real death the soul leaves the body and ascends to heaven as is illustrated in the next picture (see picture on the right; 7th image of Jung's essay). For mankind in the Middle Ages, such a symbolism could only mean that the soul unites with the divine spirit. In the alchemical opus of Gerardus Dorneus, a student of Paracelsus, this process is described as the so-called unio mentalis[1]. Spirit and soul unify, and the body dies.

As I have shown in The Return of the World Soul [2], Wolfgang Pauli first saw that Medieval and Renaissance alchemy was split into two different branches, the Neoplatonic and the Hermetic. The latter we will deal with in the next chapter. The first, Neoplatonic alchemy, occupied with the liberation and release of the spirit out of matter. In this philosophy very much influenced by Christianity, matter was thought of as being evil, spirit as good. Thus, when the good spirit was released from evil matter, the opus was finished. The result was what I will call the spirit-psyche or the spirit-soul.

In a modern language, Carl Jung interprets this phase as his Active Imagination[3]. As the symbolic language shows, herein lays the specific danger of this method. It can in fact lead in a concrete way to the killing of the body, be it through serious physical illness, or in early physical death.

Carl Jung, who was familiar with this danger and discussed it with his students, to my knowledge does not deal with this problem in his work. However he mentions in his interpretation of the Rosarium that in the case of a lack of consciousness about the necessity of the application of imaginative techniques, a sudden unexpected abaissement du niveau mental – “a slackening of the tensity of consciousness[4] – can happen.

His intuition was partly right, insofar as the phenomenon appears less in the Active Imagination of intellectual Jungians, but in a much more collective way. Namely, we know today that during the UFO sightings and the so-called abductions, the kidnapping into a UFO stationed in the sky, such an unconscious descent into the unconscious (or more precisely: into the psychophysical reality) occurs, in which physical space and time “dissolve” – as does the king in the womb of the queen in Hermetic alchemy...! This is why in such moments physically impossible distances can be covered and incredible leaps in time are possible (see A New Melody, a New Genesis and UFO Abduction Seen from Wolfgang Pauli’s and Carl G. Jung’s Psychophysical Reality Hypothesis).

These short remarks – I will explain them in more details later – show that at this point in the alchemical opus a really new process begins. As I have already mentioned, Carl Jung was however not yet able to understand this process of the coniunctio, the second phase of Gerardus Dorneus’ opus, the so-called unio corporalis. When translated into a modern language with the help of depth psychological and quantum physical terms, it is, as we will see, the real challenge of the 21st century.

Thus, the depth psychologist does not find a way other than postulating that this process "defies our powers of scientific description[5] and that this is the point where the “mystery” starts. As that which is not yet born equates to potential future life (symbolically represented as the child archetype), Carl Jung calls this process “the birth of the ‘divine child’”. Such a symbolic birth will immediately follow in the continuation of the Rosarium, too. Thus, we will deal with it in the next section and try to understand, what it means in a modern language.

[proofread GJS, 4/22/05]

[1] CW 14

[3] CW 14, §§ 705-7

[4] CW 9/I

[5] CW 16

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