The Mandala Herr Roth hat Frau Weiss geheiratet ("Mr. Red has married Mrs. White") was painted while I was in a very deep life crisis in 1974. It is composed of 9 x 11 (!) red and 9 x 11 white elements plus the empty center. For me it is a symbol of the union of the opposites and of the unus mundus (Carl Jung) or of the unified psychophysical reality (Wolfgang Pauli) out of which a new creation is born. I was very shocked when I realized that it contains the symbolism of 9/11...! In my interpretation it symbolizes a positive compensation to that event.

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 (Weeds, CA, USA) for translation assistance

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The Archetype of the Holy Wedding

 in Alchemy and in the Unconscious of Modern Man

(Part 11)

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4. “Rend the books lest your hearts be rent asunder” —Gerardus Dorneus’ unio corporalis and the matter-psyche as the shadow of the Self


4.4 Carl Jung’s divine/human double quaternity versus the Eros Self and the matter-psyche

 4.4.1 The depth psychologist’s Neoplatonic interpretation of the unio corporalis and the repression of conscious suffering

When we go on reading about the monocolus or uniped in the Mysterium Coniunctionis we are amazed that Carl Jung does not follow this Hermetic interpretation of the unio corporalis – the death of the Logos king as the necessary condition of a further development – anymore, but returns to the Neoplatonic of the unio mentalis. He writes literally[1]:  

“From all this it appears that our picture [of the monocolus] represents the union of the spirit with material reality. [emphasis mine]  

This conclusion summarizes the discussion of the 7th picture presented above (see section 4.3.2). Carl Jung’s interpretation begins in § 724, and in § 725 he states already: “This picture represents the union of the monocolus with the earth (the body).”  

This Holy Wedding has dramatic effects. The king in former times brightly golden and dressed in a safran-yellow robe “has now become totally black – the sol niger” (§ 725). Thus, he is labelled as the “black Osiris or Ethiopian, and also [as] the ‘Moor’” (§ 730). The head of this black Osiris is „boiled in a pot“ (§ 730). For this reason the royal personages have to be decapitated (§ 730). This headlessness suits very well to the circumstance that the monocolus as well as Osiris as a general rule are represented ithyphallically (§ 726) [as also Hermes; see figure on the left[2]] and in the Christian interpretation therefore compared with the devil (§ 726). Of course this figure is not the Christian devil, but close to the cosmic God Pan (see figure on the right: Pan with Aphrodite and -- Eros).  

This state of blackness in which “the sun is surrounded by the anima media natura [the world soul] Carl Jung interprets as “a state of incubation and pregnancy” (§ 729). Thus we are very astonished by the subsequent remark that the beheading is “an emancipation of the ‘cogitatio’ [cognition] which is situated in the head” (§ 730), which is in modern terms obviously the conscious development of the thinking function. Like this the decapitation becomes “significant symbolically as the separation of the ‘understanding’ from the ‘great suffering and grief’” (§ 730). Therefore, it seems that conscious suffering is substituted by thinking, a procedure which is “a freeing of the soul from the ‘trammels of nature’” (§ 730)! This “sublimation” of the suffering into thinking is then, after the depth psychologist, the “unio mentalis ‘in the overcoming of the body’” (§ 730) [“in superatione corporis” in the German original].  

Such a translation of the alchemical procedure of the beheading into a modern language – the “extraction” of the thinking function, and thus the interpretation of the process as the unio mentalis – is very amazing, above all also since the alchemical procedure serves the creation of the rotundum, the “round man” (§ 731), the Anthropos or God-man, the very last goal of the opus. Four years before, in his work AION, Carl Jung had however equated the Anthropos and the rotundum with the world soul[3]. What the thinking function of consciousness should have to do with the principle of universal animation is more than obscure, and also the circumstance that magical practices are necessary to complete the task successfully (§ 731) does not suit to the rational thinking function. Further, the development of the thinking function is not really encouraged by another necessary procedure, in which the brain is darkened “with very strong vinegar, or with the boy’s urine” (§ 733).  

The depth psychologist interprets like this the alchemical magical procedure of the production of the so-called caput corvi, the Raven’s Head (§ 729). Though it represents on the one hand the human head (§ 731), it is on the other equivalent to the head of the  black Osiris (§ 730) or Ethiopian, and thus to the black sun, i.e., the eclipse of sun and moon in the unio corporalis (see above). Since it is round, this black head belongs to the Anthropos and thus to the world soul, and not as Carl Jung proposes, to the conscious sensation function, the five senses to be developed (§ 732). In a psychological language the head of Osiris belongs therefore to a “darkening of thinking”, the latter necessary for the transformation of the Logos ego into the Eros ego I suggest. In this state it is possible to open “the other window”, the (deeply introverted) vegetative sensation (Definition see in section 5.4.3)  which is able to have a look out of the fenestra aeternitatis or to sensate the spiraculum aeternitatis, i.e. make it possible to learn to relate to the unus mundus[4] (see picture on the right).  

In my estimation of Carl Jung’s work the above conclusions are the absolutely decisive ones. In them the depth psychologist replaces the “great suffering and grief” by thinking and extraverted sensation and regresses like this back into the unio mentalis, i.e., Active Imagination. This is the reason why he cannot advance to the unio corporalis, in which thinking is consciously suppressed for the purpose of the conscious suffering. In fact, what he proposes is a repression of the (inferior) feeling function – exactly the contrary he demands for the creation of the wholeness of the quaternarian consciousness.  

On the contrary, in my opinion, in exactly this moment, the thinking type – and in fact any type – is not allowed to “sublimate” the suffering and to repress the negative feelings by transforming them with the help of Active Imagination into a cognition. No “creation by cognition”[5] is announced here, but a “creation by observation,”[6] in which the imaginating consciousness just observes in a state of the Wu Wei, the active passiveness, what happens in its inside and in the body.  

The reader may decide for themselves what to think – or better feel – about my above statement. It is a conclusion that comes from the background of my own and also from the experiences with my patients. Therefore, I for my part am convinced that the depth psychologist’s interpretation of the monocolus as the thinking function to be developed is inadmissible. In this moment of the transition from the unio mentalis to the unio corporalis the further development of the conscious spirit-psyche, and thus Carl Jung’s interpretation of the monocolus, the “uniped” is out of place. The ithyphallic Osiris and the dying king of Hermetic alchemy, the vegetative god of the underworld belonging to the sol niger, the obscured Logos principle we have much more to compare with Purusha, the Hindu god of creation – living in the heart of the humans – , dismembered for the goal of a new creation. It is the Anthropos or the world soul who initiates by their suffering a vegetative creation and incarnation process not based on the spirit-psychic background and producing new ideas, but on the intermediate realm of the matter-psyche, of the world soul in the macrocosmic and the body soul in the microcosmic case. By such a co-suffering of the introverted consciousness with the dying god, with Osiris or Purusha, and also with the dying nature of today, an introverted creation by observation – compensatory to the creation by cognition of depth psychology as well as of science – is possible, which could perhaps compensate the threatening danger of the total destruction of nature and of mankind in the anticipated apocalypse of the near future.  


4.4.2 The coniunctio in the Christian Heaven  

In section 4.1 I have demonstrated that the falling dew of the Rosarium corresponds to the above process. The psyche abandons the spirit, and the latter dies. For Carl Jung, however, it is the spirit and not the “spiritualized” psyche coming down from heaven that unifies with the “earth” or matter. The depth psychologist’s spirit is what I call the spirit-psyche, the product of the first coniunctio or unio mentalis, the Logos principle seated in Heaven. We can therefore conclude that in his interpretation of the unio corporalis or the second coniunctio, the god remains in the realm of Heaven. Like this, the king of Logos neither enters the grave, the womb of the queen[7] – he does not die. In Carl Jung’s interpretation, there is thus no continuation of the sexual myth of the Rosarium with a vegetative opus necessary for the creation of the lily, the Seal of Solomon, the red tincture, the infans solaris – shortly: the quintessence.  

As a logical consequence the depth psychologist continues as follows[8]:  

“It is not the common gold that enters into combination but the spirit of the gold, only the right half of the king, so to speak. The queen is a sulphur, like him an extract or spirit of earth or water, and therefore a chthonic spirit. The ‘male’ spirit corresponds to Dorn’s substancia coelestis, that is, to knowledge of the inner light – the self or imago Dei which is here united with its chthonic counterpart, the feminine spirit of the unconscious.” [emphasis mine]  

Shortly before, the queen was still the “material reality”, but now, in these decisive sentences, she mutates into “a chthonic spirit” or “the feminine spirit of the unconscious.” Therefore, the wedding happens in the realm of the spirit, in Heaven, and not in the intermediary realm between Heaven and earth, between spirit and matter, of Robert Fludd and Gerardus Dorneus!  

The logical conclusion of such a marriage neither instinctive nor vegetative, but happening in the virginal realm of the pure spirit, is of course that the real feminine principle, the matter-psyche, the “chthonic Trinity” (Wolfgang Pauli)[9], the “anima vegetativa, the ‘ligament’ of body and spirit” (Jung), the threefold goddess of the Greek underworld – Demeter, Persephone and Hekate – or the tripartite goddess of the Celts, i.e., the lower triangle of the Seal of Solomon, is excluded.  


4.4.3 The Holy Wedding as the relationship of the Anima with the Self and of the ego with the Anima  

Therefore, Carl Jung continues his interpretation of the unio corporalis as follows[10]:

“Empirically [the feminine spirit of the unconscious] is personified in the psychological anima figure, who is not to be confused with the ‘anima’ of our mediaeval philosophers, which was merely a philosophical anima vegetativa, the ‘ligament’ of body and spirit. It is, rather, the alchemical queen who corresponds to the psychological anima.” [emphasis mine] 

As we have seen, the alchemical figure of the queen or goddess is on a par with the king or the god; they are equivalent. Today we would say that the queen is emancipated. But in Jung’s world view the goddess is now discriminated against by the god; the god is of a higher value than the goddess. The latter becomes the Anima, the mediator between the ego and the Self, somehow settled in an intermediate region between the (Logos) consciousness and the depth psychologist’s God-image, the (Logos) Self, and not in the intermediary realm between the principle of the spirit and the opposite principle of matter.  

One would now assume that this extension of the God-image is the goal of Carl Jung’s interpretation of the unio corporalis. Therefore it is very astonishing that he continues now as follows[11]:  

“Accordingly, the coniunctio [the unio corporalis] appears here as the union of a consciousness (spirit), differentiated by self-knowledge, with a spirit abstracted from previously unconscious contents. One could also regard the latter as a quintessence of fantasy-images that enter consciousness either spontaneously or through active imagination and, in their totality, represent a moral or intellectual viewpoint contrasting with, or compensating, that of consciousness. To begin with, however, these images are anything but ‘moral’ or ‘intellectual’; they are more or less concrete visualizations that first have to be interpreted.” [emphasis mine] 

It is obvious that “the consciousness differentiated by self-knowledge” is the result of Active Imagination, since it is, as we have seen above, exactly this imagination method that helps to differentiate the consciousness into the quaternity of the four functions thinking, intuition, sensation and feeling and to integrate the personal shadow. The “spirit abstracted from previously unconscious contents” seems to be the Anima, defined by Jung as the chthonic spirit. Therefore, the God-image is now replaced by the quaternarian consciousness and its relationship with the Anima. The tool for this relationship is again Active Imagination.  

Like this we can conclude that the unio corporalis, the phase in which the dying god comes down and the goddess arises for their meeting in the middle, in the intermediary realm of the unus mundus, mutates in Carl Jung’s view on the one hand into the union of the Self with the Anima, on the other into the union of the Anima with the ego. The structure of this idea is however nothing else than the double quaternity proposed by the depth psychologist: The differentiated consciousness is build as a (3+1) structure, since the inferior function is somehow outside, not controllable and thus the connection to the Anima. The Self on the other hand is also defined as a (3+1) structure, i.e., Carl Jung’s God-image of the Christian Trinity extended by the addition of the Anima.  

If we believe in the depth psychologist’s interpretation, the “previously unconscious contents” are “the quintessence of fantasy-images.” This “quintessence” – as an image not belonging to the spirit-psyche in Heaven but being very close to the instincts and the human body – does however, in Carl Jung’s view, not have any worth in itself; on the contrary it seems to be “anything than ‘moral’ or ‘intellectual’”, and thus has first to be interpreted, i.e., transformed into a meaningful verbal language. It is exactly this process I described as the creation by cognition.  

Further, since the goal is a moral and intellectual insight, it is obvious that again the thinking function is needed to reach this goal. Thus, we are back to the problem of Active Imagination we discussed above: Carl Jung’s main conscious function is the most important tool for doing the imagination method proposed by him.  

But how about the fact that perhaps three quarters of mankind are not of this typology. Do they not rape themselves by trying to do Active Imagination? Is it not possible that the “visualizations” Carl Jung mentions, could have, in contrast to the Neoplatonic prejudice, a great value in themselves? Could it be that these inner images mostly experienced much more corporeal than dreams, are a creation and incarnation in themselves and need not necessarily be intellectually interpreted? Could these spontaneous images not be a product of the unio corporalis of the world soul with the seeds of the dead Heavenly king happening in the intermediary realm of the unus mundus? Could the quintessence not be what I call a “unique inner quantum leap” we have only to observe and not to interpret – the previously referred to creation by observation – and help like this an incarnation of “new life” in our space and time bound world? Are these “inner radioactive decays” perhaps incarnations out of the unus mundus[12] the Medieval alchemists experienced as a so-called creatio continua, compensatory to the creatio ex nihilo[13]. Thus, could such spontaneous incarnations possible at any time and observed by a human being, be a compensation to the unique creation of the world symbolically described in Genesis and interpreted by science as what Carl Jung called the “cheerless clockwork fantasy"[14]? Could perhaps God’s “unique big bang” be followed by other ones out of the unus mundus, the potential world before Genesis, observed by specific human beings. Could such a hypothetical procedure perhaps be the modern variant of Isaak Luria’s tikkun, Carl Jung was so fascinated with[15]?

[proofread GJS, 11/18/05]


part 12

[1] CW 14, § 736

[2] CW 12, figure 63

[3] see below and CW 9/II

[4] see Marie-Louise von Franz, Number and Time

[7] We have seen in section 3.6 and 3.8 that in this moment the process transforms from human/animal sexuality into a vegetative myth.

[8] CW 14, § 736

[9] See correspondence between Wolfgang Pauli and Aniela Jaffé, e.g., letter [1137] of June 28, 1950, in: Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, Vol. 4/I, p. 136 and the following letters to A. Jaffé.

[10] CW 14, § 736

[11] CW 14, § 736

[12] The Medieval unus mundus is defined as the potential world before the creation of the Genesis. Thus out of it new creation at any time is possible.

[13] for the explanation of these two terms see The Return of the World Soul, Chapter 5: The Seal of Solomon and the unsolved problem of psyche's complementary incarnation,, section 5.4.2

[14] MDR, p. 285

[15] see section 4.3.2

English Homepage Remo F. Roth



The Mandala Herr Roth hat Frau Weiss geheiratet ("Mr. Red has married Mrs. White") was painted while I was in a very deep life crisis in 1974. It is composed of 9 x 11 (!) red and 9 x 11 white elements plus the empty center. For me it is a symbol of the union of the opposites and of the unus mundus (Carl Jung) or of the unified psychophysical reality (Wolfgang Pauli) out of which a new creation is born. I was very shocked when I realized that it contains the symbolism of 9/11...! In my interpretation it symbolizes a positive compensation to that event.