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 12)

back to part 11

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

4.4.4 Carl Jung’s regressive mergence of the unio corporalis with the unio mentalis and the matter-psyche’s principle as the way out

A very interesting aspect of the above quote (see section 4.4.3) is the fact that it is a spiritual principle, the differentiated ego, that meets another spiritual principle, the yet unconscious Self. In the interpretation of Carl Jung the unio corporalis means thus that a conscious spirit-psyche, the (Logos) ego, “integrates”, with the help of the feminine spirit-psyche, parts of the collective unconscious spirit-psyche, the (Logos) Self. This is of course again a Neoplatonic concept, in which the body is neglected.

The completely spiritual aspect of Carl Jung’s interpretation of the unio corporalis shows especially when he compares it with the unio mentalis. I will demonstrate this with the help of the following longer quote. It is taken from the section The Content and Meaning of the First two Stages, and we realize that already the title of this section shows that the depth psychologist does not really distinguish between the two different phases of Dorneus’ opus[1]:

“[The alchemists] ‘spirit’ was their own belief in the light – a spirit which drew the soul to itself from its imprisonment in the body; but the soul brought with it the darkness of the chthonic spirit, the unconscious. The separation was so important because the dark deeds of the soul had to be checked. The unio mentalis signified, therefore, an extension of consciousness and the governance of the soul’s motions by the spirit of truth. But since the soul made the body to live and was the principle of all realization, the philosophers could not but see that after the separation the body and its world were dead. They therefore called this state the grave, corruption, mortification, and so on, and the problem then arose of reanimation, that is, of reuniting the soul with the ‘inanimate’ body.”

As we have seen in section 3.7, in the first coniunctio the body dies. Thus, the question is about the way the integration and revitalization of the body, the unio corporalis, arises. Jung answers it as follows[2]:

“This raised the question of the way in which the coniunctio could be effected. Dorn answered this by proposing, instead of an overcoming of the body, the typical alchemical process of the separatio, solutio, incineratio, sublimatio, etc. of the red or white wine, the purpose of this procedure being to produce a physical equivalent of the substancia coelestis, recognized by the spirit as the truth and as the image of God innate in man.” [emphasis mine]

The substancia coelestis is an invention of Dorneus and equivalent to the caelum, the Heaven[3]. It is the product of the unio mentalis, and Jung translates its meaning with “the truth”[4], recognized by the spirit. The method for its “production” is Active Imagination[5]. It is the God-image in the meaning of Carl Jung, spiritual indeed, but extended by the addition of the feminine spirit, the Anima; it is the inner God-image  equivalent to the Self[6], the quaternity structured in the asymmetry of 3 + 1.

The caelum, the Heaven, the product of the unio mentalis does however not revitalize the body. It is thus necessary to produce a physical equivalent of the substancia coelestis. The depth psychologist tells us that he had already written about this substancia coelestis in his book Psychology and Alchemy, and equates the Heavenly substance with the archetype of the Anthropos[7]:

“The idea of the Anthropos springs from the notion of an original state of universal animation, for which reason the old Masters interpreted their Mercurius as the anima mundi; and just as the original animation could be found in all matter, so too could the anima mundi. It was imprinted on all bodies as their raison d’être, as an image of the demiurge who incarnated in his own creation and got caught in it.”

Obviously the depth psychologist is convinced that the anima mundi, the World Soul equivalent to the Anthropos serves the needs of the physical equivalent of the substancia coelestis, the caelum, the Heaven. But then he continues:

“Nothing was easier than to identify this anima mundi with the Biblical imago Dei, which represented the truth revealed to the spirit.”

The Anthropos equivalent with the anima mundi, the world soul, becomes now the God-image, i.e., the completely spiritual quaternity of Carl Jung’s Self. This conclusion is in stark contrast to a postulate of the depth psychologist four years earlier, in his work AION (1951)[8]:

“[The lapis] is the prima materia, the arcanum, the primary substance, which in Paracelsus and his followers is called the increatum and is regarded as coeternal with God – a correct interpretation of the Tehom in Genesis 1:2: ‘And the [uncreated] earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God [brooded] over the face of the waters.’ This primary substance is round (massa globosa, rotundum, stoicheion strongylon) like the world and the world-soul; it is in fact the world-soul and the world-substance in one.” [emphasis mine]

And in a later paragraph of the Mysterium Coniunctionis he writes[9]:

“Before the time of Paracelsus the alchemists believed in creatio ex nihilo. For them therefore, God himself was the principle of matter. But Paracelsus and his school assumed that matter was an ‘increatum,’ and hence coexistent and coeternal with God. Whether they considered this view monistic or dualistic I am unable to discover. The only certain thing is that for all the alchemists matter had a divine aspect, whether on the ground that God was imprisoned in it in the form of the anima mundi or anima media natura, or matter represented God’s ‘reality’. In no case was matter de-deified, and certainly not the potential matter of the first day of creation. It seems that only the Paracelsists were influenced by the dualistic words of the Genesis.” [emphasis mine]

We see here that for Paracelsus and his school, i.e., the alchemists Robert Fludd and Gerardus Dorneus we are especially interested in here, in fact “nothing was [harder] than to identify this anima mundi with the Biblical imago Dei”. As I have shown in The Return of the World Soul[10] it was Wolfgang Pauli who first saw that Medieval alchemy was split in two very different branches, the Neoplatonic and the Hermetic. Neoplatonic alchemy mostly practiced by priests, did in fact identify the world soul with the Christian God. However, the Paracelsists, i.e., the Hermetic branch of alchemy usually practiced by physicians, accepted the threefold world soul as a counter principle to God. This “lower Trinity” (W. Pauli) they called Sulphur, Sal and Mercury[11].

The conclusion we can draw is that Carl Jung mixes up these two different alchemical schools and therefore creates confusion. He oscillates unconsciously between these two completely different God-images of alchemy, the Neoplatonic and the Hermetic. Therefore, since only in Neoplatonic alchemy the Anthropos and thus the anima mundi is identical with God, in Hermetic alchemy however a principle of universal animation of nature, the depth psychologist cannot help himself other than to arrange her relocation from Heaven to the intermediate realm. Thus, in § 748 of the Mysterium Coniunctionis he proceeds on as follows[12]:

“For the early thinkers the soul was by no means a merely intellectual concept; it was visualized sensuously as a breath-body or a volatile but physical substance which, it was readily supposed, could be chemically extracted and ‘fixed’ by means of a suitable procedure.” [emphasis mine]

The breath-body, the volatile but physical substance, the subtle body, is the microcosmic aspect of the world soul, “imprinted on all bodies.” Its creation is only possible out of the intermediate realm, the first goal of the unio corporalis. It is Robert Fludd’s subtle realm between Heaven and earth, out of which the second birth happens, the birth of the infans solaris. It is the womb of the goddess the old, sick and dying king has to enter for his regeneration. It is the earth in which the seeds created out of the atoms of the dissolving and drowning king are buried for the goal of the creation of new vegetative life. It is the intermediate realm symbolized by the Seal of Solomon, the first goal of Gerardus Dorneus’ unio corporalis out of which, in a second birth, the quintessence and the red tincture are extracted.

When Carl Jung continues[13]

“This intention [the extraction of the breath-body] was served by the preparation of the phlegma vini. As I pointed out earlier, this was not the spirit and water of the wine but its solid residue, the chthonic and corporeal part which would not ordinarily be regarded as the essential and valuable thing about the wine.” [emphasis mine]

We can therefore conclude that the phlegma vini is a symbol of the prima materia and of the lapis[14], the threefold counter principle to the Christian God, and the transformation of the materia prima into the philosophical gold or lapis takes place in the second coniunctio, the unio corporalis. The “not regarded as the essential and valuable thing”, the phlegma vini, the alchemical “earth” should be combined with the “water,” and thus the symbolical equivalent of the Rosarium’s dew, the matter-psyche in my terminology should be created. Out of the drowning body of the dying king, of the dead atoms of his inanimate body, the seeds for the new life in the intermediate realm between Heaven and earth are produced. In stercore invenitur…!

Further we realize now that it is not the caelum, the blue Heaven, the spiritual essence that is produced out of the first birth of the unio corporalis, the Seal of Solomon, but that this second birth, the red tincture, will have the same consistency as the intermediate realm, i.e., its subtilty. On the microcosmic level it is therefore the subtle body, the body soul, which is created, and on the macrocosmic the world soul, the matter-psyche.

We recognize now also why Carl Jung equates in a regressive way the unio corporalis with the unio mentalis: The depth psychologist is not yet conscious about the fact that the energy term must be bipolar, and therefore he cannot distinguish between Neoplatonic and Hermetic alchemy, the former stamped by the spirit-psyche, the latter by the bipolarity of the energy term. He identifies more or less with Neoplatonic alchemy, and thus for him there exists only what I call the spirit-psyche, be it on the conscious level as the Logos ego, be it on the intermediate level between the ego and the Self as the Anima, the feminine spirit-psyche, be it on the collective level of the Self, the collective spirit-psyche.

Because of the archetypal necessity of the bipolarity of the energy term, and since Carl Jung’s Self contains only the collective spirit-psyche, we obtain further the remarkable result that the second part of the energy term, the matter-psyche, the energetical principle of the subtle body and of the world soul, becomes the shadow of the Self, the collective shadow of the Logos, or what I call the Eros Self.

The Eros Self is symbolized by the queen or the goddess, the regent of the intermediate realm, of the king’s grave, of the uterus in which the old, sick and dying king has to enter for his regeneration, rejuvenation and reincarnation. It is this realm of the Eros out of which the new king, the new life will be born in the near future.

[proofread GJS, 11/20/05]


part 13

[1] CW 14

[2] CW 14

[3] CW 14

[4] CW 14

[5] CW 14

[6] see CW 12

[7] CW 14

[8] CW 9/II

[9] CW 14

[10]  Chapter 4: Neoplatonic and Hermetic alchemy: Eternal infertility versus incarnation,

[11] see also my article Paracelsus and the Renewed Image of God,

[12] CW 14  

[13] CW 14

[14] Very often the prima materia and the lapis of alchemy are identical. This is the case since these early nature philosophers were not yet able to distinguish the gross aspect of matter from the subtle aspect, the matter-psyche. Tantrism knows this distinction as the concept of sthula and suksma. See The Wheel Image of Nicholas von Flue as Symbol of the Subtle Body,

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.