Mysterium conjunctions

An Inquiry into the separation and synthesis of Psychic opposites in Alchemy

The factors which come together in the coniunctio are con¬ceived as opposites, either confronting one another in enmity or attracting one another in love.1 To begin with they form a dualism; for instance the opposites are humidum (moist) / sic¬cum (dry), frigidum (cold) / calidum (warm), superiora (upper, higher) / inferiora (lower), sPiritus-anima (spirit-soul) / corpus (body), coelum (heaven) / terra (earth), ignis (fire) / aqua (water), bright / dark, agens (active) / patiens (passive), volatile (volatile, gaseous) / fixum (solid), pretiosum (precious, costly; also carum) dear) / vile (cheap, common), bonum (good) / malum (evil), manifestum (open) / occultum (occult; also celatum) hid¬den), oriens (East) / occidens (West), vivum (living) / mortuum (dead, inert), masculus (masculine) / foemina (feminine), Sol / Luna.


Often the polarity is arranged as a quaternio (quaternity), with the two opposites crossing one another, as for instance the four elements or the four qualities (moist, dry, cold, warm), or the four directions and seasons,2 thus producing the cross as an emblem of the four elements and symbol of the sublunary physi¬cal world.3


The fourfold Physis, the cross also appears in the signs for earth,Venus,Mercury, Saturn, and Jupit恶、r.


signs for earth ~. Venus ~, Mercury l;l, Saturn?, and Jupi¬ter 2l.f

• The opposites and their symbols are so common in the texts
that it is superfluous to cite evidence from the sources. On the other hand, in view of the ambiguity of the alchemists’ language, which is “tarn ethice quam physice” (as much ethical as physi¬cal), it is worth while to go rather more closely into the manner in which the texts treat of the opposites.


Very often the masculine-feminine opposition is personified as King and Queen (in the Rosarium philosoPhorum also as Emperor and Empress), or as serous (slave) or vir rubeus (red man) and mulier candida (white woman); 11 in the “Visio Arislei” they appear as Gabricus (or Thabritius) and Beya, the King’s son and daughter.s Therio-morphic symbols are equally common and are often found in the illustrations.7

经常,男性与女性的对立被具体代表为国王与皇后(在“哲学家玫瑰园“,他们也作为皇帝与皇后),或作为奴隶或红皮肤男人与白皮肤女人。在Visio Arislei,他们出现作为Gabricus

I would mention the eagle and toad (“the eagle flying through the air and the toad crawling on the ground”). which are the “emblem” of Avicenna in Michael Maier,8 the eagle representing Luna “or Juno, Venus, Beya, who is fugitive and winged like the eagle, which flies up to the clouds and receives the rays of the sun in his eyes.” The toad “is the opposite of air, it is a contrary element, namely earth, whereon alone it moves by slow steps, and does not trust itself to another element. Its head is
very heavy and gazes at the earth.

我想要提到老鹰与蛤蟆(老鹰飞过天空,蛤蟆在地上爬行。在麦克 梅尔那里,它们都是Avicenna的“标志”。老鹰代表月亮或朱诺,维纳斯,贝雅。她是逃难者,有像老鹰一般的翅膀。

For this reason it denotes the philosophic earth, which cannot fly [i.e., cannot be sublimated], as it is firm and solid. Upon it as a foundation the golden house 9 is to be built.

因为这里理由,它指明是哲学的大地。哲学大地无法飞翔(譬如,无法升华)。因为它是坚定与固体。黄金般的房屋应该被建造在它上面,作为基础。 Were it not for the
f Cf. John Dee, “Monas hieroglyphica,” Theatr. chem., 11, p. uo.
11 Cf. “Consilium coniugii,” Ars chemica, pp. ligf., and “Clangor buccinae,” Artis aunferae, I, p. 484. In the Cabala the situation is reversed: red denotes the female, white (the left side) the male. Cf. Mueller, Der Sohar und seine Lehre, pp. 20f.
e “Aenigmata ex visione Arislei,” Art. aunf., I, pp. 146ft. Union of sun and myon:
Petrus Bonus (ed. Lacinius), Pretiosa margarita novella (1546), p. 112. The arche¬type of the heavenly marriage plays a great role here. On a primitive level this motif can be found in shamanism. Cf. Eliade, Shamanism, p. 75.
7 The most complete collection of the illustrations that appeared in printed works is Stolcius de Stolcenberg’s P’iridarium chymicum figuris cupro incisis adornatum (Frankfurt, 1624)’
8 Symbola aureae mensae, p. 192 ••
• The “treasure-house” (gazophylacium, domus thesauraria) of philosophy, which is a synonym for the aurum philosoPhorum, br lapis. Cf. von Franz, Aurora Con¬surgens, pp. 101ff. The idea goes back to Alphidius (see “Consilium coniugii,” Ars chemica, p. 108) and ultimately to Zosimos, who describes the lapis as a shining

earth in our work the air would flyaway, neither would the fire have its nourishment, nor the water its vessel.” 10


!l Another favourite theriomorphic image is that of the two
birds or two dragons, one of them winged, the other wingless. This allegory comes from an ancient text, De Chemia Senioris antiquissimi philosophi libellus.H The wingless bird or dragon prevents the other from flying. They stand for Sol and Luna. brother and sister, who are united by means of the art.12 In Lambspringk’s “Symbols” 13 they appear as the astrological Fishes which, swimming in opposite directions, symbolize the spirit / soul polarity. The water they swim in is mare nostrum (our sea) and is interpreted as the body,14 The fishes are “with¬out bones and cortex.” 15 From them is produced a mare im-mensum, which is the aqua permanens (permanent water). Another symbol is the stag and unicorn meeting in the “for¬est.” 16

另外一个受人喜欢的神性人形的意象是两只小鸟或两条龙的意象。其中一个有翅膀,另外一个没有翅膀。这个寓言来自古代的文本 De Chemia Senioris Antiquissimi philosophi libelous H.没有翅膀的鸟或龙阻止另外一个无法飞翔。它们代表太阳与月亮,兄与妹。他们凭借艺术结合在一块。在Lambspringk的“象征”,他们出现作为星相学的鱼。这些鱼朝着不同方向游泳,象征精神与灵魂的极端。他们在里面游泳的水上我们的大海,并且被解释作为身体。这些鱼“没有骨头与大脑皮层。从他们那里,有一种永恒的水产生。另外一个象征是母鹿与独角兽,在”森林“里会合。

The stag signifies the soul, the unicorn spirit, and the forest the body. The next two pictures in Lambspringk’s “Sym¬bols” show the lion and lioness,11 or the wolf and dog, the latter
white temple of marble. Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs, Ill, i, 5.
10 Symb. aur. mensae, p. 200.
11 The printing is undated, but it probably comes from Samuel Emmel’s press at Strasbourg and may be contemporaneous with Ars chemica, which was printed there in 1566 and matches our libellus as regards type, paper, and format. The author, Senior Zadith filius Hamuel, may perhaps have been one of the Harranites of the 10th cent., or at least have been influenced by them. If the Clavis maioris saPientiae mentioned by Stapleton (“Muhammad bin Umail: His Date, Writings, and Place in Alchemical History”) is identical with the Latin treatise of the same name, traditionally ascribed to Artefius, this could be taken as proved, since that treatise contains a typical Harranite astral theory. Ruska (“Studien zu M. ibn Umail”) groups Senior with the Turba literature that grew up on Egyptian soil. 12 Senior says: “I joined the two luminaries in marriage and it became as water having two lights” • (De chemia, pp. 15f.).
13 Musaeum hermeticum, p. 343. (Cf. Waite, The Hermetic Museum Restored and Enlarged, I, pp. 276f.)
14 Corpus (as corpus nostrum) usually means the chemical “body” or “substance,” but morally it means the human body. “Sea” is a common symbol of the uncon¬scious. In alchemy, therefore, the “body” would also symbolize the unconscious. 15 “Aenigmata philosophorum 11,” Art. aurif., I, p. 149. Cf. Aion, pars. 195. 213 n. 51.
1~ See Psychology and Alchemy, fig. 240.
17 They also appear in the “XI’Clavis” of Basilius Valentinus, Chymische SchrifJten, p. 68, and in P’iridarium, Figs. XI, LV, LXII. Variants are lion and snake (Viridarium, Fig. XII), lion and bird (Fig. LXXIV), lion and bear (Figs. XCIII
andCVI). 5

two fighting; they too symbolize soul and spirit. In Figure VII the opposites are symbolized by two birds in a wood, one fledged, the other unfledged. Whereas in the earlier pictures the conflict seems to be between spirit and soul, the two birds sig¬nify the conflict between spirit and body, and in Figure VIII the two birds fighting do in fact represent that conflict, as the caption shows. The opposition between spirit and soul is due to the latter having a very fine substance. It is more akin to the “hylical” body and is densior et crassior (denser and grosser) than the spirit.


4 The elevation of the human figure to a king or a divinity,
and on the other hand its representation in subhuman, therio¬morphic form, are indications of the transconscious character of the pairs of opposites. They do not belong to the ego-personality but are supraordinate to it. The ego-personality occupies an intermediate position, like the “anima inter bona et mala sita” (soul placed between good and evil). The pairs of opposites constitute the phenomenology of the paradoxical self, man’s totality. That is why their symbolism makes use of cosmic expres¬sions like coelum / terra.18 The intensity of the conflict is ex¬pressed in symbols like fire and water,19 height and depth,20 life and death.21

人类的身体的提升成为国王或神性。另一方面,它以次级人类的呈现,神性人形的形式指示著对立的配对的跨越意识的特性。他们并不是属于自我-人格,而是早先存在于自我-人格。自我-人格佔据中间的位置,就像“灵魂被放置在善与恶之间“。对立的配对形成悖论的自性,人的完整性的现象学。那就是为什么他们的象征主义利用宇宙的表达,诸如Coelum /terra。 冲突的强烈被表达,用火与水,高与深,生命与死亡等象征。

5 The arrangement of the opposites in a quaternity is shown
in an interesting illustration in Stolcenberg’s Viridarium chym¬icum (Fig. XLII), which can also be found in the PhilosoPhia reformata of Mylius (1622, p. 117). The goddesses represent the four seasons of the sun in the circle of the Zodiac (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) and at the same time the four degrees of heat-


18 Cf. Petrus Bonus, “Pretiosa margarita novella,” Theatr. chem., V, pp. 647f.:
“Hermes: At the end of the world heaven and earth must be joined together, which is the philosophical word.” • Also Mus. herm., p. 8011 (Waite, 11, p. 263).
19 Ms. Incipit: “Figurarum Aegyptiorum Secretarum:’ 18th cent. (Author’s col¬lection.)
20 “Thus the height is hidden and the depth is made manifest”• (Mus. herm., p:652).
21 Cf. the oft-repeated saying: “From the dead he makes the living”• (Mylius, PhilosoPhia reformata, p. 191).

ing,22 as well as the four elements “combined” around the cir¬cular table.23 The synthesis of the elements is effected by means of the circular movement in time (circulatio, rota) of the sun through the houses of the Zodiac. As I have shown elsewhere,24 the aim of the circulatio is the production (or rather, reproduc¬tion) of the Original Man, who was a sphere. Perhaps I may mention in this connection a remarkable quotation from Os¬tanes in Abu’l-Qasim, describing the intermediate position between two pairs of opposites constituting a quaternio:

Ostanes said, Save me, 0 my God, for I stand between two exalted brilliancies known for their wickedness, and between two dim lights; each of them has reached me and I know not how to save myself from them. And it was said to me, Go up to Agathodaimon the Great and ask aid of him, and know that there is in thee somewhat of his nature, which will never be corrupted …. And when I ascended into the air he said to me, Take the child of the bird which is mixed with redness and spread for the gold its bed which comes forth from the glass, and place it in its vessel whence it has no power to come out except when thou desirest, and leave it until its moist¬ness has departed.26

奥田尼斯说,「拯救我,我的神,因为我处在两个崇高的光辉之间,它们各有其邪恶,处于两个朦胧的光亮之间,它们各自到达我。我不知道如何拯救我自己,避开它们。有人跟我说,前往Agathodaimon 大帝那里,请求他的帮助。然后你会知道,在你身上相当具有他的特性,永恒不会腐败的特性。当我上升到空中,他对我说,“带着这只跟红色混为一块的鸟的小孩,然后摊开接纳黄金,那是从玻璃产生出来的床。然后将它放置在它的容器里。它没有力量从那个容器出来,除了当你欲望的时刻,然后离开它,直到它的潮湿已经离开。

6 The quaternio in this case evidently consists of the two
malefici, Mars and Saturn (Mars is the ruler of Aries, Saturn of Capricorn); the two “dim lights” would then be feminine ones, the moon (ruler of Cancer) and Venus (ruler of Libra). The opposites between which Ostanes stands are thus masculine / feminine on the one hand and good / evil on the other.


The way he speaks of the four luminaries-he does not know how to save himself from them-suggests that he is subject to Heimarmene, 22
Mylius, p. 118. The fourth degree is the coniunctio, which would thus cor¬respond to Capricorn.,the compulsion of stars,that is,to the tran-conscious factor beyond the reach of human will。

他谈论这四个发光的方式并不晓得如何拯救他自己脱离它们。这种方式暗示着,他隶属于Heimarmene Mylius。第四个程度上“结合“,它因此对应于天蝎座,星座的驱动。换句话说,隶属于超越意识的因素,人类的意志无法到达的超越意识的因素。

23 Mylius remarks (p. 115): ” … equality arises … from the four incompatibles mutually partaking in nature:’ • A similar ancient idea seems to be that of the -I(Ala.K>, rpciTrEra. (solar table) in the Orphic mysteries. Cf. Proclus, Commentaries on the Timaeus of Plato, trans. by Taylor, 11, p. 1178: “And Orpheus knew indeed of the Crater of Bacchus, but he also establishes many others about the solar table.”• Cf. also Herodotus, The Histories, Ill, 17-18 (trans. by de Selincourt, p. 181), and Pausanias, Description of Greece, VI, 26, 2 (trans. by Jones, Ill, pp. 1561£.).
24 Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, index, s.v. “rotundum,” “sphere,” “wheel,” and especially (par. 469, n. 110) the wheel with twelve buckets for raising souls in the Acta Archelai.
25 Holmyard, Kitiib al•’ilm al•muktasab, p. 118.

MY~TJ’011), as the uroboros or “heaven,” on which account it later became a synonym for Mercurius.


28 Cf. the Indian teachings concerning hiranyagarbha, ‘golden germ,’ and purusha. Also “The Psychology of Eastern Meditation,” pars. 917f.
29 Cf. il>”I rijf 0PIII(JOOYOlllUof (the matter of the generation of the bird) in Zosimos (Berthelot, Ill, xliv, I).
so Holmyard, p. 117.
SI Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, figs. 203-5.

S2 von Franz, pp. 53f. Cf. also Goodenough, “The Crown of Victory … ,” Senior (De chemia, p. 41) calls the terra alba foliata “the crown of victory,” In Heliodori carmina, v. 252 (ed. by Goldschmidt, p. 57) the soul, on returning to the body, brings it a IIIK’ITlKOII ITTE/J.P.a., ‘wreath of victory,’ In the Cabala the highest Sefira (like the lowest) is called Kether, the Crown. In Christian allegory the crown sig¬nifies Christ’s humanity: Rabanus Maurus, Allegoriae in Sacram ScriPturam (Migne, P L., vol. 112, col. 909). In the Acts of John, §109 Games, ApocryPhal New Testament, p. 268) Christ is called the diadem.



~ ::s
~ ….



~ ti’

If thou callest this spiritual, what thou doest is probable; if corporeal, thou sayest the truth; if heavenly, thou liest not; if earthly, thou hast well spoken.” 38 Here we are dealing with a double quaternio having the structure shown in the diagram on page 10.


8 The double quaternio or ogdoad stands for a totality, for
something that is at once heavenly and earthly, spiritual or corporeal, and is found in the “Indian Ocean,” that is to say in the unconscious. It is without doubt the Microcosm, the mys¬tical Adam and bisexual Original Man in his prenatal state, as it were, when he is identical with the unconscious. Hence in Gnosticism the “Father of All” is described not only as mascu-line and feminine (or neither), but as Bythos, the abyss.

In the scholia to the “Tractatus aureus Hermetis” 39 there is a qua-ternio consisting of superius I inferius) exterius I interius. They are united into one thing by means of the circular distillation, named the Pelican: 40

在Aureus Hermetis的注释,

“Let all be one in one circle or vessel.” “For this vessel is the true philosophical Pelican, nor is any other to be sought after in all the world.” The text gives the following diagram:

88 Theatr. chem., V, p. Ill. This treatise (Micreris = Mercurius) is undoubtedly old and is probably of Arabic origin. The same saying is ouoted by “Milvescindus” (Bonus, “Pretiosa marg. nov.,” Theatr. chem., V, pp. 662f.). In the Turba he is called “Mirnefindus:’
89 This treatise, of Arabic origin, is printed in Bibliotheca chemica, I, pp. 400ft 40 “For when she applies her beak to her breast, her whole neck with the beak is bent into the shape of a circle …. The blood flowing from her breast restores life to the dead fledglings.” • Ibid., p. 442 b.
Other quaternions are: “The stone is first an old man, in the end a youth, because the albedo comes at the beginning and the rubedo at the end.” 34 Similarly the elements are arranged as two “manifesta” (water and earth), and two “occulta” (air and fire).35 A further quaternio is suggested by the saying of Bernardus Trevisanus: “The upper has the nature of the lower, and the ascending has the nature of the descending.” 36 The following combination is from the “Tractatus Micreris”: “In it [the Indian Ocean] 37 are images of heaven and earth, of summer, autumn,winter,and spring,man and female。

其他的四方体则是:石头起初是一位老人,最后是一位年轻人。因为albedo在开始时来临,而rubedo在结束时来临。同样地,这些元素被安排,作为两个证明(水与土)。两个“奥秘“(空气与火)。Bemardus Trevisanus的说法暗示着另外一种四方体:「上边的部分具有下边部分的天性。上升的部分拥有下降部分的天性。随后的组合则是从”Tractatus Micreris“,在印度洋里,天空与地球的各种意象属于夏天。秋天,冬天与春天,男性与女性。

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