Soul Spelunker

Exploring the caverns and grottoes of Soul.

Tag Posts : alchemy

Search for the Gods

archetypal / June 10, 2014 / No Comments

Science tells us that, at least in quantum mechanics, the observer must take into account the observed. This is evident in the double-slit experiment, where matter and light exhibit characteristics of both waves and particles. This tells us that observer and observed are in no way independent of each other. Or, as Werner Heisenberg said, “separation of the observer from the phenomenon to be observed is no longer possible” (Heisenberg 231). The old alchemists used various ores in their work. They considered “metals as seeds” (Hillman 2522), lead being a seed of Saturn, copper a seed of Venus, silver a seed of the Moon, etc. These ores were not understood …..

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The Blue Soul

archetypal / June 5, 2014 / No Comments

  Transformations of the soul, according to alchemy, pass through several different colors. Originally, there were four colors that were described by alchemists as indicating the four primary phases of the process that result in the lapis philosophorum.These are nigredo (black), albedo (white), citrinitas (yellow), and rubedo (red). Other transitional colors were also mentioned, with various meanings. In this article, I’d like to discuss the color blue. I’ve just read James Hillman’s essay entitled, Alchemical Blue and the Unio Mentalis, and I was amazed. Hillman put into words what I’ve felt about the color blue for years, but could not verbalize it. Blue has always been my favorite color. As …..

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Alchemy: Raven’s Head

archetypal / January 18, 2014 / No Comments

Nigredo – dal manoscritto Viatorium spagyricum, Herbrandt Jamsthaler, (1625) In the “furnace of the cross” and in the fire, says the “Aquarium sapientum,” “man, like the earthly gold, attains to the true black Raven’s Head; that is, he is utterly disfigured and is held in derision by the world (Jung 353)… There is much more to be said about black than what has been said. The blacker the black, the whiter the white will be. The blackest black provides the most fertile incubator for transmutation. It is said by the alchemists to be as a raven’s head (caput corvi). It is not that black is to be identified with literally, …..

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Alchemy: Nigredo

archetypal / January 15, 2014 / No Comments

Only in a physically reduced worldview, a worldview reduced to and by physics, can black be called a non-color, an absence of color, a deprivation of light (Hillman 1553).What is it in the human psyche that views the color black as somehow evil? We associate black with evil, with death, with the morbid and the macabre. Think of how many examples there are in our culture, our language, our phrases, and our art of black representing the negative, the corrupt, the hideous, and the malevolent. We contrast it with the purity and holiness of the color white since white represent the white light of God and all his holiness. The …..

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Alchemy: The Soul of Metals

archetypal / November 28, 2013 / No Comments

…perhaps the metals take pleasure in their alterations and enjoy the discipline imposed upon them by extracting their ore-bodies and the smelting (Hillman 491). The soul spelunker is always searching for treasure beneath the surfaces of things. In the alchemical inquiry, one is richly rewarded in this endeavor. The metals of alchemy, because they are animaterial substances, correspond to the gods, just as their associated planets do. In fact, all things can be imagined back to a specific god. In the previous article, I touched upon the planetary associations of the seven noble metals: Moon    Mercury   Venus    Sun    Mars    Jupiter    Saturn silver      mercury    copper  gold   iron      tin           …..

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Alchemy: In the Service of Nature

archetypal / November 23, 2013 / 2 Comments

  The Promethean archetype, the desire to steal that which was meant to serve Nature and use it exclusively for human purposes, should not be the blueprint for the practitioner of alchemy. Even individual soul-making, if focused solely on the human, does not assist the Anima Mundi in her transmutation. The primary task of the alchemist, his passion, is to further the improvement of the World Soul. The alchemical practice is not to carry out the Promethean aim of what is best for humanity. Rather, it is more akin to a religious devotion to Nature. Certainly, this is a dichotomizing of humanity and Nature. In reality, they are one and the …..

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Jung’s Coniunctio: The Chymical Wedding and Heraclitus

archetypal / August 20, 2010 / No Comments

In the workings of alchemy, the reconciliation of Sol and Luna is often referred to as The Chymical Wedding. Carl Jung’s theory of the conjunction of polarities in the psyche borrows heavily from this teaching. The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, tells us that “the way up and the way down are one and the same” (qtd. in Wheelwright 78). The idea that opposites complement each other and are actually the same is still alive today in Jungian psychology. As we will see, Jung relied heavily on the interrelatedness of opposites to explain his entire psychological theory. This article will attempt to show the Heraclitan influence in Jungian thought. The philosophy …..

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