Remo F. Roth

Dr. oec. publ., Ph.D.

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




English HomePage

© copyright 1996 by Remo F. Roth, Zugerroseweg 5, CH-8810 Horgen-Zürich

Translation by Boris Matthews, 8320 W. Blue Mound Road, Wauwatosa, WI

  Chapter 4 of Synchronicity Quest


4.1 Paracelsus's Antitrinity of Drives

4.2 Exploration and Meditation: Liberating the God-Man from the Realm of the Drives

4.3 The Transformation of Aggression

4.4 The Transformation of Sexuality

4.5 The Union of Logos and Eros in the Hermaphroditic God-Man

4.6 Active Imagination and the alchemical Pelican





  4.1 Paracelsus's Antitrinity of Drives


The first three chapters have confronted us with the fact that, due to their archetypal nature, the number three and hence the triad or the trinity must always and everywhere also represent an ambivalent duality when we consider their qualitative aspect. As a necessary consequence of this pre-conscious1 fact, a principle in opposition to the Trinity had to arise over time in the course of Christian development.

We have also seen that this countervailing principle had made its appearance among the early-Christian Gnostics. In opposition to the purely masculine aspect of the Christian God they posited a divine feminine principle, the locus of which many of them, moreover, suspected lay in the human body or in matter itself. But since this principle was itself not yet differentiated into a trinity, the original Gnostic idea of a Father-Mother-Deity could develop no further. As a consequence of remaining a unity, it continued to be undiscernible, and we have seen that the necessary condition for unity to be discerned and individually experienced is that it (unity) be differentiated into a trinity: The Other must split off from the undiscernible One, while the Third resolves this tension of opposites permitting the One (or the Unitary) to become discernible. This development from unity to trinity would have been the necessary precondition for a further development of the feminine aspect of the image of God in Gnosticism, too. But this was precisely the step that this early Christian heresy could not take.

We find the first, albeit unconscious, solution of the problem of the ambivalent duality of the Trinity in the fantasy productions of a later heretical current running counter to official Christianity, in alchemy, above all in the work of the physician Paracelsus (1493-1541) and his students, that is, since the last third of the 16th Century2. From that time on, the fantasy is wide-spread3.

Since the Christian definition of the Trinity was incomplete because the ambivalent duality of spirit and matter had not been taken into account, God's fall into matter took place in the alchemists themselves, as we discussed in the previous chapter. Thus they rediscovered the Gnostic principle of the feminine side of God in their concept of the prima materia which constituted the starting point of their opus and which, according to their particular point of view, was concealed in matter or in the human body (cf. figure 4.1).


The central idea of the alchemical opus is that the prima materia -- contaminated and concealed in the human body or in matter round about us -- must be purified and a spirit must subsequently be liberated from it. Since this prima materia possesses not only a divine quality but was even thought to be co-eternal with the Christian God4, the opus likewise signifies the liberation of a feminine Divine Spirit of stature equal to that of the male Deity from matter or from the realm of human drives. By redeeming it from this captivity, the feminine aspect of God, moreover, is united with God's male aspect.

Of course this idea is extremely heretical, for ultimately it means that in the course of the opus a light - i.e., "illumination" and knowledge - can be freed from the prima materia and joined to the upper image of God which, in turn, transforms the original God image. In this dynamic process which, moreover, embraces the human being, a transformation takes place in the upper image of God, which the church fathers ultimately defined in a long drawn-out process as a static, "supra-human," principle whose characteristics were assumed to be pre-established once and for all.

Fundamentally, therefore, the medieval alchemical opus consists in this: the human being consciously replicates in him- or herself the transformation of the God image that has already taken place in the unconscious. Since a further essential goal of the opus is the creation of the medicina catholica, the all-healing medicine, the healing of physical and psychic suffering is obviously to take place via a transformation of the image of God in every individual human being, a revolutionary and, from our contemporary standpoint, very modern point of view. This, as we know, lies at the root of the deeper aspects of what C.G. Jung called the process of individuation. We recall that the ancient Gnostics already held similar views. They, too, believed that by a revelation of the "Mother," which in principle every human being can experience, new knowledge of the upper Father Deity would be set free.

While most alchemists, as did the Gnostics, saw this prima materia as a unity, we can observe in Paracelsus the development of an Antitrinity opposed to the Christian Trinity. Here lies the extraordinarily valuable accomplishment of the Swiss alchemist and physician, in my opinion. As we will see in Chapter 6, this process of the unconscious transformation of the God image was repeated in the sixth decade of our waning 20th Century in elementary particle and quantum physics: in 1964 Murray Gell-Mann postulated his simplest quark model in which the "trinity" of the three quarks, up, down, and strange (matter), were opposed by an anti-up, anti-down, and anti-strange trinity (anti-matter).

How this process of differentiating a double-trinitarian image of God and the transformation of the God image thus initiated came to pass can best be ascertained from one of Paracelsus's major works, De Vita Longa ("The Book of Long Life"). Hence I will attempt a review of this difficult book. Essentially, my explication is a summary, organization, and further interpretation of C.G. Jung's commentary on the Vita Longa5.

As an intuitive type, Paracelsus again and again invents new concepts for the same or similar facts. In the Vita Longa, therefore, we find a confusing number of synonyms. But in my opinion this inflation of neologisms is also due to the circumstance that he was able only to describe the processes he discovered in mythologizing terms, but not yet consciously to understand the underlying psychological principles at work. Only Jung's extensive work has created the necessary basis that enables us to translate the processes described by the alchemical master into depth psychological knowledge. Hence the primary content of my remarks consists in describing the opus suggested by Paracelsus in the empirical terminology of depth psychology developed by C.G. Jung.

For Paracelsus, the prima materia consists first of all in an opposition of the One and the Other. Paracelsus calls the one principle the Iliaster, and the other the Aquaster. The Ilaster is a fiery, active, and masculine principle; the Aquaster a watery, passive, and feminine principle. In each human being both principles are simultaneously at work, a fact which reminds us immediately of the way the vegetative nervous system functions.

Paracelsus also calls the Iliaster Ares. Hence it corresponds to Mars, the god of war. We could equate the principle that makes Mars effective with what psychology calls the aggression drive. Paracelsus associates the Aquaster with Aphrodite-Venus, the goddess of love. Here, of course, we immediately think of the second fundamental human drive, the sexual drive.

However, Iliaster and Aquaster are also the fundamental principles of the entire cosmos; that is, they represent principles of a trans-human totality. For aspects of the psyche that embrace all of humankind, C.G. Jung introduced the term "the collective unconscious." Hence Ilaster and Aquaster are the structural dominants of the collective unconscious; they are archetypal principles. Since these principles extend down into inert matter, Paracelsus, in a stroke of genius, equated them with two inorganic substances. He calls Iliaster Sulphur, and Aquaster, Sal. Sulfur, the fiery principle par excellence, and salt, which always has the tendency to dissolve in water and hence belongs to the watery principle, constitute the two basic elements of the prima materia.

Summarized, these principles yield the following organization:

The fiery, active principle of the prima materia:

The watery, passive principleof the prima materia:

Iliaster Aquaster
Ares-Mars Aphrodite-Venus (Melusine)
Sulphur Sal
aggression sexuality

This yields two principles: a duality corresponding to that between the One and the Other which I discussed in Chapter 2 in the context of Jung's interpretation of the natural number two. We are immediately reminded of Freud's two basic principles, Eros and Thanatos.

At the beginning of the alchemical opus these two principles, Iliaster and Aquaster, are conflated and initially form an undifferentiated unity in the prima materia opposed to the Christian Trinity. The alchemists attribute human characteristics to the prima materia, and therefore imagine it as an hermaphrodite or androgyne, a double-sexed human creature, a monstrous man-woman. Hence the hermaphrodite corresponds to that very ancient idea of a human that existed before the creation of human beings, the so-called protanthropos. According to certain Gnostic ideas, God created the first human being from this larger, prehistoric, hermaphroditic humanoid being.

prima materia
iliastric Aquaster
melusinian Ares-Mars
conflation of aggression and sexuality

I am aware that the views just expressed must greatly shock a pious Christian. The heretical idea that God got immersed in matter and thereby deified matter might perhaps still be acceptable to an open-minded Christian. These sorts of tendencies are also very popular in the contemporary esoteric subculture. But the idea that God is supposed to become a bisexual being with human attributes -- that is, with male and female genitals6 -- has to be much more shocking. Yet the marked increase in bisexuality in the nineties of this century7 does show, in my opinion, that the archetype of God's fall into matter and His reappearance in the prima materia of the hermaphrodite has already asserted itself unconsciously. Therefore the androgyne idea, concretely lived out today, constitutes the modern form of the primary or original substance (prima materia) to be worked on in the modern alchemical opus.

This "lower" and drive-laden aspect of the Divine that, for the time being, remains caught in an undifferentiated unity -- this prima materia that is to be transformed -- is what Paracelsus also calls the melusinian Ares-Mars. Here Melusine replaces Aphrodite-Venus. This figure from Old French literature, who probably goes back to Celtic roots, is a water nymph with a fish's or snake's tale, a half human, half animal being. Here we now see that a shift has taken place in Paracelsus's unconscious from the human-form of Venus to a part human, part animal hybrid. This clearly demonstrates that Paracelsus's opus is in fact supposed to commence in the realm of drives, and that the prima materia, the starting point for this procedure, corresponds to human instincts (cf. figure 4.2).


But this displacement to Melusine is important for another reason: In the Old French saga, this figure always appears in borderline situations, specifically when the hero finds himself in one of life's blind alleys and his entire life plan has collapsed8. Jung continues:

"When such a catastrophe occurs, not only are all bridges back into the past broken, but there seems to be no way forward into the future. One is confronted with a hopeless and impenetrable darkness, an abysmal void that is now suddenly filled with an alluring vision, the palpably real presence of a strange yet helpful being . . . . The figure of Melusine is eminently suited to this purpose."9

It has been fifteen years since my first draft of these thoughts on Paracelsus in 1981. In the course of these years, fate has led me to the problem of HIV positive patients and the AIDS syndrome. Psychotherapy and analysis with HIV- and AIDS-patients has shown me that in those persons who are diagnosed as HIV-positive, who from that moment on find themselves in the supposedly hopeless life situation described above, this very same Melusine is constellated. When these persons learn to address the inner world of visions that proceed primarily from the realm of the drives (from Melusine's domain!), it has been my experience so far that there is a good chance that the illnesses of the AIDS syndrome will not break out in them. Since I am convinced that the HIV phenomenon constitutes the beginning of the apocalyptic last days of the Christian eon, it seemed to me timely to present my preliminary results in my book, Hat AIDS einen Sinn?10.

[Remark of August, 2003: The term "apocalypse" is meant symbolically, and not in the Christian meaning, and especially not in the concretizised meaning of today's Christian sects. A destructive example of this "apocalypse" (with a deeply unconscious creation myth behind it), is the HI-Virus (HIV), the existence of which, in its original form, has never been proved, which means that it comes out of an "invisible, potential form of reality that is only indirectly inferable through its effects" (Wolfgang Pauli, physicists and Nobel Laureate) [For the lack of proof of the HIV see the comments of the Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis,]. 

This new creation is destructive because we do not approach the psychophysical world (behind the split in spirit and matter) by means of the Eros consciousness, but think that we can destroy it with aggressive Logos (which means with natural science, limited to left brain empiricism). See Hat AIDS einen Sinn? Behandlungsmöglichkeiten der HIV-Infektion auf der Grundlage tiefenpsychologischer Imaginationsmethoden (English: What Does AIDS Mean? HIV Treatment Possibilities on the Basis of Imaginal Methods in Depth Psychology).

See also remark, below: HIV as an expression of the transformation of yin energy into yang energy ]

But let us return to Paracelsus. In contrast to many of his alchemist colleagues, he took the path of differentiating the unknowable unity into a trinity by subjecting his prima materia, the Melusinian Ares-Mars, to a process of transformation.

According to Paracelsus, in a first step in this process this dual-sexed monster (which, viewed psychologically, corresponds to a mixture of aggression and sexuality) must be split into its components, that is into the Iliaster and the Aquaster, into Ares-Mars and Venus-Melusine, or, as he also calls them, into Sulphur and Sal. With the help of this procedure applied to his Melusinian Ares, Paracelsus separates the One and Unknowable into a pair of opposites: the One and the Other. In this manner the lower divine principle, the prima materia, is divided into a duality11. In modern parlance this means that the principle of aggression is separated from sexuality.

In order to effect this separation, however, Paracelsus needed a third principle. Sometimes he called this Hephaistos-Vulcanus, other times Mercurius-Hermes. He assigns this Vulcanus to the human stomach12. At the biological level, the Hephaistos-Vulcanus principle obviously appears to correspond to the hunger drive. (See fig. 4.3)



With this step Paracelsus succeeded in differentiating the original unity of the prima materia into a trinity. Since this trinity of drives opposes the spiritual trinity of the Christian God, I will call this the Antitrinity in the remainder of my discussion. Moreover, as mentioned above, Paracelsus employs a confusing multitude of names for this Antitrinity. In addition to Ares-Mars, Mercurius-Hermes, and Aphrodite-Venus we also find, as the most common, Sulphur, Mercurius, and Sal. (See fig. 4.4)


While the first Antitrinity has to do with a divine Trinity in the realm of human drives, the second appears to represent an intuition of a divine animation of all nature, i.e., an anima mundi (a world soul). Since as an alchemist Paracelsus thought in the categories of the microcosm and macrocosm which mirror each other, as a physician he also refers the second Antitrinity to the human body and says, for example, "Every body consists of three substances. Those are Sulphur, Quicksilver, and Sal."13 As is evident from his written works, he means the so-called astral body and postulates an ultimate identity between the macrocosmic world soul and the microcosmic subtle body. In Chapter 5 we will see that both the Hindu as well as the Buddhist Tantra arrived at similar conclusions so that the Paracelsian and the Tantric experience can be equated without difficulty.14

Without understanding this consciously, Paracelsus sparked a revolution when he differentiated the lower God image into a trinity, a revolution that will have to be carried forward by people of the third Christian millennium. As I demonstrated in Chapter 2, the number three and hence also every triad or trinity is an energy-symbol. Moreover, as I pointed out there, every triad has the tendency to develop further into an ambivalent duality for pre-conscious, archetypal reasons. We can infer from this modern interpretation of the trinity idea that the concept of energy must also correspond to an ambivalent duality. Hence physical-chemical energy can not be the sole possible form of energy, but must have a complement for the same pre-conscious, archetypal reasons (as a consequence of the ambivalent duality of the Third).

Modern materialistic science, however, has lost sight of this complementary aspect of the energy concept and, referring to the events taking place in matter, ultimately repeated the one-sided and incomplete definition of the God image of the Church Fathers. But since Paul Dirac this complementary aspect has nevertheless again entered occidental science through the back door and confounded physicists with so-called "negative energy" and its strange properties (see below).

On the basis of his primal experience of falling into the collective unconscious during the years 1914 to 1918, at the beginning of the last century of the 20th millennium, C.G. Jung gradually came to see that the objective psychic energy he had postulated was itself the complementary aspect of physical energy. Unfortunately the empirically observable fact that this objective psychic energy (Jung's "reality of the soul") corresponds to an independent principle has not yet been generally accepted, and even in circles of contemporary Jungian analysts it is treated as a "nothing but." Only very slowly does it begin to dawn on a very few that this new form of energy, viewed macrocosmically, is the same as the medieval concept of the divine, feminine World Soul that permeates the entire universe.

{Remark of August, 2003: Today, I differentiate between two forms of objective psychic energy, the yang and the yin aspect of it. [See Die mystische Hochzeit (coniunctio)...(in German)] Further, both can be observed in the outer material and in the inner psychic world. Jung's collective unconscious and its center, the so-called Self, is the inner yang aspect of this complementary form of energy, and thus the inner aspect of physical energy (which is itself outer yang). The yin aspect is behind the energetics of parapsychology, especially of psychokinetics. For yin it is impossible to state the difference between inside and outside, therefore the alchemists assumed a (nonlocal) parallelity of microcosm and macrocosm.

The union of these two energies is described by the Hermetic alchemical opus (see The Return of the World Soul, chapter 4) with its two main processes of the coniunctio, the (sexual) union of these two principles, in which a so-called exchange of attributes takes place: yang transforms into yin, and parallel to this yin transforms into yang. As this terminology shows, this process is not yet described - and not describable - in terms of modern natural science. In my opinion, the main reason for this deficiency is the fact, that physics postulates the energy conservation law that forbides this transformation. For this reason Wolfgang Pauli "invented" the antineutrino, a "ghost particle" that does almost not interact with matter and disturbs today's physicists very much (See also The Connection between Radioactivity and Synchronicity in the Pauli/Jung Letters)

The antineutrino is created during the radioactive decay. If the hypothesises of its (inner-outer!) yin nature and the archetypal ideas of the hermetic alchemists are right, the enormous increase of radioactivity by the modern artificial fission of the atom should have incalculable consequences for the world and for the universe. In a parallel process this yin will transform into both, a new outer yang and a new inner yang, which means that out of "nothing" - i.e., a real world that is however unobservable with the tools of the physical experiment - new physical energy is created. To my mind, the UFO phenomenon is the unexpected result of this archetypal development, observed in the outer world, the appearance of the HIV (and further retroviruses in the future) out of the "nothing" the inner aspect. The inner-outer aspect of this phenomenon is presented to us in the UFO abduction syndrome.}

Likewise our medicine, grounded in the natural sciences, has fallen an unconscious victim to the same imitation of the Church Fathers' incomplete definition of the image of God. Paracelsus would turn over in his grave if he knew how his concept of Sulphur, Mercurius, and Sal - in modern parlance, the energetic principle - has been reduced to a materialistic point of view [yang]. For the same reasons mentioned above, there must exist a second, ambivalent aspect of energy in the microcosm [yin], that is, in the human body. This microcosmic subtle body aspect [yin] corresponds to the World Soul [, the yin aspect] of the macrocosm, mentioned above, and there is good probability that both are acausally and nonlocally linked.


Why is it precisely Hephaistos-Vulcanus that Paracelsus introduces as a third principle? In order to understand the facts of the situation we must shift our focus to the early history of humankind, to the period of transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural cultures. Roaming and migrating was an essential aspect of hunter-gatherer cultures. In those prehistoric times people still sustained themselves very much as did other animals by venturing out on expeditions to steal and plunder edible meat and roots. These peoples' psychic energy, therefore, was almost completely invested in the nomadic-exploratory drive. This, in turn, was very closely connected to the hunger drive, for ultimately it was hunger that drove these proto-humans to roam and to hunt. The nomad and hunter Wotan, who appeared in the visions of Niklaus von Flüe (and whom we will discuss in the next chapter), is a fitting symbol for the psychic condition of these peoples.

The study of prehistoric humanity15 assumes today that between 15,000 and 10,000 B.C.E. human beings first developed the hand axe and later the lance point and knife-like tools from the flint that had long been used for making fire. Flint was admirably suited for these sorts of tools since, due to its crystalline structure, it can fracture in any direction, leaving a sharp edge where it breaks. This property aided early humankind in inventing the lance and the knife. Since from then on flint was utilized both for producing fire and for making lances, fire and spear formed a natural symbolic unity for archaic humans. The spear of the Celtic god Lug, therefore, corresponds to lightning16

Around 13,000 B.C.E. primeval humankind's consciousness made another quantum leap. In the eastern Mediterranean basin, which is the ancient homeland of the three great religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Urmensch discovered that wild grains were edible. Having invented lance- and knifelike tools of flint, primal humankind was then able to harvest this new source of food efficiently. It was only a small step from there to the idea of cultivating these grains. Thus human beings in the eastern Mediterranean basin slowly developed agriculture and a settled way of life. The domestication of certain wild animals followed this process, and by about 6,000 B.C.E. agrarian cultures can be identified in many places. Primordial humankind became settled and tied to the locality. (We will again encounter this extraordinarily important process when we discuss Niklaus von Flüe in the next chapter.)

We have seen that in the hunter and gather cultures the greater part of people's psychic energy was bound up in the nomadic-exploratory drive. With the development of a more settled way of life, nature assumed a part of the effort for nourishing and sating human hunger, for, as we know, grain grows on its own17. The libido invested in the nomadic-exploratory drive would be freed up in part since it would no longer be needed there. In this transition to an agrarian way of life, the psychic energy released could then flow into the exploration drive. This is why this transition signals the beginning of many fundamental discoveries and inventions. The human being starts to develop into a creature of culture.

In Greek and Roman mythology this development is symbolized by the smith, Hephaistos or Vulcan18. Like the Germanic god, Wieland, these gods are distinguished by being wounded in the foot or leg. This handicap abruptly put a stop to their nomadic-exploratory drive. Instead of indulging their inclination to hunt, they were condemned to sit at home "with the mothers" and mope about. But that must have gotten too boring in short order. The energy abruptly displaced from the nomadic-exploratory drive cathected a new drive: the drive to explore and to invent. Hence in many cultures the person with the wounded foot or leg symbolized the creative inventor. What seems essential in this displacement of energy from the nomadic-exploratory drive, therefore, is the impediment to motility. But viewed in the larger context of an entire culture, this impediment signifies nothing other than the decision to establish settlements and become attached to a locality.

When Paracelsus relates Hephaistos-Vulcanus to the stomach, he describes this transfer of psychic energy from the hunger and nomadic-exploratory drives to the exploratory drive, perhaps unbeknownst to himself. Simultaneously he has expanded the duality of aggression and sexuality -- the melusinian Ares-Mars -- into an Antitrinity of aggression, exploration, and sexuality, and thus in a certain sense separated aggression from sexuality. Of course he succeeded in this only because this Antitrinity corresponds to a pre-conscous, archetypal structure in the human soul. But in this way Paracelsus also simultaneously differentiated the chthonic principle in humankind that the Church Fathers condemned and thereby created the precondition for conscious recognition. Of course the differentiation into three is, as we saw in Chapter 2, the prerequisite for consciously recognizing the original Unity.

At the same time, however, a conflict arose in Paracelsus between the Christian Trinity and this heathen Trinity of drives (cf. Fig. 4.5) about which he was obviously conscious to a certain degree, for he writes: "I must also confess that I wrote as a heathen, but am a good Christian."19 In contrast to this, there reigns in contemporary humankind a complete unawareness of this conflict in the Christian soul, although its effects become ever more clearly manifest.

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Hephaistos-Vulcanus serves the separation of Ares-Mars and Aphrodite-Venus, if we are to believe Paracelsus. This Paracelsian intuition is confirmed in a motif from Greek mythology. Hephaistos-Vulcanus is the spouse of the beautiful Aphrodite-Venus. She cuckolds him with the god of war, Ares-Mars. Therefore Hephaistos-Vulcanus invents an invisible net that he casts over them and secures with a lock when he finds the lovers taking their pleasure in bed.

In this image Greek mythology expressed one of the deepest human realizations in symbolic form, and also shows how modern such myths are when we can translate them into a psychological language. Obviously Hephaistos is cuckolded by his spouse, Aphrodite. Viewed psychologically this means that the principle of exploration is neglected in favor of the principle of aggression. But it was precisely this neglect that the Church Fatherscommitted. When they drove the Gnostics from the Church, they also threw out the drive for individual exploration. Among the Gnostics, individual exploration was introverted and directed toward the revelation of an individual deity, for through introverted exploration they attempted to experience and to recognize God. The Church Fathers, on the contrary, taught that Jesus Christ was the first and only one who had experienced such a revelation. With this pronouncement they likewise suppressed the introverted drive to exploration that modern biology more and more accepts as one of the primal drives in the human being. Hephaistos-Vulcanus was obviously neglected. According to the Greek mythologem, he gets his revenge by fettering aggression and sexuality together. But the mixture of these two drives appears to be one of the greatest problems for Christianity, a problem that, in our times, is tending toward a level previously believed hardly possible. In this context I remind the reader of the explosive proliferation of hard porno films and sado-masochstic sex, as well as the fact that the statistics on rape have increased very significantly in recent times.

With his invisible net, Hephaistos-Vulcanus chained Aphrodite-Venus and Ares-Mars together. But he is also the only one who can again separate these two. He alone holds the key that separates Paracelsus's melusinian Ares-Mars. Viewed psychologically, this mythological statement means that only exploration can undo the mingling of the sexual and the aggressive drives.

In its archaic form, we find the prototype of this phenomenon in the myth of the American Indian trickster which Paul Radin20 published for the first time. This Indian simpleton continually flip flops between aggression and sexuality, and he, too, gets them mixed up until he perfects a technical invention, the redirection of a water fall, which resolves the problem for the time being. The extraverted exploration drive has prevailed in Trickster, and the psychic energy flows from sexuality and aggression into the eploration.

Today we are still caught in this archaic stage of the redirection of libido. We of the Western World, who are so extraordinarily proud of our intellectual development, should be the first to recognize that our extraverted mania for innovation corresponds to an extremely archaic principle. Exploration, which we live out in extraversion, and the technology that arises from this, are just as much expressions of a drive and hence as compulsive as aggression and sexuality. Hence occidental humankind, so very innovative, continually runs the risk of capsizing into these two drives or into a mixture of them, and falling victim to sadistic or masochistic sexuality.



4.2 Exploration and Meditation: Liberating the God-Man from the Realm of the Drives

Again we are indebted to Paracelsus for the first premonition of a solution to the trickster problem, i.e., the unconscious and uncontrollable transfer of psychic energy from one drive in the Triad to another. In his Vita Longa, the father of modern medicine suggests an imaginatio21 which is supposed to operate in an introverted manner "beyond all physical and manual work." In modern psychological terminology that means that the separation of aggression and sexuality can be achieved only through an introversion of psychic energy in the exploratory drive whereby simultaneously the archetypal principle of meditation is developed -- i.e., the introverted exploration of one's own drive economy. Thus the spiritual principle of imaginatio or meditation develops out of the Antitrinity of aggression, exploration, and sexuality. Later we shall see that C.G. Jung, at the end of the Christian aeon, took up Paracelsus' idea and, using it as a foundation, developed his introverted method of active imagination22.

The first step in liberating the God-Man from the realm of the drives, which, at the same time, corresponds to the beginning of the formation of a renewed upper God image is sketched in figure 4.6 and 4.7. For the time being we will consider this process with the help of the mythologizing concepts expressed in Paracelsus' terminology. Additionally, for the sake of simplicity, I will summarize the two lower Trinities of Ares-Mars, Hephaistos-Vulcanus, and Venus Melusine, and Sulphur, Mercurius, Sal (See figure 4.6). 

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If we replace Paracelsus' mythologizing concepts with those of depth psychology, we have this schema (see figure 4.7).

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This schema implies that, by introverting the exploratory drive, the Antitrinity of aggression, exploration, and sexuality gets bound to the spiritual principle of meditation.

This also establishes the connection between the Paracelsian procedure and the process of transformation of the God image discussed in Chapter 3. There I showed that the third element in the spirit archetype represents an ambivalent duality. Since the Church Fathers were not able to acknowledge these pre-conscious facts, the dark aspect of this ambivalent spirit was split off. This process corresponds to the Gnostics' fall of the heavenly God-Man, the Anthropos, into matter, and to the Alchemists' Rex or Regina entrapped in matter who must be set free from this entrapment. In his opus, Paracelsus describes this re-ascent of the God-Man. As we saw in our discussion of the tikkun of Luria's kabbala in Chapter 1, human cooperation is of decisive significance.

Expressed in the modern terminology of depth psychology, this redemption of God from out of matter obviously begins with this: the third principle, exploration, is turned inward, introverted, and thereby transformed into meditation. Since this third principle represents an ambivalent duality due to its pre-conscious, archetypal nature, it is very well suited to be the carrier of the transformation process. Consequently the ambivalent Mercurius -- i.e., the duality of extraverted exploration and introverted meditation -- forms the bridge between the lower Antitrinity and a new Trinity yet to be formed. The alchemists must have had a premonition of these facts since they described the quintessence in which the ambivalent Mercurius forms the center (see figure 3.3) as the highest of all attainable goals23. This quintessence is also represented by the symbol of the lily24, thus linking the process Paracelsus describes with that of the mystic Niklaus von Flüe, whom we will discuss in Chapter 5.

In order to proceed with our investigation, we must now examine the alchemical concept of meditation more closely. Meditation has become a popular word. Above all in America many scientists, particularly physicists, feel the need to compensate the intellectual one-sidedness demanded of them by their profession with meditative experiences. However, such meditative practices are usually borrowed from the Eastern mystical tradition although the occidental and Christian world has also developed these techniques.

In alchemy, the concepts meditatio and imaginatio have a very specific content that diverges to a significant extent from those meditation techniques taken over from other cultures. Since this specific variety of meditation arose on Christian soil, it may well be far more suited to the occidental person than the oriental meditation that has become so fashionable today. Hence we must look more closely at the precise content of alchemical meditation.

In his book, Psychology and Alchemy, Jung dealt in detail with the content of alchemical meditation in the section entitled "Meditation and Imagination"25. There, the concept of meditation is used to refer to a dialogue with an inner voice which, depending on the alchemist we consult, is equated with God, a good angel, or an aspect of the meditator. By dialogue the alchemists do not mean, for example, the ego's reflecting on itself -- hence no narcissistic staring at one's navel and mirroring of the ego -- but rather a living coming-to-terms with the "wholly Other" in the human being. It is of decisive significance that in the alchemical opus it is not the ego or human consciousness that possesses this ability26. On the contrary, this unique ability corresponds to a property of the "soul." But what then is this "soul"? In the anonymous treatise De Sulphure (i.e., a treatise on the properties of sulfur which, at that time, corresponded to Ares-Mars and to Fire) it is said that this soul takes God's place. Expressed in other words, this means that in meditation the alchemist relates to an inner God image which is made available to him on the basis of his imaginative capacities of which consciousness up until then had not had the faintest suspicion27. Moreover, the capacity for a divine essence to reveal itself is innate in every single human being, an extremely heretical idea, as already mentioned.

In order to pursue our explorations, we must next ask where in the body of the empirical human being might the soul, furnished with this capacity for divine revelation, be situated? The author of De Sulphure localizes it as a living spirit in the human blood. From within the blood this soul rules both reason and the body. But as if that were not enough, this soul, dwelling in the human blood, also rules outside the body, and according to Paracelsus is responsible for such parapsychological phenomena as telepathy and precognition. Hence this divine soul, localized in the human body, appears to underlie the principle of synchronicity, too, which, according to C.G. Jung, is necessary to account for parapsychological phenomena.

The alchemists also call this divine principle of revelation active in the human being the anima corporalis28, the "body soul," that mediates between consciousness and the physiological bodily functions. As I pointed out in Hat AIDS einen Sinn?, this corresponds to Vulcanus-Hephaistos, which he also calls Archaeus. This Archaeus represents a transformative principle, which, according to the alchemical physician, is localized in the region of the solar plexus.

In Tantrism, which C.G. Jung accepted as the only Eastern form of meditation because it did not leap over the shadow and the drives, the body soul corresponds to the three chakras situated below the diaphragm: muladhara, svadhisthana, and manipura. But these three are understood as the seat of the drives, and there is a high probability for the inference that the exploratory, the sexual, and the aggressive drives are projected into these three chakras29. The alchemist's soul, possessing a capacity for imaginative revelation, and which takes the place of the Christian God, obviously sits in the drive triad of aggression, exploration, and sexuality. A tough nut for a pious Christian!

Hence we can conclude that, via having-it-out and coming-to-terms with the spirit, or with the soul of this drive triad, the alchemist's striving was obviously directed toward freeing new knowledge from the collective unconscious and annexing it to consciousness which, in turn, would expand consciousness. The psychic structure of the lower God image that Paracelsus intuited therefore provides the precondition for the transfer of energy into the realms both of consciousness and of the upper part of the renewed God image.

I hold this form of meditation which C.G. Jung rediscovered in his active imagination to be one of the avenues most promising of success in escaping the dilemma of the end of the Christian era. In the not too distant future, we humans will be forced to relinquish our extraverted mobility mania in the face of the approaching environmental catastrophe if we are not to be eradicated in toto. Then we mobility maniacs will have far fewer possibilities to live out our compulsiveness in an extraverted, unconscious way. Should this vision of the future come to pass, each of us will have to come to terms with his or her compulsivity through introversion. If we do not do this, we will most probably sink into a deep depression. Increasing unemployment likewise tends in the same direction. It might have the meaning that we will be forced to leave our compulsive work mania and introvertedly redirect our psychic energy with the help of active imagination, "beyond physical and manual labor," as Paracelsus expressed it. In this conscious decision to break our identification with the trickster archetype, and to find our way into a new era of mysticism with the aid of C.G. Jung's active imagination, we have, in my opinion, the only way out of the meaninglessness and hopelessness of these Christian Last Days.

But let us return to Paracelsus. As we have seen, an Antitrinity of drives took shape in his unconscious. The third principle of this Antitrinity, Vulcanus-Hephaistos, appears as Archaeus in the region of the stomach. Hence it appears to have something to do with the hunger drive.

As we have seen above, a close connection exists between hunger and exploration: As a consequence of the quantum leap from a hunter-gatherer to an agrarian culture, a great part of the energy bound up in the hunger drive was set free and hence could flow into the exploratory drive. Humankind's first great inventions therefore were made at the time of this cultural leap. As I discussed in Chapter 1, an additional quantum leap was constellated at the beginning of the Christian era: The Christian Gnostics attempted to introvert psychic energy in the exploratory drive in order to gain individual revelations of the God image. When the Church Fathers cast the Gnostics out of the Church, they simultaneously suppressed introverted exploration: imagination about the image of God. From then on it was forbidden to make personal statements about the God image on the basis of an individual, introverted position.

The dogmatic stance of the Church Fathers effected a repression of introverted exploration from Christian consciousness. Although this repression was maintained for a few centuries with the aide of the Church's instruments of power, nevertheless exploration suddenly reappeared in its extraverted, compulsive form: first in the Crusades and then a second time shortly before the birth of Paracelsus in Christopher Columbus's voyages of discovery. In a veritable orgy of compulsive exploration, Christendom roused itself to discover the world and to destroy the archaic cultures. The drive to explore, repressed from introversion, asserted itself in extraverted form with the corresponding destructive consequences.

A similar process also took place in Paracelsus. We know from his biography that he traveled throughout all of Europe in restless compulsion. Hence he, too, lived out exploration extravertedly, and for the very reason that he was unconscious of its introverted expression thanks to the Church Fathers. Yet in him the drive to explore turned inward again and again, an introversion in which he then developed his genial, creative ideas and wrote his many books. One of the central ideas of his opus lay in his description of the process of introverting the drive to explore. But he probably was never fully conscious that this introversion was a task which he should have actualized with all his strength. By contrast, his compatriot, Niklaus von Flüe, whom we will discuss in the next chapter, appears to have succeeded at this total introversion of the exploratory drive.

According to C.G. Jung, the repression of a constellated archetype usually leads -- through the process of entantiodromia, the reversal into the opposite -- to a subsequent identification of consciousness with the archetype. And in fact, this enantiodromia can be proven to have occurred in modern science: the consciousness of the representatives of science has become identified with the extraverted form of the exploration drive. Thus on the one hand it is not in a position to take the step into introversion, and on the other hand no differentiation of the drives into an Antitrinity takes place. For this reason, science after Paracelsus regresses to a level lower than the first step of his opus, i.e. into a mixture of sexuality and aggression, of procreation and destruction. Greetings from the physicists' "cosmic dance of matter," but also from Freud's Eros and Thanatos!

Since no process of becoming conscious of the identification with the extraverted exploration drive has taken place in science, it has asserted itself with the consistency of preconscious-archetypal process in a most unexpected place: as we will see in chapter 6, the knowledge gained about elementary particle and quantum physics rests on this very same principle of aggressive generation of new elementary particles, the melusinian Ares-Mars of Paracelsus! Thus we get one more indication that physics at the end of the Christian eon has returned, unconsciously, to the beginning of the archetypal process of the transformation of God. Obviously God has fallen into matter, and it is precisely from matter that He must be redeemed.



4.3 The Transformation of Aggression

Paracelsus therefore describes the first step of his procedure of renewal of the God image as an introversion of exploration through which the principle of meditation is developed. He symbolizes introversion in these words: The anima iliastri -- that is, the soul of Sulfur and Iliaster, psychologically the psychic energy in the conglomeration of aggression and exploration -- must be brought back into the heart region30 after it has escaped. Here, of course, he is describing his own experiences of outbreaks of rage and what they wrought. The logical consequence consists, for him, in the introverted transformation of aggression. In this way the soul, up until now incapable of enduring suffering, becomes able to suffer. So that the soul can be held in the heart region, it must not lack for "air."

[In Chapter 5 I will show that the heart is a symbol of introversion as such, and that this "air" corresponds to the fleeting thoughts and feelings, usually of a negative kind, that hide behind the drives and compulsivity.]

The Tantricists aptly symbolize these subliminal thoughts and feelings as gazelles that belong to Anahata, the fourth tantric chakra, situated in the heart region (see figure 5.5). In order to seize such negative thoughts and feelings that appear and disappear as fast as lightning, one must actually be in a state of deep introversion. (Later, in Chapter 5, we will intensively study the introversion of exploration and the introverted preoccupation with the manifestations to the drive triad under the symbolic image of "the lance piercing the heart." Here we need only mention in passing that, in this way, Paracelsus's imaginatio is related to the visions of the Christian mystic Niklaus von Flüe as well as to Tantrism and Sufism.)

With the inclusion of the Iliaster/Sulfur/Ares-Mars, i.e., of aggression, we are already at the second step of Paracelsus's procedure. This consists in purifying the fiery principle following its separation from the watery Venus-Melusine principle. This purification, too, takes place with the help of introverted meditation. Since Paracelsus is to a large extent unconscious of the third fundamental drive, i.e., the exploratory drive, it is mingled with aggression again and again. But this mixture is no individual problem restricted to Paracelsus; rather, it is a fundamental problem of Christianity in general since (introverted) exploration (as we discussed in Chapter 1) was forbidden by the Church Fathers. Expressed alchemically, this signifies a mingling of Mercurius and Sulfur, which in fact are often confusingly similar.

Sulfur, therefore, the principle of exploratory aggression, finds expression unconsciously as an extreme compulsiveness, as Jung discussed in detail31. In the first step of the introversion of the exploratory drive and its transformation into the spiritual principle of alchemical meditation, however, aggression and exploration are separated. This separation takes place because, in meditation, exploration is introverted and spiritualized. With the aide of introverted meditation in the alchemical sense, now, Ares-Mars -- the Ilaster or Sulfur -- can be transformed. Again, the refining of Ares-Mars/Sulfur/Iliaster appears to consist in freeing this fiery principle from matter or from the drives of the human body and raising it to a spiritual level. Hence we must ask which spiritual-archetypal principle Sulfur is supposed to be transformed into.

Paracelsus was not yet able to grasp the psychological significance of the new spiritual principle. Therefore he circumambulates the product of the refining process in mythological terminology, and calls it the essence of purified fire32 which he also equates with what he calls the "sideral balsam"33. In the alchemist's fantasy world, this balsam constitutes the active principle of Egyptian mummification and is conducive to "eternal life"34 (see figure 4.8)

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When we compare this balsam with the original fire of Iliaster and of Ares-Mars, it is striking that it is obtained from the dead body: from a mummy, the remains of which were actually used as medicines in the Middle Ages. Regarded psychologically, this means, on the one hand, an introversion of aggression in that one renounces acting it out unconsciously; but on the other hand, it also signifies a quieting of the body. Here Paracelsus gives us an important hint concerning the now-popular body therapy: Only through "mummification," that is, by consciously quieting the body that is excited by drives can we transform the compulsiveness of the drives into a spiritual principle.

Granted, very few modern body therapists cleave to this basic rule of every occidental and oriental method of meditation. Concretized physical movement therefore replaces the movement of feeling. Instead of supporting the analysis and integration of the shadow with the help of introverted movement, the representatives of these sorts of therapy demand unconscious acting out. As already happened in the Christian Inquisition, the victims of these so-called therapies, which are nothing other than a shameless acting out of the power shadow, are again the weak, in this case the clients of self-appointed gurus.

In order to understand the principle of transformed and purified Sulfur -- the essence or the balsam -- we must consider the etymological derivation of the German word Wut (rage, fury = aggression!). Wut goes back to the Sanskrit stem vat, which means "understand," "comprehend," "recognize."35 In the sense of wuot = frenzy, rage, it also gave the Germanic god Wotan (Wuotan) his name36. (I will return to this central Germanic archetype in Chapter 5.)

Another etymology associates Wut with the Latin vates, meaning poet, seer, prophet37. This reveals the sense of the transformation Paracelsus was striving for: The frenzy, rage (insanity!) of collective aggression is obviously supposed to be changed into knowledge, but that means into the principle of the creative logos. C.G. Jung therefore believed that "Ares, accordingly, is an intuitive concept for a preconscious, creative, and formative principle which is capable of giving life to individual creatures."38

Paracelsus's extraordinarily creative nature suggests that the procedure he suggested led to the development of the creative logos out of his own conglomeration of the aggressive and the exploratory drives. Since this principle was based on an eminently introverted procedure in him, the result was not new external discoveries, but rather certain insights concerning the inner, psychic structure of the human being. And with this the alchemical physician succeeded in nothing less than transforming the absolute and preconscious knowledge of the collective unconscious into conscious insight which, for him, be it noted, was still veiled in mythological terminology. This transformation, therefore, also corresponds to the process by which the creative logos is built up.

Every creative person knows the unique condition at the beginning of a creative phase in which frenzy (feeling driven!) wants to transform into the word. One feels "charged up," aggressive, driven, euphoric, chaotic, inspired. New ideas roar like lightning bolts through one's head or, often, also through one's entire body. They tumble out with incredible speed, and one is no longer able to put them in a semblance of logical order with the help of discursive thought. Therefore one simply has to vomit them out lest one risks nausea or diarrhea. A Dionysian experience!

This is likewise the mythologem of procreation and of the dual-birth of Dionysus, the son of Semele and Zeus, which, in an archaic language, describes the process of the transformation of the creative logos39. As a steer, a lion, and a leopard, the Father of the Gods impregnates Semele. Dionysus, thus procreated, dances in his mother's womb, which also rouses her to frenzied dance. Jealous Hera persuades Semele to ask Zeus to come to her in his primal form. The Father of the Gods overwhelms her as a lightning storm. Semele is incinerated in mad excitement. Dionysus, unharmed, dances in his mother's womb. Mercury (!) frees him and, until he is to be born, sews him up in Zeus's thigh. In this way Dionysus is twice-born: once from Nature and once from the Spirit, born of mother and born of father.

Aggression -- or, better, the mixture of aggression and sexuality, Paracelsus's Melusinian Ares -- is emphasized twice in this mythologem: Zeus visits Semele as a steer, lion, or leopard, and as lightning. In introversion (Dionysus in the uterus!) this aggression transforms into a wild dance, the first refinement of the compulsion of the aggressive drive. Then in Zeus's thigh the transformation of the Dionysian into the spiritual principle of the logos takes place. The thigh, then, is the locus of (spiritual) procreation40.

As we will seen in Chapter 6, the motifs of lightning and dance cast a bridge from the Dionysus myth to elementary particle and quantum physics. There, too, it is "lightning," i.e., rays of energy, that beget new elementary particles via the "aggression" of collision, and lead to the "cosmic dance of matter" (Kenneth Ford). Thus we may already infer that physics is rediscovering this second step of the Paracelsian opus, the process of transforming aggression into logos.

Now we are able to translate this second step of Paracelus's opus into a psychological language. It clearly appears to consist in creating a new spiritual principle, the logos principle, out of the conglomerate of aggression and exploration (and sexuality). We can now enlarge our schema (as in figure 4.9).

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In essence, this schema says that through introverted meditation on aggression and exploration, the logos principle is formed on the higher, spiritual level. Of course, the principle of meditation can be further and further developed in this way, since repetition of the method leads to improvement. Through meditation on aggression and exploration, an additional principle in the renewed image of God develops out of the realm of the drives in which human consciousness plays an essential role. Of course here we are again reminded of the striving of the ancient Egyptians, the Gnostics, and the Kabbala of Luria in which, thanks to human effort, a renewed principle of divine spirit is supposed to be built up. In the language of modern depth psychology we designate this process as active imagination applied to the contents of aggressive and exploratory drive energies.



4.4 The Transformation of Sexuality

The third upper, and hence spiritually archetypal, principle is designated with a question mark for the time being. Here I must note that Paracelsus did not succeed in establishing this principle although he describes even a fourth step in his opus. To understand this principle, we will have to turn to the mystic, Niklaus von Flüe, in the next chapter. Here I will only briefly touch on these two additional steps in Paracelsus's thinking.

In the third step of Paracelsus's opus, the goal striven for is the purification and refinement of Venus-Melusine. As we have already seen, this belongs to the Aquaster principle which is imagined as feminine, watery, passive, and extremely volatile. This step in the opus is supposed to begin in the month of May, the month of Mary, Mother of God, on the one hand, and of the heathen Venus-Aphrodite on the other. From these sorts of hints in the De Vita Longa we can infer the refining process Paracelsus had in mind: He envisioned a transformation of sexuality from the realm of the drives into the spiritual, archetypal world of Eros. I understand this Eros in agreement with C.G. Jung in the sense of the principle of feeling-relationship with one's fellows humans (see figure 4.10).

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It is clear that Paracelsus did not achieve the transformation of compulsive, drive-based sexuality although he attempted to return the gesta melosynes -- i.e., sexual fantasies -- "back to the watery realm" which, understood psychologically, corresponds to an introverted working through of these fantasies41. Hence we must pose the question as to the reasons for his inability.

To answer this question I must somewhat anticipate the following discussion. The first reason for Paracelsus's inability is to be found in the circumstance that although he could describe the methodology of the third step theoretically, he was not able to integrate it into his life empirically. Since Aphrodite-Venus and Melusine have a passive nature, the possibility of experiencing them presupposes a passive, receptive conscious attitude. Paracelsus achieved this attitude only rarely. This, in turn, was due to his inability to introvert his compulsively extraverted exploratory drive by an act of consciousness. Introversion of the exploration drive is necessary to a much greater degree in order to approach the profoundly feminine, archetypal Aquaster principle than for the transformation of the Iliaster. Moreover, this third step of the opus usually leads to great suffering, and, as we know, we men run from nothing so quickly as from consciously experienced suffering.

From the perspective of depth psychology, the third stage in Paracelsus's opus describes active imagination on sexual fantasies. Before a man of our times attempts to deal with these fantasies, he should definitely work through his moods, affects, and emotions. These latter belong to the domain of the personal unconscious which usually must be integrated into consciousness before one descends into the realm of the drives and sexuality. Not until a man has learned to suffer from the effects of his moods on his fellows has he developed a certain minimum of Eros which permits him to grasp the fearsome effects of collectively lived sexuality with his feeling function. If this process of integrating the man's negative feeling world into consciousness does not take place, there is a great danger that he will fall prey to sexual magic -- or some other form of black magic. It appears to me that contemporary group therapy and body therapy practices run the danger of regressing into this world of sexual black magic.

If we want to emphasize the Trinitarian aspect of a triad, we can represent it geometrically as an equilateral triangle. The ambivalence of two such triads can be visualized as mirror images of each other. What we then get is the Seal of Solomon (see figure 3.2), which the alchemists also used as the symbol of the opus as well as its goal. Whereas the earlier upper Trinity corresponded to the Christian God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, it is now replaced by the renewed image of God: the Trinity of Logos, Meditation, and Eros (see figure 4.11). By consciously forming a renewed upper image of God, the alchemists' unconscious conflict between their Christian image of God and the heathen realm of the drives is resolved.





4.5 The Union of Logos and Eros in the Hermaphroditic God-Man

Finally, the fourth stage of Paracelsus's opus consists in uniting the two principles of logos and eros (formed in the spiritual, archetypal realm through meditation) as the Adech, that is, the "greater, inner human", the androgynous Anthropos, or more precisely, its upper portion. In Paracelsus's terminology, the "astral body" is formed in this way from the ordinary, physical human body. And this astral body guarantees the vita longa, longevity in this life and immortality in the next.

The goal Paracelsus strives for in his alchemical opus is clearly that of redeeming from the realm of the drives the male-female divine human in himself. We will see in chapter 6 that a dream and an active imagination of physicist and Nobel laureate Wolfgang Pauli show that he, too, might have had to struggle with this problem, and that the solution would have lain in what I call the synchronistic life. The union of man and woman, of inner and outer, the goal of the opus represented as the divine hermaphrodite or androgyne, symbolizes nothing less than the consciously lived principle of synchronicity.

Likewise we recall that prima materia, the starting substance for the alchemical opus, is initially represented as an hermaphrodite which, as the first step, must be reduced to its component parts, the Iliaster and the Aquaster (i.e., Sulfur and Sal, or Ares-Mars and Aphrodite-Venus or Melusine). Now obviously the spiritualized aspect of these components are to be united, creating a new, higher male-female principle. As mentioned, this new symbolism gets concretized in the immediate future as an increased inclination toward bisexuality if this most profound meaning of the alchemical opus is not understood psychologically and consciously experienced as an individuation process.

Paracelsus's mythologizing mode of expression again reveals that he was not yet able to understand which process he was actually describing. Therefore since that time magical ideas concerning the astral body haunt us, the common feature of which consists in this: these ideas, which should have been understood in terms of depth psychology as referring to the process of developing a renewed upper God Image freed from the realm of the drives, clothe themselves in incomprehensible, occult, secretive and mystifying words. Nobody really knows what they are supposed to mean and what concrete processes they represent. With his psychological mode of observation, C.G. Jung was the first to offer us a means by which we are able to carry out this process empirically in the individual human being and, moreover, to understand it.

As I have already mentioned briefly, on the one hand the depth psychological symbolism behind the epistemological instruments of elementary particle and quantum physics, and, on the other hand, their results, show that, at a higher level of scientific insight, physics has ultimately returned to the alchemical opus. But since this process took its course unconsciously, and consequently quantum physics was not able consciously to perceive the solution of the problem of the transformation of the God image urgently demanded by the collective unconscious, the opus was projected into what was erroneously believed to be inanimate matter. In this way elementary particle and high energy physicists find structures and processes in matter that strikingly resemble the introvertedly perceived visions of the alchemists and of Niklaus von Flüe, but also those of the Buddhist and Hindu Tantricists and the Muslim Sufis.

The investigation of the transformation of the image of God must, therefore, embrace the recent developments in subatomic physics. Although projected into matter, they describe Paracelsus's transformation process which also undergirds depth psychology; hence study of the symbolism of the structures, principles of conservation, and permissible processes of quantum physics can impart essential new insights into the introverted processes of the transformation of the image of God in each individual human being.

Since I will discuss the depth psychological background of elementary particle and quantum physics in detail in Chapter 6, now I will only mention that the solution to the problem presented here of the formation of the astral body Paracelsus describes goes beyond the possibilities of physics. It must be sought in a new science that unites the insights of depth psychology with those of quantum physics. This future science will find the key concept what physics calls "negative energy." As I discussed elsewhere42, "negative energy" is ultimately the snag in the new physics, since its strange transformation into antimatter rests on a metaphysical hypothesis. In order to explain the nature of antimatter, Paul Dirac, a co-founder of quantum theory, had to invoke an hypothesis that, for physicists, was downright adventurous: These particles of antimatter are supposed to arise from a "sea" of countless, but physically unobservable electrons having a negative energy. But this property of unobservablity situates Dirac's postulate in the domain of metaphysics. Replacing the metaphysical basis of the new physics with an empirical one will be the central task of the new science mentioned above.



Level 1

Exploration will be acknowledged as the third fundamental drive in addition to aggression and sexuality. Exploration, which today is usually experienced as an extraverted drive, will be redirected into introversion whereby meditation (active imagination) arises as the first, higher principle.


Level 2

Occidental humankind's aggressive compulsiveness will be introverted. By way of meditation regarding this exploratory aggression, the second principle of logos (knowledge) will be developed.


 Level 3

Exploratory sexuality will likewise become introverted. Meditation on this -- which is much more difficult than that at the second stage since it presupposes a passive-receptive attitude of consciousness -- develops the third upper principle of eros (ability to relate).


Level 4

Finally, the hermaphroditic Divine Human with his/her "astral and immortal body" will be formed from the union of logos and eros. As this mythologizing terminology reveals, interpretation of this fourth level will be the province of a yet unknown science which has joined the insights of depth psychology with those of quantum physics.

Overview 4.1: The four stages or levels of Paracelsus's opus expressed in the terminology of depth psychology



4.6 Active Imagination and the alchemical Pelican

4.6.1 The Psychological Prerequisites for Active Imagination

Based on the psychic process described by Paracelsus, C.G. Jung developed an introverted, dialectical method, active imagination, which we have referred to several times43. It's foundation is Jung's theory of complexes, that is, the empirically observable fact that the totality of the conscious and the unconscious psyche appears rather like a mosaic composed of many parts. These parts are, however, only loosely fitted together and each has a dynamic of its own. In a first phase of active imagination, the ego has it out with the complexes, preferably in personified form, which usually are concealed behind unpleasant, half-conscious feelings, affects, and moods. In this manner the occidental man44 can again approach his repressed feelings and the world of Eros. Imaginatio for C.G. Jung, then, offers the only aide in integrating the man's feminine side, the anima.

Active imagination demands the presence of a certain measure of dialectic that separates the complexes, moods, and affects from the ego. It obviously requires a certain minimum of the Logos principle.

But a minimum of Eros is also necessary in order to be able to dim the occidental man's separative Logos-consciousness (which at the same time represses negative aspects) and to relate with a certain degree of understanding in introversion to his complexes, his shadow side, and his moods . Not until he can diminish the intensity of his Logos-consciousness can the contents heretofore repressed in the personal unconscious, or the contents of the collective unconscious, reach the threshold of consciousness and be perceived.

Since the relationship quality of Eros makes possible the approach to aspects of the shadow while the dialectical capacity of Logos is simultaneously maintained, a condition is created in which a drama on the inner stage can develop that can accelerate the process of becoming conscious. As a consequence of its double aspects of Logos (dialectic) and Eros (dimming of conscious and empathy), active imagination makes the highest demands on a person and usually can be learned only over a period of many years.

This union of Eros and Logos with the aide of meditation (imaginatio) corresponds, as we said earlier, to the production of the hermaphroditic Anthropos. Gerhard Dorn, a student of Paracelsus's, goes one step farther in describing the result in the typical mythologizing language of the alchemists45: After the lapis -- a synonym for Paracelsus's Adech, astral body, and the hermaphroditic Anthropos -- has been produced, "a dark red liquid, like blood, sweats out drop by drop from [the] material . . ."46 Naturally the similarity of this process with the Blood of Christ which was shed by Longius's lance and which forms one of the primary contents of the Sacred Heart mysticism immediately springs to mind. We will again encounter this symbolism of the blood to be shed from the heart of the Anthropos by a lance in the next chapter.

Since the alchemical lapis is formed through human effort and, moreover, has its roots in the domain of the drives, it can not correspond to the historical Christ. According to Gerhard Dorn's statements, therefore, this stone that sweats blood symbolizes the putissimus homo that Jung interprets as the "most genuine" or "most true" human in contrast to Christ, who represents the homo purissimus, the most pure, that is, the Anthropos free from all sins. As Jung states, the goal Dorn has in mind -- that is, the stone that sweats blood -- has to do with the Anthropos of the future incarnated in the ordinary human being: "On no account is it a question here of a future Christ and salvator microcosmi, but rather of the alchemical servator cosmi (preserver of the cosmos), representing the still unconscious idea of the whole and complete man, who shall bring about what the sacrificial death of Christ has obviously left unfinished, namely the delivering of the world from evil."47 He clearly corresponds to the process and its goal of a renewed image of God that has already been discussed. And Jung also draws the conclusion that, viewed in terms of depth psychology, this incarnated Anthropos is concerned with uniting the principles of Eros and Logos, which comes about by working through the compulsion of our drive nature, i.e., obviously via the meditative principle of active imagination.


4.6.2 The Energetics of Active Imagination

Active imagination is the depth psychological method, derived from the alchemical opus, that is called for in order to transduce the psychic energy (the libido) heretofore imprisoned in the sphere of the drives and the affects onto a spiritual level. As we can see, the hypothesis in depth psychology proceeds from an energetic concept in agreement with modern physics. Whereas psychic energy was identical with sexuality for Sigmund Freud, it finds expression for Alfred Adler as power and aggression. In Jung's thought, by contrast, libido, psychic energy, is an empirically observable force that ultimately transcends consciousness -- we are reminded on the "negative energy" in physics -- which can express itself both in the realm of the drives and of the archetypes.

Consequently Jung suspected that drive and archetype are the two sides of the same coin where the drive is situated, so to speak, at the infrared end of the spectrum and extends down into matter, while the archetype lies at the opposing ultraviolet and spiritual pole48. With this, Jung ultimately also postulates that the libido cathects not only the triad of drives but can, by a conscious act, be transferred to the drives's archetypal correlates. In this process of conscious libido transformation via active imagination, we are dealing with something essentially different from Freud's sublimation. Fundamentally, sublimation takes place unconsciously, that is, without conscious participation. By contrast, the goal of libido transformation consists in attaining the ability to redirect psychic energy consciously from the realm of the drives into the domain of the archetypes -- or to leave it with the drives, for example, when Spring arrives!

We always do well to take not only people but also words "at their word." For even if we believe, erroneously, to be sure, that we have postulated a new concept 100% consciously, it nevertheless always contains an unconscious component. Therefore let us scrutinize the term sublimation somewhat more closely.

In chemistry, sublimation designates the transition from a solid into a gaseous state without passing through the intermediate fluid state. The rigid body immediately dissolves into air, so to speak, and never becomes a fluid. Once again we must take a word literally. It would never occur to us to say, for example, that psychic energy "flies" into work; rather, we express the fact of the redirection of libido with the word "flows." Hence it appears that the fluid state, which is lacking in Freud's concept of sublimation, is the most suitable for redirecting energy.

In order to perceive the fluid state of psychic energy or libido, the organ of perception, consciousness, must also be spontaneous and like quicksilver. These are the qualities of a consciousness that has integrated a certain measure of Eros. Its flowing nature compensates the rigidity and insistence on lawfulness of our contemporary masculine, scientific consciousness, and thus brings the latter closer to feminine consciousness. Taoism as well as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus ("Everything flows!") were informed by similar notions which subatomic physics has recently rediscovered as the wave aspect of matter. Hence we may anticipate that elementary particle and quantum physics also projects essential contents of a renewed consciousness into matter.


4.6.3 The Alchemical Pelican and Synchronicity

Now what could a fluid condition of libido, as prerequisite for its transformation from the domain of the drives to that of the archetypes, signify in terms of depth psychology? Paracelsus saw the solution to this problem in another symbolic image. In his De Vita Longa the pelican holds a central position (see figure 4.12)49.

Figure 4.12: The alchemical and the Christian pelican


The pelican was an alchemical retort with quite specific characteristics. As a retort it served the alchemist, first and foremost, for an ordinary procedure: Initially a solid substance (symbolically, "earth") was placed in the retort and mixed with water. Since chemical processes are accelerated, or only possible with, the addition of heat, fire was placed under the retort. "Earth," "water," and "fire" are thereby brought together and form the alchemist's prima materia out of which "air" as the fourth element was supposed to be extracted. (In the next chapter we shall see that these three elements also symbolize the three lower chakras in Tantrism, which, in the terminology of depth psychology, I will equate with the drive triad of exploration, sexuality, and aggression.) Only liquefaction via the agency of fire, which of course can be observed very impressively in the example of the metals ("metal" = alchemical earth), made possible the subsequent vaporization which was interpreted as the extraction of the Earth Spirit.

The metal mercury, quicksilver, occupies a special place in the alchemical process. Since at room temperature it is liquid and already noticeably volatile, it was especially well suited to carry the projection of the Earth Spirit that was to be extracted. Since quicksilver was equated astrologically with Mercurius-Hermes, the latter, too, was assimilated to the alchemical principle from which the spirit of the Earth could be extracted relatively easily. But regarded psychologically, Mercurius-Hermes corresponds to the exploration-meditation axis (cf. figure 4.7). As we have seen, the exploration-meditation axis plays a central role in the process of forming the renewed upper God image and hence also in active imagination through the introverted redirection of libido. Thus the fluid state of the libido is achieved when the principle of introverted meditation complements the principle of extraverted exploration; in other words the liquefaction symbolizes the introversion of psychic energy.

This symbolism prevailed in condensed form in the specialized retort called the pelican in the sense that the archetype amplifies itself50. The pelican must, of course, remain tightly closed during the entire alchemical process. Regarded psychologically, this signifies maintaining the most extreme introversion. Moreover, the vapor is again directed into the liquid via the two characteristic glass tubes in the pelican (see figure 4.12). This process corresponds to the alchemical dictum, "Volatilize the solid and solidify the volatile"51, and it was naturally crowned with success when the pelican remained sealed. In this manner the so-called rotary or "circulatory distillation"52 was introduced. According to the alchemists's concept of it, through this process the distillate became ever more highly concentrated and thereby become the essence of the prima materia which, for its part, represented the goal of the entire procedure.

In sum, we could therefore say that the qualities of containment and circulatory distillation impart to the alchemical pelican properties of a symbol of the deepest introversion. This in turn means that the transfer of psychic energy from the rigid all or nothing reaction condition53 of the drive triad to the fluid state in which it is capable of becoming conscious is possible only by way of a conscious act of introversion. Not until an individual has developed the specifically human ability consciously to differentiate oneself from identification with the drives and to confront their expressions in the introverted procedure of active imagination is it possible to redirect psychic energy to the archetypal level.

However, the alchemical pelican symbolizes yet another phenomenon that is very important in our context. With the help of the pelican the alchemist initiates the process of movement from below to above, the conversion of matter into energy, that he understood as a spiritualization. Only the sealed pelican with its two tubes leading downward effect the parallel process of "solidifying the volatile" which one can describe as a materialization of the spirit. Here we must emphasize that the alchemist, living in a pre-causal world, did not understand this event causally; rather, he experienced it as a causeless, parallel manifestations of "spirit" and "matter." Only later did the natural sciences impose a causal nexus on this natural process.

Active imagination is the depth psychological translation of the alchemical idea of the pelican. In active imagination one strives to spiritualize the drives which we can interpret, from a physical point of view, as a conversion of matter into energy. The parallel alchemical symbolism shows how important introversion is in this undertaking. We have already related this to the Paracelsian mummification which, regarded depth psychologically, corresponds to shutting down the body excited by the drives.

When engaged in active imagination, external events frequently take place that can be interpreted as the accompanying materializations of objective psychic energy. In other words, it appears that, when employed correctly, parallel events take place in the outer world without cause -- the physicist would say, non-locally. These "events" belong to the synchronistic context of active imagination. Hence the pelican also symbolizes the phenomenon of synchronicity.

If we look symbolically, we will see that physicists -- with their accelerator and bubble chamber in which a continual conversion of matter into energy and subsequent materialization of energy takes place -- have reinvented nothing other than the alchemical pelican without knowing it! One of the most important results discovered with the help of this "physical pelican" is the principle of conservation of strangeness, and the well-founded suspicion arises that, in strangeness, physicists have rediscovered the principle of synchronicity.

Since physics still interprets the relationship between the events in the accelerator and in the bubble chamber (conversion of matter into energy and materialization of energy) in a (statistically) causal way, physicists cannot, of course, see that with the aide of these instruments they simulate the process of the creatio continua in matter which, in the near future, however, must be shifted to the soul of each individual.


4.6.4 The Christian Pelican and the Heart

In Chapter 5 the symbol of the heart will occupy a central position. Here we must ask how the alchemical pelican is related to it. In medieval Christian symbolism the pelican was an allegory for Christ54. Equating the heart and the pelican is based on a fable in which the pelican opens its breast in order to awaken its deceased young to life (cf. figure 4.12). This links it with the symbolism of the lance that pierced Christ's heart, which plays a major role in the Sacred Heart Mysticism and in the visions of Niklaus von Flüe. In addition, it is striking that the alchemical pelican strongly resembles an abstraction of the heart and circulatory system which was discovered only at the beginning of the 17th century, that is, subsequent to the image of the pelican. Clearly the symbol of the pelican appears, on the one hand, to be linked with that of the heart, and on the other hand also with the lance penetrating the heart. With this, the phenomenon of synchronicity also becomes associated with heart symbolism.

We will see in Chapter 6 that the principle according to which the bubble chamber functions -- and which is one of the most important instruments by means of which elementary particle physicists gain knowledge -- has much similarity to the heart, regarded symbolically. The particle ray from the accelerator, considered symbolically, will turn out to be a lightning bolt or a lance that penetrate this very heart. As I have already mentioned above, the events in this "bubble-chamber heart" lead to postulating the principle of conservation of strangeness which, viewed phenomenologically, corresponds to synchronicity. In physics, too, the preconscious, archetypal process of perceiving synchronicity in the heart prevailed unconsciously and therefore got projected into matter, i.e. into the bubble chamber.

Since time immemorial the heart has been regarded as the seat of Eros, of the felt relatedness between people, and of love. The pelican, as locus of liquefaction and hence of the ability of libido to transform, clearly shows us that Eros and introversion are intensely connected: Introversion alone appears to lead into the state of Eros, that is, into a consciously lived ability to relate.

This conclusion, for many readers perhaps astonishing, brings us to the content of the next chapter. There I will show that Niklaus von Flüe, the introverted Swiss mystic, was able to find the solution to the problem of transducing psychic energy from the realm of the drives to the higher, archetypal sphere of Eros only by withdrawing from the world and through introverted meditation.

1 In the sense of the term as defined by C.G. Jung (see also Chapter 1). Above all, the concept must not be confused with Freud's similarly named concept.

2 Jung, C.G. Mysterium Coniunctionis. C.W. 14

3 The quaternity of the elements also occurs frequently. Since Earth produces nothing -- Fire generates Sulphur, Air gives rise to Mercury, and Water to Sal -- there are nevertheless only three principles. Cf. Jung, C.G., Mysterium Coniunctionis, C.W. 14

4 Jung, Aion, C.W. 9, ii ;and C.W. 14

5 Jung, Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

6 On the problem of the androgyne, cf. E. Zolla, The Androgyne: Fusion of the Sexes. Thames and Hudson: London (1981).

7 On this point, cf. the cover story in Der Spiegel, no.5, Jan 29, 1996.

8 Jung, Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13

9 Ibid.


10 Roth, R., F., Hat AID einen Sinn? Behandlungsmöglichkeiten der HIV-Infektion auf der Grundlage tiefenpsychologischer Imaginationsmethoden. Maur-Zurich: IKOS-Verlag (1994).

11 Cf. Jung, "The division into two . . was necessary in order to move the "one" world [the unus mundus] from the condition of potentiality to that of actuality. Mysterium COniunctionis, C.W. 14

12 Schipperges, H. Paracelsus, p. 33, p. 53.

13 Aschner, B., ed., Paracelsus Sämtliche Werke. Opus Paramirum. 1926-1932. Vol. 1, p. 67.

14 Cf. Roth, R., F., Op. cit.

15 The following is based on Hawkes, Jacquetta, Bildatlas der frühen Kulturen, Gutersloh (1977), pp. 24ff.

16 Jung, Emma, and von Franz, Marie-Louise, Die Graalslegende in psychologischer Sicht. Zürich (1960). p. 90, note. 19. Lug is a god of light and a bringer of culture. He invented tools, art, and science, and corresponds to Mercurius-Hermes (op. cit., p. 88, note 12).

17 In an experiment he conducted personally, J.R. Harlan harvested a kilogram of grain with a flint sickle in one hour. He calculated that three weeks' work sufficed to supply an family for one year. (Cited in K. Critchlow, Time Stands Still, p. 170.)

18 Cf. Sas, St., Der Hinkende als Symbol, Zürich (1964), p. 21ff.

19 Jung, Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon

20 Radin, P., Kerenyi, K, Jung, C.G. Der göttliche Schelm, 1954.

21 For the following, see Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

22 See below, p.____.

23 Jung, C.G., Mysterium Coniunctionis, C.W. 14.

24 Ibid., par. ___.

25 Jung, C.G., Psychology and Alchemy, C.W. 12.

26 Ibid.

27 In our century, C.G. Jung rediscovered this principle which he called "unconscious thinking".

28 Jung, C.G., Psychology and Alchemy, C.W. 12.

29 Cf. Chapter 5.

30 Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

31 Jung, C.G., Mysterium Coniunctionis, C.W. 14.

32 Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid..

35 Cited in Schwarzenau, P., Das göttliche Kind, Stuttgart (1984), p. 97f.

36 Duden-Herkunftswörterbuch.

37 Ibid.

38 Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

39 Cited from Nonnos, Dionysiaka, Bremen (no date).

40 Onians, R.B., The Origins of European Thought. Cambridge (1951)

41 Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon.

42 Roth, R., F. Psicologia junhgiana, la Fisica dei quanti e la Psicosomatica, Synthesis--Scienza, psicollogia e letteratura, no. 5, 1995. Di Renzo Editore, Roma.


44 It is generally true that in active imagination a woman has to deal with half-conscious and pseudo-logical ideas, opinions, and judgments. In so far as she is not possessied by animus energies, the world of Eros belongs to the woman; that is, she is conscious of her feelings in a highly differentiated form. Many a woman must smile when she sees us men laborously extracting these feelings. We men, on the other hand, tear our hair at the logic that rules in a woman's active imagination.

45 Jung, C.G.

46 Ibid.

47 Ibid.

48 Jung, C.G. On the Nature of the Psyche, C.W. 8; also Letters II.

49 Jung, C.G. Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

50 See section 5.1.

51 Jung, C.G., Mysterium Coniunctionis, C.W. 14.

52 Jung, C.G., Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon, C.W. 13.

53 Jung, C.G., Instinct and the Unconscious, C.W. 8.

54 For example, see Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, C.W. 12, illustration 89.


October 3rd, 1997

revised, August 2003

proofread by GJS

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