c.g.-jung

The Philosopher’s Stone and Solutio
from Edward Edinger, in the Anatomy of the Psyche

“We are brought finally, to the ultimate in solutio symbolism, the idea that water is the goal of the process. Several terms are used for this liquid version of the Philosophers’ Stone: "aqua permanens,” “elixir vitae,” “tincture,” “philosophical water,” “universal solvent,” “divine water,” and so forth. Water as the goal of the opus is defined in this text:

‘And by whatever names the philosophers have called their stone they always mean and refer to this one substance, i.e., to the water from which everything originates and in which everything is contained, which rules everything, in which errors are made and which the error is itself corrected. I call it “philosophical” water, not ordinary water but aqua mercurialis.’ “ 

~Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, page 224

Photograph of Greek inscription at the Bollingen “Tower” of C.G. Jung; the inscription itself dates to 1950.

The central figure is Homunculus-Mercurius-Telesphorus, wearing a hooded cape and carrying a lantern. He is surrounded by a quaternary Mandala of alchemical significance, with the top quarter dedicated to Saturnus, the bottom quarter to Mars, the left quarter to Sol-Jupiter (“male”) and the right quarter to Luna-Venus (“female”). The Greek inscription translates to approximately:
“Aion (Time, Eternity, the Eon) is a child at play, gambling; a child’s is the kingship. Telesphorus ("the Accomplisher”) traverses the dark places of the world, like a star flashing from the deep, leading the way to the Gates of the Sun and the Land of Dreams"

Time is a child at play, gambling; a child’s is the kingship is a fragment attributed to Heraclitus.

to the Gates of the Sun and the Land of Dreams is a quote of the Odyssey (24.11), referring to Hermes the psychopomp leading the spirits of the slain suitors away.

                Ὁ.ΑΙΩΝ.Π
            ΑΙΣ.ΕΣΤΙ.ΠΑΙΖΩ
            Ν.ΠΕΤΤΕΥΩΝ.Π
            ΑΙΔΟΣ.Ἡ.ΒΑΣΙ
               ΛΗ [♄] ΙΗ  
ΤΕΛΕΣ                             ΦΟΡΟΣ  
ΔΙΕΛΑΥ                           ΝΩΝ.ΤΟ  
 ΥΣ.ΣΚ                           ΟΤΕΙΝ  
 [☉ ♃]            [☿]            [♀ ☾] ΟΥΣ
                                             ΤΟΥ
ΚΟΣΜΟΥ.                         ΤΟΠΟΥ
Σ.ΚΑΙ.ὩΣ.                          ΑΣΤΗΡ.
ΑΝΑΛ              ΑΜΠΩ         Ν.ΕΚ.ΤΟ
Υ.ΒΑ             ΘΟ [♂] ΥΣ.      ὉΔ
                  ΗΓΕΙ   ΠΑΡ᾽
               ΗΕΛΙΟΙΟ.ΠΥΛΑΣ.Κ
                 ΑΙ.ΔΗΜΟΝ.Ο
                    ΝΕΙΡΩΝ  

It would be a ridiculous and unwarranted assumption on our part if we imagined that we were more energetic or more intelligent than the men of the past.

Our material knowledge has increased, but not our intelligence. This means that we are just as bigoted in regard to new ideas, and just as impervious to them, as people were in the darkest days of antiquity.

We have become rich in knowledge, but poor in wisdom.

—  C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation