Alchemical Vessels: mother image

Aurora and dragon. Aurora Consurgens-15th Thomas Aquinas; Marie-Louise von Franz (1966) Aurora Consurgens; A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Opposites in Alchemy, London: Routledge & K. Paul century. Us Public Domain
Aurora and dragon. Aurora Consurgens-15th Us Public Domain

Carl Jung says that “the mother image “can be attached to … various vessels.” [1]

In alchemy, the vessel offers an imaginal space for transformation. The alchemist used vessels to carry out their alchemical operations. It was in such vessels that distillation and transformation occurred, making them a suitable image for the transformation and distillation of spiritual energies.

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Sacred Waters: the mother goddess and the waters of life

Kalighat paintings from 19th century Calcutta. US public Domain via wikimedia.
Ganga 19th century Calcutta. US public Domain via wikimedia.

Water is sacred in many traditions of the world. In India, the river Ganges is sacred; bathing in the river is said to lead to moksha (enlightenment). In the Bhagavata Purana, there is a story of the creation of the Ganges. It is said that Vishnu (in the form of Vâmana) wanted to measure the universe, step by step. As he took his second step, “the nail of the big toe of His left foot pierced the upper covering of the universe.”  With this piercing, water “from the outside entered the hole” and flowed in the form of a great river. This sacred water is said to vanquish “the sins of all the world getting in touch with it.” (Canto 5, Chapter 17)

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Homo Adamicus: syzygy

Genesis I, from : Biblia German, Nuremberg , A. Koberger 1483. US public domain, wikimedia
Genesis I, from : Biblia German, Nuremberg , A. Koberger 1483. US public domain, wikimedia

The image above is from a 1493 German Bible. In the middle, we see Eve emerging from Adam. Their bodies form a divine pair.

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