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Abraxas

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8Pap. J395, in Dieterich, Abraxas, p.17: “And God laughed seven times Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha, and as God laughed, there arose seven gods.”
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

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Atropos

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Basilisk

The Basilisk: (from the Greek βασιλίσκος basilískos, “little king;” Latin regulus) … said to have the power to cause death with a single glance.

From Wikipedia: Woodblock print of a basilisk from Ulisse Aldrovandi, Serpentum, et draconum historiae libri duo, 1640
220px-basilisk_aldrovandi.jpg

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(B) This space is filled by a winged serpent ...wearing a crown like the fabulous basilisk. ...It is of horrible appearance, green in colour, with grey or ashy tail.

A Prelude to chemistry

p55 “Below the final 'i' of 'Basiliski,' it is possible to discern a dragon-like figure, painted in gold, just above the city. This figure is the basilisk - the monstrous combination of a cock and a toad or snake, said to have hatched from a yokeless egg, which was laid by a cock and brooded by a toad on a bed of dung.55 The basilisk, like the gorgon, could kill with a look and would die if it saw its own reflection. In Christian iconography, the basilisk was synonymous with the devil, its three pointed crest and trifurcated tail the inverse of the Holy Trinity.56
Transformation of the Psyche

In this alembic, the three coloured birds (Red, Black, White) from the previous image have come together as one white bird with three heads. I'm reminded of the basilisk creature that has on its head a three pointed crown cRef. p55.
Its worth noting I think that the alembic remains contained - it is an inner process.

Transformation of the Psyche

The Basilisk is very interesting. The king of snakes said to be able to kill with its stair as well as its venom. It is sometimes depicted with crown, it is said to have had a crown shaped crest or mitre on its head. Agrippa wrote that the basilisk “is always, and cannot but be a male, as the more proper receptacle of venome and destructive qualities.”
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§87 “Cadmus is interpreted alchemically as Mercurius ... He seeks his feminine counterpart, ...but she meets him in the shape of the Mercurial serpent, which he must first kill because it contains the furious conflict of warring elements (the chaos). From this arises the harmony of the elements, (why five elements = warriors remaining?) and the coniunctio can now take place. (Italics mine) The spoils of the struggle, in this case the dragon's skin ... In other words, it is offered up to the unconscious as the source of life, which produces harmony out of disharmony.231 (Italics mine) ... according to the myth, Cadmus and Harmonia turned to stone (evidently because of an embarras de richesse: perfect harmony is a dead end). In another version, they turn into snakes, “and even into a basilisk,” ...”
These paragraphs are very rich and warrant re-reading again and again. The conflict, the order from chaos that the coniunctio brings, the relation to entropy as a law of nature in contradistinction to the unconscious objectives to bring harmony through the joining of opposites. The 'morality' of the unconscious and the withdrawal of projections by the Alchemists to own these psychic moral issues as opposed to projecting them with religion ...all very very interesting topics.
Mysterium Coniunctionis, Collected Works Vol. 14

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Buraq

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Centaur

Female centaur by Auguste Rodin (1840–1917)
Female Centaur
To learn more about Rodin and explore his artwork, check out his page on Artsy.

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p62 “We feel it may be justified to assume that this problem is not a conscious problem of the infantile soul, but rather a general one that finds expression in this dream: the fight of the spirit against physical matter, the longing of the creature to be saved from the bonds of the flesh, the fight of the higher against the lower powers. In the arts, the most striking expression of this motif is Rodin’s female Centaur. She stretches her upper body forward, she reaches forward with her arms with an immense longing, and one senses her ardent wish to be completely freed of her animal body. The artist’s intuition and the dream of the 8􏰅􏰆-year-old child speak the same language, as both of them take their images from the collective unconscious.”
Children's Dreams

p121 “Sagittarius is symbolised by the Centaur ...mythological creature half-horse, half-man, whose unrestrained passions but skill in hunting evoke the potential of mankind's animal nature. The positive potential of this combination was found in the centaur Chiron...“
Transformation of the Psyche

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Cherubim, Cherub

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p92 “Mercury is our doorkeeper, our balm, our honey, oil, urine, may-dew, mother, egg, secret furnace, oven, true fire, venomous Dragon, Theriac, ardent wine, Green Lion, Bird of Hermes, Goose of Hermogenes, two-edged sword in the hand of the Cherub that guards the Tree of Life, etc.”
cF page 104 below where the two-edged sword is used to cut the philosophers egg.
A Prelude to chemistry

§361 “The analogy with the vision of Ezekiel (chapters 1 and 10) is at once apparent. There the four cherubim had “the likeness of a man.” Each of them had four faces, a man's, a lion's, an ox's, and an eagle's, so that, as with the fours sons of Horus, one quarter was human and three quarters animal. ....13
13The one human head would indicate consciousness of an aspect or function of the individual psyche. Horus as the rising sun is the enlightener, just as the vision of Ezekiel signifies enlightenment. On the other hand magic, if it is to be effective, always presupposes unconsciousness. ...
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

§361 “The analogy with the vision of Ezekiel (chapters 1 and 10) is at once apparent. There the four cherubim had “the likeness of a man.” Each of them had four faces, a man's, a lion's, an ox's, and an eagle's, so that, as with the fours sons of Horus, one quarter was human and three quarters animal. ....13
13The one human head would indicate consciousness of an aspect or function of the individual psyche. Horus as the rising sun is the enlightener, just as the vision of Ezekiel signifies enlightenment. On the other hand magic, if it is to be effective, always presupposes unconsciousness. ...
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

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Chimera

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Cerberus

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Discussing Hecate ...
“Her symbols are the key,135 the whip,136 the dagger, and the torch ... As the deadly mother, her attributes are dogs, ... As guardian of the gate of Hades and as the triple-bodied goddess of dogs, she is more or less identical with Cerberus. Thus, in bringing up Cerberus, Heracles was really bringing the vanquished mother of death to the upper world.”
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

But at this man's tuneful strains, Charon silently ferried him across the Styx, that black stream that divides our sunlit world from the cold realms of Pluto. So moving were the notes of his lyre that the iron bars slid back of themselves, and Cerberus, the three-headed guard of death's gloomy portal, sank down without showing his teeth, to let the lulling music pass. Without check or challenge Orpheus stole boldly into the world of the shades, flitting about him from all sides to fix their dim eyes on the man who could work such a spell even among the dead.
Orpheus and Eurydice

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Cockatrice

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Echidna

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Echidna : In Greek mythology, Echidna (Greek: Ἔχιδνα, ekhis, ἔχις, meaning “she viper”) was half woman half snake, known as the “Mother of All Monsters” because most of the monsters in Greek myth were mothered by her.
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§265 “One of her sons was Orthrus, the dog of the monster Geryon, ... With this dog, her own son, Echidna incestuously begat the Sphinx. This should be sufficient to characterise the complex whose symbol is the Sphinx. It is evident that a factor of such magnitude cannot be disposed of by solving a childish riddle. The riddle was, in fact, the trap which the Sphinx laid for the unwary wanderer. Overestimating his intellect in a typically masculine way, Oedipus walked right into it, and all unknowingly committed the crime of incest. The riddle of the Sphinx was herself - the terrible mother-imago, which Oedipus would not take as a warning.” Cf. §315 for further mention of Echidna.
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

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Erinyes

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Gorgon

Gorgon
See also Medusa

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p55 “Below the final 'i' of 'Basiliski,' it is possible to discern a dragon-like figure, painted in gold, just above the city. This figure is the basilisk - the monstrous combination of a cock and a toad or snake, said to have hatched from a yokeless egg, which was laid by a cock and brooded by a toad on a bed of dung.55 The basilisk, like the gorgon, could kill with a look and would die if it saw its own reflection. In Christian iconography, the basilisk was synonymous with the devil, its three pointed crest and trifurcated tail the inverse of the Holy Trinity.56
Transformation of the Psyche

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Harpy

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Hippocamp

Jörmungandr

In Norse mythology Jörmungandr is the world serpent and the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki.

From Wikipedia: “The children of Loki” (1920) by Willy Pogany

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§681 “ ... This motif illustrates the meaning of the end of the world.87
The snake plays an important role in dreams as a fear-symbol. Because of its poisonousness, its appearance is often an early symptom of physical disease. As a rule, however, it expresses an abnormally active or “constellated” unconscious and the physiological symptoms - mainly abdominal - associated therewith.”
87The role played by the serpent in mythology is analogous to the end of the world. ... Cf. Jung is here referring to the Midgard Serpent, the World serpent of Norse Mythology known as Jörmungandr. Jörmungandr was one of Loki's three children: Jörmungandr, Hel and the wolf Fenrir (or the Fenris wolf in “Old Norse”) ... In the story of Red Riding Hood, the serpent or fish is replaced by a wolf, because he is the typical destroyer. Cf. with Herzog, Edgar (1966) Psyche and death p438
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

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Lamassu, shedu

From lamassu : is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted with a bull or lion's body, eagle's wings, and human's head. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. A less frequently used name is shedu (Sumerian: dalad; Akkadian, šēdu; Hebrew: שד) which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu.

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Medusa

Medusa

From Wikipedia, Medusa, by Caravaggio (1595)
220px-medusa_by_carvaggio.jpg

p167 “These two editions of the Musaeum Hermeticum have a handsome title-page design (plate 30) ... Sol and Luna are associated according to a common convention (plate 13) with the zodiacal symbols of the Lion and Crab, and Mercury bears the caduceus. Minerva (Athena), the goddess of wisdom, with helmet, golden staff, and shield bearing an image of Medusa's head, is associated in the engraving with the owl, which was sacred to her in Greek mythology. The phoenix symbolises renewal, and the pelican nourishing its young is a figure of revivification (p183).”
A Prelude to chemistry

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Minotaur

Orthros or Orthrus

From Wikipedia: Orthrus is a two-headed dog who is a doublet (“brother”) of Cerberus, both whelped by the chthonic monsters Echidna and Typhon.
280px-orthos_staatliche_antikensammlungen_2620.jpg

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§265 “One of her sons was Orthrus, the dog of the monster Geryon, ... With this dog, her own son, Echidna incestuously begat the Sphinx. This should be sufficient to characterise the complex whose symbol is the Sphinx. It is evident that a factor of such magnitude cannot be disposed of by solving a childish riddle. The riddle was, in fact, the trap which the Sphinx laid for the unwary wanderer. Overestimating his intellect in a typically masculine way, Oedipus walked right into it, and all unknowingly committed the crime of incest. The riddle of the Sphinx was herself - the terrible mother-imago, which Oedipus would not take as a warning.” Cf. §315 for further mention of Echidna.
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

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Putto, Putti

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Seraphim, Seraph

From Wikipedia : Literally “burning ones”, the word seraph is normally a synonym for serpents when used in the Hebrew Bible. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8) used the term to describe fiery six-winged beings that fly around the Throne of God crying “holy, holy, holy”. This throne scene, with its triple invocation of holiness (a formula that came to be known as the Trisagion), profoundly influenced subsequent theology, literature and art. Its influence is frequently seen in works depicting angels, heaven and apotheosis. Seraphs are mentioned as celestial beings in an influential Hellenistic work, the Book of Enoch, and the Book of Revelation. Tradition places seraphs in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy and the highest rank in the Christian angelic hierarchy.

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Scylla

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Σ §110 “... we will proceed to the further discussion of the transference process. ... Owing to their (archetypal primordial images) specific energy - for they behave like highly charged autonomous centres of power - they exert a fascinating and possessive influence upon the conscious mind ... if the patient is unable to distinguish ...these projections, all hope of an understanding is finally lost... But if the patient avoids this Charybdis, he is wrecked on the Scylla of introjecting these images - in other words, he ascribes their ... to himself.
In projection, he vacillates between an extravagant and pathological deification of the doctor, and a contempt bristling with hatred. In introjection, he gets involved in a ridiculous self-deification, or else in a moral self-laceration. The mistake he makes in both cases comes from attributing to a person the contents of the collective unconscious. In this way he makes himself or his partner either god or devil....
This is the reason why men have always needed demons and cannot live without gods, ... The idea of God is an absolutely necessary psychological function of an irrational nature, which has nothing whatever to do with the question of God's existence....
There is in the psyche some superior power, and if it is not consciously a god, it is the “belly” at least, in St. Paul's words. I therefore consider it wiser to acknowledge the idea of God consciously; for, if we do not, something else is made God, usually something quite inappropriate and stupid such as only an “enlightened” intellect could hatch forth. ...
No matter how beautiful and perfect man may believe his reason to be, he can always be certain that it is only one of the possible mental functions, and covers only that one side of the phenomenal world which corresponds to it. But the irrational, that which is not agreeable to reason, rings it about on all sides. And the irrational is likewise a psychological function—in a word, it is the collective unconscious; whereas the rational is essentially tied to the conscious mind.”Emphasis mine.
Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works Vol. 7

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Sphinx

The Sphinx - Body of a lion, human head.

Taken from http://www.artrenewal.org
Francois-Xavier Fabre (Francois Xavier Fabre) (1766-1837)
Oedipus and the Sphinx
Oil on canvas

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§261 “The Sphinx is a semi-theriomorphic representation of the mother-imago, or rather of the Terrible Mother, who has left numerous traces in mythology.”
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§264 “If the regression goes still further back, beyond the phase of childhood to the preconscious, prenatal phase, then archetypal images appear, no longer connected with the individual's memories, but belonging to the stock of inherited possibilities of representation that are born anew in every individual.” We are all born with the same - 'born anew' - blueprint of archetypal content. However, has this content evolved, developed, been contributed to...it isn't clear here. Although in the previous paragraphs, Cf. §259, it would seem it has developed over time, from the first human. So then, the collective unconscious must be something that we all contribute to over time in some way if we can venture there and in some way dialogue with it. Most people do not though.
This is just interesting and noteworthy:
“It frequently happens that if the attitude towards the parents is too affectionate and too dependent, it is compensated in dreams by frightening animals, who represent the parents just as much as the helpful animals did.”
Jung makes some very interesting comments here about Oedipus and his impression / confrontation with the devouring mother in the form of the Sphinx - if we recall that the person who could confront and solve the riddle of the Sphinx won for them the hand of the Queen, Jocasta, his mother. “This had all those tragic consequences which could easily have been avoided if only Oedipus had been sufficiently intimidated by the frightening appearance of the “terrible” or “devouring” Mother whom the Sphinx personified.” I find this very interesting, especially Jung's view and focus - in this paragraph at least - on the Sphinx and the riddle as the antecedent to all these troubles. Well, not exactly, but certainly as a key in Oedipus' journey. “Little did he (Oedipus) know that the riddle of the Sphinx can never be solved merely by the wit of man.”
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§265 “One of her sons was Orthrus, the dog of the monster Geryon, ... With this dog, her own son, Echidna incestuously begat the Sphinx. This should be sufficient to characterise the complex whose symbol is the Sphinx. It is evident that a factor of such magnitude cannot be disposed of by solving a childish riddle. The riddle was, in fact, the trap which the Sphinx laid for the unwary wanderer. Overestimating his intellect in a typically masculine way, Oedipus walked right into it, and all unknowingly committed the crime of incest. The riddle of the Sphinx was herself - the terrible mother-imago, which Oedipus would not take as a warning.” Cf. §315 for further mention of Echidna.
Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

Oedipus starts by solving the riddle of the Sphinx which one may think points to what the whole play is about - the life of man and his inevitable journey dictated by time; from four, to two, to three legs. There's a good part in the play Oedipus in Colonus where Oedipus talks of time, and that only the gods know what will happen. Time is a big theme I think in these plays:
Oedipus Trilogy

Oedipus can only intend truth until he knows the truth, he cannot speak from his heart truly. Here I am considering Blake's use of the word 'heart' as mans unconscious or soul which does know the truth I think. We could spend some time here discussing the hubris of Oedipus that perhaps blinded him to the truth. The hubris that perhaps gilded his path to sovereignty, the heroic tunnel vision of youth perhaps?...it was this that gave him the courage and benevolence to leave his adopted (him thinking his paternal and maternal) parents to defy the Oracle, in those times, to defy the Gods!...which, lets be honest was pretty bold. But it was the same double edged sword that allowed him to confront and defeat the Sphinx...all in all, he was young I think. He was blameless right up until he discovers that he has sinned. As to the question of sin, is it based on intent or is it based on morals, ethics? I think the latter as shown by Oedipus where he knows he has done wrong when he discovers he is the pollution, the one who has brought the plague to the land. So sin, wrong doing, transgression is there irrespective of knowledge of its existence...the Gods have 'foreseen it', so to speak. This is a bit like the Christ myth again. Has a child sinned in the eye's of God if a 2 year old kid dies?...I'm getting a little puritanical here, sure, but it highlights the attitude that all are sinful, or have transgressed, whether they know it or not...that is not the point. I think this must have been very powerful at the time and a reason to defer judgement to the gods and the oracles 'cause they would know what we do not. Its like that story of Moses walking with Khidr where Moses reckons Khidr is committing transgressions but does not see the whole picture. It is not exactly the same, but in a similar vein. This moral question is so very powerful. It circles back around to the 2nd approach to the tale in that I think man cannot assume to know the Gods and the fates (as Oedipus says in his wisdom now in the quote above when speaking to Theseus), we can only intend truth but cannot know what is really going on. It is important that when we do know we acknowledge and react accordingly, righteously and correctly...as Oedipus does. We do not know if we are truthful we can only intend to be truthful and the tragedy is as Aristotle depicted tragedy in its true sense (see notes above) where the real tragedy of events is the mis-perception, the misguided perception of things. This is so much like the awakening of enlightenment, the eating of the apple, the coming to knowledge of the unconscious and ones true nature in all its ugliness and beauty. You lose everything, your wife = anima, your kingdom (= stability of Self). It is then that we must turn in to now see what the unconscious has to offer = Oedipus blinding himself. Here now we move in to the archetypal view of things.
Oedipus Trilogy

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Typhon

Typhon was traditionally identified with the Egyptian Set (Seth)

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p326 “Another animal whose form Dionysus assumed was the goat... To save him from the wrath of Hera, his father Zeus changed him into a kid; when the gods fled to Egypt to escape the fury of Typhon, Dionysus was turned into a goat.”
The Golden Bough: The Roots of Religion and Folklore

§350 Just some Greek mythology worth noting as a reminder... “Osiris was killed in a crafty manner by the god of the underworld, Set (Typhon in Greek), who locked him in a chest. He was thrown into the Nile and carried out to sea. ...” (I mention this also for the reference to Set / Typhon which is notable for further reference.) Its also noteworthy in the story of Osiris the incest with his twin sister Isis in utero, and then his sister Nephthys. With Set and Osiris, I think too of Cain and Abel (Cain killed Abel).

Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

The Typhon (three in one)

Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13


Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

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p36 “In my view the Swiss philosopher and mathematician Ferdinand Gonseth formulated the problem convincingly by stating that mathematics exists in a field of knowledge which lies
Number and Time


Here the dew falleth from heaven,
And washeth the black body in the sepulchre.

Here the Soul descendeth from on high,
And revives the putrefied body.

Here is born a noble and rich Queen
Whom the wise men liken unto their daughter
She increaseth and bringeth forth infinite children
Which is immortal pure and without spot
The Queen hates death and poverty
She excels both Silver and Gold and precious stones
And all medicines both precious and base
There is nothing in this world like unto her
For which we render thanks to Immortal God

Here the water is diminished,
And bedeweth the earth with his moisture

Here the Soul descendeth gloriously from heaven,
And raiseth up the Daughter of Philosophy.

“Christian legend has made abundant use of this symbolism. The student of medieval art with be familiar with the representation of the Cross growing from Adam's grave (pl. XXXVII). The legend says that Adam was buried on Golgotha, and that Seth planted on his grave a twig from the tree of Paradise, which grew into Christ's Cross, the Tree of Death.82

Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5

§400 ”...is not common in alchemy, but is found in Judaeo-Christian tradition as the tree of paradise that died after the Fall. An old English legend7 reports what Seth saw in the Garden of Eden. ...“
Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13

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Valkyrie

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