Jung used symbolism from the alchemical text Rosarium Philosophorum to demonstrate the transformative process of reconciliation of opposites. In the individuation journey to wholeness, the Sun King (Solar or Yang energy) and Moon Queen (Lunar or Yin energy) have to be recognized as archetypal polarities within the soul. The Conjunctio is the union or ‘sacred marriage’ of solar and lunar energies necessary to move from a lesser to a higher state of being as symbolized by the alchemical process of turning lead into gold.
The King (Sol) and the Queen (Luna) are the masculine and feminine personifications of the archetype of the Self which represents the sovereign energy of the psyche, the transpersonal aspect, or higher self. The King/Queen, as the ruler of our own inner world, represents the 'ordering of the realm', choosing what will/will not be in your personal domain. The King/Queen symbolism mirrors the Brother/Sister pairs that were the ‘gods on earth’ of ancient mythologies such as the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris. Jung wrote: “Luna… is the counterpart of Sol…. She is the sister and bride, mother and spouse of the sun.” CW14 ¶ 154
A proper relationship between these feminine and masculine inner forces must be established to contain the full experience of Spirit. The images in Rosarium Philosophorum, show the King and Queen transitioning through a series of conjunctios. Initially they stand apart, barely touching, their meeting restrained and restricted (fully clothed). During this archetypal process they get into the alchemical bath together (naked) - into the realm of the unconscious - and eventually emerge as a hermaphrodite. It is only when we can hold the tensions of opposites, without identification with either polar opposite that a unique third position can arise. This is the transcendent function.
Image credit: philippa_shanks
A social media post I wrote for @jungsouthernafrica
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