alchemy : mysterium coniunctionis : the chymical wedding in alchemy
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
I had taken another caretaking position and was looking after some cabins, boats, ducks, and chickens in the remote, untouched wilderness of the southern Charlottes, but this time I was completely alone for a month of psychic involution and communion with the land. Furthermore I had just recently learned to descend my microcosmic consciousness- my self- into my microcosmic being- my body-, thus finally enjoying the ecstatic union of spirit and flesh- of the male and female aspects of my own being; aspects which had been becoming more individually apparent and more conscious of their uniqueness, and therefore more capable of recognizing each other and uniting.
And so, projecting my non-being into the flesh of being I could bring forth a sort of peaceful union which is only possible once the two polar opposites are separated unto themselves and then reunited. It was as if an internal union was taking place which brought about a tranquillity and sense of well being which I had never experienced in the previous years of my exhilarating ride from plateau to valley and back up again on the indefatigable roller-coaster of existence.
And so, continuing on with this procedure, it happened one night in a dream that these two halves- the male and the female- came together and I could see that they were vibrating at very different frequencies, in altogether disparate patterns, but as the two bodies merged into one, the frequencies blended, creating a new harmony, a harmony which would have been impossible to achieve for either of them left on their own.
An electric explosion from this union awoke me as the energy shot about disentangling itself. At that point the complete and everlasting union had not come to pass, but I was given to understand the magic and beauty of this internal marriage- the mysterium coniunctionis, or chemical wedding- by which the one becomes two and then the two merge back into a wholly new one. The next night Venus came to me in a dream and said that from the union the night before the mystical child would be born.[i]
This ethereal coming-together is symbolically similar to the courting ritual of eagles, in which the two flirting birds will fly high up into the air, then grab hold of each other, stall in their ascent, and then plummet downward, grappling and wrestling with each other and spinning about in a mad, tumbling descent- which is the oddest form of foreplay I've ever seen- and then break apart before hitting the turf, only to fly back up again and have another tussle with each other's loins. I say that the spirit and soul join in a similar fashion, as they grapple while descending towards the ascending flesh, in the perilous mating of essence and form.
To be sure, the event of my own inner coming-together complicated my efforts to feed the chickens and bail out the boats which I was caretaking- it is tough to rocket off into space and also take out the garbage- but it is always essential to stay somewhat grounded, lest the lightning come down and incinerate the electrodes.
And so I kept on with my duties, minimal as they were, and kept on walking amongst, and living with and loving the Earth, and let the process run on its own- in the darkly catalysed body- inalterable speed, as it is intended to do, for I have found that many problems come simply by inhibiting a natural movement which, if allowed, will progress along on its unconstrained way.
Thus it happened that, as quickly as in the manifest event earlier- when my elder anima and sister on the Tree of Life and I were parted, and I was left to drift and then to be led to the intended union- I again felt the greater Self divide the male and female halves of my microcosmic, inner self again. This caused a certain level of anxiety and confusion, to be sure, but it was because of the previous experience- of the coming together and then the taking apart- that I relaxed and listened and realized that if I surrendered to the Self (as if there was an option) an even greater union might occur- the marriage of the Macrocosmic Consciousness, the Father, with the Macrocosmic Body, the Mother Earth.
It is as if the lower union had to be temporarily divided so that the higher selves could meet. For true wholeness does not exist within the microcosm, because only the macrocosm is whole, because it is the whole thing.
I once read in an esoteric text- the kind that falls into your hands with indescribable synchronicity, right at the time your path has become profound and confusing- that, in occult circles, it is considered the second greatest union to mate with one's mystical sister, and the highest union to mate with one's mystical mother.
I suppose this is what symbolically happened to me both times- that initially I had so desired the first option, that I could not see anything else, and so I had to be grabbed from above and taken off course so that I would not bungle my highest destiny and mate with a Sister, instead of The Mother.
It is interesting to note that my soror belongs to the spiritual archetype of my biological mother as well. But my soror was much more than even that. Much, much more, to the point where I realized that in her I had met myself- inverted and flipped about in the warping mirrors and vortices of the ether perhaps, but she was me, and I was her; that is, we were the same being, only reflected through the cosmos in a different way; we were 'twin souls' as the term is known in esoteric circles. Thus, being in relationship with her created a convergence of aspects I had never read nor heard about: a soror mystica, who belonged to my mother's archetype, and who was my other self, and also my lover.
And who, in the history of the occult world, could have imagined such an implausible and irregular happening?
Anyway, the marriage of the Father and Mother within me would not come to complete fulfilment on that trip either. There were still some things to work out, one which would take me to the other side of the earth, and to another place where the two cosmic Parents had gone to war thousands of years ago, and were now attempting to reunite. But that's another tale altogether.
It was also during this care-taking and monastic stint, down in the southern wilderness of the Charlottes- which was the single longest duration I had yet spent alone, in total isolation- that so much had been cleared out and fell away from me that my insides felt as if a giant psychic enema had been gushing in and washing things out for weeks, and taking all the shit inside me with it, so that when I lay down in bed at night, before drifting off to sleep, I would fall further and further away from identity until I left the orbit of my little existence and entered into the vast space of consciousness which exists within each of us, and there, with an adroit non-effort, I would negate myself and vanish completely, and all that would remain was the living space of the Self behind the self, which was my true Self.
Finally, my true Self, the one who I was beneath it all. And by returning to It the dam between non-being and being broke open, and the lifeblood of divine energy came rushing out of the space, and into the body, exciting and rejuvenating the connection between them again.
In order for this to happen I had to completely forget about myself, to evict any idea of who I was or whatever compelled me. I had to become as small as a tiny flame and then blow myself out. Only then did my Godself wash through me, unimpeded, and the contiguous ocean fell into the tiny drop that was me.
In doing so I found, as I disappeared from within myself, another I which was also me. It emerged and encompassed me, and the soft electric energy of the larger dimension would pour down, upon, and through me as the first I regained itself without losing the second I which was surrounding it and all else; I am inside I, self within Self, body immersed in consciousness, a presence within a presence, and both of them are me. And the energy poured forth like this until I fell asleep, or fell back into identity, whichever dream world came first
This was a tremendous rite, one which had been hovering seemingly far out of reach from the moment I started my inward pursuit, a decade earlier. Back then I had gotten up and going before I knew where, or why, or who, or how, or what was happening. I was up and going and running from not-God to God, and back and forth, on and on through all the merciless stages in between. Flailing and fighting, struggling, loving, laughing, stumbling, squirming, wondering, asking, listening, surrendering, and then back up and flailing again. At first I was a madman, then a saint, a liar, a preacher, a thief, a soldier, a hero, a loser, a servant, a tyrant, a victim, a fool. I was up and at it, and going through the howling darkness and glee, through the gratitude and contempt and worship and spit. I was a part of it, none of it, no one, some one, everyone, and all. I was never sure and always certain. I couldn't give in and I couldn't go on. How it came to be so I had no clue. I couldn't start it nor stop it nor join in. It happened without me participating and it happened because of me. In between God and not-god I loved and hurt and lost and grew and shrank, and was built and broken in the stress and calm of non-meaning.
It's a hapless lot of incalculable madness, this happening.
When everything begins to go right and wrong simultaneously, and you lose the ability to tell the difference, for there is no difference, and either way you don't really give a damn, because life has flopped up and down on you so many times that, like a person on a crazy ride at the country fair, you lose the intensity, the fear, and the joy of the event, and instead sink carelessly back into yourself; for you have become psychologically gimbaled and unable to lose your sense of equilibrium.
When you have lived existence out completely in its manifold directions- when you have thought and fought, pondered and wondered, yearned and wept, hated and loved- all to their furthest extent, and yet you are still unbroken, still earnest, still alive and mad for life, still strong and fighting, still driven on and on like that wild hare fleeing the unforgiving hounds- the most unexpected shift eventually occurs; the self dissolves in the vision of its limitless dimensions, the mind loses meaning, the heart loses loss, and the whole swollen mess of life literally flips inside out, and upside down- as occasionally it seems wont to do- and everything changes at once, yet nothing has changed.
When pain is no longer painful, joy no longer a thrill, life no longer a teeter-totter between estranged opposites, then the leveling-off is well under way. That is when you become dangerous and necessary to the world, because you are outside of its struggles; you become a random particle, divorced from the chains and rules of life, and so you are both needed and distrusted, admired and despised, and praised and blamed, because other people's troubles are no longer your troubles, their taboos no longer your taboos, their sorrows are no longer painful, and their euphorias mere trifles to you. You are beyond their sufferings, concerns, and desires, and therefore all powerful and yet powerless amongst them.
Always thundering forward like this, it has to go on and on, all the while stopping without ending, because everything is always ending and nothing ever ends, though it only comes back to us when we let it go, because it was ours to begin with and we only had to stop chasing it in order to be caught. That is when God and not-God happen together. The wheel grows wings. The lion lies down with the lamb. One eye weeps from laughter, the other from pain. And suddenly you're always separate and never apart. You have become what nobody told you you were. And it is finished.
[i] If you look softly into the face of a person who has assimilated both their male and female halves into their being, with your spirit eye, you can see a distinct angular line bisecting their face and showing one half as male, the other as female. Hence the hermaphrodite, or sacred androgyne, which comes about from the completion of the alchemical process.
The final product of this merging, however, is not necessarily a 50/50 split between the male and female portions of one's being, in fact, it is likely that one gender outweighs the other- depending on what one must accomplish in life, and the way in which this must be done. The merging then becomes more like a Cabernet/Merlot blend, in which the individual vintner mixes samples of differing percentages until finding the perfect amalgamation of the two varietals.
In metaphysical terms it is the 'I' and the 'AM' of the 'I AM' which denotes the division to be healed between consciousness and form, non-being and being, male and female, mind and body, spirit and soul. Once we recognize that the 'I' is outside of being, and the 'AM' is inside being, and that we are both of these if we are 'I AM', then we can begin to embrace the half we have neglected and so repair the cosmic damage from the fissure of God's mind and will.
(excerpted from In and Of: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas)