….she died in the Sulphur; the Sul in the kingdom of God, the lubet of the divine liberty, out of which the light of God shines, and in which the divine love, the love-fire burns….
Now there was no remedy for him, unless God’s desire entered again into his dead Sulphur… if this must be effected, then the love-desire must again enter into the desire of the enkindled anger, and quench and overcome the anger with the love; the divine water must enter again into the soul’s burning fire, and quench the wrathful death in the astringent fiat, in the desire to nature, that the love-desire, which desires God, might be again enkindled in the soul
Although the alchemists were more or less aware that their insights and truths were of divine origin, they knew they were not sacred revelations but were vouchsafed by individual inspiration or by the lumen naturae, sapientia Dei hidden in nature. The autonomy of their insights showed itself in the emancipation of science from the domination of faith. Human intolerance and shortsightedness are to blame for the open conflict that ultimately broke out between faith and knowledge. Conflict or comparison between incommensurables is impossible. The only possible attitude is one of mutual toleration, for neither can deprive the other of its validity. Existing religious beliefs have, besides their supernatural foundation, a basis in psychological facts whose existence is as valid as those of the empirical sciences. If this is not understood on one side or the other it makes no difference to the facts, for these exist whether man understands them or not, and whoever does not have the facts on his side will sooner or later have to pay the price.
With this I would like to conclude my remarks on sulphur. This arcane substance has provided occasion for some general reflections, which are not altogether fortuitous in that sulphur represents the active substance of the sun or, in psychological language, the motive factor in consciousness: on the one hand the will, which can best be regarded as a dynamism subordinated to consciousness, and on the other hand compulsion, an involuntary motivation or impulse ranging from mere interest to possession proper. The unconscious dynamism would correspond to sulphur, for compulsion is the great mystery of human life. It is the thwarting of our conscious will and of our reason by an inflammable element within us, appearing now as a consuming fire and now as life-giving warmth.
Carl Jung, Personification of the Opposites (Sulphur), Mysterium Conjunctionis
And this was the death; for the soul’s fire proceeding from the Father’s property turned itself away from the Son’s property, in which alone the divine life consists. Thus the property of the soul remained naked only with its will in the outward Sulphur, and the inward disappeared, and continued steadfast in the eternal unchangeableness, as in an eternal nothing, wherein there was no more any effecting [or working efficacy to bring to pass].
Thus man with his outward body lived barely and merely to the time; the precious gold of the heavenly corporality, which tinctured the outward body, was disappeared, and so the outward body stood barely and alone in the life of nature’s desire, in the soul’s fiery property; understand in the form and property of Mars, in the wrath of God, which is the wrath in Sulphur, the property of God’s anger and the dark world: But seeing the outward body was created out of the time, therefore the time, the constellation with the four elements, presently obtained the dominion in him; and the divine property, the desire of the Deity (which ruled and tinctured time, so that there was a holy life in the creature out of the time), was vanished; its own peculiar love in the divine desire was turned to water, and it became blind and dead in the will and desire of God; and the soul must help itself with the sun’s light.
But seeing that time has beginning and end, and the will with the desire has given up itself to the temporal leader, therefore the dominion of time destroys its own contrived spirit, and so the body also dies and passes away; and this is that which God said to Adam, that “he should not eat of the tree, or plant, of the knowledge of good and evil,” of both properties, lest he died; as it also came to pass, he died in the Sulphur; the Sul in the kingdom of God, the lubet of the divine liberty, out of which the light of God shines, and in which the divine love, the love-fire burns [disappeared and withdrew from him].
Now there was no remedy for him, unless God’s desire entered again into his dead Sulphur, that is, into his Sul, which was dead, into the dead [or mortified] essentiality, and again enkindled it with the love-fire; which came to pass in Christ: And there the heavenly body, wherein God’s light shines, did again arise. But if this must be effected, then the love-desire must again enter into the desire of the enkindled anger, and quench and overcome the anger with the love; the divine water must enter again into the soul’s burning fire, and quench the wrathful death in the astringent fiat, in the desire to nature, that the love-desire, which desires God, might be again enkindled in the soul.
Three Golden Apples from the Hesperian grove.
A present Worthy of the Queen of Love.
Gave wise Hippomenes Eternal Fame.
And Atalanta’s cruel Speed O’ercame.
In Vain he follows ’till with Radiant Light,
One Rolling Apple captivates her Sight.
And by its glittering charms retards her flight.
She Soon Outruns him but fresh rays of Gold,
Her Longing Eyes & Slackened Footsteps Hold,
‘Till with disdain She all his Art defies,
And Swifter then an Eastern Tempest flies.
Then his despair throws his last Hope away,
For she must Yield whom Love & Gold betray.
What is Hippomenes, true Wisdom knows.
And whence the Speed of Atalanta Flows.
She with Mercurial Swiftness is Endued,
Which Yields by Sulphur’s prudent Strength pursued.
But when in Cybel’s temple they would prove
The utmost joys of their Excessive Love,
The Matron Goddess thought herself disdained,
Her rites Unhallowed & her shrine profaned.
Then her Revenge makes Roughness o’er them rise,
And Hideous feireenesse Sparkle from their Eyes.
Still more Amazed to see themselves look red,
Whilst both to Lions changed Each Other dread.
He that can Cybell’s Mystic change Explain,
And those two Lions with true Redness stain,
Commands that treasure plenteous Nature gives
And free from Pain in Wisdom’s Splendor lives.