Solve et CoagulaJul 12, 2020
The motto of the alchemical tradition, solve et coagula, is the transformation of base metals into gold. It is also the heroic transformation of ordinary life, through trials and adversity. Dr. Miles Neale explains in this clip from Return with Elixir.
Solve et coagula is very encapsulating of the three threads of the psychology, the myth, and the practice.
What does solve sound like to you? Dissolve. Which is exactly what it is.
What does coagula sound like to you? Coagulate.
This is the the motto of the alchemical tradition. The alchemical tradition is what what Damian [Echols] might say he represents the magic of. The magical or the alchemical tradition comes out of the attempt to literally transform base metals through a process of purifying them in order to reconfigure them so that they would create gold. That is on the physical level. What it is spiritually or metaphorically, is deconstructing something so that it's essential ingredients can be reconstituted into something more powerful.
It basically summarizes what's happening in the mandala. The mandala is the crucible in which you put some material in and then it gets reconstituted. What goes into the mandala? Where do you start the journey on the mandala? You start as an ordinary. Then you go through a trial or a process which involves dying in order to be reborn.
There is no coagula without solve. There's no rebirth without dying. Any hero that wants to go the distance and claim the sword must first die. Any of you undergoing something, if you're in the midst of it right now where you feel like you're in hell and you're being torn apart, not only here but there and everywhere. In the future too, there will be people that find this somehow and in the moment of this conversation they're going to go, yes that's me. I'm being devoured. I'm being desiccated. I'm on the rack of my life. I'm being torn to smithereens. They think that's gonna be the end of it and actually it's going to be the beginning.
Christ said I am the Alpha and the Omega. Isn't it wonderful? It's beautiful, some of these teachings. What they're really saying is, I am the end and I am the beginning. A snake that devours it's tail. There is no transformation without this coming undone. In my client's description, he's in utter hell but it is only when the edifice of his personality and his comfort structures buckle against the weight that the cracks are revealed and the cracks are necessary for the emergence of the impressions from the collective unconscious that are alerting him of the opportunity. No buckling, no cracks. No cracks, no enemies that can be converted to allies. No allies, no alchemy. No alchemy, no gold.
The same thing is true, solve et coagula is present in the monomyth. Jung was heavily influenced by this stuff. It's all over the place, it's in his dreams it's in his writings it's in how he lived.