“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it Fate.” – Carl Gustav Jung
- Lachesis (Greek: Lakhesis – “disposer of lots”, from lanchano – “to obtain by lot, by fate, by the will of the gods or divine will”). In ancient Greek mythology, Lachesis was the second of the Three Fates (Moirai), a trinity of goddesses which determined human destinies.
- Lanchano (Lanciano) – a town in Italy (see later in text)
Three Fates/World Mothers
The mythology of many ancient cultures, including Greek, Slavic, Roman, Norse etc. describe:
Fates (Latin: ‘fata’ – destiny, deriving from the verb ‘fari’ – to speak) also known as the World Mothers, goddesses who decided about human destinies. They were often depicted as weavers of a tapestry on a loom and there were always three of them.
In Greek mythology, they were called Moirai (Greek: ‘moira’ – a part or portion). Moirai choose ‘the portion of life’ for every mortal:
Clotho (“spinner”) spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle, determining the time of birth of an individual.
Lachesis (“allotter”) measured the thread of life that was spun on the spindle which Clotho held, in order to determine the length of life.
Atropos (“the unturnable”) cut the thread of life, determining the time of death.
Image above: The Triumph of Death, or The 3 Fates. Flemish tapestry (probably Brussels, ca. 1510-1520). The three fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of life. Flemish tapestry, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Unknown author and source
Lachesis muta – ‘Muted Life Flow’
“The spirit of the substances and the spirit that animated man, nature, and God are of the same essence.” (Paracelsus)
As a homeopathic remedy, Lachesis muta was introduced 1828. by Dr Constantine Hering (‘Father of Homoeopathy’ in America). According to Dr Hering, the essence of the Lachesis personality is: “Nature struggling against itself.”
There is an immense animal urge trying to express itself, which is in conflict with the human side that wants to suppress and control that inner desire. It creates an intense struggle between desire and guilt, which leads to the rapidly alternating states: from great exaltation and hysteria to deep depression and extreme weakness, at all levels (mental, emotional/sexual and physical).
The species Lachesis mutus is similar in appearance to rattlesnakes and vibrates vigorously with its tail when disturbed, but it has no rattle, and therefore it is called ‘mutus’ (Latin: mute, silent). However, beneath the surface, when in the undergrowth, the tail actually produces quite a loud rustling noise.
Suppression of the animal side leads to suppression of libido which leads to repression of life itself. There is a fear of life that is wrapped in a desperate fear of death. And again, as in a vicious circle, the fear of death prevents life, which leads to the main theme of the Lachesis personality: ‘the unlived life.’
“Dread of death; fears to go to bed; fear of being poisoned. Thinks she is someone else; in the hands of a stronger power; that she is dead and preparations are being made for her funeral; that she is nearly dead and wishes someone would help her off. Sadness when awaking in the morning or night (particularly in the morning); no desire at all to mix with the world.” (Constantine Hering, M. D; Guiding Symptoms of Materia Medica).
Translated into the rubrics:
- Mind, Death, presentiment of
- Mind, Death, thoughts of
- Mind, Fear death, impending death; of
Libido: ‘The Divine Will’
“The libido has, as it were, a natural penchant: it is like water, which must have a gradient if it is to flow.” (Carl Jung, Symbols of the Mother and of Rebirth, para. 337.)
As has been written, one of the meanings of the word Lachesis is: ‘to obtain by the will of the gods or by the divine will’.
“For Jung, the nature of the psyche derives from its containment within the opposites of biological instinct and archetypal spirit. Jung describes the energy generated by this opposition as disposable psychic energy, and gives it the term libido, for which another word is will.” (Brock Hill; Uroborus: A Review of Jung’s Thinking on the Nature of the Psyche and the Transformation of Libido, Psychological Perspectives).
The Lachesis personality has an unintegrated libido as a consequence of suppressing the animal side. It is important to emphasize that libido is identified as the totality of psychic energy, which is not limited to sexual desire.
George Vithoulkas gives the essence of Lachesis as “an over-stimulation seeking an outlet.” The Lachesis individual is, on one side, well known for its great loquacity and excitement, abundant ideas, ecstatic emotions and lustful feelings. There is natural urge to go with the flow. A very important part of Lachesis’ personality is improvement from discharges at all levels.
On the other side, blockage of such an intense force (libido), which desires to express itself, leads to a logical response: congestion/constriction of the life flow. This condition creates numerous symptoms (physical, sexual/emotional or mental) which are often described as: depression, weakness, congestion, constriction or similar expressions, that indicate the consequences of suppressed flow of life.
As written above, goddesses Moirai (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal. The only time the Moirai were foiled in their task was by the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, who by legend succeeded to bring the dead back to life. Dr Hering’s emblem for the American Institute of Homeopathy was the staff of Asclepius, entwined by a single snake – Lachesis muta.
The story of Asclepius
According to Delphian tradition, Asclepius or Aesculapius (whose name means “to cut open”) was born in the temple of Apollo. He was rescued from his mother’s womb after she died in labor. Referring to some legends, goddess Lachesis was a midwife at the labor.
(Image: Statue of Asclepius, exhibited in the Museum of Epidaurus Theatre, author: Michael F. Mehnert)
Asclepius was raised by centaur Chiron, who was called the “wisest and justest of all the centaurs” (Homer; Iliad, Book 11.831).
Chiron taught Apollo’s son the art of medicine and goddess Athena gave him the precious blood of the Gorgon Medusa. Asclepius shared with his father Apollo the epithet ‘Paean’ (the Healer).
The Rod of Asclepius is an ancient Greek symbol associated with healing, consisting of a serpent coiled around a rod. It has been claimed that the snake wrapped around the staff was a species of rat snake, Elaphe longissima (the Aesculapian snake), which according to one of the myths, taught him the secret knowledge.
Over time, Asclepius became a more powerful healer than both Chiron and Apollo. According to some legends, he even made the elixir of immortality. As punishment, for trying to bring immortality to people, Three Fates (Moirai) persuaded supreme god Zeus to kill Asclepius with a thunderbolt…
‘Celestial Asclepius’ (Sun in the Ophiuchus)
Asclepius was hit with a thunderbolt, but Zeus later felt remorseful and placed Asclepius in the sky as a constellation named Ophiuchus or “The Serpent Holder” (near Sagittarius, who in some versions of the myth is centaur Chiron).
Image: 18th c. star map illustrating how the feet of
Ophiuchus cross the ecliptic. Jacopo Montano – Atlas
Coelestis, Johan Cammay
“The Serpent Holder” retained the symbolism of god Asclepius such as: the ancient knowledge, wisdom, healing and resurrection, but the key symbol of the Ophiuchus constellation is the transformation.
In the Jungian system, the term ‘transformation’ symbolizes the path of the personal development, ie. process of Individuation, through which the individual integrates all the parts of the personality in order to become a complete human being, or one’s own Self.
THE PATH OF INDIVIDUATION
“Individuation is the process, simple or complex as the case may be, by which every living organism becomes what it was destined to become from the begin.” (Anthony Stevens, Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming)
While the individuation process is different for each person, Jung denotes three main archetypes which correspond with the three steps of the psychological development (the Shadow, Anima/Animus and the Self).
Jung also compares the individuation process with the main stages of the ‘Great work’ in alchemy (nigredo, albedo and rubedo). Great work (Lat: Magnum opus) is the process of working with the ‘prima materia’ (the unconscious), to create the Philosopher’s stone, a symbol of immortality (the Self archetype).
Step One: Meeting with the Shadow (“Descent into Darkness”)
“The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s own Shadow. The Shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is.”
(C.G. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, London 1996).
The Story of the Sleeping Beauty (‘Inevitability of Fate’)
The story of Sleeping Beauty is a symbolic representation of the transformation process of the human psyche on the path to the Self. In most versions of this famous archetypal fairy tale, the fairies arrive at the princess’s birth or christening (similar to the Moirai).
The king invited the fairies who lived in his kingdom, but because he had only twelve golden plates, 13th had to be left out. The thirteenth fairy cursed the princess to death if she ever touched the spinning wheel. Ophiuchus constellation is sometimes called the “13th or forgotten constellation.”
Also, number thirteen is the symbol of transformation. In tarot, card 13 is named as Death and symbolizes the death to the matter and the birth to the spirit: ‘the passage on a higher level of existence.’ It represents the process of personal transformation and rebirth. As written above, transformation is also a key symbol of the ‘Celestial Asclepius’.
Although the 13th fairy is portrayed as evil, in some of the oldest versions of the story, the left out fairy symbolizes death and the king and queen hoped to make their daughter immortal. So, the curse of Sleeping Beauty could be a punishment for their attempt to deny the inevitability of death.
Confrontation with the inevitability of death is a very important part of the Shadow work for the Lachesis personality. The fear of death in the Lachesis individual is also a symbol of the inner resistance to facing its dark side. Sometimes a meeting with the Shadow is similar to the experience of death.
Like mythological Lachesis, which role was to allot each person’s determined ‘portion of time’, the Lachesis individual has the theme of counting time. In particular, counting in Lachesis is a kind of compulsive disorder, the anticipation that the end (death) is near and every sleep could be the last. It is like a compulsive countdown of time to death. There is also confusion about time and a derangement of the sense of time:
- Mind, Compulsive disorder
- Mind, Thoughts compelling
- Mind, Counting, continually
- Mind, Fear, death, impending death, of
- Mind, Delusions die, about to die; one was: help her off; and wishes someone would 1/1
- Mind, Death, thoughts of
- Mind, Confusion of mind; time, about
- Mind, Mistakes, making; time, in
- Mind, Time; loss of conception of
Ananke and Chronos (’Inevitability of Time’)
According to one of the ancient stories (based on the 10th book of Republic of the Plato), mythological Lachesis was the daughter of Ananke and Chronos (god and goddess in serpentine form).
Ananke (Greek: Ἀνάγκη – “force, constraint, necessity”) was the Greek goddess of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. Chronos (Greek: Χρόνος – “time”) was the three headed primordial god of time. Together, they symbolize the source of Lachesis’s ‘Inevitability of Time.’
(Image: Ananke the personification of Necessity, above the Moirai, the Fates. Nella Repubblica, Libro X, Platone, IV-V century b.C.)
Plato wrote that Ananke holds a spindle of adamant (both adamant and diamond derive from the Greek word: ἀδάμας, meaning “untameable”), on which the world rotates and the Moirai help turn the whorls around the spindle.
Ananke and Moirai are connected with the symbolism of holding a spindle in order to create destinies.
As the story of Sleeping Beauty continues, the evil fairy was very angry because she was left out. She cursed the princess so that she will one day prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die when she reaches the age of womanhood.
“The King, to avoid the misfortune as foretold by the old fairy, caused immediately a proclamation to be made, whereby everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as any spindle in their houses.
But it was Fate…”
Twelfth fairy modified the curse: Instead of dying, the princess will fall into a deep enchanted sleep for a hundred years and will be awakened by the kiss of true Love.
Lachesis – ’The Prophet’
The goddess Lachesis, besides of measuring the thread of life with her rod, was also in charge of choosing the destiny of human after the thread was measured. Similar to its mythological counterpart, Lachesis personality has clairvoyant and prophetic qualities:
“Mental activity, with almost prophetical perception; ecstasy; a kind of trance; under superhuman control; visions real; he will die” (Constantine Hering, M. D; Guiding Symptoms of Materia Medica)
- Mind, Prophesying
- Mind, Clairvoyance
- Dreams, Visionary
- Mind, Delusions die, time has come to
- Mind, Delusions, dead, he himself was: funeral; and preparations were being made for her 1/1
- Dreams, Death, dying, he has to die
As mentioned above, the mythology of many ancient cultures describes its goddesses (Fates/Moirai, World Mothers, Fairies etc.), who had prophetic abilities to decide about human destinies. In some cultures, for instance in Slavic mythology, they were considered ghosts or demons (Latin: daemon, from Ancient Greek: daimon, δαίμων: “fate”).
The root of the word ‘daimon’ is from the Indo–European: “divider of fortunes or destinies.” Daimon’s role was to distribute or ‘allot destiny to humans’ (Lachesis: ‘alloter’). The ancient Greeks believed that our character was a daimon which oversaw our experiences with mortality. So daimon symbolizes a ‘divine spirit’ which has a great urge to express itself through an individual.
The Story of Lilith
“What is it, at this moment and in this individual, that represents the natural urge of life? That is the question.” (Carl Jung, CW 7, Page 290.)
Lilith is one of the oldest known female spirits. Her name was derived from the class of Mesopotamian demons called lilû or feminine: lilītu (Sumerian ‘lilitu’– female demon).
Her roots come from the famous Epic of Gilgamesh in which Lilith is depicted as the spirit who inhabited a willow tree. One of the symbolic meanings of the willow is ‘stepping out of the role of victim and taking responsibility for one’s life.’
There are many myths and legends about Lilith. In Jewish folklore, Lilith appears as Adam’s first wife, the first woman in the Garden of Eden. According to an ancient Hebrew legend, God created Lilith and Adam at the same time and from the same clay. She was strong and independent, ‘a woman full of beauty and ability to enjoy her sexuality.’
According to that myth, Lilith wanted to be equal with Adam and refused to be subordinate to him, so she fled from Eden.
In many ancient cultures Lilith symbolizes wisdom, independence and freedom in expressing female sexuality.
Image: Lilith, by John Collier in Atkinson Art Gallery, Merseyside, England, 1889
The free flow of sexual energy is the driving force in the Lachesis personality, that affects all levels of its being:
- Mind, Desires, wants; sex, lustful
- Mind, Desires, full of desires: indefinite
- Mind, Fantasies, of exaltation; lively
- Mind, Emotions, feelings, attitude, disposition; ecstatic; exhilaration
- Mind, Intellectual faculties; bright, intelligent, clear; abundant ideas, clearness of mind
- Mind, Talking, conversation; talkative; changing quickly from one subject to another
- Male genitalia, sexual passion; increased; excessive
- Female genitalia/sex, sexual intercourse; desire increased
- Female genitalia/sex, Menses, painful, flow: smaller the flow, the greater the pain (1/1)
Serpent Lillith (‘Fall of Man’)
Nevertheless, in some other religions and traditions, Lilith is depicted as evil spirit, the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. According to that story, Adam and Eve lived with God in the Garden of Eden, but the serpent tempted them to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which God had forbidden. After that, God expelled them from the Garden.
Michelangelo portrayed Lilith as a half- woman, half-serpent, coiled around the Three of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Image: Michelangelo, Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden, (Lilith as half woman, half serpent); the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, created: between 1509 and 1510 date
‘Voice of the Daimon’/Inner Serpent
“The daimon of sexuality approaches our soul as a serpent. She is a half human soul and is called thought – desire. The daimon of spirituality descends into our soul as the white bird. He is half human soul and is called desire – thought.” (Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 354)
Thus, on one side, Lilith is a symbol of free will, and on the other, an evil spirit. In essence, both symbols represent ‘two sides of the same coin.’
The repressed free will in the personality of Lachesis is a reflection of the intense struggle between guilt and desire. There is a fear that ‘the daimon of sexuality’, symbol for dirty and evil, will overpower the mind. It drains the energy of the Lachesis individual and leads to the suppression of its flow, which reflects at all levels through numerous symptoms:
- Mind, Emotions, feelings, attitude, disposition; unhappy; sadness, mental depression
- Mind, Intellectual faculties; impaired thinking; weakness of mind Head, Pain, headache; pressing
- Throat, Choking, constricting
- Throat, Swallowing; difficult
- Chest, Constriction, tension
- Extremities, limbs, heaviness; lower limbs; movement
- Female genitalia/sex, pain; pressing; ovaries
- Female genitalia/sex, sexual intercourse; aversion to
The conflict between human and animal nature often turns into religious insanity and despair: “It is full of religious insanity. You will find a dear, sweet old lady, who has always lived what would be called an upright and pious life, yet she is not able to apply the promises that are in the Word of God to herself; these things seem to apply to somebody else, but not to her. She is full of wickedness and has committed the unpardonable sin.” (Materia Medica by James Tyler Kent)
“Thinks she is somebody else, and in the hands of a stronger power. She thinks she is under superhuman control. She is compelled to do things by spirits. She hears a command, partly in her dream, that she must carry out. Sometimes it takes the form of voices in which she is commanded to steal, to murder, or to confess things she never did, and she has no peace of mind until she makes a confession of something she has never done. She hears voices and warnings, and in the night she dreams about it. The state of torture is something dreadful, and it then goes into a delirium with muttering. This state increases until unconsciousness comes on and the patient enters into a coma from which he cannot be aroused.” (Materia Medica by James Tyler Kent)
In order to restore its vital force, the first step for an individual is to face its ‘daimon’. According to Jung, ‘meeting with the daimonic in an individual is similar to confrontation with the Shadow.’
The Forbidden room
“The daimon leads the soul into the world, but the daimon is forgotten at birth. Although forgotten, the daimon remembers the destiny of the soul and guides the person through life, “therefore the daimon is the bearer of your destiny” (James Hilman, The Code of the Soul, Hillman, p. 8).
The Sleeping Beauty had the freedom to enter all the rooms except the one where the wheel is. But she followed the daimon and entered the forbidden room to meet her Destiny.
The ‘forbidden room’ symbolizes the Shadow archetype and entering in the forbidden room is a metaphor of meeting with the Shadow.
“The serpent shows the way to hidden things and expresses the introverting libido, which leads man to go beyond the point of safety, and beyond the limits of unconsciousness.” (Carl Jung, Notes of the Seminars)
Jung related the ‘night sea journey’ to the alchemical stage called nigredo (‘blackening’). In this stage, the substance which is undergoing change (consciousness) is blackened by fire (higher state of consciousness/daimon) so it can be purified and broken down to its most basic constituents, also known as the ‘prima materia’ (unconscious).
Before the sun set on the princess’s sixteenth birthday, the princess pricked her finger in the spindle and instantly fell into a deep sleep.
One of the characteristics of the Lachesis personality is that the person sleeps into an aggravation. It symbolizes the loss of control over the content of the subconscious, which is the great fear of the Lachesis individual.
“As soon as the patient falls asleep, the breathing stops.” (Guiding Symptoms of Materia Medica, Constantine Hering, M. D.).
- Mind, Fear, death of, bed, going to; on
- Mind, Fear, death, sleep: die, if he goes to sleep; fear he will: nightmare; after a
- Mind, Fear, death, sleep: falling asleep: after
- As soon as the patient falls asleep, the breathing stops
- Respiration, difficult, sleep, after
- Respiration, difficult, sleep during
- Respiration, gasping, night
Also, during waking up, their control mechanism is still vulnerable:
- Mind, Insecure, uncertain, scared; anxiety; morning; on waking;
- Mind, Emotions, feelings, attitude, disposition; unhappy; sadness, mental depression; morning, on waking
- Mind, Intellectual faculties; impaired thinking; confusion; on waking
The meeting with the Shadow or ‘Night Sea Journey’, initially produces a depressed state, as many dark and unknown contents come to the surface. It is the beginning of the transformation, the symbolic death of all that the person thought he was. The individual is ‘awakening from the deep state of sleep’ and such awakening may be shocking at first.
Awakening the Snake/Inner Fire
“When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity.” Carl Jung in Psychological Commentary of Kundalini
Snakes are often depicted as a symbol of Kundalini, form of the life force energy, an “inner fire” that mediates spiritual awakening (‘transformation’). In Hinduism, Kundalini (Sanskrit: “coiled snake”) is a form of divine feminine energy.
‘Kundalini awakening’ is also an analogue of the confrontation with the Shadow. It begins at the base of the spine, in the first, Root chakra (Muladhara). The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras brings different levels of the transformation of consciousness, similar to the process of Individuation.
The Svadhisthana chakra is the second energy center (Sanskrit: “Swa”- Self; “adhishthana”- established). It is the Sacral chakra, which is said to be blocked by fear, particularly the fear of death. Svadhishthana symbolizes unconscious desires, especially sexual desire, so one of the symptoms of its blockage is decreased libido.
The second chakra is also connected with the sense of taste (the tongue). Snakes taste life with their tongues. Similarly, in the Lachesis individuals, the tongue is very important as a symbol of the liberation of its life flow. If the flow is suppressed, it will affect their tongue also. Their language becomes toxic/autotoxic, but symptoms also occur on a physical level:
- Mouth, Tongue; movement of tongue; difficult
- Mouth, Tongue; movement of tongue; tongue catches on the teeth when sticking out or pulling back in
- Mouth, Tongue; trembling; when protruding
Therefore, to conclude, Lachesis personality, through its everlasting inner battle, is trying to mute or suffocate its animal nature in order to fit or adapt to the external environment. This leads to the state of ‘unlived or wasted life.’ The content of the psyche which the individual tries to hide inhabits his ‘dark side’ or the Shadow. According to Jung, the Shadow is prone to psychological projections and if these projections remain hidden, the Shadow will constantly thicken the veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.
The Ophiuchus constellation (‘Celestial Asclepius’) is associated with the veiled (dark) goddess, which symbolizes the unveiling of the truth behind the illusions. For an individual, unveiling of the hidden, dark content of the psyche is the first step of ‘coming back to life’ or ‘awakening up from a dream’, symbolically speaking.
At one side, a hundred years of sleep may symbolize an unlived/wasted life, the main theme of the Lachesis personality. On the other side, the princess’s sleep could be seen as a symbol of the process of confrontation with the Shadow.
In this sense, the external, passive state of sleep could actually be interpreted as a very active internal process leading to the next, crucial step in the process of the Individuation: the integration of the anima/animus.
Step Two: Anima/Animus
“Inasmuch as the serpent leads into the shadows, it has the function of the anima; it leads you into the depths, it connects the above and the below.” (Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 102)
The anima is the feminine component of a man’s personality and the animus is the masculine counterpart in a woman. Jung saw the anima/animus as enlivening souls or spirits within men and women.
“Love”, replied the fairy. “If a man of pure heart was to fall in love with her that would bring her back to life!”
“How can a man fall in love with a sleeping girl?”
Sleeping Beauty reflects the vital need for integration and balance between animus (masculine) and anima (feminine) in an individual. It is a ‘union between head and heart’. The prince (animus) represents the ‘Solar principle’ of consciousness, seeking a connection with its feminine aspect and the Sleeping Beauty (anima) symbolizes the ‘Lunar principle’ that seeks unity with its masculine side.
Lilith – ‘Uroboric Great Mother’
“Who are you then?”
“I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, First Part)
When Lilith refused Adam’s domination, she left him. Adam symbolically ‘failed to integrate his anima’, which created unity with the Shadow. That powerful figure in the form of the sexually dominant spirit, possessed him in his sleep. Lilith attacks in sleep, when there is no control of consciousness. Jung’s term for this ‘poisonous female’ is the negative anima.
On the other side, Lilith wanted to be equal and didn’t accept the repression. Integration of the opposites excludes domination; there must be equality of opposite qualities, an union of feminine and masculine aspects. Jung mentioned that Lilith is also a shamanistic anima that could aid the repressed feminine to attain understanding and wisdom.
“Thus the Great Mother is uroboric: terrible and devouring, beneficent and creative; a helper, but also alluring and destructive; a maddening enchantress, yet a bringer of wisdom; bestial and divine, voluptuous harlot and in-violable virgin, immemorially old and eternally young.” (Eric Neumann ”The Origins and History of Consciousness”)
There is a term ‘Black Moon Lilith’ that refers to an astronomical, mathematical ‘invisible point in space’ that marks the furthest point of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth. Black Moon Lilith ‘reveals repressed sexuality’ and the Shadow of the personality, hidden in the subconscious.
“Lilith is only truly defined when she is either exactly conjunct with the Moon or exactly opposite the Moon. At all other times she is simply a potential who may or may not be really there. But when she is conjunct and opposite the Moon, that’s when we see her. The Moon brings her to life – or perhaps like a ghost, the Moon provides the psychic lens by which we can see her” (Leah Whitehorse)
The Moon is the symbol of the feminine energy. The feminine side is the left/heart side that is symbolically associated with unconscious function. The Lachesis individual generally has left- sided affections, due to its emotional/sexual repression.
- Generalities, Symptoms not symmetrical; left
- Throat, Swelling; tonsils; left
- Throat, Inflammation; left
- Chest, Pain; heart
- Genitals, Female; pain; ovaries; left
- Genitals, Female; swollen; ovaries; left
In order to achieve the state of the inner wholeness, one must create balance between the left and the right side, integrating both Logos and Eros into unity, accepting the tension between these, seemingly opposite, yet interdependent ‘parts’ of our ‘selves’ (Anima/Animus).
Step Three: ‘Awakening in Self’
”Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” (C.G. Jung)
The Archetypal Marriage
The prince (rational mind) awakens the Sleeping Beauty (heart energy), with the Kiss of True Love, and the whole sleeping kingdom also awakens. Symbolically, it is ‘kiss of the individual with the Destiny/Divine within.’
“That which goes by the name of love is fundamental to the phenomenology of the coniunctio. Love is both cause and effect…objective love, a love purged of personal desirousness, not one side of a pair of opposites, but rather beyond the opposites” (Edward Edinger, Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy)
Image above: Hilma af Klint, The Swan, No. 1, Group IX/SUW, The SUW/UW Series, 1915 Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Albin Dahlström/ Moderna Museet.
The Sleeping Beauty is also known as Aurora or Briar Rose. Some sources describe that the Magnum opus actually consists of one more phases called ‘citrinitas’ (yellowing), which takes place between albedo and rubedo. Citrinitas is a solar dawn/awakening analogue to the meaning of the name Aurora: sunrise/the dawn.
Second name of the Sleeping Beauty is the Briar Rose (‘Thorned Rose’). In alchemy, the rose is primarily a symbol of the operation of conjunction, the Sacred Marriage of the opposites.
The final step of the Magnum Opus is termed as ‘rubedo’ (redness). It is an ‘alchemical marriage’ of the King (Sun/Logos) and the Queen (Moon/Eros), ie. animus and anima. The counterpart of the Self archetype in alchemy is the Philosophers’ Stone that an individual is destined to become. So, at its root, alchemy is the transformation of the Self.
Also, the progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening, until it finally reaches the top of the head (crown chakra), to unite the feminine and masculine energies, through the transformation of consciousness.
The story of Sleeping Beauty resolves with incorporation (conjunction) of the opposites: Animus/Anima. The heart and mind are joined in the eternal union. It is the birth of the Self archetype, the last stage in the process of Individuation. The Self manifests itself in “wholeness,” a point in which a person discovers its true nature.
Spinning wheel Symbol of the Self archetype
“Our fate cannot be changed drastically unless through the power of personal transformation.”
The End is the Beginning
As written in the beginning, Lanchano is a town in Italy, famous for the Eucharistic miracle which happened in the 8th century AD. The name of the town is translated from Italian as “spear”. According to legend, centurion Longin, who pierced the heart of Jesus as he hung on the cross during crucifixion, was of Lanchano origin.
The Holy Lance is also known as the Lance of Longinus, the Spear of Destiny. It consisted of a long wooden shaft with a sharp metal point (symbolism of destiny and the spindle).
Image: The Holy Lance, displayed in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria
In the 8th century the Lanchano’s church was situated in the outskirts of the town and belonged to Bazilian monks of the Greek Orthodox. According to tradition, a monk who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass, that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood.
The City of Lanchano is also one of the habitats of the Aesculapian snake (entwined in the staff of Asclepius, which according to one of the myths, taught him the secret knowledge of ‘returning from the dead’). There is a Snake Festival in Lanchano during which a statue of St. Dominic covered in live snakes is carried through the town.
‘It is accomplished’ (Lachesis the Savior)
“Lachesis seems to fit the whole human race, for the race is pretty well filled up with snake as to disposition and character and this venom only causes to appear that which is in man.” (Kent)
Jung saw serpent as a Self symbol – ‘one compensating Christ and the goal of individuation.’ When Adam and Eve tasted the “forbidden fruit” from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which provided them with knowledge of their sexuality, God expelled them and then was the beginning of man’s fall. Man becomes mortal and through the Fall into the material, gained another dimension – duality.
According to myth, there were two trees in garden of Eden: the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Through the Tree of Knowledge comes man’s “fall” into materialism and through the Tree of Life, humanity “ascends” from the lower nature to the higher, spiritual realm. Symbolically, they are two sides of the same Tree.
The symbol of the serpent is deeply intertwined with the symbol of the ‘Tree’. They are associated with the symbolism of duality (lower self vs higher), which is also a reflection of the essential polarity in humans.
The snake causes man’s fall into duality, by descending the individual into its deepest and darkest parts – the subconscious. At the same time, through the process of transformation, the snake leads the individual on the way to completeness and wholeness (Self). The opposites were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end.
It is an eternal process, like Ouroboros (both the creative and destructive aspects of nature, unity of life and death). Ouroboros is a famous alchemical symbol of transformation, a symbol of immortality (Philosopher’s Stone) as the serpent never dies and is always reborn. Its endless return, analogue to Individuation.
As always, that path is the key, not destination and the path is transformation, which is the symbol of the snake. The daimon in the form of serpent often plays a central role in the quest for the wholeness, but sometimes the daimon also appears in the form of Asclepius the healer, whose staff is entwined with the serpent (the Aesculapian snake).
The Lachesis individual has to unite Eros and Logos, to embrace its passion and free its flow. Such a heroic quest requires a great fall into one’s own darkness in order to integrate its libido (anima/animus) and become one’s own Destiny – the Self.
“Somewhere there was once a Flower, a
Stone, a Crystal, a Queen, a King, a Palace, a Lover and his Beloved,
and this was long ago, on an Island
somewhere in the ocean 5,000 years ago… Such is Love, the Mystic Flower of the Soul.
This is the Center, the Self.”
(C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, p. 405; By C. G. Jung, William McGuire)