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«***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HIDDEN SYMBOLISM OF ALCHEMY AND THE OCCULT ARTS*** Hidden Symbolism of ALCHEMY and the OCCULT ARTS (Formerly ...»

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Set and Nephthys are, according to H. Schneider, apparently no originally married brother and sister like Osiris and Isis, but may have been introduced by way of duplication, in order to account for the war between Osiris and his brother. With the help of Anubis, Isis finds the coffin, brings it back to Egypt, opens it in seclusion and gives way to her tender feelings and sorrow for [079] him. Thereupon she hides the coffin with the body in a thicket in the forest in a lonely place. A hunt which the wild hunter Typhon arranges, discovers the coffin. Typhon cuts the body into fourteen pieces. Isis soon discovers the loss and searches in a papyrus canoe for the dismembered body of Osiris, traveling through all the seven mouths of the Nile, till she finally has found thirteen pieces. Only one is lacking, the phallus, which had been carried out to sea and swallowed by a fish. She put the pieces together and replaced the missing male member by another made of sycamore wood and set up the phallus for a memento (as a sanctuary). With the help of her son Horus, who, according to later traditions, was begotten by Osiris after his death, Isis avenged the murder of her spouse and brother. Between Horus and Set, who originally were brothers themselves, there arises a bitter war, in which each tore from the other certain parts of the body as strength-giving amulets. Set knocked an eye out of his opponent and swallowed it, but lost at the same time his own genitals (testicles), which in the original version were probably swallowed by Horus. Finally Set was overcome and compelled to give up Horus' eye, with the help of which Horus again revivified Osiris so that he could enter the kingdom of the dead as a ruler.

64 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts The dismemberment, with final loss of the phallus, will be clearly recognized as a castration. The tearing out of the eye is similarly to be regarded as emasculation. This motive is found [080] as self-punishment for incest, at the close of the Œdipus drama.

On the dismemberment of Osiris as a castration, Rank writes (Inz. Mot., p. 311): “The characteristic phallus consecration of Isis shows us that her sorrow predominantly concerns the loss of the phallus, (and it also is expressed in the fact that according to a later version, she is none the less in a mysterious manner impregnated by her emasculated spouse), so on the other hand the conduct of the cruel brother shows us that in the dismemberment he was particularly interested in the phallus, since that indeed was the only thing not to be found, and had evidently been hidden with special precautionary measures. Indeed both motivations appear closely united in a version cited by Jeremias (Babylonisches in N. T., p. 721), according to which Anubis, the son of the adulterous union of Osiris with his sister Nephthys, found the phallus of Osiris, dismembered by Typhon with 27 assistants, which Isis had hidden in the coffin. Only in this manner could the phallus from which the new age originated, escape from Typhon. If this version clearly shows that Isis originally had preserved in the casket the actual phallus of her husband and brother which had been made incorruptible and not merely a wooden one, then on the other hand the probability increases that the story originally concerns emasculation alone because of the various weakening and motivating attempts that meet us in the motive of the dismemberment.” In the form of the Osiris saga the dismemberment appears, [081] however, not merely as emasculation. More clearly recognizable is also the separation of the primal parents, the dying out of the primal being resulting in a release of the primal procreative power for a fresh world creation. It is a very interesting point that in one of the versions a mighty tree grows out of the corpse of Osiris. Later on we become acquainted for the first time with Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 65 the potent motive of the restoration of the dismembered one, the revivification of the dead.

For example, in the Finnish epic, Kalevala, Nasshut throws the Lemminkainen into the waters of the river of the dead.

Lemminkainen was dismembered, but his mother fished out the pieces, one of which was missing, put them together and brought them to life in her womb. According to Stucken's explanation we recognize in Nasshut a father image, in Lemminkainen a son image. In the tradition no relationship between them is mentioned. That is, however, a “Differentiation and attenuation of traits, which is common in every myth-maker.” (S. A. M., p.

107.) In the Edda it is recounted “that Thor fared forth with his chariot and his goats and with him the Ase, called Loki. They came at evening to a peasant and found shelter with him. At night Thor took his goats and slew them; thereupon they were skinned and put into a kettle. And when they were boiled Thor sat down with his fellow travelers to supper. Thor invited the peasant and his wife and two children to eat with him. The peasant's son was [082] called Thialfi and the daughter Roskwa. Then Thor laid the goats' skins near the hearth and said that the peasant and his family should throw the bones onto the skins. Thialfi, the peasant's son, had the thigh bone of one goat and cut it in two with his knife to get the marrow. Thor stayed there that night, and in the morning he got up before dawn, dressed, took the hammer, Miolner, and lifted it to consecrate the goats' skins. Thereupon the goats stood up; but one of them was lame in the hind leg. He noticed it and said that the peasant or some of his household must have been careless with the goats' bones, for he saw that a thigh bone was broken.” We are especially to note here that the hammer is a phallic symbol.





In fairy tales the dismemberments and revivifications occur frequently. For example, in the tale of the Juniper Tree [Machandelboom] (Grimm, K. H. M., No. 47), a young man 66 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts is beheaded, dismembered, cooked and served up to his father to be eaten. The father finds the dish exceptionally good. On asking for his son he is answered that the youth has gone to visit relatives. The father throws all the bones under the table. They are collected by the sister, wrapped in a bit of cloth and laid under the juniper tree. The soul of the boy soared in the air as a bird and was afterward translated into a living youth. The Grimm brothers introduce as a parallel: “The collection of the bones occurs in the myths of Osiris and Orpheus, and in the legend of Adelbert;

the revivification in many others, e.g., in the tale of Brother [083] Lustig (K. H. M., No. 81), of Fichter's Vogel (No. 46), in the old Danish song of the Maribo-Spring, in the German saga of the drowned child, etc.” Moreover, W. Mannhardt (Germ. Mythen., pp. 57-75) has collected numerous sagas and fairy tales of this kind, in which occur the revivifications of dismembered cattle, fish, goats, rams, birds, and men.

The gruesome meal in the story of the juniper tree reminds us of the Tantalus story and the meal of Thyestes. Demeter (or Thetes) ate a shoulder of the dismembered Pelops, who was set before the gods by his father Tantalus, and the shoulder, after he was brought to life again, was replaced by an ivory one.

In a story from the northeastern Caucasus, a chamois similarly dismembered and brought to life, like Thor's goats, gets an artificial shoulder (of wood).

For the purpose of being brought to life again the parts of the dismembered animal are regularly put in a vessel or some container (kettle, box, cloth, skin). In the case of the kettle, which corresponds to the belly or uterus, they are generally cooked.

Thus in the tale of the juniper tree, the magic rejuvenations of Medea, which—except in the version mentioning the magic potion—she practices on Jason and Æson, and also on goats (cf. Thor and his goats). I must quote still other pertinent observations of Rank (p. 313 ff). The motive of revivification, most intimately connected with dismemberment, appears not Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 67 only in a secondary rôle to compensate for the killing, but [084] represents as well simple coming to life, i.e., birth. Rank believes that coming to life again applies originally to a dissected snake (later other animals, chiefly birds), in which we easily recognize the symbolical compensation for the phallus of the Osiris story, excised and unfit for procreation, which can be brought to life again by means of the water of life. “The idea that man himself at procreation or at birth is assembled from separate parts, has found expression not only in the typical widespread sexual theories of children, but in countless stories (e.g., Balzac's Contes drolatiques) and mythical traditions. Of special interest to us is the antique expression communicated by Mannhardt (Germ. Myth., p. 305), which says of a pregnant woman that she has a belly full of bones,” which strikingly suggests the feature emphasized in all traditions that the bones of the dismembered person are thrown on a heap, or into a kettle (belly) or wrapped in a cloth. [Even the dead Jesus, who is to live again, is enveloped in a cloth. In several points he answers the requirements of the true rejuvenation myth. The point is also made that the limbs that are being put in the cloth must be intact, so that the resurrection may be properly attained (as in a bird story where the dead bird's bones must be carefully preserved). The incompleteness (stigmata) also appears after the resurrection.

John XIX, 33. “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.”—40 f. “Then [085] took they the body of Jesus and wound it in linen cloths with the spices.... Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid.” We shall mention later the significance of garden and grave.

It supports that of the cloths.] Rank considers that the circumstance that the dismembered person or animal resurrected generally lacks a member, points without exception to castration.

68 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts What he has said about dismemberment we can now sum

up with reference to the lion in the parable in the formulae:

Separation of parents; the pushing aside of the father; castration of father; taking his place; liberation of the power of procreation;

improvement. In its bearing on the incest wish, castration is indeed the best translation of the “anatomizing” of the lion. The dragon fighter has to release a woman. The idea that the mother is in need of being released, and that it is a good deed to free her from her oppressor, father, is according to the insight of psychoanalysis a typical element of those unconscious phantasies of mankind, which are stamped deeply with the greatest significance in the imaginative “family romance” of neurotics. To the typical dragon fight belongs, however (according to Stucken's correct formulation), the motive of denial. As a matter of fact the hero of our parable is denied the prize set before him—the admission into the college—for several of the elders insist on the condition [086] that the wanderer must resuscitate the lion (Sec. 7). In myths where the dragon has to fight with a number of persons this difference generally occurs: that he produces dissension among his opponents. (Jason throws a stone among the men of the dragon's teeth, they fight about the stone and lay each other low.) Dissension occurs also among the old men. They turned (Sec. 7) “fiercely on each other” if only with words.

The wanderer removes, as it were, an obstacle by the fight, tears down a wall or a restraint. This symbol occurs frequently in dreams; flying or jumping over walls has a similar meaning. The wanderer was carried as if in flight to the top of the wall. Then first returns the hesitation. The symbolism of the two paths, right and left, has already been mentioned. The man that precedes the wanderer (Sec. 7 and 8) may be quite properly taken as the father image; once, at any rate, because the wanderer finds himself on the journey to the mother (that is indeed the trend of the dream) and on this path the father is naturally the predecessor. The father is, however, the instructor, too, held up as an example and Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 69 as a model for choosing the right path. The father follows the right path to the mother also; he is the lawful husband. The son can reach her only on the left path. This he takes, still for the purpose of making things better. Some one follows the wanderer on the other side (Sec. 8), whether man or woman is not known.

The father image in front of the wanderer is his future for he [087] will occupy his father's place. The Being behind him is surely the past, the careless childhood, that has not yet learned the difference between man and woman. It does not take the difficult right way, but quite intelligibly, the left. The wanderer himself turns back to his childish irresponsibility; he takes the left path.

The many people that fall down may be a foil to illustrate the dangers of the path, for the purpose of deepening the impression of improvement. Phantasies of extraordinary abilities, special powers; contrasts to the anxiety of examinations; all these in the case of the wanderer mark the change from apprehension to fulfillment. We must not fail to recognize the element of desire for honor; it will be yet described. In view of myth motives reported by Stucken, the entire wall episode is to be conceived as a magic flight; the people that fall off are the pursuers.

At the beginning of the ninth section of the parabola, the wanderer breaks red and white roses from the rosebush and sticks them in his hat. Red-white we already know as sexuality.

The breaking off of flowers, etc., in dreams generally signifies masturbation; common speech also knows this as “pulling off” or “jerking off.” In the symbolism of dreams and of myths the hat is usually the phallus. This fact alone would be hardly worth mentioning, but there are also other features that have a similar significance. The fear of impotence points to autoerotic components in the psychosexual constitution of the wanderer (of [088] course not clearly recognized as such), which is shown as well in the anxiety about ridicule and disgrace that awaken ambition.

This is clearest in the paragraphs 6, 10, 14, of the parable.



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