Breaking Dawn: the soul in the Aurora Consurgens

An illustration of a hermaphrodite from the Aurora consurgens-- 15th century. Thomas Aquinas; Marie-Louise von Franz (1966) Aurora Consurgens; A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Opposites in US Public Domain wikimedia.
An illustration of a hermaphrodite from the Aurora consurgens– 15th century. Thomas Aquinas; Marie-Louise von Franz (1966) Aurora Consurgens; A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Opposites in US Public Domain wikimedia.

This image is from the Aurora Consurgens. The Aurora Consurgens is an alchemical manuscript from the 15th century. The work has been attributed to Thomas Aquinas, although the true author is yet unknown. Aurora Consurgens is a Latin name which translates to “rising dawn.”

According to Carl Jung the hermaphrodite represents the union of opposites.  Jung says that the hermaphrodite “has become a symbol of the creative union of opposites, a ‘uniting symbol’ in the literal sense.” (CW 9i, para. 292-4)

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Durga on a Lion: anima and the tiger

The goddess durga on her lion kills the demon mahishasura, 1880, kalighat school. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
The goddess durga on her lion kills the demon mahishasura, 1880, kalighat school. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

There is a relation between the feminine and big cats. Carl Jung notes the link when he says that the anima “can appear as a … tiger” (CW 9i, para. 358).  In dreams, imagination, and art we find powerful female figures appearing as or with big cats such as pumas, panthers, leopards, and jaguars. The big cats represent feminine power. To confirm this understanding, we turn to the above image of the Hindu Goddess Durga. She appears here with her lion.

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Sirin and Alkonost: the anima can appear as a bird

Sirin and Alkonost – Birds of Joy and Sorrow by Vasnetsov Sirin Alkonost- 1896. US public domain via wikimedia.
Sirin and Alkonost – Birds of Joy and Sorrow by Vasnetsov Sirin Alkonost- 1896. US public domain via wikimedia.

Carl Jung noted that the anima “can appear as a … bird” [1].

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Nagas: Sometimes the Kore slithers down to the animal kingdom

Nagas are said live in the lowest realm of Patala (the underword) called Naga-loka. US public Domain via wikimedia.
Nagas are said live in the lowest realm of Patala (the underword) called Naga-loka. US public Domain via wikimedia.

 

Carl Jung tells us that “Sometimes the Kore and mother-figures slithers down altogether to the animal kingdom. When this occurs we may see her represented as the snake, the crocodile, or other salamander-like, saurian creatures.” [1]

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Snake Dreams: instinct, energy, life force

 

Vishnu Vishvarupa, Victoria and Albert Museum, London Date approx. 1800–1820
Vishvarupa (notice the snakes at the feet of Cosmic Vishnu). c. 1800–1820. US Public Domain, Wikimedia.

A Dream:

“I am up in the hills and looking for a place to camp. The hills are golden-colored, rolling, as you would find in Northern California. I am walking along the hilltops for a while and then I come to a cave. I peek inside the cave and I see a little old hermit. I say to the hermit, “Hello.” And I ask, “Is there a place to camp up here upon the hilltops?” The hermit says, “No!” I look around and I say, “But there is so much room up here in the golden hills.” Then, as I am looking around, I see that at the entrance of the cave, there is a hill and the hill is the head of a huge snake. I shift my perspective and look into the distance: seeing that this snake spans into the distance, running for many miles over the hilltops.”

In the dream, we find the image of cave. In the Upanishads, a cave is found in the depths of the heart. In there, in the cave of the heart, the cosmic Self is discovered. The Katha Upanishad (1.11-13) says “he [the cosmic Self] dwells in the cave [of the heart] of all beings.”

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