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The equilibrium and counter-change are carried out completely in the figure itself; the white woman has now a black bead; the black king, a white one. She wears the golden crown with a silver band, he, the silver crown with a golden fillet; but the white head on the right is extended in action by a white arm on the left which holds the cup of the white gluten, while the black head on the left has the black arm on the right, holding the lance which has become a torch and pours forth its burning blood. The fire burns up the water; the water extinguishes the fire.
The robe of the figure is green, which symbolizes vegetable growth: this is an alchemical allegory. In the symbolism of the fathers of science, all “actual” objects were regarded as dead; the difficulty of transmuting metals was that the metals, as they occur in nature, were in the nature of excrements, because they did not grow. The first problem of alchemy was to raise mineral to vegetable life; the adepts thought that the proper way to do this was to imitate the processes of nature. Distillation, for instance, was not an operation to be performed by heating something in a retort over a flame; it had to take place naturally, even if months were required to consummate the Work.
(Months, at that period of civilization, were at the disposal of inquiring minds.)
A great deal of what people now consider ignorance, being themselves ignorant of what the men of old time thought, comes from this misapprehension. At the bottom of this card, for example, are seen Fire and Water harmoniously mingled.But this is only a crude symbol of the spiritual idea, which is the satisfaction of the desire of the incomplete element of one kind to satisfy its formula by assimilation
of its equal and opposite.
This state of the great Work therefore consisted in the mingling of the contradictory elements in a cauldron. This is here represented as golden or solar, because the Sun is the Father of all Life, and (in particular) presides over distillation. The fertility of the Earth is maintained by rain and sun; the rain is formed by a slow and gentle process, and is rendered effective by the co-operation of air, which is itself alchemically the result of the Marriage of Fire and Water. So also the formula of continued life is death, or putrefaction. Here it is symbolized by the caput mortuum on the cauldron, a raven perched upon a skull. In agricultural terms, this is the fallow earth.
In this card, therefore, is foreshadowed the final stage of the Great Work. Behind the figure, its edges tinged with the rainbow, which has now arisen from the twin rainbows forming the cape of the figure, is a glory bearing an inscription,
VISITA INTERIORA TERRAE RECTIFICANDO INVENIES OCCULTUM LAPIDEM.
“Visit the interior parts of the earth: by rectification thou shalt find the hidden stone”
The Rebis may seem an awkward figure. Dom Pernety defines Rebis as: "The Matter of the Wise in the first operation of the Work. The mineral spirit rough like water, as the good Trévisan tells us, mixes itself with its bodies in the first brew in the process of dissolving. That is why it is called Rebis, because it is made of two things, male and female, solvent and solvable bodies, which basically is but one thing and one matter."
Your normal consciousness is the matter, and is the male aspect, fixed in this physical reality. When directing your attention inwards, in meditation, your consciousness feels more subtle, like water, in the beginning, and it compared to the female. Nevertheless it is still the same you, just two different aspects of your consciousness. When you meditate the everyday physical consciousness dissolves and becomes more fluid when attention shift towards the inner consciousness.
The Rebis is a clear androgyny figure, not always named as such. However the male-female aspects are always clearly visible.
“If I cast my eyes before me, what an infinite space, in which I do not exist, and if I look behind me, what a terrible procession of years, in which I do not exist, and how little space I occupy in this vast abyss of time.”
~Blaise Pascal, “Pensées”~
“All beings are buddhas … there is no being that is not enlightened,
if it but knows its true nature.”
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Today I would like to share some knowledge on the Law of octaves.…Continue