chapter  7
24 Pages

The central mystery of the alchemical process

Alchemists recorded their theories about the prima materia not as developmental constructs but as depictions of myth. The core dynamics of the prima materia are embodied in the ancient and enduring myth of Attis and Cybele. The tormenting fusion depicted in the Attis-Cybele myth leads to the nigredo that follows the coniunctio, and this nigredo can be extremely dangerous. The Attis-Cybele myth is always a shadow side of the coniunctio, and dealing with this fused and frightening form of the union state is the sine qua non for the eventual acceptance of and confrontation with passion in the rubedo stage of the alchemical opus. The myth of Attis and Cybele is part of a thread running throughout Western culture, and the myth represents a state of mind and body that has never been adequately addressed. The alchemical approach is the most detailed and serious attempt in the last 2,000 years to integrate the forces this myth presents.