ABSTRACT

The arcanum artis, or coniunctio Solis et Lunae as supreme union of hostile opposites, was not shown in our first picture; but now it is illustrated in considerable detail, as its importance deserves, in a series of pictures. King and Queen, bridegroom and bride, approach one another for the purpose of betrothal or marriage. The incest element appears in the brother-sister relationship of Apollo and Diana. The pair of them stand respectively on sun and moon, thus indicating their solar and lunar nature in accordance with the astrological assumption of the importance of the sun's position for man and the moon's for woman. The meeting is somewhat distant at first, as the court clothes suggest. The two give each other their left hands, and this can hardly be unintentional since it is contrary to custom. The gesture points to a closely guarded secret, to the "left-hand path," as the Indian Tantrists call their Shiva and Shakti worship. The left-hand (sinister) side is the dark, the unconscious side. The left is inauspicious and awkward; also it is the side of the heart, from which comes not only love but all the evil thoughts connected with it, the moral contradictions in human nature that are expressed most clearly in our affective life. The contact of left hands could therefore be taken as an indication of the affective nature of the relationship, of its dubious character, since this is a mixture of "heavenly and earthly" love further complicated by an incestuous sous-entendu. In this delicate yet altogether human situation the gesture of the right hands strikes us as compensatory. They are holding a device composed of five (4 -f-1) flowers. The branches in the hands each have two flowers; these four again refer to the four elements of which two-fire and air-are active and two-water and earth-passive, the former being ascribed to the man and the latter to the woman. The fifth flower comes from above and presumably represents the quinta essentia; it

is brought by ihe dove of the Holy Ghost, an analogy of Noah's dove that carried the olive branch of reconciliation in its beak. T h e bird descends from the quintessential star (cf. fig. 1).