An ancient Egyptian magic papyrus reveals the secret of the spirit with which alchemy operates.
In the secret inscription of the great magical papyrus of Paris the following invocation is made:
I welcome the entire building of the Spirit of the air, welcome Spirit that you penetrate from the heavens and the earth, and from the earth, that resides in the vicinity of the universe, to the bottom of the abyss, welcome be you Spirit that penetrates me, and I shudder … Welcome beginning and end of indestructible nature, welcome you who turn the elements that tirelessly render service, welcome sun that shines bright, whose luminosity governs the world, welcome moon shining at night with the disc of luminosity changing, welcome demonic spirits of the air … Oh great insurmountable incomprehensible tissue of the world, formed in a circle! Resident of the ether, with the form of water, earth, fire, wind, light , of darkness, of effulgent stars, Spirit, wet, cold and hot!
The remarkable thing about this ancient and poetic passage is that it postulates a spirit that animates the universe that includes all aspects of manifestation, pairs of opposites, good and evil, heat and cold. Jung in his last work, the climax of his thought, Mystetrium Coniunctionis, writes: “This spirit is the exact opposite of the Christian pneuma … this ancient spirit is the spirit of alchemy.” The reason why it is the spirit of alchemy is because it refrains the opposites. Jung’s reading of Western alchemical thinking assumes that it is necessary not only to combine the masculine and feminine aspects in the psyche but also the evil and the good (and in reality, all their equivalences). Christian morality generally presents an image in which good and evil come from outside, but Jung understands that they exist within the human being. The individual not only contains the seed of Christ; it is also constituted by the devil, by Lucifer, who is an inescapable figure within the ego.
This spirit, says Jung, who has been declared evil by Christianity, has the uncomfortable quality of being “beyond good and evil and provides a certain danger to those who identify with it, as we can see in the case of Nietzsche and the psychic epidemic that came after him. ” Nietzsche of course identified with the chaotic spirit, with the dance of the depths, with the intoxicating cosmicoteluric energy that was capable of destroying the anchylosed structures of thought. However, in a certain way it was destroyed because it was not able to create a synthesis. The superman is not only who is able to free himself from the old dogmas, but who is able to integrate all the forces, chaos and the cosmos into a harmonious marriage.
Jung says that this spirit is the “spirit of the chaotic waters of the beginning, before the second day of the Creation, before the separation of the opposites and therefore of the advent of the conscience”. This is the spirit of the raw material, the universal substance that contains the whole in a potential state. Jung points out that the alchemists understood that it was necessary to return to chaos – the state of nigredo and mortificatio. You had to let yourself die, you had to free the dragon from the depths, you had to submit to fire. For the reading, sometimes excessively psychological, that Jung makes of alchemy, this means letting the unconscious break in, that which is “both good and bad and beyond both, the matrix of all potentiality”. We must understand that the unconscious is not only one aspect, the largest, of the human mind, but it encompasses the totality of the universe, it is something like the dark matter that predominates in the cosmos. In the same way that the alchemist looks for the raw material of the philosopher’s stone in the darkest earth, Jung believes that the matter of individuation, of the integration of the totality of being in oneself, is found in the darkness of the unconscious. In the same way that the primordial chaos is illuminated and becomes a cosmos in which the divine intelligence that governs nature is expressed, the human being returns to enact the cosmic creation in his own psyche, making conscious the chaos of the unconscious, saving himself in the image and likeness of a universal process, because this spirit in the end is always a redeeming force: the first to be born in the Orphic cosmogony is Fanes, who is not only light, but is also Eros. To achieve this in the psyche one needs to integrate this spirit that includes, embraces and transcends good and evil and all pairs of opposites. It is necessary to dance with the Devil, with chaos, with death, and not turn away from them. It is not only a question of separating the opposites in conflict, but of remaking the All in one.