Inner alchemy archives - Black Sun

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From : Adam McLean
Date: 24 Mar 1998

A colleague of mine is exploring the idea of the 'Black sun' in alchemy.
The most obvious examples of this are the 19th illustration to the 'Splendor solis'
manuscripts, and the 'Ripley Scroll'. There are a number of other examples
contained in illustrations and references in alchemical texts.

I wonder if anyone has any particular information on the 'Black sun' and
its meaning in alchemy.

Adam McLean


From: Keith McMullen
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998

Jung's source for 'sol niger' is Mylius, 'Philosophia reformata.' (1622)

Jung references the 'sol niger' several times in MYSTERIUM CONIUNCTIONIS,
and there is an image from Mylius in PSYCHOLOGY AND ALCHEMY, p.88, fig. 34.

Keith McMullen


From: Anthony M. House
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998

Dear Adam,

Curiously enough, the information I can direct you to is on your website.
Visit the lectures given by Jean Dubuis in the nature of the numerous black
sun(s) of the planets of our solar system @ this url:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/pon-indx.html

Anthony


From: Anthony M. House
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998

Dear Adam,

Curiously enough, the information I can direct you to is on your website.
Visit the lectures given by Jean Dubuis in the nature of the numerous black
sun(s) of the planets of our solar system @ this url:

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/pon-indx.html

Anthony


From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998

Dear Adam, I have studied the Black Sun in the Splendor Solis manuscripts
for my study on the subject which Thames & Hudson might publish soon (we
have to finally come to a mutual agreement on the exact format.)
At any rate the Black Sun refers to the Nigredo and to the necessity of
"Killing the Live to revive the Dead" which alchemical axiom means that all
vulgar metals including especially vulgar gold are considered dead and have
to be made "green" again. This axiom which has practical, symbolical, and
psychic correspondences is one of the essential keys of the Art of Hermes.

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

From: Jeffrey
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998

Stanislas wrote:

>I have studied the Black Sun in the Splendor Solis manuscripts
>for my study on the subject which Thames & Hudson might publish soon (we
>have to finally come to a mutual agreement on the exact format.)
>At any rate the Black Sun refers to the Nigredo and to the necessity of
>"Killing the Live to revive the Dead" which alchemical axiom means that all
>vulgar metals including especially vulgar gold are considered dead and have
>to be made "green" again. This axiom which has practical, symbolical, and
>psychic correspondences is one of the essential keys of the Art of Hermes.

I look forward to seeing your book. I have been long interested in this topic
as well as the related ones of the eclipse and the sun and its shadow. I have
noted the imagery of the black sun in dreams to denote a very harsh and
negative fate; a period when consciousness must be diminished so that the
unconscious has a chance to intervene and make itself felt. The latter
happens when the conscious position is dead and needs greening by the addition
of new material and affect from a deepr layer. This is usually felt as a
depression or experienced in a disease or bodily issue of some kind.
Consciousness can be so diminished that it becomes a dangerous time.
Any ideas on the sun and its shadow?

Jeff


Date: 26 Mar 1998
From: John Ashpool

I have recently come across the concept of 'black suns' in a
selection of Réné Guénon's collected articles recently published in English
as 'Fundamental Symbols '; (see under the chapter 'The Solstital Gates'.)

If I have correctly understood his ideas, the 'midday sun'
corresponds to 'the manifested' and 'the midnight (black) sun' to 'the
unmanifested', (to use the terms of his translator.)

I quote: 'since the 'culmination ' of the visable sun takes place
at midday, that of the 'spiritual sun' can be considered symbolically as
taking place at midnight..'

In the chapter 'The Cave and the World Egg', when discussing the
'athanor' he equates by implication the Sun to the solar order and the
'midnight' or 'black sun' to the 'polar' order: (to the third birth or
'sublimation'.)

In another article, 'The Black and White' he returns to the idea
pointing out that in the Katha Upanishad Arjuna is the White and Krishna
the Black - 'those who know Brahma call them darkness and light'.


I would be interested in learning more about the author. Am I right
in thinking that he was and remains a controvertial figure, or am I
confusing him with someone else?

john ashpool

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998
From: Mateus Nicolau Carneiro Cunha

john ashpool wrote:
> I have recently come across the concept of 'black suns' in a
> selection of Réné Guénon's collected articles recently published in English
> as 'Fundamental Symbols '; (see under the chapter 'The Solstital Gates'.)

> I would be interested in learning more about the author. Am I right
> in thinking that he was and remains a controvertial figure, or am I
> confusing him with someone else?

dear mr ashpool,
Guénon was a typical French occultist in the beginning of his career,
associated with Papus and Guaita. He was also a Freemason
during this period (first decades of the present century). However,
things started to change as he was probably initiated by an Egyptian
sufi master that passed through Paris at that time. He never named this
person. He then started to write against what he saw as western
deviations from 'traditional thinking', in books such as 'l'erreur
spirite', 'le théosophisme, histoire d'une pseudo-religion', his
masterpiece 'la crise du monde moderne' and 'le règne de la quantité et
les signes des temps'. On a more constructive note, he wrote many fine
books on the relations between the various esoteric traditions,
including alchemy. He is a difficult writer, very dense and impersonal,
but paradoxically enough he writes with extreme clarity, but demands
from his reader the quality of attention. He never tried to be popular.
Indeed, after his first wife died, he left France and settled in Cairo,
where he openly embraced Islam (as suitable to himself in particular, as
he stressed), married the daughter of a great sufi master, had two
daughters and...died. His life was outwardly uneventful, at the
antipodes of Crowley's for example. He left a wide group of admirers,
including some important French alchemists, as René Alleau, Bernard
Roger, and Jorge Camacho. His best book on alchemy is probably 'La
Grande Triade'.

I hope that helps.

yours,

mateus

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998
From: Kay Chandler

I have heard of the Black Sun also called the invisible sun from an
initiate of esoteric Rosicrusians (not AMORC). I was told it was a
secret chamber of the heart chakra in Tipareth. It also related to the
mysteries of the sacred beetle of the Egyptians, Khepra, called also the
God of the Midnight Sun.
Kay



Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998
From: Kay Chandler

Jeffrey wrote:

> I have
> noted the imagery of the black sun in dreams to denote a very harsh and
> negative fate; a period when consciousness must be diminished so that the
> unconscious has a chance to intervene and make itself felt. The latter
> happens when the conscious position is dead and needs greening by the addition
> of new material and affect from a deepr layer. This is usually felt as a
> depression or experienced in a disease or bodily issue of some kind.
> Consciousness can be so diminished that it becomes a dangerous time.
> Any ideas on the sun and its shadow?


Dear Jeff:
Your sensitivity promps me to tell about the secret chamber of the heart
where the initiation of the Black Sun take place. In mystical
Christianity this is the "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?" that Christ
uttered in the 9th hour upon the cross. I do not believe it has to do
with the Nigredo as another forum member suggested. I do believe that
it has to do with letting go of everything under the midday Sun and
discovering the kind of faith that can pass through the darkest
moments.... I don't think that everyone goes through this kind of
test. In the Egyptian mythology, I suspect this is how the scarab
earned his wings.


Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998
From: Robert Word

Kay Chandler wrote:

> In the Egyptian mythology, I suspect this is how the scarab
> earned his wings.

Is the Black Sun of alchemy the same as Kheph-Ra or is it different from
Kheph-Ra?

REW


Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
From: mike dickman

Kay Chandler wrote:

>In the Egyptian mythology, I suspect this is how the scarab
>earned his wings.

to which Robert Word then wrote:

>Is the Black Sun of alchemy the same as Kheph-Ra or is it different from
>Kheph-Ra?

Examine ATU XVIII, 'The Moon'... Also, at the risk of becoming VERY boring
(!), Charles Ponce's articles in Maitreya II, III and IV... More than just
simply about "accepting 'the negative'", it has to do with giving up all
attachment, all support, and accepting responsibility for the entire
quality of one's being... On this level, yes, certainly Khephera and the
Black Sun are pointing towards the same thing.

m


Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998
From: Richard Patz

Robert Word wrote:

>>Is the Black Sun of alchemy the same as Kheph-Ra or is it different from
>>Kheph-Ra?

In the language of Ancient Egypt the root of the name Khephra is "kh-p-r"
which means "to become". Khephera appears to represent our point of becoming
- in my view, much like Kether in Qabalah.

Here's a sample of text from Budge's "The Gods of the Egyptians" vol. 1:

"I became the creator of what came into being. I came into being in the
forms of Khepera coming into being in primeval time. I came into being in
the forms of Khepera. I became the creator of what came into being, that is
to say, I produced myself from primeval matter which I made."

khepera kheper kheperu kheperu-kua em kheperu en Khepera kheper em sep tepi
kheper-kua em kheperu pu en pa-na au pautet aru-na pa-na em pautet

Almost mantra, isn't it?

Perhaps this notion of self-creation from the materia prima is pertinent to
Black Sun symbology.

Richard Patz


Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998
From: jonathan breach


Although it may not be viewed my many as an orthodox interpretation of
the concepts of the Black Sun, my immediate thoughts on the topic were
that the Black Sun reminds literally me of an eclipse, where the moon
moves in front of the sun. Alchemically, such an occurance could be
viewed as representing "coniunctio", the union of the masculine and
feminine elements. What do others think?

regards

Jonathan Breach


From: Bernard Bovasso
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998

Jonathan wrote:
>Although it may not be viewed my many as an orthodox
>interpretation of the concepts of the Black Sun, my immediate
>thoughts on the topic were that the Black Sun reminds literally
>me of an eclipse, where the moon moves in front of the sun.
>Alchemically, such an occurance could be viewed as
>representing "coniunctio", the union of the masculine and
>feminine elements.

Jonathan;
That may have been the obvious if the moon were considered
female. In a more ancient mythology and cosmology closer
to a matricentric culture (such as may have been the case
for the people who built Stonehenge, henge circles and the
standing stones or menhirs in general), the moon was very
much the "man in the moon." I have often characterized the
filial moon as the "lunatic" (because wobbly in its orbit) son of
Mother Earth who, during the exclipse, literally occludes
Papa Sol in quite literal Oedipal fashion (this is also the
archetypal motif of Shakespeare's Hamlet).

For Stone Hengers the moment following the solar apogee
during Summer solstice marked the beginning of the death
(descent) of the Father (Sun) and which extended to the Winter
solstice immediately after which the new Sun (Son) was born.
This motif is retained in the Epiphany.

The killing of the Father by the lunatic son at the behest of
the Mother (keeping in mind Hesiod's account) is also marked
in the eclipse and why eclipses of the sun were so critical for Stonehengers.

The motif is uncanily retained in Alchemy in the motif from
the Rosarium of the devouring or swallowing of the sun by
the "green lion." But there is an ambivalence here since a
coniunctio is also implied by the swallowing, as a coitus of
the son (Sun) with Beya, the feminine principle as body
and physical nature. This would make it a most complete
"oedipal" saga insofar as on one hand the son simultaneously
slays (eclipses) the Father (Sol) but which is also the Son
himself who literaly swallows himself (viz., the orouboros) to
represent his coniunctio with *Physis* (as his mother matter).

The coital descent into matter, mater, matrix, mother
thus commences the nigredo state (of the swallowed by
the womb, black sun) and hence a state of death since
the womb and tomb are one image. What is astounding
here is how the ambivalence of the womb/tomb, birth/death,
is retained in the duplexity of eclipsing (killing) the father as
simultaneous with the coniunctio with the Mother (Earth,
Physis, Beya).

Sincerely;

Bernard


From: Jeffrey
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998

Bernard wrote:

>The coital descent into matter, mater, matrix, mother
>thus commences the nigredo state (of the swallowed by
>the womb, black sun) and hence a state of death since
>the womb and tomb are one image. What is astounding
>here is how the ambivalence of the womb/tomb, birth/death,
>is retained in the duplexity of eclipsing (killing) the father as
>simultaneous with the coniunctio with the Mother (Earth,
>Physis, Beya).

Very interesting symbolic motif. I think you are moving deeper into the
meaning of the black sun, which might have to do with the "death" of the
spirit as it moves into the material world. The transmutation of father into
son might have to do with the transformation of the spirit as it moves into
the mother realm. For spirit to be experienced and transformed in inner
alchemy it must leave its pure state and descend into the psyche. The death
of the spirit would therfore also be an incarnation of spirit in the son,
though both son and father are killed initially in the process. The
ambivalence would derive from this initial death as well as the spirits
reluctance to become matter.

Jeff


From: Bernard Bovasso
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998


Jeff:
The "the spirits reluctance to become matter" raises some
curious issues especially that I understand Spirit in the Stoic
sense of *spermatikos,* or seminal in function. This is retained
in the Christian idea of the Spirit as the agency impregnating
the Virgin Mary, but as the seminal act of the Father. When
Christ, as Son, is retained in turn as the Father (Christ as
Divine God) the implication of the "Father and I are One"
image is that the Son (as Father) impregnates his own
mother. Apparently the seminal Spirit is the agency that
links Father and Son as One.

This may be alarming from a literal standpoint except to
understand that the Hermetic or Inner realm of experience is
essentially a closed circuit of events where "incest" has a
transcendent meaning. This is upheld in a notion of
"the spirits reluctance to become matter" insofar as spirit
into matter is no more feasible than the contained become the
container, and vice versa. The Spirit cannot be transformed into
matter (according to a modern notion of the conservation of
energy and the interchangeablity of energy and mass), simply
because as seminal in nature the Spirit must serve only to
indwell the germinal potential for morphological transmutations
of Matter. Otherwise such generation would remain in repeat
and merely creating copies of the copies, or clones (viz Plato's
Timaeus on this).

This is even more apparent in Alchemy where the Spirit
performs as the Mercurious which is locked, or contained
within Matter (the Stone as Mater, Matrix), and must be
freed, i.e., as the goal of the Alchemical process. Once freed
the interplay between Father and son is renewed but with
Matter as the Medium (the Incarnation) for the two, so that
the transmutations of material generation may continue as
original events in the experience of the operator.

This is imperative. Otherwise the world comes to an end as
original generation comes to a halt with endless replication
of imitations of the imitation. But this is the whole point of
Alchemy-- original creation (*arche*) in experience.

Sincerely;

Bernard
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