Edward F. Edinger: On Calcinatio

“The image of invulnerability to fire indicates an immunity to identification with affect. Experience of the archetypal psyche has this effect to the extent that it enlarges and deepens ego consciousness. There is then less likelihood of identification with the emotional reactions of oneself or others. By contrast a weak ego is very vulnerable to being consumed by encounter with intense affect. This phenomenon is described in a poem by Dorsha Hayes:

Filled with a clutter of unsorted stuff
a spark can set a man ablaze. What’s there
heaped high among stored rubbish at a puff
will burst in flame. No man can be aware
of how inflammable he is, how prone
to what can rage beyond control, unless
the piled up litter of his life is known
to him, and he is able to assess
what hazard he is in, what could ignite.
A man, disordered and undisciplined,
lives in the peril of a panic flight
before the onrush of a flaming wind.
Does it now seem I seek to be profound?
I stand on smoking ash and blackened ground!

…Calcinatio has a purging or purifying effect. the substance is purged of radical moisture. This would correspond to the drippings of the unconscious that accompany emerging energies. Or, in other words, the energies of the archetypal psyche first appear in identification with the ego and express themselves as desires for ego-pleasure and ego-power. …calcinatio brings about a certain immunity to affect and an ability to see the archetypal aspect of existence. To the extent that one is related to the transpersonal center of one’s being, affect is experienced as etherial fire (Holy Spirit) rather than terrestrial fire – the pain of frustrated desirousness.”

Edinger, Edward, Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy

Explore posts in the same categories: Initiation, Learning to Think and Work Symbolically, Poems

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