Source: Edinger on Solutio

“One alchemist defined solutio this way: “Solutio is the action of any body, which, by certain laws of innate sympathy, assimilates anything of a lower class to its own essences” (18)… Whatever is larger and more comprehensive than the ego threatens to dissolve it. Internally, the unconscious as the latent Self or totality of the psyche can dissolve the ego. Externally, an individual with a larger consciousness than one’s own can bring solutio… Whenever a one-sided attitude encounters a larger attitude that includes the opposites, the former, if it is open to influence, is dissolved by the latter and goes into a state of solutio. This explains why a more comprehensive standpoint is often experienced as a threat. It feels as though one were drowning, and hence it will be resisted. Such resistance is valid and necessary and should be respected.” (p.54-57)

“… Often solutio is experienced not as containment , but rather as fragmentation and dismemberment. . . The young hunter Actaeon unexpectedly came upon Artemis naked in her bath. In retaliation, Artemis turned Actaeon into a stag, and he was dismembered by his own hounds” (p. 59). When the child Maneros witnessed Isis’ terrible love and grief upon seeing the dead Osiris, “This awesome sight was so intolerable to Maneros that he fell out of the boat and drowned. Most men, if they are honest, will acknowledge having had the experience of Maneros when confronted with a woman’s intense grief, desire, or anger (p. 60).

Edinger, Edward, Anatomy of the Psyche – Alchemical Images in Psychotherapy

 

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