Alchemy plays a large and imposing role in the inner workings and teachings of the Thoth Tarot, and a rudimentary understanding of Alchemy can help a great deal with decoding and relating to the images and myths of the Tarot generally. The stages of Alchemical transformation and the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone have obvious and facile parallels with the journey of the cast of the Major Arcana, and with the very essence of Divination itself.
Alchemy posits, most essentially, some proto-scientific a priori assumptions about the nature of Reality and Life itself which underpin much of the overall point and purpose of consulting an Oracle: that all of Creation is on a journey of progress, that things which appear fixed and stable are always actually in flux and transformation, and that through purification and the removal of the profane, the gross can become the subtle, and the Base can be made Noble. Whether it’s Metals or human Souls we are discussing, the fact that with Work, Change is possible, and that the nature of that change can be refinement and perfection, is the entire point. That less is often more is an interesting tangential insight.
A major part of the Alchemical process, then, is known as “Solve et Coagula” – to dissolve and to coagulate. We take the prima materia – the First Matter – and then subject it to this process – analysis, followed by synthesis, melting it down, removing what’s useless or not required, and forming it into a whole again, only purer, finer, with more subtle nuance and less gross qualities. Using discernment and the powers of our intellect we discover the constituent elements, forces and structures creating our present Reality. Then we subject them to stresses, “heat” and the process of “rectification” – the melting in fire, removal of impurity, and reformation or distillation into a more essential (of the essence) form which foregrounds and brings into action the highest unrepresented functioning while back-grounding or retiring the over-dominant lower functions. Equally, this process can take conflicting opposites within the gross – masculine/feminine, introvert/extrovert, active/passive, strong/weak, happy/sad – and create a reconciliation or ‘middle way’ – a new functioning, which partakes of both opposites, and contains the essence of each, while being neither, within the subtle. The Sacred (“Alchymical”) Marriage, that creates the Divine Androgyne, or Enlightened Being.
And this perfectly describes the entire dynamic of a Tarot reading. First there is Science – Analysis. We take the thesis, and thus postulate the antithesis. We see what the reading is about, and what antagonises or troubles the dynamic process underway. We consider interior and exterior factors and carefully tease apart the threads of your Life – the prima materia. Then, when the constituting forces and influences have been identified, comes the Art – Synthesis. We take the thesis and antithesis, and without denying or avoiding the realities described, we co-create the Synthesis – the meeting and inter-relation of these otherwise contradictory elements, now beautifully and harmoniously integrated into a functional Unison, and expansion of conscious agency. Instead of an internal war, instead of magnetic repulsion, we create a third option, in which the opposites are reconciled and related back to the Whole – YOU.
These principles, by the way, are perfectly encoded in the Major Arcana Trumps Atu VI – The Lovers and Atu XIV – Art (or Temperance). Solve et Coagula. Analysis and Synthesis. Research and Design.
SOLVE ET COAGULA
But enough text – here is a #MoGraphAdventure illustrating the Art, the Coagula, Synthesis – Pulling Your Self Together!