In this lecture given at the Panarion Conference in 1976, Dr. Edinger explores the symbolism of the alchemical operation of solutio which pertains to the water element. Solutio turns a solid into liquid; it meant for the alchemists the return of matter to its original undifferentiated state. As such it was considered the root of alchemy. Edinger unfolds the symbol system centered around this operation and delves into its creative and dissolving aspects, illustrating with dreams the clinical relevance of alchemy to the practice of depth psychology. From a psychological standpoint, images including baptism, the drowning of the king, the flood myth, the Red Sea, the ourobouros, and the nymphs manifest the multifaceted working of something larger and more comprehensive than the ego which threatens to dissolve it but can also bring about a solution in the ego’s relationship to the Self.
This lecture has been published in Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, Edward, F. Edinger, Open Court, 1985.
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