Visions of Zosimos and the First Homunclus

by Stephen Parker, Ph.D (Article Selection and Commentary) on June 12, 2010

From Zosismos of Panopolis (Wikipeda)

One of Zosimos’ texts is about a sequence of dreams related to Alchemy, and presents the proto-science as a much more religious experience. In his dream he first comes to an altar and meets Ion (the Sabians consider him the founder of their religion), who calls himself “the priest of inner sanctuaries, and I submit myself to an unendurable torment.” Ion then fights and impales Zosimos with a sword, dismembering him “in accordance with the rule of harmony” (referring to the division into four bodies, natures, or elements), and then pulls the skin off Zosimos’ head (a reference to the Apocalypse of Elijah which mentions those who are cast “into eternal punishment”: “their eyes are mixed with blood”; and of the saints who were persecuted by the Anti-Messiah: “he will draw off their skins from their heads”). He takes the pieces of Zosimos to the altar, and “burned (them) upon the fire of the art, till I perceived by the transformation of the body that I had become spirit.” From there, Ion cries blood, and horribly melts into “the opposite of himself, into a mutilated anthroparion”—which Carl Jung perceived as the first concept of the homunculus in alchemical literature…

Jung believed these visions to be a sort of Alchemical allegory, with the tormented homunculi personifying transmutations—burning or boiling themselves to become something else. The central image of the visions are the Sacrificial Act, which each Homunculus endures.
(more)

The background of Jung’s sculpting of a homunculus at the age of ten is in the next post…

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