Insight into “The Engagement of Rebis”Posted: April 28, 2011
My latest print, The Engagement of Rebis, is a further exploration of the Great Hermaphrodite figure. This symbolic character comes to us from the hermetic traditions of medieval Europe. This particular print shows the divine pair prior to their fusion in the Great Work. This is their engagement.
The Man, whose head is the sun (gold, heat, dryness), holds the philosophical serpent; the Woman, whose head is the moon (silver, cold, moistness), holds the cup. This is easy to understand as the opposing forces of nature, whose cooperation begat all phenomenon in reality. Rebis was the end result of the Great Work. Only the profane think alchemy was about the transmutation of metals. What’s really going on here is the actual process of Creation that produces our world.
Do not think that Creation is something that happened in the past; it is a continual process that is being continued to this very moment. The Initiate, through study and emulation of nature has the opportunity to participate in furthering Creation in a direct and conscious manner. This is the true meaning of the Great Work.
In the Engagement of Rebis we see two figures. These beings represent the divine dichotomy. They compliment and define one another. If there was no tall, there would be no short; no heat means no cold; no dryness means no moistness. It is the realm of the relative that defines our reality. It is the task of each person to find their place between “here” and “there”; that is the only purpose of life; one of definition. Declaring what you are and what you are not. The divine couple sums up the relative guideposts we humans use to define the material world in which we float.
Behind the figures we see a hexagram. It is used here to denote the Art of Alchemy through sexual union. The upward triangle (fire, male) and the downward triangle (water, female) are here fused together. The respective triangles can also be found placed over the genitals of the divine couple to reinforce this concept. In order to give birth to the child (our reality) the divine couple must embrace in sexual union.
The central symbol is Mercury. Through Mercury/Hermes our attention is brought to the mysteries. It is through the subtle communications with the mercurial principle that we may unravel them. Mercury is the key to the lock, the bridge between the unseen and the seen.
Framing the figures we find the four cardinal signs of the zodiac: Cancer, Aries, Capricorn, and Libra. This provides the scene and setting of the engagement. These also establish our elements: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. These would be the building blocks from which the material world is made.
In summary, our world, and indeed our bodies, are the result of a union of opposing forces. If we study these forces in the respective corners we may delve deeper into the gears of creation. By fully understanding the parts, we may know the process. The initiate must understand that they are a Rebis themselves. Before we can assume our position at the helm of Creation, the opposing wills and forces of our person must be brought to balance. It is only then that we may consciously take part in Great Work, which is nothing less than the furtherance of Creation.
To purchase one of these very limited prints, please visit the Chemical Marriage store…
The Engagement of Rebis