Unequal alchemical marriage

Good afternoon

I would like to start my presentation today with the idea of ​​alchemical marriage, as we can understand it in one psyche, that is, the connection between consciousness and the unconscious. And we are not talking about a single connection, but about something more durable, reliable, “both in sorrow and in joy” and “died on the same day”. I want to emphasize that in my report I aim to talk about the relationship of the ego and the unconscious, in no way referring to relationships with real partners.

Let's try to take a closer look at the idea of ​​alchemical marriage, who, in fact, enters into marriage? Ego on the conscious side and anima or animus on the unconscious side. What do I mean by ego? The central complex of consciousness, usually of the same sex as the physical body, responsible for the subject's memory, perception, movement control, reality testing, fantasy, speech. In the practice of active imagination, the ability of the ego complex to loosen its organizing and controlling functions is necessary in order to face the unconscious contents; it also requires the relative preservation of the organizing ego function, which establishes relationships and interconnections between mental contents. The paradoxical demands placed on the ego are that it must weaken but retain its organizing function. And a strong ego can do this. If I understand correctly, then when performing the practice of active imagination according to Jung, it is this ability to relax while maintaining control that is the basis of the analytical position. It is the ego that is able to control impulses and emotions coming from the unconscious, protecting against excessive anxiety and emotional outbursts.

Anima and animus - the archetypal potentiality of connecting with the unconscious, in the case of the anima through feelings and inspiration, in the case of the animus through thinking and understanding. They imagine that the archetype develops, goes through a number of stages, but there is a view from the other side - the archetype itself is integral, rather, the ego, developing, opens up more and more areas of the archetype through projections and images. 

In the simplest periodization of life, we know four stages: childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age. What are the characteristics of the ego during these periods?




Old age


unconsciousness of actions and faith in nature, need for certainty, avoidance of doubts, weak ego, no continuous memory, dependence on parents, “as if he had not yet been mentally born”

psychic birth, puberty, explosion of sexual activity, hope, optimism, heroism, avoidance of doubt. "Maiden memory

pay attention to yourself - duty and necessity, for men to recognize their feminine, for women - masculine, acceptance of doubts

Accurate retention of tasks, fruitful memory.

wisdom, acceptance of death, more and more immersion in the unconscious, again dependence on others, a conscious connection with nature.

The memory of a lifetime, the need to write memoirs, as a summing up of life and repayment of a debt to Rod.


Eve, nature itself, Foremother; holding, nourishing, all-powerful.

Elena - beauty, romance, chivalry, Beautiful Lady; eros, love.

Maria - partnership, union, spiritual closeness, love, creativity.

Sophia - divine love, wisdom, acceptance of death


Absorption, destruction. Suicide is like coming home.

An enchantment that promises a happy life in a world of illusions. Suicide as a protest.

Pseudo-partnership - use, fascination with work

Fascination with death, fear, powerlessness and resignation. reluctance to remember - Alzheimer's disease?

Anima image as a couple


young woman


elderly woman


Merged with the Great Father, a guide to the social world - life according to the rules, familiarity with boundaries.

Lover, passion, romance.

Partner, union, spiritual intimacy, love, creativity.

Wise old man - divine love, acceptance of death.

Predator, monster, sorcerer who holds captive. Suppression of will.

Pimp - violence, use of body

Pseudo-partnership - use, fascination with work

Fascination with death, fear, powerlessness and resignation.

The image of the animus as a couple


young man


Old man

Some general thoughts about the A/A sides available to the ego at different age periods can be seen in the table. In the second half of life, when a person collects his androgyny, the A/A functions, it seems to me, gradually merge and become very similar. Thus, we see at least 12 Anima doors opening and the same number of Animus doors that the ego can enter. And he finds himself in different periods of life, gradually opening new A/A spaces, based on his experience, age and tasks facing him.

My idea is that at a time of strong emotional upheaval, the ego can marry an unequal image of an internal partner. 

“You are free,” continued Dubrovsky, turning to the pale princess.

“No,” she answered. - It’s too late - I’m married, I’m the wife of Prince Vereisky.

“What are you saying,” Dubrovsky shouted in despair, “no, you are not his wife, you were forced, you could never agree...

“I agreed, I swore an oath,” she objected firmly, “Prince is my husband, order him to be released and leave me with him.” I didn't cheat. I waited for you until the last minute... But now, I tell you, it’s too late. Let us in.”

It’s this Mashino “I agreed, I took an oath” that occupies me the most. My working hypothesis is that the ego makes a choice, most of the time unconscious, but a choice nonetheless. And this choice dooms you to loyalty. And the ego will desperately defend this choice.

The symbolic activity of the unconscious continues around the clock, and there are no divisions or restrictions in this process; if we are not sleeping now, this does not mean that some part of our soul does not dream. All divisions into ages and periods are very arbitrary and, in a sense, are a game of consciousness. Symbolic thinking is the ability of consciousness to allow a tiny part of the symbolic work of the unconscious to appear, retreat and, based on the response of the transcendental function, give meaning to this part, corresponding to today's experience.

But what if there is a major shock to this system? During an earthquake, the layers of the soil change places; during a strong emotional shock, all A/A doors open, and the ego can enter any of them. Remember in movies the image of a labyrinth with many doors? By gradually solving problems, we open the doors of our labyrinth of life. But when the ego runs in panic, in a situation of stress or trauma, while the ground is still shaking and all the doors are open, it is very easy to make a mistake. For example, anerexia is the ego of a young girl, married to the animus, a guide to death, she really wants to “be beautiful”, appropriate, and during life she becomes a ghost.

I want to add to our thoughts another option of marriage with A / A Roda. As an illustration, I will turn to a cartoon that, most likely, many of you have seen - this is “Brave.” The plot in three words: the queen wants to marry off her daughter, based on political interests, trying to avoid wars between clans. The daughter does not want to marry and desperately resists. Mother tells the same legend over and over again about an ancient prince who wished the power of ten and ruined the kingdom. In the end, the princess turns to the witch for help, who at first does not want to help, saying “there were many complaints from customers”, but then agrees. The princess asks to change her mother. And the queen, having bitten off a piece of cake, turns into a bear. There are only two days to remove the witchcraft, then the mother's soul will leave her and she will forever remain a bear. In the course of the story, they find the ruins of an ancient, ruined castle, the princess falls inside and realizes that there was once a throne room here. And she also understands that the Mardu bear, for which her father has been hunting all her life, is the same prince who wished the strength of ten from the witch. One of the most dramatic shots in the cartoon for me is the desperate, very risky jump from the bear Mardu to the mother bear. As if a part of the ego, ready for development, in a desperate throw, risking forever being absorbed by the Animus of the Kind, escapes from him into the arms of consciousness. But the final battle takes place between two bears surrounded by an ancient circle of sacred stones. As a result, the soul of the prince - the bear's ancestor - goes its own way, and the queen, having lost her bearish appearance, goes hers. And she no longer insists on the wedding, the witchcraft is gone, there is no longer a need to tell the ancient legend and they are afraid of inter-clan wars.

Now in our world, the function of initiation is performed by depression, the territory of which we always find ourselves in the course of the psychoanalytic journey. In my experience, I have encountered the crossroads of mourning several times, often associated with oncology. By the crossroads of mourning, I mean that in the process of regression, the ego returns to the A/A “opening doors” point and can make another choice. It is as if it is in front of a stone from fairy tales with the inscriptions "If you go to the left - you will lose your horse, if you go to the right - you will lose your life, if you go straight - you will be alive, but you will forget yourself." What kind of inscription is this? In the context of my report, it now seems to me that to go to the left, to abandon instincts, to get stuck in the past, to go to the right - to rush forward very much and die, to go straight - renunciation of the former identity, termination of relations with that image of an internal partner to whom "she swore an oath " The crossroads of mourning is the crossroads of Hekate comforting the despairing Kore, the deepest place of depression.

As an example, I want to tell you the dream of a young man who was born with a heart defect, his parents divorced when he was 6, he lived with his grandparents. At 8 he had heart surgery, and a little later his grandfather died. I felt a huge sense of guilt: “my grandfather died in my place.” Mom is idealized, you can’t talk about her at all. Grandmother is more alive - you can be angry with her, you can love her openly. Anima appears in two forms, as an evil aunt who holds a young princess captive. Suffers from obsessive-compulsive neurosis.

Last fall, at the age of 89, my grandmother died of cancer very quickly, and a month later her twin sister. He buries first one, then the other. She cries a lot and is sad. While in the process of grieving, he stays in real life - he makes repairs, takes over his grandmother’s apartment, and works. But he is haunted by a series of dreams in which his grandmother comes to him and promises to see him soon. He is afraid of these dreams, drives away thoughts of imminent death.

Literally a month ago, he goes to the toilet, a piece falls out of it, and heavy bleeding begins. He took what fell out and went to the hospital. The bleeding was stopped, he was examined - he was healthy. The fragment was sent for histology. Conclusion: polyp, with severe dysplasia, with possible transformation into cancer.

A few days later he has a dream: “I know that a relative of my grandmother’s best friend, perhaps her mother, has died. My grandmothers take me to the cemetery to her grave. The front alley, they lead me and lead me to an elegant monument - a large granite or marble black grave, like in parks or squares. The flowerbed below is surrounded by black granite stone - I know there are some other people lying around the edges, and in the middle there is a fresh mound of earth where this relative is buried. They show me the monument. The alley is green, the weather is like now - late spring or summer.”

I asked him to draw on a piece of paper how the images of sleep are located in the dreaming area. He sketched out a diagram and, looking at it, said: “But the grave is my polyp!”

It seems to me that it was fear that “turned off his head” and he was able in one phrase - in essence the interpretation of a dream - to express his great desire to terminate this marriage, which had become deadly dangerous.

Time has passed and now (in January 2023) we can say that the grave is really a polyp that has left the body. And that the client made the choice “if you go straight ahead, you will forget yourself,” that is, he dissolved his marriage with the image of a dead elderly woman and made a choice in favor of a new identity.

These are my thoughts, which require further work and observations. Thank you very much for your attention!


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