Stories > Splendor Solis > Plate 11 - The Boiled Philosopher Rejuvenated
A naked bearded man with a white bird perched on his head, is being cooked in water heated by a fire that is tended by a assistant with bellows, in an ornate Renaissance courtyard. The process seems voluntary and the bird on the man's head suggests the boiling off of vapour or spirit. A liquid is being drawn off into a flask at the side of the boiler. In two niches are statues of Jupiter and Mercury. A bas relief of Pygmalion and sculpture he fell in love with is seen at the foot of the column. (Stephen Skinner's Splendor Solis commentary)
The Boiled Philosopher Rejuvenated vs The Warrior
"The symbolism of the vessel appears as the vessel of spiritual transformation. The pre-Christian plunge bath signifies a return to the mysterious uterus of the Great Mother and its water of life. The image of the alchemist in the bath takes the integration a step further: the objective psyche is fully manifest and aware of itself. It is nothing less than transformation of the whole person. The bird perched on the golden sphere of the youthful king now appears on the head of an ordinary human being. What was formerly the wish of the adept to transcend the limitations of the material reality has resulted paradoxically in a humbled and embodied spiritual attitude. In alchemy, salvation comes not only from above, it comes also from below.”
My drawing of the Warrior is the opposite of The Sufferer that goes with the Golden Head. Here the lion symbolizes the presence of the Self, now visible and visibly calm (the anger is no longer repressed and the sadness has disappeared). The bird is now fearlessly standing on its head. A balance of power has been established, the fog has made way for a radiant sun.
Note: the quotes in italic are from the book by J.L. Henderson and D.N. Sherwood, Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis

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