The Two-Thing. The introduction to Part II of the Secret Symbols teaches:
"Our substance, or Rebis, consists of two things, Spirit and Matter; but the two are only one and they produce a third, which is the Universal Panacea, purifying all things, the Tincture, which transmutes base metals into Gold. Our Elixir is therefore one thing, made of two; but the two are one."1
Paracelsus seems to agree in his Alchemical Catechism:
Q. To what, therefore, is the whole philosophic combination reduced?
A. The development of the one into two, and the reduction of two into one, and nothing further.2
Rebis is the separative condition within human personality in the early stages. The Two-Thing represents the self-conscious and subconscious modes of intelligence. They work as two separate individuals antagonizing each other in the normal human who is not yet committed to the Great Work of their unification. In our present evolutionary state, subconsciousness commonly subverts our most meticulous conscious plans, or self-consciousness is fearfully inhibited to reach out for our deepest, subconscious desires. Dr. Paul Foster Case wrote in The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order concerning the 17th path and Hebrew letter Zain:
"Its function is to combine the powers of the automatic consciousness (subconsciousness) and the Ego-consciousness (self-consciousness) in perfect equilibrium. All practical work of the true Rosicrucian has to do with this. The essence of the technique is developed from the theory taught in the Grade of Theoricus, namely, that subconsciousness is always amenable to control by suggestion. By putting this to the test of practical application, we gradually divest subconsciousness of her various disguises (and in the process also divest self-consciousness of its disguises) until the two modes of personal consciousness are in the purified state represented by the two human figures in Key 6, The Lovers, which corresponds to the path of Zain."3
The Lovers Tarot Key illustrates the male figure as the embodiment of self-consciousness and the female as subconsciousness. The male is the physical body and the female is the astral body, the invisible body of the Vital Soul represented by Yesod on the Tree of Life. These are the bodies of Spirit and Matter mentioned in the beginning quotation. The alchemical process purifies both. Purification complete, they act as one under the Divine influence of the Universal Panacea, Universal Mercury.
The Two-Thing, overcome and embodied as one, is reproduced perfectly in Plate IX – The Fifth Parable of Splendor Solis. Two heads, male and female, top a single physical body. The figure also clearly illustrates the Red Work and White Work, represented by a golden halo encircling the male head and a silver halo about the female head. Once more, the male, right-side dons the red wing of Surya. A whitish wing representing Rayi protrudes from the left, subconscious half. These two modes, purified and working together, raise Sushumna, the Serpent Power in the sacral center. From thence forward the three modes of consciousness, pictured again as the Lovers Tarot Key, work as one in the regenerated Adept Alchemist. Meditations and breathing practices outlined in Swami Vivekananda’s Raja-Yoga hasten the conjunction of the Two-Thing. The two combined (the active agent, and the passive patient) alchemists call their Hermaphrodite. It is written in the 2nd Epistle of St. Clement:
When Jesus was asked at what moment the Kingdom would come, He replied: “When the two shall be one, outside like the inside, the male with the female, neither male nor female.”
Even the Latin word seems to concur with this statement, for Rebis sums to 49 by Latin Cabala Simplex, and shares its value with Caelum, Heaven. Cross reference Rebis with RAYI and SURYA, RED WORK and WHITE WORK.
1 Hartmann, Dr. Franz, The Secret Symbols Of The Rosicrucians. Trans. by Hartmann. Mokelumne Hill, CA: Health Research, 1969, Part II, pg., 6.
2 Paracelsus, Theophrastus, Alchemical Catechism. Edmonds, WA: Alchemical Press, 1983, pg. 9.
3 Case, Dr. Paul Foster, The True And Invisible Rosicrucian Order. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1987 ed., pg. 276.