6. Synthesis

The concept of synthesis is essential to magical understanding. In simple terms, the synthesis is the ‘And’ that lies beyond (or combines) the ‘Either’ / ‘Or’ polarities. It has been described in philosophy as thesis + antithesis = synthesis. An excellent symbolic representation of it can be found in the yin yang symbol, where the totality combines two opposites, each opposite containing the seed of the other. In Alchemy, the process is often described as Solve et Coagula – separate and combine. Through an understanding of synthesis, and the ability to synthesize opposites, it is possible to take it a step further, and find a creative solution to paradoxes. Even if the solution would not work in physical reality, a symbolic representation of a synthesized paradox can be discovered, through which various insights can be gained, and a tangible real-world solution might then become apparent. The first step of synthesis is to identify the two existing polar opposites. A polar opposite is the extreme opposite, or reverse/inverse of something, such as the positive and negative poles of a magnet, yes or no, 1 or 0. An obvious synthesis of opposites is with shades of grey, when black and white are combined. For example, if we are fearful of something, we could identify a part of our personality as the ‘fearful part’ and then discover or represent what the ‘opposite part’ is (which might be more-or-less fearless and reckless). This is the separation phase. When the opposites are discovered, the positive and negative aspects of each can be identified, and then a synthesis of the two created. In this case the polarities may be labelled fearful versus reckless, and the synthesis may be courageous, recognising the positives of both the fearful and reckless parts of the personality. The ability to reconcile opposites is only limited by your imagination, creativity, and ingenuity. Learning to work with your Higher Self, as your primary aid to reconciling and synthesizing opposites, is essential to truly overcoming the polarities that the lower part of your mind operates.

Exercise 1 – Synthesis of Opposites

This is a long form of the exercise. Once you are proficient, and have enough experience of the Higher Self, it is possible to shorten the process. Before working with this process you should have either a problem or a concept for which two opposite positions can be identified.

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes
  • Take a few deep breaths and allow your body to relax
  • Allow the problem or concept to come to mind and spend some time thinking about it.
  • Identify the two polarities that exist for the problem or concept. Do not worry about them being positive or negative as such, only that they are seemingly incompatible and diametrically opposed to each other.
  • Once you have identified the polarities, focus on one of them – the first polarity.
  • Allow a symbol to come to mind that represents the first polarity. The first symbol that appears is the correct one, do not attempt to change or choose a ‘better’ one.
  • Concentrate on the symbol. See it clearly in your mind’s eye.
  • What does this symbol represent?
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of this polarity?
  • Explore what concepts and beliefs this symbol represents (and how those things relate to you).
  • Keep scanning the symbol for concepts, words, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and how they relate to you.
  • When you have discovered all you need to know about the first polarity, set it aside.
  • Allow a symbol to come to mind that represents the second polarity.
  • Concentrate on the symbol. See it clearly in your mind’s eye.
  • What does this symbol represent?
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of this polarity?
  • Explore what concepts and beliefs this symbol represents (and how those things relate to you).
  • Keep scanning the symbol for concepts, words, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and how they relate to you.
  • (Optionally, you can stand up to perform the next part of the exercise – try it standing and sitting)
  • Now, imagine that you are ascending high into the sky on a cloud, rising up, higher and higher.
  • Once you are high above the ground, you can now see a bright, luminous being – your Higher Self.
  • Take a moment to get a sense of the energy of your Higher Self.
  • Now, imagine an equilateral triangle before you, with the single point at the top.
  • Visualize the two symbols, representing the two polarities, at opposite points of the triangle’s base.
  • Talk to your Higher Self, explaining that you seek a synthesis of these two opposites, and ask it to assist you.
  • Imagine the two symbols from the base moving up the sides of the triangle until they merge and become a new symbol – the synthesis of the opposites.
  • Concentrate on this new symbol. See it clearly in your mind’s eye.
  • What does this symbol represent?
  • Explore what concepts and beliefs this symbol represents (and how those things relate to you).
  • Keep scanning the symbol for concepts, words, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and how they relate to you.
  • Talk with your Higher Self, seeking its assistance in learning about this new holistic symbol.
  • When you are finished, open your eyes and draw the symbols at the relevant corners of a triangle, and write about this experience in your journal.

Last modified: 22 July 2017