Stories > Splendor Solis > Plate 7 - The Drowning King
The King of Earth is drowning in a lake. He cries out, offering a reward to anyone who can save him. Having been rescued, the King now fully rejuvenated, and looking a lot younger, stand besides the lake dressed in yellow robes and ermine, holding a sceptre and orb and wearing a triple crown of iron, silver and gold. A white dove perches on the orb. Behind him is the sun, and above him is a golden star. On the frame are birds and a butterfly. Below are two mythological scenes, a man clubbing a satyr and a nymph. (Stephen Skinner's Splendor Solis commentary)
The Drowning King vs The Questioner and The Leader
This plate represents the capacity of the Self to regenerate, to grow a new way of being... like the young king with a robe too big... a new way of being can function naively or awkwardly when a person begins to apply it in real life.
The regenerating Self is like the old King who could be seen as the rooster crowing at the sun, or the ego, drowning its rigid attitude and fixed ideas in the wind of the subconscious, to become the awkward young king, the white rooster on the weathervane having just woken up from being metal and still unsure of the direction to take, how to apply that new attitude.
At this point the patient is not fully aware of the Self, hiding like the roots of the tree, whose existence can only be known by enduring the inner experience of death and rebirth. The ego may not trust that something new can really be embodied and may fear it’s not possible to survive the internal change or weather the changes in relationships. The patient may prefer to rescue the drowning king (perhaps going back to an attitude of certainty), for example flee from treatment - a flight into ‘health’. Hopefully by this point in the treatment there has been enough experiences tolerating anxiety rather than defending against it that the patient has trust in the process.
Like the young King, the rooster has to stay on the weathervane and weather the storm of uncertainty until he transforms into a new leader and learns to lead his life from a place of self-determination rather than go back to his old rigid ways.
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
Also see The Emperor in the Tarot.

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