Stories > Splendor Solis > Plate 10 - The Golden Head
A bearded man in armour with a translucent white tunic and a large sword has dismembered another man's body on the ground before him. He holds the golden head in his left hand. The background, showing an open-sided Renaissance-style building next to a canal, is reminiscent of Venice. A pillar base show knights riding into battle. (Stephen Skinner's Splendor Solis commentary)
The Golden Head vs The Denier
A salamander is an animal capable of regenerating lost limbs. When faced with a predator instead of fighting it will cut off its tail or feet and leave them behind to escape. Looking at images of salamanders on the internet I came across the symbol of King Francis 1st, which is a salamander with a crown hovering about its head. I didn't know why but it felt like exactly what I was exploring, this idea of the split between the body and the mind. This floating crown to me was like the mind that's cut off from the body, the same way that the dark man in the Splendor Solis has cut off the golden head from the light man's body. This a time when the intellect, reason is not in control of the body, and instead the most basic instinct takes over, perhaps what we call the "reptilian brain."
At this stage, separation involve a sacrifice. Psychologically, the rendering of false integrity is often experienced inwardly as bodily dissociation or dismemberment. The patient may suffer with physical pain, numbing, intense sensation of heat or cold, or hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation. This destructive energy of the shadow is essential: the inner experience of the body and all its symbolism must be taken apart so it can come together in a new way.

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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