A2Z 2019

A2Z April 2019 — R — Rebis

The Rebis (from the Latin res bina, meaning dual or double matter) is the end product of the alchemical magnum opus or great work. After one has gone through the stages of putrefaction and purification, separating opposing qualities, those qualities are united once more in what is sometimes described as the divine hermaphrodite, a reconciliation of spirit and matter, a being of both male and female qualities as indicated by the male and female head within a single body. The sun and moon correspond to the male and female halves, just as the Red King and White Queen are similarly associated.


Rebis from Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae (1617) by Heinrich Nollius

Rebis can be used to denote a hermaphorodite, aka intersexed, aka androgyne person, which is one who has the sexual organs of both genders. The symbol for sexual rebis is:

hermaphrodite and trans symbol

From Richard Cassaro’s site:
Rebis, The First Human Being, Perfect And Divine
An occult tradition holds that the Rebis was the first human being, perfect and divine. Unlike us, the Rebis was fully conscious of its own inner divine nature. The Rebis knew that its inner divine nature was different than its outer temporary human shell. This knowing or gnosis made the Rebis godlike; or, rather, made the Rebis conscious of its own godlike nature.  But then something happened, and the Rebis “fell” into becoming…who we are today.

To explain this fall, the ancient Gnostics―forerunners of the Freemasons―described a story where God created the Rebis but became jealous that the Rebis was as powerful as him, knowing his eternal godhood. So he divided the Rebis into two sexes, two independent beings weaker than the original and imperfect. One sex became predominantly male with emphasis on solar qualities like day, light, hot, fire, and dry. The other sex became predominantly female with emphasis on lunar qualities like night, dark, cold, water and wet.

However, in their unconscious memory was their true essence and lost perfection ―a reminiscence of a past splendor when they were the Rebis. It is for this reason that humans are attracted by the opposite sex and unite in love and marriage, always seeking to return to their primordial state of unity, perfection and divinity (that, ironically, they never lost to begin with).

From the Chemical Marriage site:
The Great Hermaphorodite
The symbol deals with “Hierosgamos“, or the union of opposites. On a very base level you could interpret the Great Hermaphrodite as a western equivalent to the Ying-Yang symbol of the oriental traditions; but the rabbit hole continues deeper. The alchemists, in their quest for philosophical gold, considered the world to be influenced and manipulated by a multitude of paired forces: wet and dry, cold and hot, sun and moon, male and female, proton and neutron, etc. When these opposing forces are harmonized and balanced through synthesis, creation is commenced. The Great Hermaphrodite is an amalgam of this union.



The Great Hermaphrodite

Rebis can be the perfect balance of opposites.

The yin-yang symbol is an androgynous symbol. It is called the taiji-tu in Taoist alchemy and it shows the perfect fusion of duality, or the complementary combination of all opposites with and into one another. The androgyne is symbolic of the persistent driving force to attain balance and harmony. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

yin yang


Yab-yum is generally understood to represent the primordial (or mystical) union of wisdom and compassion. In Buddhism the masculine form is active, representing the compassion and skillful means (upaya) that have to be developed in order to reach enlightenment. The feminine form is passive and represents wisdom (prajna), which is also necessary to enlightenment. United, the figures symbolize the union necessary to overcome the veils of Maya, the false duality of object and subject.

Yab Yum


6 thoughts on “A2Z April 2019 — R — Rebis

  1. Plato believed in soul mates and he thought that when one of them met their other half, the pair would be lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and neither one would ever leave the other’s sight for even a moment. Plato thought that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. He said that there were three different genders of humans. Each of these original humans had two sets of genitalia. A small percentage had two male parts and they were called men. An equally small percentage had two female parts and they were called women. The greater percentage of the first humans were called Androgynous, because they had both male and female genitalia. The men were children of the sun, the women were children of the earth and the Androgynous were children of the moon, which was born of the sun and earth. The gods became jealous of man and they were faced with the prospect of destroying the humans with lightning, as they had done with the Titans, but by doing this, they would lose the tributes that the humans had gave to the gods. Jupiter developed a creative solution to split the humans in half as punishment for humanity’s pride and this took away their great strength and doubled the number of humans who could give tribute to the gods. These split humans were in utter misery to the point where they would not eat and they were all about to perish, when Apollo decided to sew them up and he reconstructed their bodies with the navel being the only remnant left of their original form. Each human from this point on, would then only have one set of genitalia and they would forever long for his or her other half; the other half being their soul mate.

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