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 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:
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.
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.