I have had knowledge of the mysticism of the higher planes from a previous lecture which gave me the necessary insights into a basic understanding of myself, particularly the relationship between my essence (soul) and personality (temperament). Years ago, alchemy in the West was primarily an experimental scientific process dedicated to transforming physical, material lead into physical and actual material gold. The alchemists from ancient Greece had been cited as among the chemists of their day. Then, much later on, during the European Renaissance the primary goal for many alchemists had evolved and had been transformed into something of a very different nature. For many of the alchemists in these times, the alchemical process became part of bringing about a mysterious corresponding inner transformation process within the human psyche. Jung, by accident, discovered in the images of alchemy further validation of his ground breaking psychological theories regarding the universal nature of symbols. This was essentially a development of his earlier discovery of universal symbols contained in sacred religious writings, myths, fairy tales and in dreams.
Jung valued alchemy for its rich symbolic content and imagery. The transformation of worthless metals into precious gold unconsciously reflected an internal developmental process of “wholeness” and health in the human psyche (which Jung termed as “individuation”).
For Jung, what really set apart the symbols of transformation found in alchemy was due to the early alchemists’ beliefs that they were strictly dealing with physical, chemical, material processes. He found psychological gold in the writings of the alchemists. 3 large volumes of Jung’s Collected Works had been devoted to alchemy and alchemical symbols in relation to the development of the human psyche and individuation. Jung’s alchemy is only directed toward emotionally healthy people having established a strong and solid sense of ego identity and having a strong and solid grip on reality.
The alchemical process is only for those who are deemed spiritually adept masters? Not for me. But answers on a postcard.
Remember what the philosopher William James said, it is by listening to people’s stories that we get to understand people.
1 Jun 2002 Prepared as a class for Spring Quarter 1986, Rogue Community College. This class provided feedback and interaction which fed into my Phanes.
30 Nov 2001 … The Swiss psychologist, Dr Carl Jung, who began studying alchemy when aged 53, realised that the alchemist was really working symbolically
For nearly a quarter of a century following the death of famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s, his family kept the Red Book locked in a safety deposit box, …