Jung and Alchemy
Jung's interest for alchemy starts from two directions. One is the necessity to find a historic parallel to his own discoveries of the unconscious psychic life. The second
refers to the series of dreams which have evoked the new research course, on which Jung talks at length in his autobiography: Memories, Dreams and Reflections.
"Before having discovered alchemy - writes Jung - I had dreamed repeatedly dreams that treated each
time the same theme: next to my house was another one, more precisely a wing or an added construction that was strange to me. Each time I would amaze myself in my dream because I did not know this part
of the house, which apparently was there from the beginning". This strange part of the house revealed its meaning finally: "The unknown wing was a part of my personality, an aspect of myself…" This part was
unconscious and would reveal itself as an interest for the in-depth study of medieval alchemy. This study was announced definitively in the dream from the year 1926 when Jung dreams himself being captive in the 17th
"Later have I understood that this dream was referring to alchemy - writes Jung - in the 17th century it reached its climax".
Alchemy is a symbolic representation of the individuation process
. In the serious alchemy, believes Jung, processes arising from individual psyche are described
encoded. Peculiar terms that alchemy operates with, such as prima materia, unus mundus, Mercurius, filium philosophorum, lapis and many more are decrypted by Jung through an arduous work of over 10 years.
His develops and parallels are described at length in his book Psychology and Alchemy, an essential piece of work for the ones studying interestedly analytical psychology, the individuation process
and the exploration of the unconscious through dream interpretation.
We could resume Jung's vast experience with alchemy in the next two quotations:
Alchemy, as a nature philosophy of great consideration in the Middle Ages, throws a bridge to the past, the gnosis, and also to the future, the modern psychology of the unconscious.
Only by discovering alchemy have I clearly understood that the Unconscious is a process and that ego's rapports with the unconscious and his contents initiate an evolution, more precisely a real metamorphoses of the
More information related to the Jung's interest in alchemy is provided in his book: Psychology and Alchemy. Please click here to access our Bookstore.
Quotes from Memories, Dreams, Reflections.