PSYCHOLOGY AND ALCHEMY
Alchemical symbolism has been important in depth and analytical psychology and was revived and popularized from near extinction by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.
Initially confounded and at odds with alchemy and its images, after being given a copy of the translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese alchemical text, by his friend Richard Wilhelm, Jung discovered a direct correlation or parallels between the symbolic images in the alchemical drawings and the inner, symbolic images coming up in dreams, visions or imaginations during the psychic processes of transformation occurring in his patients.
A process, which he called "process of individuation". He regarded the alchemical images as symbols expressing aspects of this "process of individuation" of which the creation of the gold or lapis within were symbols for its origin and goal.
Together with his alchemical mystica soror, Jungian Swiss analyst Marie-Louise von Franz, Jung began collecting all the old alchemical texts available, compiled a lexicon of key phrases with cross-references and pored over them.
The volumes of work he wrote brought new light into understanding the art of transubstantiation and renewed alchemy's popularity as a symbolic process of coming into wholeness as a human being where opposites brought into contact and inner and outer, spirit and matter are reunited in the hieros gamos or divine marriage.
His writings are influential in psychology and for persons who have an interest in understanding the importance of dreams, symbols and the unconscious archetypal forces (archetypes) that influence all of life.
Both von Franz and Jung have contributed greatly to the subject and work of alchemy and its continued presence in psychology as well as contemporary culture. Jung wrote volumes on alchemy and his magnum opus is Volume 14 of his Collected Works, Mysterium Conuinctionis.
"Jung, C. G. (1944). Psychology and Alchemy (2nd ed. 1968 Collected Works Vol. 12 "
"Polly Young-Eisendrath, Terence Dawson. The Cambridge companion to Jung. Cambridge University Press. 1997. p.33"
"Anthony Stevens: On Jung. (A new and authoritiative introduction to Jung's life and thought), Penguin Books, London 1990"
"C.G. Jung Preface to Richard Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching.
C.-G. Jung Preface to the translation of The Secret of The Golden Flower.