Jung on Alchemy

Jung on Alchemy – At the end of Mysterium Coniunctionis, Carl Jung sums up the meaning of alchemy:

…the entire alchemical procedure…could just as well represent the individuation process of a single individual, though with the not unimportant difference that no single individual ever attains to the richness and scope of the alchemical symbolism. This has the advantage of having been built up through the centuries… It is…a difficult and thankless task to try to describe the nature of the individuation process from case material… No case in my experience is comprehensive enough to show all the aspects in such detail that it could be regarded as paradigmatic… Alchemy, therefore has performed for me the great and invaluable service of providing material in which my experience could not find sufficient room and has thereby made it possible for me to describe the individuation process at least in its essential aspects.

Jung on the Realm of Eros

Regarding the realm of Eros –

In classical times, when such things were understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could neither be comprehended nor represented in any way. I might as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abyss of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love. Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and father-mother of all higher consciousness. …. In my medical experience and my life I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love, and have never been able to explain what it is. … No matter, no worse expresses the whole. To speak of partial aspects is always too much or too little, for only the whole is meaningful.

Love “bears all things” and endures all things” (1 Cor. 13.7) These words say all there is to be said; nothing can be added to them. For we are in the deepest sense the victims and instruments of cosmogonic “love.” I put the word in quotations marks to indicate that I do not use it in its connotations of desiring, preferring, favoring wishing, and similar feelings, but as something superior to the individual, a unified and undivided whole. Being a part , man cannot grasp the whole. He is at its mercy. He may assent to it, or rebel against i; but he is always caught up by it and enclosed within it. He is dependent upon it and is sustained by it. Love is his light and his darkness, whose end he cannot see. “Love ceases not”-whether he speaks with the “tongues of angels,” or with scientific exactitude traces the life of a cell down to its uttermost source. Man can try to name love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and still he will involve himself in endless self-deceptions. If he posses a grain of wisdom, he will know, ignotum per ignotius-that is by the name of God.

That is a confession of his subjection, his imperfection, and his dependence; but at the same time a testimony to his freedom to choose between truth and error.

( Carl Jung – Memories, Dreams and Reflections p. 354 )

Jung on Archetypes as Ancestral Experiences

There is no human experience, nor would experience be possible at all without the intervention of a subjective aptitude.  What is this subjective aptitude?  Ultimately it consists of an innate psychic structure which allows man to have experiences of this kind.  Thus the whole nature of the human male presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually.  His system is tuned into woman from the start, just as it is prepared for a quite definite world where there is water, light, air, salt, carbohydrates, etc.  The form of the world into which he is born is already inborn in him as a virtual image.  Likewise parents, wife, children, birth, and death are inborn in him as virtual images, as psychic aptitudes.  These a priori categories have by nature a collective character; they are images of parents, wife, and children in general, and are not individual predestinations.  We must therefore think of these images as lacking in solid content, hence  as unconscious.  They only acquire solidity, influence, and eventual consciousness in the encounter with empirical facts which touch the unconscious aptitude and quicken it to life.  They are, in a sense, the deposits of all our ancestral experiences, but they are not the experiences themselves.

(Carl Jung, 1972: para. 300; quoted in Turner 1987, p.172-3)

Jung on the Ego and Archetype

Jung on the Ego and Archetype –

Archetypal statements are based upon instinctive predictions and have nothing to do with reason; they are neither rationally grounded or can they be banished by rational arguments. They have always been part of the world scene-representations collectives, as Levy-Bruhl rightly called them. Certainly the ego and its will have a part to lay in life but what the ego wills is subject in the highest degree to the interference, in ways the ego is usually unaware, of the autonomy and numinosity of archetypal processes.

( Carl Jung Memories Dreams and Reflections p. 353 )

Jung on Alchemy

JUNG ON ALCHEMY – C.G. Jung’s research revealed to him that analytical psychology coincided with Alchemy. Jung states:

“I had very soon seen that analytical psychology coincided in a most curious way with alchemy…  The experiences of the alchemists were, in a sense, my experiences, and their world was my world. This was of course, momentous discovery: I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious. The possibility of comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology. When I pored over those old texts, everything fell into place: the fantasy-images, the empirical material I had gathered in my practice, and the conclusions I had drawn from it. I now began to understand what these psychic contents meant when seen in historical perspective.”

( C.G. Jung Psychology and Alchemy CW 12, pars. 345ff )

The Basic Structure of Alchemical Transformation

The basic structure of alchemical transformation is simple. It is as follows: The purpose is to create a transcendent, miraculous substance, with his among other symbolized the Philosophers’ Stone. The Elixir of Life, or the universal medicine.

First, find the suitable material, the so-called prima materia. In fact, unless the prima materia was found was returned to it is undifferentiated state transformation could not happen. Then the prima materia is subject to a series of operations that will turn it into the Philosophers’ Stone …. psychologically the image corresponds to the creation of the ego out of the undifferentiated unconscious by the process of discriminating functions: thinking, emotions, sensation and intuition.

Working on images in our work is working on the psyche and is the work of creating the Self (our unique identity.) Thus the work is to take the fixed, settled aspects of the personality that are rigid and static are reduced or led back to their original, undifferentiated conditions as a part of the process of psychic transformation. Rigid and developed aspects of the personality allow no change. They are solid, established, and sure of their rightness. Only the indefinite, fresh and conditional, the vulnerable and insecure, original conditions is open to development and hence is alive. Thus, the primia materia is found in the shadow of our ego addictions and what we do not want to know about ourselves.

These painful and humiliating aspect are what we unconsciously and sometimes bring forward to work on. Humility is a prerequisite for transformation to something better. Through humility mean that the inflated ego turn back to a primal relationship with the Self. The prima materia is a confused mixture of undifferentiated and contrary component requiring a process of separation into its element (images). Separate and transform from the shadow into the developing Self. Each time we create a new increment of prima materia, a new creation of consciousness occurs and is carved out of the unconscious. This process brings about healing and rejuvenation. The ego needs the guidance and direction of the unconscious to have an meaningful life; and the latent Philosophers, is imprisoned in the prima materia and needs the devoted efforts of the consciousness to come into actuality. Together the conscious and unconscious do the Great Work to create more and more consciousness in the universe.

Article on Spirit Crossing

How to Produce Joy: The Union of Psyche & Eros
This is the first in a series of three essays on the ancient and urgent wisdom of mythology. Archetypal psychologist Howard Teich, Ph.D, author of Solar Light, Lunar Light, guides us through the journey of Psyche and Eros, explains our need for the God Particle and more, all through a ground-breaking new lens—that of “solar-lunar consciousness.”

Continue reading on SpiritCrossing ››

Solar Light, Lunar Light

My new book is now available to order online.

Solar Light, Lunar Light :
Perspectives in Human Consciousness ››


Solar Light, Lunar Light is inspired by some of the first recorded symbols found in ancient rocks and bone carvings: the sun and the moon. Just as both the sun and the moon are crucial to the ecology of the planet, expressions of solar and lunar awareness in human consciousness are necessary for the well being of the soul.

Light has been associated with human awareness for thousands of years, since long before the beginning of recorded history. Light holds the power to heal souls. When we call a person with great wisdom and knowledge “enlightened,” or refer to someone we think is crazy as “loony,” we evoke a connection that has existed in almost all cultures for millennia. These metaphors draw their power from long human experience. The effects of brilliant sunlight or soft moonlight on the human psyche have been described by poets, transcending the boundaries of time and place. Using the metaphors for solar and lunar in our everyday language consciously aligns us energetically with these two primary lights of life.

Continue Reading Chapter 1 : Introduction ››