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Psychology and Alchemy (Jung's Collected Works #12)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,164 ratings  ·  26 reviews

A study of the analogies between alchemy, Christian dogma, and psychological symbolism. Revised translation, with new bibliography and index.

Hardcover, 2nd, 594 pages
Published August 1st 1968 by Princeton University Press (NJ) (first published 1952)
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Jason Thompkins
If I happen to write about a book then you can be certain it is IMPORTANT to those of us "on the Path". This book contains invaluable reproductions of drawings made by REAL Alchemists, in fact the whole book as more illustrations than writing almost. Almost every page as a huge Alchemical drawing that, in my true opinion, can be meditated on and it helps those of us on the Path to GNOSIS.
Apr 08, 2008 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The wise old man, the Anima, and the intellect as Prima Materia
I was reading Psychology and Alchemy on the bus when a young woman leaned in and ask me, "Is that Jung?"

I told her that it was.

"Man, I've tried reading Jung before, but I've never made it all the way through. How are you liking it?"

"Well, it's ..." I blanked. And not only blanked, I realized that my mind had been blank for the last god-knows-how-long. As my eyes had been scanning the page, my thoughts had wandered so that not only could I not remember what the last sentence I had read said, but
In this book, Jung describes the 'opus' "as a work of imagination. He is discussing an old alchemical text that that tells how to produce the philosophers' stone. The passage says that one should be guided by a true and not a fantastic imagination. Commenting on this idea, Jung says that imagination is "an authentic accomplishment of thought or reflection that does not spin aimless and groundless fantasies into the blue; that is to say, it does not merely play with its object, rather it tries to ...more
Medical Marijuana
Jung's book introduced me to the subject of alchemy and became a profound influence on me in terms of the way in which I use symbolism in my own writing. Jung believes that the Freudian "subconscious", (which he renamed the "unconscious"), or what he calls the "personal unconscious," is subsumed by a greater whole of transpersonal, transcultural elements called the "collective unconscious". When he (supposedly) noticed alchemical symbolism in the dreams of his patients he embarked on a massive s ...more
Taliesin Mcknight
This is a very good book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Jung's views on alchemy and its connection with the individuation process. Jung analyzes dream images and shows parallels with many of the symbols found in alchemy. Jung theorizes that the alchemical Great Work is an actual process of self-actualization and unfoldment which is projected into the chemical changes witnessed by the alchemist. For this, Jung does produce some empirical evidence in the form of a great deal of recor ...more
Ricardo Acuña
Psicología y Alquimia es a mi gusto una de las grandes obras de Carl Jung, que nos adentra en el profundo mundo de la alquimia en relación con la psicología, el proceso de individuación, y la aparición de imágenes míticas cargadas de un fuerte simbolismo. La obra del alquimista (el Opus) lo explica Jung como un proceso, que el mismo alquimista no comprende en su totalidad, - hacia el desarrollo de su propio ser-, pero que lo lleva a cabo guiado por un deseo inconsciente.

La obra del alquimista l
Erik Graff
Dec 20, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: alchemy/Jung fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
I'm not actually certain when I read this volume of the Collected Works and such similarly demanding texts as his Mysterium Coniunctionis. Hopefully I had the sense by the end of college to hold such texts until such time as I knew more about medieval and early modern religion and alchemy.

One thing I did do in college was to utilize interlibrary loan to obtain hundreds of journal articles about Jung and analytical psychology. By senior year I had my own study carrel and would basically spend the
Elizabeth LaPrelle
Wow. Jung, along with T.S. Eliot and some others, has the ability to make me feel woefully undereducated because, you know, I can't read Greek. OR Latin, even. Many parts of this book were almost impenetrably dense (for me), made up of references to ideas and people I had never heard of, and lengthy quotations and their translations, and discussions of their translations. That was rough. I was hoping to come out of it knowing a little something about alchemy, and I'm not sure that really happene ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious students of Jungian analysis, alchemy, or the Western esoteric tradition
This book is encyclopedic in scope, filled with page after page of electrifying insight and ecstatically illustrated throughout with 17th and 18th century alchemical engravings. There are worlds upon worlds to be discovered here, many of which I'm afraid I will have to wait until subsequent readings to fully grasp. Jung writes for the serious scholar, with footnotes that often cover more than half the page, and assumes substantial knowledge in the fields of analytic psychology, alchemy, and Chri ...more
Lupita Kirklin
May 17, 2013 Lupita Kirklin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jungian Analysts, depth psychology
Who believes that medieval and early modern alchemy was only a misguided effort to transform base metals into gold, or at best a crude preparation for scientific chemistry, will experience a great and probably bewildering surprise.

The philosopher's stone can only be acquired and the metal can only be transformed into Gold in the psyche of man and in his soul... with the help of God...
Dan Cooper
For anyone interested in the mystery of life and the mind. I recommend reading the intro, then the epilogue first. Reading the intro twice really helped. It will especially interest you if you like dream interpretation (by a master) as well as mythology, the problem of opposites, and universal symbols. A lot of our new age ideas originate with alchemy. Nothing new under the sun.
Ayam Abraxas
This book was unbelievably illuminating into the psychological symbolism of the ancient alchemical art. Jung was an initiate, and thus understood the esoteric significance of what he was studying, and any explorer of the unconscious through the use of psychedelics will be able to intuitively apprehend what he is alluding to.
nice picture book, associating ideas with concepts, on several different levels. Much on dream symbolism, the elements and interactions of these ideas and images reveal motivations, drives and affectations of all of us.
one of the more enlightened, intriguing pieces of crackpot thinking i've read, but still totally crackpot.
Also, you can just tell Jung is revelling in his role as mystic crusader against protestant thought.
if you can't be botehreed to wade through the very dense case studies, the first chapter is worth reading on its own, just for the insights it gives into Jung's marvelous connections he makes.
I am a nerd and love alchemy. I love it in the way Jung loves it. So obviously I like this book a lot. If you don't love alchemy you probably won't get into it.
alchemy, dream psychology, individuation...
Written in characteristicy style of Jung. One needs to read it at least two times. Each time VERY slowly
I almost cried with joy reading the first 40 pages. I can't believe I avoided Jung for so many years! Simply amazing.
Mar 14, 2012 Momiji marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I don't think anyone has ever said anything as profound on the psychology of religion.
Vera Borisova
Too much alchemy and religion, less psychology than I expected.
The abstruse theories behind alchemy's relation to the psyche.
Loved it! At least for the pictures! :)
Malvie marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2015
Katie marked it as to-read
Nov 23, 2015
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  • The Pregnant Virgin: A Process of Psychological Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 21)
Carl Gustav Jung (/jʊŋ/; German: [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf jʊŋ]; 26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, ...more
More about C.G. Jung...

Other Books in the Series

Jung's Collected Works (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Psychiatric Studies (Collected Works, Vol 1)
  • Experimental Researches (Collected Works, Vol 2)
  • The Psychogenesis of Mental Disease
  • Freud and Psychoanalysis (Collected Works, Vol 4)
  • Symbols of Transformation (Collected Works 5)
  • Psychological Types
  • Two Essays on Analytical Psychology (Collected Works 7)
  • The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works, Vol 8)
  • The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (Collected Works 9i)
  • Civilization in Transition (Collected Works, Vol 10)

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“The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is “secret,” i.e., known only through vague hints but essentially unknown. The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. In seeking to explore it he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it. In order to explain the mystery of matter he projected yet another mystery - his own psychic background -into what was to be explained: Obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius! This procedure was not, of course, intentional; it was an involuntary occurrence.” 10 likes
“When the alchemist speaks of Mercurius, on the face of it he means quicksilver (mercury), but inwardly he means the world-creating spirit concealed or imprisoned in matter. The dragon is probably the oldest pictoral symbol in alchemy of which we have documentary evidence. It appears as the Ouroboros, the tail-eater, in the Codex Marcianus, which dates from the tenth or eleventh century, together with the legend ‘the One, the All’. Time and again the alchemists reiterate that the opus proceeds from the one and leads back to the one, that it is a sort of circle like a dragon biting its own tail. For this reason the opus was often called circulare (circular) or else rota (the wheel). Mercurius stands at the beginning and end of the work: he is the prima materia, the caput corvi, the nigredo; as dragon he devours himself and as dragon he dies, to rise again in the lapis. He is the play of colours in the cauda pavonis and the division into the four elements. He is the hermaphrodite that was in the beginning, that splits into the classical brother-sister duality and is reunited in the coniunctio, to appear once again at the end in the radiant form of the lumen novum, the stone. He is metallic yet liquid, matter yet spirit, cold yet fiery, poison and yet healing draught - a symbol uniting all the opposites.” 1 likes
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