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Carl Jung on the Old Alchemists.


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Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12)

The old alchemists were nearer to the central truth of the psyche than Faust when they strove to deliver the fiery spirit from the chemical elements, and treated the mystery as though it lay in the dark and silent womb of nature.

It was still outside them.

The upward thrust of evolving consciousness was bound sooner or later to put an end to the projection, and to restore to the psyche what had been psychic from the beginning.

Yet, ever since the Age of Enlightenment and in the era of scientific rationalism, what indeed was the psyche: It had become synonymous with consciousness.

The psyche was “what I know.”

There was no psyche outside the ego.

Inevitably, then, the ego identified with the contents accruing from the withdrawal of projection.

Gone were the days when the psyche was still for the most part “outside the body” and imagined “those greater things” which the body could not grasp.

The contents that were formerly projected were now bound to appear as personal possessions, as chimerical phantasms of the ego-consciousness.

The fire chilled to air, and the air became the great wind of Zarathustra and caused an inflation of consciousness which, it seems, can be damped down only by the most terrible catastrophe to civilization, another deluge let loose by the gods upon inhospitable humanity. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 562