Carl Jung: CW 13 “Alchemical Studies”
The East teaches us another, broader, more profound, and higher understanding—understanding through life. “Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, § 2.
Western consciousness is by no means the only kind of consciousness there is; it is historically conditioned and geographically limited, and representative of only one part of mankind. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 84
This light dwells in the “square inch” or in the “face”, that is between the eyes. It is the visualization of the “creative point.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 25
The self which includes me includes many others also. For the unconscious that is conceived in our minds does not belong to me and is not peculiar to me, but is everywhere. It is the quintessence of the individual and at the same time the collective. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 182.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making darkness conscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 264.
The union of opposites on a higher level of consciousness is not a rational thing, nor is it a matter of will; it is a process of psychic development that expresses itself in symbols. Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 16.
It seems to be very hard for people to live with riddles or to let them live, although one would think that life is so full of riddles as it is that a few more things we cannot answer would make no difference. But perhaps it is just this that is so unendurable, that there are irrational things in our own psyche which upset the conscious mind in its illusory certainties by confronting it with the riddle of its existence. ~Carl Jung;, CW 13, Page 307.
Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched, and therefore unchanged. His soul is out of key with his external beliefs; in his soul the Christian has not kept pace with external developments. Yes, everything is to be found outside-in image and in word, in Church and Bible-but never inside. Inside reign the archaic gods, supreme as of old. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 11.
The reality of evil and its incompatibility with good cleave the opposites asunder and lead inexorably to the crucifixion and suspension of everything that lives. Since ‘the soul is by nature Christian’ this result is bound to come as infallibly as it did in the life of Jesus: we all have to be ‘crucified with Christ,’ i.e., suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 470.
A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 335.
Nature is not matter only, she is also spirit. ~Carl Jung; CW 13; Para 229.
Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 335
For two personalities to meet is like mixing two chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, para 163.
Matter in alchemy is material and spiritual, and spirit spiritual and material. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 140.
The divine process of change manifests itself to our human understanding . . . as punishment, torment, death, and transfiguration. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, par. 139.
As I see it, the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained. Maybe there are fishes who believe that they contain the sea. We must rid ourselves of this habitual illusion of ours if we wish to consider metaphysical assertions from the standpoint of psychology. ~Carl Jung, CW 13 Para 51.
Death is psychologically as important as birth, and like it, is an integral part of life. … As a doctor, I make every effort to strengthen the belief in immortality, especially with older patients when such questions come threateningly close. For, seen in correct psychological perspective, death is not an end but a goal, and life’s inclination towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para. 68.
One text says that the “heart” of Mercurius is at the North Pole and that he is like a fire (northern lights). He is, in fact, as another text says, “the universal and scintillating fire of the light of nature, which carries the heavenly spirit within it.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 256.
When yang has reached its greatest strength, the dark power of yin is born within its depths, for night begins at midday when yang breaks up and begins to change into yin. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 13.
“Magic,” he says, is “the preceptor and teacher of the physician,” who derives his knowledge from the lumen naturae. ~Carl Jung citing Paracelsus, CW 13, Par 148.
Only by standing firmly on our own soil can we assimilate the spirit of the East. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 72
The West lays stress on the human incarnation, and even on the personality and historicity of Christ, whereas the East says: “Without beginning, without end, without past, without future.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 80
The Christian subordinates himself to the superior divine person in expectation of his grace; but the Oriental knows that redemption depends on the work he does on himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 80
The Tao grows out of the individual. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 80
On the contrary, when I began my career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, I was completely ignorant of Chinese philosophy, and only later did my professional experience show me that in my technique I had been unconsciously following that secret way which for centuries had been the preoccupation of the best minds of the East. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 10
We would do well to harbour no illusions in this respect: no understanding by means of words and no imitation can replace actual experience. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 482
More than once I have had to reach for a book on my shelves, bring down an old alchemist, and show my patient his terrifying fantasy in the form in which it appeared four hundred years ago. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 325.
It was from the spirit of alchemy that Goethe wrought the figure of the “superman” Faust, and this superman led Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to declare that God was dead and to proclaim the will to give birth to the superman, to “create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 163.
Science and technology have indeed conquered the world, but whether the psyche has gained anything is another matter. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 163.
Whether his fate comes to him from without or from within, the experiences and happenings on the way remain the same. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 26.
Just as evening gives birth to morning, so from the darkness arises a new light, the stella matutina, which is at once the evening and the morning star— Lucifer, the light-bringer. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 299
Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthrals and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 129
No one can claim to be immune to the spirit of his own epoch or to possess anything like a complete knowledge of it. Regardless of our conscious convictions, we are all without exception, in so far as we are particles in the mass, gnawed at and undermined by the spirit that runs through the masses. Our freedom extends only as far as our consciousness reaches. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 153
Solicitude for the spiritual welfare of the erring sheep can explain even a Torquemada. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 391
What takes place between light and darkness, what unites the opposites, has a share in both sides and can be judged just as well from the left as from the right, without our becoming any the wiser indeed, we can only open up the opposition again. Here only the symbol helps, for, in accordance with its paradoxical nature, it represents the “tertium” that in logic does not exist, but which in reality is the living truth. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 199
In psychic matters we are dealing with processes of experience, that is, with transformations which should never be given hard and fast names if their having movement is not to petrify into something static. The protean mythologeme and the shimmering symbol express the processes of the psyche far more trenchantly and, in the end, far more clearly than the clearest concept; for the symbol not only conveys a visualization of the process but—and this is perhaps just as important—it also brings a re-experiencing of it, of that twilight which we can learn to understand only through inoffensive empathy, but which too much clarity only dispels. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 199
Nowhere and never has man controlled matter without closely observing its behaviour and paying heed to its laws, and only to the extent that he did so could he control it. The same is true of that objective spirit which today we call the unconscious it is refractory like matter, mysterious and elusive, and obeys laws which are so non-human or suprahuman that they seem to us like a crimen laesae majestatis hiimanae. If a man puts his hand to the opus, he repeats, as the alchemists say, God’s work of creation. The struggle with the unformed, with the chaos of Tiamat, is in truth a primordial experience. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 286
So long as one knows nothing of psychic actuality, it will be projected, if it appears at all. Thus the first knowledge of psychic law and order was found in the stars, and was later extended by projections into unknown matter. These two realms of experience branched off into sciences astrology became astronomy, and alchemy chemistry. On the other hand, the peculiar connection between character and the astronomical determination of time has only very recently begun to turn into something approaching an empirical science. The really important psychic facts can neither be measured, weighed, nor seen in a test tube or under a microscope. They are therefore supposedly indeterminable, in other words they must be left to people who have an inner sense for them, just as colours must be shown to the seeing and not to the blind. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 285
When a dream apparently disguises something and a particular person therefore seems indicated, there is an obvious tendency at work not to allow this person to appear, because, in the sense of the dream, he represents a mistaken way of thinking or acting. When, for instance, as not infrequently happens in women’s dreams, the analyst is represented as a hairdresser (because he “fixes” the head), the analyst is not being so much disguised as devalued. The patient, in her conscious life, is only too ready to acknowledge any kind of authority because she cannot or will not use her own head. The analyst (says the dream) should have no more significance than the hairdresser who puts her head right so that she can then use it herself. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 479
An ancient adept has said: “If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way.” This Chinese saying, unfortunately only too true, stands in sharp contrast to our belief in the “right” method irrespective of the man who applies it. In reality, everything depends on the man and little or nothing on the method. Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 424
Healing comes only from what leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglements in the ego. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 397
The conscious side of woman corresponds to the emotional side of man, not to his “mind.” Mind makes up the “soul,” or better, the “animus” of woman, and just as the anima of a man consists of inferior relatedness, full of affect, so the animus of woman consists of inferior judgments, or better, opinions. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 60
The greater the tension, the greater is the potential. Great energy springs from a correspondingly great tension between opposites. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 154
Anyone who belittles the merits of Western science is undermining the foundations of the Western mind. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 2
Convictions and moral values would have no meaning if they were not believed and did not possess exclusive validity. And yet they are man-made and time-conditioned assertions or explanations which we know very well are capable of all sorts of modifications, as has happened in the past and will happen again in the future. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 230
Hysterical self-deceivers, and ordinary ones too, have at all times understood the art of misusing everything so as to avoid the demands and duties of life, and above all to shirk the duty of confronting themselves. They pretend to be seekers after God in order not to have to face the truth that they are ordinary egoists. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 142
A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 391
The new thing prepared by fate seldom or never comes up to conscious expectations. And still more remarkable though the new thing goes against deeply rooted instincts as we have known them, it is a strangely appropriate expression of the total personality, an expression which one could not imagine in a more complete form. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 19
In each of us there is a pitiless judge who makes us feel guilty even if we are not conscious of having done anything wrong. Although we do not know what it is, it is as though it were known somewhere. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 164
Death is psychologically as important as birth and, like it, is an integral part of life. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 68
There could be no greater mistake than for a Westerner to take up the direct practice of Chinese yoga, for that would merely strengthen his will and consciousness against the unconscious and bring about the very effect to be avoided. The neurosis would then simply be intensified. It cannot be emphasized enough that we are not Orientals, and that we have an entirely different point of departure in these matters. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 16
It requires no art to become stupid; the whole art lies in extracting wisdom from stupidity. Stupidity is the mother of the wise, but cleverness never. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 222
The more remote and unreal the personal mother is, the more deeply will the son’s yearning for her clutch at his soul, awakening that primordial and eternal image of the mother for whose sake everything that embraces, protects, nourishes, and helps assumes maternal form, from the Alma Mater of the university to the personification of cities, countries, sciences, and ideals. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 147
All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble. They must be so, for they express the necessary polarity inherent in every self-regulating system. They can never be solved, but only outgrown. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 18
When a patient begins to feel the inescapable nature of his inner development, he may easily be overcome by a panic fear that he is slipping helplessly into some kind of madness he can no longer understand. More than once I have had to reach for a book on my shelves, bring down an old alchemist, and show my patient his terrifying fantasy in the form in which it appeared four hundred years ago. This has a calming effect, because the patient then sees that he is not alone in a strange world which nobody understands, but is part of the great stream of human history, which has experienced countless times the very things that he regards as a pathological proof of his craziness. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 325
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic text from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has been turned into a Nazareth Gradually from which nothing good can come. Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth – the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better. ~ Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 99.
The ancient world contained a large slice of nature and a number of questionable things which Christianity was bound to overlook if the security of a spiritual standpoint was not to be hopelessly compromised. No penal code and no moral code, not even the sublimest casuistry, will ever be able to codify and pronounce just judgment upon the confusions, the conflicts of duty, and the invisible tragedies of the natural man in collision with the exigencies of culture. “Spirit” is one aspect, “Nature” another. ” “You may pitch Nature out with a fork, yet she’ll always come back again,” says the poet. Nature must not win the game, but she cannot lose. And whenever the conscious mind clings to hard and fast concepts and gets caught in its own rules and regulations—as is unavoidable and of the essence of civilized consciousness—nature pops up with her inescapable demands. Nature is not matter only, she is also spirit. Were that not so, the only source of spirit would be human reason. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 229
When I examined the course of development in patients who quietly, and as if unconsciously, outgrew themselves, I saw that their fates had something in common. The new thing came to them from obscure possibilities either outside or inside themselves; they accepted it and grew with its help. It seemed to me typical that some took the new thing from outside themselves, others from inside; or rather, that it grew into some persons from without, and into others from within. But the new thing never came exclusively either from within or from without. If it came from outside, it became a profound inner experience; if it came from inside, it became an outer happening. In no case was it conjured into existence intentionally or by conscious willing, but rather seemed to be borne along on the stream of time. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 18
Western consciousness is by no means the only kind of consciousness there is; it is historically conditioned and geographically limited, and representative of only one part of mankind. The widening of our consciousness ought not to proceed at the expense of other kinds of consciousness; it should come about through the development of those elements of our psyche which are analogous to those of the alien psyche, just as the East cannot do without our technology, science, and industry. The European invasion of the East was an act of violence on a grand scale, and it has left us with the duty —noblesse oblige—of understanding the mind of the East. This is perhaps more necessary than we realize at present. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 84
This “outgrowing” proved on further investigation to be a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out when confronted with a new and stronger life urge. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so really did become different. What, on a lower level, had led to the wildest conflicts and to panicky outbursts of emotion, from the higher level of personality now looked like a storm in the valley seen from the mountain top. This does not mean that the storm is robbed of its reality, but instead of being in it one is above it. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 17
The animus is the masculine thinking in a woman. ~ Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 267.
Nowhere and never has man controlled matter without closely observing its behaviour and paying heed to its laws, and only to the extent that he did so could he control it. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 286
The protean mythologeme and the shimmering symbol express the processes of the psyche far more trenchantly and, in the end, far more clearly than the clearest concept; for the symbol not only conveys a visualization of the process but—and this is perhaps just as important—it also brings a re-experiencing of it, of that twilight which we can learn to understand only through inoffensive empathy, but which too much clarity only dispels. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 199
The struggle with the unformed, with the chaos of Tiamat, is in truth a primordial experience. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 286
Like every archetype, the animus has a Janus face. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 268.
The circulation is not merely movement in a circle, but means on the one hand the marking off of the sacred precinct, and on the other, the fixation and concentration. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 25.
Insanity is possession by an unconscious content that, as such, is not assimilatable to consciousness, nor can it be assimilated since the very existence of such contents is denied. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, para 53.
It requires no art to become stupid; the whole art lies in extracting wisdom from stupidity. Stupidity is the mother of the wise, but cleverness never. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 222
The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room” ~Carl Jung; CW 13; §54.
Solicitude for the spiritual welfare of the erring sheep can explain even a Torquemada. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 391
Anyone who belittles the merits of Western science is undermining the foundations of the Western mind. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 2
In reality, everything depends on the man and little or nothing on the method. Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 424
Healing comes only from what leads the patient beyond himself and beyond his entanglements in the ego. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 397
In St. Ambrose the “serpent hung on the wood” is a “typus Christi,” as is the “brazen serpent on the cross” in Albertus Magnus. Christ as Logos is synonymous with the Naas, the serpent of the Nous among the Ophites. The Agathodaimon (good spirit) had the form of a snake, and in Philo the snake was considered the “most spiritual” animal. On the other hand, its cold blood and inferior brain-organization do not suggest any noticeable degree of conscious development, while its unrelatedness to man makes it an alien creature that arouses his fear and yet fascinates him ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 448
Hence it [the snake] is an excellent symbol for the two aspects of the unconscious: its cold and ruthless instinctuality, and its Sophia quality or natural wisdom, which is embodied in the archetypes. The Logos-nature of Christ represented by the chthonic serpent is the maternal wisdom of the divine mother, which is prefigured by Sapientia in the Old Testament. The snake-symbol thus characterizes Christ as a personification of the unconscious in all its aspects, and as such he is hung on the tree in sacrifice (“wounded by the spear” like Odin) ~Carl Jung, CW 13 Para 448
Psychologically, this snake sacrifice must be understood as an overcoming of unconsciousness and, at the same time, of the attitude of the son who unconsciously hangs on his mother. The alchemists used the same symbol to represent the transformation of Mercurius, who is quite definitely a personification of the unconscious, as I have shown. I have come across this motif several times in dreams, once as a crucified snake (with conscious reference to John 3 : 14), then as a black spider hung on a pole which changed into a cross, and finally as the crucified body of a naked woman. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 449
According to ancient tradition men came from trees or plants. The tree is as it were an intermediate form of man, since on the one hand it springs from the Primordial Man and on the other hand it grows into a man. Naturally the patristic conception of Christ as a tree or vine exerted a very great influence. In Pandora, as we have said, the tree is represented in the form of a woman, in agreement with the pictures reproduced in the first part of this essay, which, unlike the alchemical pictures, were done mostly by women. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 458
This raises the question of how the feminine tree-numen should be interpreted. The results of our investigation of the historical material have shown that the tree can be interpreted as the Anthropos or Self. This interpretation is particularly obvious in the symbolism of the “Scriptum Alberti” and is confirmed by the fantasy material expressed in our pictures. The interpretation of the feminine tree-numen as the Self therefore holds good for women, but for the alchemists and humanists the feminine representation of the tree is an obvious projection of the anima figure. The anima personifies the femininity of a man but not the Self. Correspondingly, the patients who drew Figures 29 and 30 depict the tree-numen as the animus. In all these cases the contrasexual symbol has covered up the Self. This is what regularly happens when the man’s femininity, the anima, or the woman’s masculinity, the animus, is not differentiated enough to be integrated with consciousness, so that the Self is only potentially present as an intuition but is not yet actualized. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 458
In so far as the tree symbolizes the opus and the transformation process “tam ethice quam physice” (both morally and physically), it also signifies the life process in general. Its identity with Mercurius, the spiritus vegetativus, confirms this view. Since the opus is a life, death, and rebirth mystery, the tree as well acquires this significance and in addition the quality of wisdom, as we have seen from the view of the Barbeliots reported in Irenaeus: “From man [= Anthropos] and gnosis is born the tree, which they also call gnosis.” In the Gnosis of Justin, the angel Baruch, named the “wood of life,” is the angel of revelation, just as the sun-and-moon tree in the Romance of Alexander foretells the future. ~Carl Jung, CW-13. Para 459
However the cosmic associations of the tree as world-tree and world-axis take second place among the alchemists as well as in modern fantasies, because both are more concerned with the individuation process, which is no longer projected into the cosmos. An exception to this rule may be found in the rare case, reported by Nelken, of a schizophrenic patient in whose cosmic system the Father-God had a tree of life growing out of his breast. It bore red and white fruits, or spheres, which were worlds. Red and white are alchemical colours, red signifying the sun and white the moon. On the top of the tree sat a dove and an eagle, recalling the stork on the sun-and-moon tree in the “Scriptum Alberti.” Any knowledge of the alchemical parallels was quite out of the question in this case. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 459
Our material is, however, fully in accord with the widespread, primitive shamanistic conceptions of the tree and the heavenly bride, who is a typical anima projection. She is the ayami (familiar, protective spirit) of the shaman ancestors. Her face is half black, half red. Sometimes she appears in the form of a winged tiger. Spitteler also likens the “Lady Soul” to a tiger. The tree represents the life of the shaman’s heavenly bride, and has a maternal significance. Among the Yakuts a tree with eight branches is the birthplace of the first man. He is suckled by a woman the top part of whose body grows out of the trunk. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 460
As well as with a feminine being, the tree is also connected with the snake, the dragon, and other animals, as in the case of Yggdrasil, the Persian tree Gaokerena in the lake of Vourukasha, or the tree of the Hesperides, not to mention the holy trees of India, in whose shadow may often be seen dozens of naga (= snake) stones. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 461
The inverted tree plays a great role among the East Siberian shamans. Kagarow has published a photograph of one such tree, named Nakassä, from a specimen in the Leningrad Museum. The roots signify hairs, and on the trunk, near the roots, a face has been carved, showing that the tree represents a man. Presumably this is the shaman himself, or his greater personality. The shaman climbs the magic tree in order to find his true self in the upper world. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462
Eliade says in his excellent study of shamanism: “The Eskimo shaman feels the need for these ecstatic journeys because it is above all during trance that he becomes truly himself: the mystical experience is necessary to him as a constituent of his true personality.” The ecstasy is often accompanied by a state in which the shaman is “possessed” by his familiars or guardian spirits. By means of this possession he acquires his “`mystical organs,’ which in some sort constitute his true and complete spiritual personality” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462
This confirms the psychological inference that may be drawn from shamanistic symbolism, namely that it is a projection of the individuation process. This inference, as we have seen, is true also of alchemy, and in modern fantasies of the tree it is evident that the authors of such pictures were trying to portray an inner process of development independent of their consciousness and will. The process usually consists in the union of two pairs of opposites, a lower (water, blackness, animal, snake, etc.) with an upper (bird, light, head, etc.), and a left (feminine) with a right (masculine). The union of opposites, which plays such a great and indeed decisive role in alchemy, is of equal significance in the psychic process initiated by the confrontation with the unconscious, so the occurrence of similar or even identical symbols is not surprising. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462
The distinguishing mark of the spiritual man is that he seeks self-knowledge and knowledge of God. The earthly, fleshly man is called Thoth or Adam. He bears within him the spiritual man, whose name is light.This first man, Thoth-Adam, is symbolized by the four elements. The spiritual and the fleshly man are also named Prometheus and Epimetheus. But “in allegorical language” they “are but one man, namely soul and body” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 126
The spiritual man was seduced into putting on the body, and was bound to it by “Pandora, whom the Hebrews call Eve.” She played the part, therefore, of the anima, who functions as the link between body and spirit, just as Shakti or Maya entangles man’s consciousness with the world. In the “Book of Krates” the spiritual man says: “Are you capable of knowing your soul completely? If you knew it as you should, and if you knew what could make it better, you would be capable of knowing that the names which the Philosophers gave it of old are not its true names” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 126
The attributes of the Stoneincorruptibility, permanence, divinity, triunity, etc.are so insistently emphasized that one cannot help taking it as the deus absconditus in matter. This is probably the basis of the lapis-Christ parallel, which occurs as early as Zosimos (unless the passage in question is a later interpolation). Inasmuch as Christ put on a “human body capable of suffering” and clothed himself in matter, he forms a parallel to the lapis, the corporeality of which is constantly stressed. Its ubiquity corresponds to the omnipresence of Christ. Its “cheapness,” however, goes against the doctrinal view ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 127
The divinity of Christ has nothing to do with man, but the healing Stone is “extracted” from man, and every man is its potential carrier and creator. It is not difficult to see what kind of conscious situation the lapis philosophy compensates: far from signifying Christ, the lapis complements the common conception of the Christ figure at that time. What unconscious nature was ultimately aiming at when she produced the image of the lapis can be seen most clearly in the notion that it originated in matter and in man, that it was to be found everywhere, and that its fabrication lay at least potentially within man’s reach. These qualities all reveal what were felt to be the defects in the Christ image at that time: an air too rarefied for human needs, too great a remoteness, a place left vacant in the human heart. Men felt the absence of the “inner” Christ who belonged to every man. Christ’s spirituality was too high and man’s naturalness was too low ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 127
In the image of Mercurius and the lapis the “flesh” glorified itself in its own way; it would not transform itself into spirit but, on the contrary, “fixed” the spirit in Stone, and endowed the Stone with all the attributes of the three Persons. The lapis may therefore be understood as a symbol of the inner Christ, of God in man. I use the expression “symbol” on purpose, for though the lapis is a parallel of Christ, it is not meant to replace him. On the contrary, in the course of the centuries the alchemists tended more and more to regard the lapis as the culmination of Christ’s work of redemption. This was an attempt to assimilate the Christ figure into the philosophy of the “science of God.” In the sixteenth century Khunrath formulated for the first time the “theological” position of the lapis: it was the filius macrocosmi as opposed to the “son of man,” who was the filius microcosmi. This image of the “Son of the Great World” tells us from what source it was derived: it came not from the conscious mind of the individual man, but from those border regions of the psyche that open out into the mystery of cosmic matter ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 127
But the historical facts cannot be doubted, nor is the idea peculiar to alchemy. It is said, for instance, that after Zarathustra had received the drink of omniscience from Ahuramazda, he beheld in a dream a tree with four branches of gold, silver, steel, and mixed iron. This tree corresponds to the metallic tree of alchemy, the arbor philosophica, which, if it has any meaning at all, symbolizes spiritual growth and the highest illumination ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 119
Cold, inert metal certainly seems to be the direct opposite of spiritbut what if the spirit is as dead and as heavy as lead? A dream might then easily tell us to look for it in lead or quicksilver! It seems that nature is out to prod man’s consciousness towards greater expansion and greater clarity, and for this reason continually exploits his greed for metals, especially the precious ones, and makes him seek them out and investigate their properties. While so engaged it may perhaps dawn on him that not only veins of ore are to be found in the mines, but also kobolds and little metal men, and that there may be hidden in lead either a deadly demon or the dove of the Holy Ghost ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 119
Personifications of metals are especially common in the folktales of imps and goblins, who were often seen in the mines. We meet the metal men several times in Zosimos, also a brazen eagle ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 124
Nothing would have been easier than to equate the love story of Mars and Venus with that of Gabricus and Beya (who were also personified as dog and bitch), and it is likely that astrological influences also played a part. Thanks to his unconscious identity with it, man and cosmos interact. The following passage, of the utmost importance for the psychology of alchemy, should be understood in this sense: “And as man is composed of the four elements, so also is the Stone, and so it is [dug] out of man, and you are its ore, namely by working; and from you it is extracted, namely by division; and in you it remains inseparably, namely through the science” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 125
Not only do things appear personified as human beings, but the macrocosm personifies itself as a man too. “The whole of nature converges in man as in a centre, and one participates in the other, and man has not unjustly concluded that the material of the philosophical Stone may be found everywhere” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 125
The texts often use the terms pneuma and spiritus in the original concrete sense of “air in motion.” So when Mercurius is described in the Rosarium philosophorum (fifteenth century) as aereus and volans (winged), and in Hoghelande (sixteenth century) as totus aereus et spiritualis, what is meant is nothing more than a gaseous state of aggregation ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 261
Something similar is meant by the poetic expression serenitas aerea in the Ripley Scrowle, and by the same author’s statement that Mercurius is changed into wind. He is the lapis elevatus cum vento (the Stone uplifted by the wind). The expressions spirituale corpus and spiritus visibilis, tamen impalpabilis (visible yet impalpable spirit) might also mean little more than “air” if one recalls the aforementioned vapour-like nature of Mercurius, and the same is probably true even of the spiritus prae cunctis valde purus (pre-eminently pure spirit). The designation incombustibilis is more doubtful, since this was often synonymous with incorruptibilis and then meant “eternal,” as we shall see later ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 261
Penotus (sixteenth century), a pupil of Paracelsus, stresses the corporeal aspect when he says that Mercurius is “nothing other than the spirit of the world become body within the earth.” This expression shows better than anything else the contaminationinconceivable to the modern mindof two separate realms, spirit and matter; for to people in the Middle Ages the spiritus mundi was also the spirit which rules nature, and not just a pervasive gas. We find ourselves in the same dilemma when another author, Mylius, in his Philosophia reformata, describes Mercurius as an “intermediate substance” (media substantia), which is evidently synonymous with his concept of the anima media natura (soul as intermediate nature), for to him Mercurius was the “spirit and soul of the bodies” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 261
It is characteristic of any subjective dream interpretation that it is satisfied with pointing out superficial relationships which take no account of the essentials. Another thing to be considered is that the alchemists themselves testify to the occurrence of dreams and visions during the opus. I am inclined to think that the vision or visions of Zosimos were experiences of this kind, which took place during the work and revealed the nature of the psychic processes in the background. In these visions all those contents emerge which the alchemists unconsciously projected into the chemical process and which were then perceived there, as though they were qualities of matter. The extent to which this projection was fostered by the conscious attitude is shown by the somewhat overhasty interpretation given by Zosimos himself ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 88
Even though his interpretation strikes us at first as somewhat forced, indeed as far-fetched and arbitrary, we should nevertheless not forget that while the conception of the “waters” is a strange one to us, for Zosimos and for the alchemists in general it had a significance we would never suspect. It is also possible that the mention of the “water” opened out perspectives in which the ideas of dismemberment, killing, torture, and transformation all had their place. For, beginning with the treatises of Democritus and Komarios, which are assigned to the first century A.D., alchemy, until well into the eighteenth century, was very largely concerned with the miraculous water, the aqua divina or permanens, which was extracted from the lapis, or prima materia, through the torment of the fire. The water was the humidum radicale (radical moisture), which stood for the anima media natura or anima mundi imprisoned in matter, the soul of the Stone or metal, also called the anima aquina ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 89
This anima was set free not only by means of the “cooking,” but also by the sword dividing the “egg,” or by the separatio, or by dissolution into the four “roots” or elements. The separatio was often represented as the dismemberment of a human body. Of the aqua permanens it was said that it dissolved the bodies into the four elements. Altogether, the divine water possessed the power of transformation. It transformed the nigredo into the albedo through the miraculous “washing” (ablutio); it animated inert matter, made the dead to rise again, and therefore possessed the virtue of the baptismal water in the ecclesiastical rite. Just as, in the benedictio fontis, the priest makes the sign of the cross over the water and so divides it into four parts, so the mercurial serpent, symbolizing the aqua permanens, undergoes dismemberment, another parallel to the division of the body ~Carl Jung, CW 13. Para 89
Just as baptism is a pre-Christian rite, according to the testimony of the gospels, so, too, the divine water is of pagan and pre-Christian origin. The Praefatio of the Benedictio Fontis on Easter Eve says: “May this water, prepared for the rebirth of men, be rendered fruitful by the secret inpouring of his divine power; may a heavenly offering, conceived in holiness and reborn into a new creation, come forth from the stainless womb of this divine font; and may all, however distinguished by age in time or sex in body, be brought forth into one infancy by the motherhood of grace” ( The Missal in Latin and English, p. 429) ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 89
A Latin proverb says: canis panem somniat, piscator pisces (the dog dreams of bread, the fisherman of fish). The alchemist, too, dreams in his own specific language. This enjoins upon us the greatest circumspection, all the more so as that language is exceedingly obscure. In order to understand it [the language], we have to learn the psychological secrets of alchemy. It is probably true what the old Masters said, that only he who knows the secret of the Stone understands their words. It has long been asserted that this secret is sheer nonsense, and not worth the trouble of investigating seriously. But this frivolous attitude ill befits the psychologist, for any “nonsense” that fascinated men’s minds for close on two thousand yearsamong them some of the greatest, e.g., Newton and Goethemust have something about it which it would be useful for the psychologist to know ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 90
Moreover, the symbolism of alchemy has a great deal to do with the structure of the unconscious, as I have shown in my book Psychology and Alchemy. These things are not just rare curiosities, and anyone who wishes to understand the symbolism of dreams cannot close his eyes to the fact that the dreams of modern men and women often contain the very images and metaphors that we find in the medieval treatises. And since an understanding of the biological compensation produced by dreams is of importance in the treatment of neurosis as well as in the development of consciousness, a knowledge of these facts has also a practical value which should not be underestimated ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 90
The central image in[“The Treatise of Zosimos the Divine Concerning the Art”], shows us a kind of sacrificial act undertaken for the purpose of alchemical transformation. It is characteristic of this rite that the priest is at once the sacrificer and the sacrificed. This important idea reached Zosimos in the form of the teachings of the “Hebrews” (i.e., Christians). Christ was a god who sacrificed himself. An essential part of the sacrificial act is dismemberment. Zosimos must have been familiar with this motif from the Dionysian mystery-tradition. There, too, the god is the victim, who was torn to pieces by the Titans and thrown into a cooking pot, but whose heart was saved at the last moment by Hera. Our text shows that the bowl-shaped altar was a cooking vessel in which a multitude of people were boiled and burned. As we know from the legend and from a fragment of Euripides, an outburst of bestial greed and the tearing of living animals with the teeth were part of the Dionysian orgy. Dionysius was actually called(the undivided and divided spirit) ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 91
The principle that is personified in the visions of Zosimos is the wonder-working water, which is both water and spirit, and kills and vivifies. If Zosimos, waking from his dream, immediately thinks of the “composition of the waters,” this is the obvious conclusion from the alchemical point of view. Since the long-sought water, as we have shown, represents a cycle of birth and death, every process that consists of death and rebirth is naturally a symbol of the divine water ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 135
The motif of ascent and descent is based partly on the motion of water as a natural phenomenon (clouds, rain, etc.) ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 137
“Spirit” in alchemy means anything volatile, all evaporable substances, oxides, etc., but also, as a projected psychic content, a corpus mysticum in the sense of a “subtle body” ( Cf. Mead, The Doctrine of the Subtle Body in Western Tradition ). It is in this sense that the definition of the lapis as a spiritus humidus et aereus should be understood. There are also indications that spirit was understood as “mind,” which could be refined by “sublimation” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 137
In spite of the not always unintentional obscurity of alchemical language, it is not difficult to see that the divine water or its symbol, the uroboros, means nothing other than the deus absconditus, the god hidden in matter, the divine Nous that came down to Physis and was lost in her embrace. This mystery of the “god become physical” underlies not only classical alchemy but also many other spiritual manifestations of Hellenistic syncretism ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 138
Since alchemy is concerned with a mystery both physical and spiritual, it need come as no surprise that the “composition of the waters” was revealed to Zosimos in a dream. His sleep was the sleep of incubation, his dream “a dream sent by God.” The divine water was the alpha and omega of the process, desperately sought for by the alchemists as the goal of their desire. The dream therefore came as a dramatic explanation of the nature of this water. The dramatization sets forth in powerful imagery the violent and agonizing process of transformation which is itself both the producer and the product of the water, and indeed constitutes its very essence ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 139
The drama shows how the divine process of change manifests itself to our human understanding and how man experiences itas punishment, torment, death, and transfiguration. The dreamer describes how a man would act and what he would have to suffer if he were drawn into the cycle of the death and rebirth of the gods, and what effect the deus absconditus would have if a mortal man should succeed by his “art” in setting free the “guardian of spirits” from his dark dwelling. There are indications in the literature that this is not without its dangers ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 139
The element of torture, so conspicuous in Zosimos, is not uncommon in alchemical literature. “Slay the mother, cutting off her hands and feet”.“Take a man, shave him, and drag him over a stoneuntil his body dies”.“Take a cock, pluck it alive, then put its head in a glass vessel”. In medieval alchemy the torturing of the materia was an allegory of Christ’s passion ~Carl Jung, CW 13. Para 139
For Zosimos and those of like mind the divine water was a corpus mysticum. A personalistic psychology will naturally ask: how did Zosimos come to be looking for a corpus mysticum? The answer would point to the historical conditions: it was a problem of the times. But in so far as the corpus mysticum was conceived by the alchemists to be a gift of the Holy Spirit, it can be understood in a quite general sense as a visible gift of grace conferring redemption. Man’s longing for redemption is universal and can therefore have an ulterior, personalistic motive only in exceptional cases, when it is not a genuine phenomenon but an abnormal misuse of it. Hysterical self-deceivers, and ordinary ones too, have at all times understood the art of misusing everything so as to avoid the demands and duties of life, and above all to shirk the duty of confronting themselves. They pretend to be seekers after God in order not to have to face the truth that they are ordinary egoists. In such cases it is well worth asking: Why are you seeking the divine water? ~Carl Jung, CW 13. Para 142
The East teaches us another, broader, more profound, and higher understanding—understanding through life. We know this only by hearsay, as a shadowy sentiment expressing a vague religiosity, and we are fond of putting “Oriental wisdom” in quotation marks and banishing it to the dim region of faith and superstition. But that is wholly to misunderstand the realism of the East. Texts of this kind do not consist of the sentimental, overwrought mystical intuitions of pathological cranks and recluses, but are based on the practical insights of highly evolved Chinese minds, which we have not the slightest justification for undervaluing. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 2
I have no wish to depreciate the tremendous differentiation of the Western intellect; compared with it the Eastern intellect must be described as childish. (Naturally this has nothing to do with intelligence.) If we should succeed in elevating another, and possibly even a third psychic function to the dignified position accorded to the intellect, then the West might expect to surpass the East by a very great margin. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 8
A growing familiarity with the spirit of the East should be taken merely as a sign that we are beginning to relate to the alien elements within ourselves. Denial of our historical foundations would be sheer folly and would be the best way to bring about another uprooting of consciousness. Only by standing firmly on our own soil can we assimilate the spirit of the East. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 72
Medieval alchemy prepared the way for the greatest intervention in the divine world order that man has ever attempted alchemy was the dawn of the scientific age, when the daemon of the scientific spirit compelled the forces of nature to serve man to an extent that had never been known before. It was from the spirit of alchemy that Goethe wrought the figure of the “superman” Faust, and this superman led Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to declare that God was dead and to proclaim the will to give birth to the superman, to “create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.” Here we find the true roots, the preparatory processes deep in the psyche, which unleashed the forces at work in the world today. Science and technology have indeed conquered the world, but whether the psyche has gained anything is another matter. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 163
Not all are vouchsafed the grace of a faith that anticipates all solutions, nor is it given to all to rest content with the sun of revealed truth. The light that is lighted in the heart by the grace of the Holy Spirit, that same light of nature, however feeble it may be, is more important to them than the great light which shines in the darkness and which the darkness comprehended not. They discover that in the very darkness of nature a light is hidden, a little spark without which the darkness would not be darkness. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 197
When one unconsciously works against oneself, the result is impatience, irritability, and an impotent longing to get one’s opponent down whatever the means. Generally certain symptoms appear, among them a peculiar use of language one wants to speak forcefully in order to impress one’s opponent, so one employs a special, “bombastic” style full of neologisms which might be described as “power words.” This symptom is observable not only in the psychiatric clinic but also among certain modern philosophers, and, above all, whenever anything unworthy of belief has to be insisted on in the teeth of inner resistance the language swells up, overreaches itself, sprouts grotesque words distinguished only by their needless complexity. The word is charged with the task of achieving what cannot be done by honest means. It is the old word magic, and sometimes it can degenerate into a regular disease. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 155
Our text is concerned with this way, and the same problem comes up with my patients also. There could be no greater mistake than for a Westerner to take up the direct practice of Chinese yoga, for that would merely strengthen his will and consciousness against the unconscious and bring about the very effect to be avoided. The neurosis would then simply be intensified. It cannot be emphasized enough that we are not Orientals, and that we have an entirely different point of departure in these matters. It would also be a great mistake to suppose that this is the path every neurotic must travel, or that it is the solution at every stage of the neurotic problem. It is appropriate only in those cases where consciousness has reached an abnormal degree of development and has diverged too far from the unconscious. This is the sine qua non of the process. Nothing would be more wrong than to open this way to neurotics who are ill on account of an excessive predominance of the unconscious. For the same reason, this way of development has scarcely any meaning before the middle of life (normally between the ages of thirty-five and forty), and if entered upon too soon can be decidedly injurious.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 16
The production and birth of this superior personality is what is meant when our text speaks of the “holy fruit,” the “diamond body,” or any other kind of incorruptible body. Psychologically, these expressions symbolize an attitude that is beyond the reach of emotional entanglements and violent shocks- a consciousness detached from the world. I have reasons for believing that this attitude sets in after middle life and is a natural preparation for death. Death is psychologically as important as birth and, like it, is an integral part of life. What happens to the detached consciousness in the end is a question the psychologist cannot be expected to answer. Whatever his theoretical position he would hopelessly overstep the bounds of his scientific competence. He can only point out that the views of our text in regard to the timelessness of the detached consciousness are in harmony with the religious thought of all ages and with that of the overwhelming majority of mankind. Anyone who thought differently would be standing outside the human order and would, therefore, be suffering from a disturbed psychic equilibrium. As a doctor, I make every effort to strengthen the belief in immortality, especially with older patients when such questions come threateningly close. For, seen in correct psychological perspective, death is not an end but a goal, and life’s inclination towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 68
Science is not indeed a perfect instrument, but it is a superb and invaluable tool that works harm only when it is taken as an end in itself. Science must serve; it errs when it usurps the throne. It must be ready to serve all its branches, for each, because of its insufficiency, has need of support from the others. Science is the tool of the Western mind, and with it one can open more doors than with bare hands. It is part and parcel of our understanding, and it obscures our insight only when it claims that the understanding it conveys is the only kind there is. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 2
Since, at the present level of consciousness, we cannot suppose that tree demons exist, we are forced to assert that the primitive suffers from hallucinations, that he hears his own unconscious, which has projected itself into the tree. If this theory is correct-and I do not know how we could formulate it otherwise today-then the second level of consciousness has effected a differentiation between the object “tree” and the unconscious content projected onto it, thereby achieving an act of enlightenment. This third level rises still higher and attributes “evil” to the psychic content which has been separated from the object.
Finally, a fourth level, the level reached by our consciousness today, carries the enlightenment a stage further by denying the objective existence of the “spirit” and declaring that the primitive has heard nothing at all, but merely had an auditory hallucination. Consequently the whole phenomena vanishes into thin air-with the great advantage that the evil spirit becomes obviously nonexistent and sinks into ridiculous insignificance. A fifth level, however, which is bound to take a quintessential view of the matter, wonders about this conjuring trick that turns what began as a miracle into a senseless self-deception-only to come full circle. Like the boy who told his father a made-up story about sixty stags in the forest, it asks, “But what, then, was all the rustling in the woods?” The fifth level is of the opinion that something did happen after all: even though the psychic content was not the tree, nor a spirit in the tree, nor indeed any spirit at all, it was nevertheless a phenomenon thrusting itself up from the unconscious, the existence of which cannot be denied if one is minded to grant the psyche any kind of reality ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 238
As Jung said of his almost fatal illness in his late sixties: “On the whole, my illness proved to be a most valuable experience, which gave me the inestimable opportunity of a glimpse behind the veil. The only difficulty is to get rid of the body, to get naked and void of the world and the ego-will. When you can get rid of the crazy will to live and when you seemingly fall into a bottomless pit, then the truly real life begins with everything you were meant to be and never-feaclied. I was free, completely free and whole-as I never felt before” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 60
“I am Ion, the priest of the inner sanctuaries, and I submit myself to unendurable torments. For there came one in haste at early morning, who overpowered me, and pierced me through with the sword … and mingled the bones with the flesh, and caused them to be burned upon the fire of the art, til I perceived by the transformation of the body that I had become spirit. And that is my unendurable torment.” And even as he spoke thus, and I held him by force to converse with me, his eyes became blood. And he spewed forth all his own flesh. And I saw how he changed into the opposite of himself, into a mutilated anthroparion, and he tore his flesh with his own teeth, and sank into himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 60.
An image which frequently appears among the archetypal configurations of the unconscious is that of the tree or the wonderworking plant. When these fantasy products are drawn or painted they very often fall into symmetrical patterns that take the form of a mandala. If a mandala may be described as a symbol of the self seen in cross section, then the tree would represent a profile view of it: the self depicted as a process of growth. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 253
“The [shaman’s] ecstasy is often accompanied by a state in which the shaman is ‘possessed’ by his familiars or guardian spirits. By means of this possession he acquires the mystical organs which in some sort constitute his true and complete spiritual personality. This confirms the psychological inference that may be drawn from shamanic symbolism, namely, that it is a projection of the individuation process” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 546