Memories, Dreams, Reflections

[Carl Jung – Without History there can be no psychology.]

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, a momentous discovery: I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious.

The possibility of a comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology.

When I pored over these 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.

My understanding of their typical character, which had already begun with my investigation of myths, was deepened.

The primordial images and the nature of the archetype took a central place in my researches, and it became clear to me that without history there can be no psychology, and certainly no psychology of the unconscious.

A psychology of consciousness can, to be sure, content itself with material drawn from personal life, but as soon as we wish to explain a neurosis we require an anamnesis which reaches deeper than the knowledge of consciousness.

And when in the course of treatment unusual decisions are called for, dreams occur that need more than personal memories for their interpretation. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections