The writings of Paracelsus contain a wealth of original ideas, including clear formulation of the questions posed by alchemists, though these are set forth in late and baroque dress.

Through Paracelsus I was finally led to discuss the nature of alchemy in relation to religion and psychology-or, to put it another way, of alchemy as a form of religious philosophy.

This I did in Psychology and Alchemy (1944).

Thus I had at last reached the ground which underlay my own experiences of the years 1913-1917 [the time of Jung’s confrontation with the unconscious]; for the process through which I had passed at that time corresponded to the process of alchemical transformation discussed in that book. ~Memories Dreams Reflections, Page 209

“In his conception of the inner heaven he glimpsed an eternal primordial image, which was implanted in him and in all men, and recurs at all times and places.” The heavens are a spirit and a vapour in which we live just like a bird in time. Not only the stars or the moon, etc., constitute the heavens, but also there are stars in us, and these which are in us and which we do not see constitute the heavens also. ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 31.

The firmament is not merely the cosmic heaven, but a body which is a part or a content of the human body . . . . The firmamental body is the corporeal equivalent of the astrological heaven. [What he calls a corpus sydereurn-star body-] is the source of illumination by the lumen naturae, the ”natural light,” which plays the greatest possible role not only in the writing of Paracelsus but in the whole of his thought. This intuitive conception is, in my opinion, an achievement of the utmost historical importance, for which no one should grudge Paracelsus undying fame. ~Carl Jung, CW 15, Para 29.

With the incarnation of Christ. . . the higher, the spiritual, the masculine inclines to the lower, the earthly, the feminine; and accordingly, the mother, who was anterior to the world of the father, accommodates herself to the male principle. And she does that by producing a son rather than producing a daughter. And so with the aid of the human spirit, alchemy, she produces a son who is not the antithesis of Christ, but rather his chthonic counterpart. Not a divine man, but a fabulous being conforming to the nature of the primordial mother. And just as the redemption of man, the microcosm, is the task of the upper son, which is Christ, so the lower son has the function of the savior of the macrocosm. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 26.

. . . The man we call modern, the man who is aware of the immediate present, is by no means the average man . . . . The man who has attained consciousness of the present is solitary. The “modern” man has at all times been so, for every step towards fuller consciousness removes him further from his original, purely animal participation mystique with the herd, from submersion in a common unconsciousness. Every step forward means tearing oneself loose from the maternal womb of unconsciousness in which the mass of men dwells. Even in a civilized community the people who form, psychologically speaking, the lowest stratum live in a state of unconsciousness little different from that of primitives. Those on the succeeding strata live on a level of consciousness that corresponds to the beginnings of human culture, while those of the highest stratum have a consciousness that reflects the light of the last few centuries. Only the man who is modern in our meaning of the term really lives in the present; he alone has a present-day consciousness, and he alone finds that the ways of life on those earlier levels have begun to pall upon him. The values and strivings of those past worlds no longer interest him save from an historical standpoint. Thus he has become “unhistorical” in the deepest sense and has estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely within the bounds of tradition. Indeed, he is completely modern only when he has come to the very edge of the world, leaving behind him all that has been discarded and outgrown, and acknowledging that he stands before the Nothing out of which all may grow. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 149f

To me it seems certain that Paracelsus was just as unconscious of the full implications of these teachings as Kliunrntlz was, who also believed he was speaking “without blasphemy.” But in spite of this unconsciousness they were of the essence of philosophical alchemy, and anyone who practiced it, thought, lived, and acted in the atmosphere of these teachings, which perhaps had an all the more insidious effect the more naively and uncritically one succumbed to them. The “natural light of man” or the “star in man” sounds harmless enough, so that none of the authors had any notion of the possibilities of conflict that lurked within it. And yet that light orfiilius philosophorzim [son of the philosopher] was openly named the greatest and most victorious of all lights, and set alongside Christ as the Savior and Preserver of the world! Whereas in Christ, God himself became man, the filius philosophorum was extracted from matter by human art and, by means of the opus, made into a new light-bringer. In the former case, the miracle of man’s salvation is accomplished by God; in the latter, the salvation or transfiguration of the universe is brought about by the mind of man-Deo concedente, as the authors never fail to add. In the one case man confesses ”I under God,” in the other he asserts ”God under me.” Man takes the place of the Creator. 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.” . . . . The inner driving force behind the aspirations of alchemy was a presumption whose daemonic grandeur on the one hand and psychic danger on the other should not be underestimated. Much of the overbearing pride and arrogant self-esteem, which contrasts so strangely with the truly Christian humility of Paracelsus, comes from this source. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 163f.

Even though he [Paracelsus] endeavored to conceal the conflict between the two maternal spheres of influence, he was honest enough to admit its existence. Thus he says “I also confess that I write hke a pagan, but yet am a Christian.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 148

Though this liberating act had the most fruitful consequences, it also led to that conflict between knowledge and faith which poisoned the spiritual atmosphere of the nineteenth century in particular. Paracelsus naturally had no inkling of the possibility of these late repercussions. As a medieval Christian, he still lived in a unitary world and did not feel the two sources of knowledge, the divine and the natural, as the conflict it later turned out to be. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 149

The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. Inasmuch as he tried to explore it, he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it . . . . While working on his chemical experiments, the operator had certain psychic experiences which appeared to him as the particular behavior of the chemical process. Since it was a question of projection, he was naturally unconscious of the fact that the experience had nothing to do with matter itself. . .He experienced his projection as a property of matter; but what he was in reality experiencing was his own unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 345

Production of the cnelum is a symbolic rite performed in the laboratory [of Dorn]. Its purpose was to create, in the form of a substance, that ”truth,” that celestial balsam or light principle, which is identical with the God-image. Psychologically, it was a representation of the individuation process by means of chemical substances and procedures, or what we today call active imagination. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 705

He [the unconscious god] appears at first in hostile form, as an assailant with whom the hero must wrestle. This is in keeping with the violence of all unconscious dynamism. In this manner, the god manifests himself and in this form he must be overcome. The struggle has its parallel in Jacobs wrestling with the angel at the ford Jabbok. The onslaught of instinct then becomes an experience of divinity . . . . ~Carl Jung, CW Para 524

Paracelsus Quotations:

He who is born in imagination discovers the latent forces of Nature. . . . Besides the stars that are established, there is yet another — Imagination — that begets a new star and a new heaven.

He who knows nothing, loves nothing.
He who can do nothing understands nothing.
He who understands nothing is worthless.

I wonder how the high colleges managed to produce so many high asses.

Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.

Medicine is not merely a science but an art. The character of the physician may act more powerfully upon the patient than the drugs employed.

Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters; it deals with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided.

Once a disease has entered the body, all parts which are healthy must fight it: not one alone, but all. Because a disease might mean their common death. Nature knows this; and Nature attacks the disease with whatever help she can muster.

Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.

That which the dream shows is the shadow of such wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking state he may know nothing about it… We do not know it because we are fooling away our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to that which is real within ourselves.

The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.

The human spirit is so great a thing that no man can express it; could we rightly comprehend the mind of man nothing would be impossible to us upon the earth.

The physician is only the servant of nature, not her master. Therefore, it behooves medicine to follow the will of nature.

The realms of nature are the letters, and man is the word that is composed of these letters.

The universities do not teach all things, so a doctor must seek out old wives, gipsies, sorcerers, wandering tribes, old robbers, and such outlaws and take lessons from them.

Thoughts are free and are subject to no rule. On them rests the freedom of man, and they tower above the light of nature.

Thoughts give birth to a creative force that is neither elemental nor sidereal. Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow. When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven, as it were and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him. For such is the immensity of man that he is greater than heaven and earth.

Why do you call me a Medical Luther? . . . I leave it to Luther to defend what he says, and I will be responsible for what I say. That which you wish to Luther, you wish also to me: you wish us both in the fire