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Alchemical Active Imagination: Revised Edition (C. G. Jung Foundation Books) Paperback – December 2, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Von Franz has a remarkable gift for interpreting and demystifying the difficult symbolism of religious visions, ancient myths, and fairy tales of the common folk. Whether explaining the psychic complexities of gender or racial conflict, or the survival value of our connection to other animals, von Franz is perhaps unsurpassed as the archetypal Jungian."— Library Journal

About the Author

Marie-Louise von Franz (1915–1998) was the foremost student of C. G. Jung, with whom she worked closely from 1934 until his death in 1961. A founder of the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich, she published widely on subjects including alchemy, dreams, fairy tales, personality types, and psychotherapy.
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Product Details

  • Series: C. G. Jung Foundation Books
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Rev Sub edition (December 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877735891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877735892
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 98 people found the following review helpful By kathryn b on September 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the first serious modern work on alchemy that I've read, and boy did I luck out! It is a work charged with authenticity and vision. von Franz gives you some historical background on the origins of alchemy, then introduces this 16th century alchemist, Gerhard Dorn, and his inner and outer struggle to illuminate and heal the schism between spiritual alchemy and Western Christianity. Dorn doesn't come to any happy conclusions, but the chapter on Medieval Magic is worth the entire read. It includes a serious attempt to examine the question of evil (oh thank you!)and the historical process of projecting the contents of the psyche onto some aspect of the body. Also an inspiring section on the "cloud" as symbol in alchemy and christian mysticism for the confusing and darkening part of a person's journey inward to her own core. Also, peppered throughout are juicy tidbits about things like necromancy, pyromancy, hydromancy and something Jung himself was into for a while called Geomancy--which she explains in a brief but fascinating aside. The book is developed from transcripts of a 1969 lecture she gave in Zurich at the Jung Institute. It reads like a lecture, with the rythmns and addendums of the spoken word mostly intact, but obviously translated. That's ok--it flows like pure gold and is a great window into this whole Zurich scene and the living body of work that von Franz and Jung together embodied. This little work is bound to inspire and fuel some aspect of your own imagination. Enjoy!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on August 14, 2006
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Derived from Jan/Feb 1969 lectures @ C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, this commentary on Gerhard Dorn's 17th c. work complements Jung's "Mysterium Coniunctionis" & "Psychology & Alchemy." It's an advanced book--prior background in Jungian psychology & alchemy are helpful, but p. 21: "One book opens another. Read many books & compare them throughout & then you get the meaning," & this work helps one understand Jung's lengthier/more difficult works. Indeed, despite the erudite material, von Franz clarifies the meaning in her awesome commentary. Per her title, pp. 22-3: "Jung sometimes defined the introverted psychological tradition in alchemy as the art of active imagination with material." Further, p. 147: "Dorn floated over the abysses of the mysteries that Jung was to penetrate." [later]

Much of Dorn's work is a symbolic, alchemical journey similar to the Kabbalistic Hekalot, the Divine Comedy, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or especially Ashcroft-Nowicki's "The Shining Path." His travelers (spiritus, anima & body) resemble the Neshamah, Ruach, & Nefesh in Kabbalah. Dorn reveals brilliant insights into psychology but fails in his attempt to reconcile Christian dogma with alchemy. pp. 12-13: "The ultimate dynamic impulse to become a physicist is based upon the desire to find out more about how God works...The really great & creative scientists have the same motivation as the alchemists: to find out more about that spiritual or divine substance...which lies behind all existence.
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Format: Paperback
....from his finest student. The depth of her self-exploration-informed research shines from every page. If you can't understand why alchemy has so much to tell us about the dynamics of the unconscious and of individuation, buy this book, it's quite wonderful.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dorn's ability to attend to and faithfully express the manifestations of the unconscious contents provides a tremendous springboard for us today. It provides a springboard in that inner conflicts --the conflicts under discussion in the book --can be objectified. Marie-Louise Von Franz's own insight alongside her own experience can help us root ourselves in a world where we are not estranged from ourselves. The symbolic processes honored by Dorn are still today factors in our psychic hygiene.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pew on December 17, 2012
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This is a great book, one of those books where each paragraph is loaded with details, and you find yourself thinking about it long after you've finished. It was dense in a good way. This material is from lectures which have been transcribed, and it shows because it seems like she knew her stuff and knew how to deliver it, as if she had learned from repeated experiences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hector anastasia on December 6, 2013
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is a good introduction for a very complex theme like alchemia. Very clear writing, it permits a good understanding for a difficult topic.
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By Leslie Herger on June 1, 2015
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Jungian psychological philosophy can be such a pile of BS sometimes, and this book is a perfect example of how full of BS it can be. Knowing that some of the text is rewritten speeches will give you some context, but really, some of the info is just bad.

What one can take from this book is an interesting take on Active Imagination. However, the Chodorow book on active imagination is leaps and bounds better and doesn't contain nearly the same amount of fuzzy science. Get that instead.
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Thoroughly enjoyed the content. Von Franz clearly has a deep understanding of alchemical and imaginative principles; she weaves a complex story of how these dance in our heads and lives. Also clearly it is translated from the original German and, while fateful to the text, I'm afraid much is lost in translation. That said, if this is of interest to you, there are few authors who can deliver on the promise implicit in the title. Recommend.
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Alchemical Active Imagination: Revised Edition (C. G. Jung Foundation Books)
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