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Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12) Paperback – October 1, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0691018317 ISBN-10: 0691018316 Edition: 2nd Edition
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Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12) + Mysterium Coniunctionis (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.14) + Alchemical Studies (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.13)
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Editorial Reviews


"Readers . . . who believe that medieval and early modern alchemy was only a misguided effort to transform base metals into gold, or at best a crude preparation for scientific chemistry, will experience a great and probably bewildering surprise."--Thought


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Product Details

  • Series: Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 2nd Edition edition (October 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691018316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691018317
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology). Jung's radical approach to psychology has been influential in the field of depth psychology and in counter-cultural movements across the globe. Jung is considered as the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is "by nature religious" and to explore it in depth. His many major works include "Analytic Psychology: Its Theory and Practice," "Man and His Symbols," "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," "The Collected Works of Carl G. Jung," and "The Red Book."

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a result of Jung's extensive study of old Alchemical practices and his efforts to connect and interpret it in the light of his own psychological concepts. The book gives sense to ancient Alchemy practices and explains them as symbols of the process of human spiritual growth.
Jung explains different steps of this process and illustrates them with phases of the symbolic process of alchemic transmutation, leading to integration of the soul and producing alchemyc gold - or in terms of his own concept the result of the process of individuation.
Concrete examples from his own psychiatric experience of dream analysis and monitoring psychological growth very vividly and convincingly illustrate this concept in action.
The book is richly illustrated with authentic alchemic iconography which renders reader authentic atmosphere and taste of ancient art.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in connecting ancient spiritual practices and modern psychological interpretation theories.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on June 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jung explored alchemy as if it were a mystery novel--relishing every clue, interpreting (nominally) each symbol as it arose. His conclusion that it paralleled his psychological observations & model satisfied his incredible yearning to know that he wasn't crazy or a voice crying in the wilderness--yeah, verily, the alchemists pursued the same goal though in a slightly different way--vindicating Jung's quest for individuation=personal salvation. Thus, Jung's love for alchemy. It's unfortunate that even so-called scientists have ego's so wounded that they disavow their roots: chemists tend to downplay alchemy as astronomers downplay astrology--denigrating their roots. This shows an appalling lack of courage--something Jung had no lack of. Just think of what courage it must have taken for Jung to write about alchemy as having psychological truth embedded in its very heart. Yet he wrote 2 books worth on it CW12 & CW13. I'm in awe of his courage, let alone of his genius. Try reading some alchemy works yourself--if you think Jung is hard to read, think twice. Alchemical works are far more difficult. It took Jung's supreme effort to decipher them. So, if this work seems obtuse to you (& it is), consider how obtuse it was to Jung. Some of the best (& most profound) quotes in this work (from the hardback version) are:

p. 3 Even the most unqualified layman thinks he knows all about psychology as the psyche were something that enjoyed the most universal understanding. But anyone who really knows the human psyche will agree with me when I say that it is one of the darkest & most mysterious regions of our experience.

p. 117 paragraph 152. Only a fool is interested in other people's guilt, since he cannot alter it. The wise man learns only from his own guilt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
In his "Prefatory Note to the English Edition," Jung wrote, "In this present study of alchemy I have taken a particular example of symbol-formation, extending in all over some seventeen centuries, and have subjected it to intensive examination, linking it at the same time with an actual series of dreams recorded by a modern European not under my direct supervision and having no knowledge of what the symbols appearing in the dreams might mean. It is by such intensive comparisons as this ... that the hypothesis of the collective unconscious ... may be scientifically established."

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"The Western attitude, with its emphasis on the object, tends to fix the ideal---Christ---in its outward aspect and thus to rob it of its mysterious relation to the inner man. It is this prejudice ... which impels the Protestant interpreters of the Bible to interpret ... the Kingdom of God) as 'among you' instead of 'within you.'" (Pg. 8)
"Accordingly when I say as a psychologist that God is an archetype, I mean by that the 'type' in the psyche... Nothing positive or negative has thereby been asserted about the possible existence of God, any more than the archetype of the 'hero' posits the actual existence of a hero." (Pg. 8)
"Has it not yet been observed that all religious statements contain logical contradictions and assertions that are impossible in principle, that this is in fact the very essence of religious assertion?" (Pg. 15)
"We do not yet possess a general theory of dreams that would enable us to use a deductive method with impunity, any more than we possess a general theory of consciousness from which we can draw deductive conclusions." (Pg.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Fuller on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the first half of this book, Jung uses the dream analysis of a mentally ill patient to draw conclusions based on what he calls universal archetypes. Jung flagrantly filters this person's dream symbolism through his own alchemical bias, where personally I could come up with all kinds of different interpretations that seemed to me just as valid. But I'm no Jung. So moving on. The flip side to the coin, for the first half, is you do get a nice exposure to the tenets of alchemy along with it's rich symbolism. It is up to the reader to decide if the trade off is worth it. Learning about alchemy, while doing so through what many may consider questionable means. There are two principles Jung brings out that I happen to agree with. The first is concerning the psyche. In the beginning of the book, Jung categorically states the psyche is ancient and pagan. The second principle I agree with deals with archetypes. Jung makes pains to say that just because he is focusing on the archetype, which he defines as an image, he is not denying an imprinter. So the door to objectivity is left at least slightyly ajar.

In the second half, Jung focuses on alchemy as a science that predated christianity, and that though it was pagan, it's motifs were certainly congruous with christian ideals. Parallels are drawn between the Virgin Mary and Prima Materia. Between a metal's blackening, whitening and sublimation to the philosopher's stone as the state of the christian soul through it's stages of redemption. In this section of the book, Jung characterizes the royal art as being objective and practical, but also subjective and spiritual. The author can't rid himself of the possibility that the earliest philosophers were projecting their unconsiousnesses into their art.
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Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12)
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