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Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.12) 2nd ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691018317
ISBN-10: 0691018316
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

From the Back Cover

In this present study of alchemy the author has 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 his direct supervision and having no knowledge of what the symbols appearing in the dreams might mean.
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Product Details

  • Series: Collected Works of C.G. Jung (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 2nd ed. edition (October 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691018316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691018317
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DO NOT BUY the Kindle version of this book. It was thrown together by someone who did not know how to create a .mobi file, and it is a mess from a formatting point of view. The Kindle version, which I did buy, much to my regret now, only goes to ¶83, when the original print work goes to ¶565. Someone is just trying to rip off Jung fans with this travesty. This is absolutely the worst buying experience I have ever had on Amazon, by quite a margin. If 10 is perfect, this was a -10, perfectly flawed from a technical point of view.

On the other hand, I do highly recommend the print version, which I also own. I've been studying the work of Dr. Jung since 1987, and this work contains many new and useful insights into his thinking about psychology. This is not the place to start with a study of Dr. Jung's work, which is highly complex, very broad, and very deep into the study of the psyche, but it is an important piece of the overall oeuvre.
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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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