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Psychological Perspectives A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought Vol 46 Supp 1

Psychological Perspectives A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought Vol 46 Supp 1

Introduction Theodor Abt Pages 7 – 41
Addenda Theodor Abt Pages 42 – 44

C. G.  JUNG,  MARIE-LOUISE  VON  FRANZ,  AND ALCHEMY

It was  the great merit of  C. G. Jung to discover  that alchemy was not just  the forerunner of  chemistry  but  also  the root of modern depth psychology. He recognized in the symbolism of  alchemy an expression of an inner psychic transformation that he experienced himself by  attending carefully  to his own dream and fantasy  life, especially during his night-sea journey in the years 1913-1917.  Later he observed the appearance of similar  symbols  in  the dreams and pictures  brought to him  by people
with whom he was working.  Several of  these  symbols reminded  him  of what he later found in the books of Latin and Greek alchemists, who had lived  long before him.  In  the different  descriptions  of  the alchemical work he recognized a symbolic expression of  the gradual differentiation and unification  of  the personality  of  the alchemist,  something  that he called the process of  individuation. His intensive studies of alchemy gave his transpersonal psychology a foundation in history and showed that his suggested ways of  attending to the inner process of  psychic development correspond to an experience that had been described centuries ago.

To support his research  in alchemy, he asked the young philologist Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz  (1915-1998)  to translate Latin  and Greek alchemical  texts  that she considered  important  for his  research.  Among the different  texts  she translated the Aurora  Consurgens,  an alchemical text attributed to Thomas Aquinas. Later Jung asked her to edit this text on  the basis of  the different manuscripts that could be found in European libraries. Next  he  suggested  that  she  should write  a  psychological commentary of  the text. She worked on this difficult  task during the second World War. Her edition with commentary appeared  in  1957  in German as Volume 111 of C. G. Jung's Mysterium Coniunctionis.'

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