Examining the subject of alchemy as a source of symbolism psychology and mysticism

Though this fact may seem odd or embarrassing to some, it obliges us, if we call ourselves Jungians, to take it seriously. Jung evidently felt that something about alchemy, above all other possible sources and parallels, including mythology, theology, anthropology, fairy tales or philosophy, made it pre-eminent in what it had to offer to analytical psychology. This stems primarily from the paradoxical quality of the imagery. While the imagery that we find in myth and fairy tale makes some sense and hangs together in a comprehensible narrative, that of alchemy feels impossible to grasp.

Examining the subject of alchemy as a source of symbolism psychology and mysticism

It has also been an influence on the world view of various writers, artist, and musicians. Alchemy is an ancient art, practiced in the Middle Ages.

Because other metals were thought to be less perfect than gold, it was reasonable to believe that nature created gold out of other metals found deep within the earth and that a skilled artisan could duplicate this process. In this way, alchemy turned into not only a scientific quest, but a spiritual quest as well.

Examining the subject of alchemy as a source of symbolism psychology and mysticism

Although the purposes and techniques were often times ritualistic and fanciful, alchemy was in many ways the predecessor of modern science, especially Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users Choose a Membership Plan the science of chemistry.

The birthplace of alchemy was ancient Egypt, where, in Alexandria, it began to flourish during the Hellenistic period.

Also at that time, a school of alchemy was developing in China.

Examining the subject of alchemy as a source of symbolism psychology and mysticism

The writings of some Greek philosophers may be considered to be among the very first chemical theories, such as the theory that all things are composed of air, earth, fire, and water. Each of these were represented by different elements, such as sulfur, salt, mercury, and, ideally, gold.

Other ideas held by alchemists were that each of the known elements were represented by heavenly bodies. Many alchemists worked at home, in order to save money and avoid outside interference.

Some settled in the kitchen, to take advantage of the cooking fire. Others chose the attic or cellar, where late-night activity was less likely to be noticed by inquisitive neighbors.

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These small, makeshift laboratories were often filled with a grimy jumble of instruments, manuscripts, skulls, animal specimens, and assorted mystical objects. Most alchemists also had an alter in their lab, which was a aid they deemed necessary to the spiritual aspects of their pursuit- eternal life and unimaginable power.

Alchemists were the first to isolate a number of chemicals, from phosphorus to hydrochloric acid, and they also developed new equipment and methods for distilling fluids, assaying metals, and controlling chemical reactions.

One method the alchemist helped to develop was the use of heat to start reactions. They also refined the process of distillation and created many flasks and stills. The alchemists of Europe then divided into two separate groups. One group took up the visionary, metaphysical side of the older alchemy and developed it into a practice based on imposture, necromancy, and fraud, which is the prevailing notion of alchemy today.

The other group, however, devoted themselves to the scientific discovery of new compounds and reactions. These few scientists were the legitimate ancestors of modern chemistry.Psychology and Alchemy is Volume 12 in The Collected Works of C.

Alchemy Essay

G. Jung, a series of books published by Princeton University Press in the U.S. and Routledge & Kegan Paul in the U.K. It is study of the analogies between alchemy, Christian dogma, and psychological symbolism.

Alchemy is central to Jung's hypothesis of the collective unconscious. The symbolism that remained prevalent even after the scientific break between alchemy and chemistry is seen as an indication that such symbolism is an expression of an essential part of the psyche.

There are many ways to examine the subject of alchemy, including alchemy as a source of symbolism, psychology, and mysticism. It has also been an influence on the world view of various writers, artist, and musicians.

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Alchemy and Jungian Psychology. For the last thirty years of his life, alchemy was Jung’s major pre-occupation. Though this fact may seem odd or embarrassing to some, it obliges us, if we call ourselves Jungians, to take it seriously. Psychology and Alchemy is illustrated with images from alchemical books and manuscripts and from related works.

Many of these images were here presented in print for the first time, and this book had a profound influence and gave inspiration to many scholars . Alchemy and depth psychology Back to introduction.

Although we can now recognise a psychological component in many alchemical texts, it is only since the early 20th century that a language was developed with which the newly emerging science of psychology could investigate, in depth, aspects of alchemical symbolism.

Alchemy and Mysticism