When one is intent on getting unstuck, one has to peel away the layers that disguise the real issues. One has to approach this work or opus with honesty and not hide behind excuses like one hides behind clothing. Honesty is critical. Before I begin to talk about the first alchemical stage (the next post), I want to quote Carl Jung’s words on the the use of alchemy as a process for psychotherapy:
“Since my aim was to demonstrate the full extent to which my psychology corresponded to alchemy – or vice versa – I wanted to discover, side by side with the religious questions, what special problems of psychotherapy were treated in the work of alchemists. The main problem of medical psychotherapy is the transference. In this matter Freud and I were in complete agreement. I was able to demonstrate that alchemy, too, had something that corresponded to the transference – namely, the concept of coniunctio . . . (Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 212)
Jung published his findings in his book, Psychology and Alchemy, the 12th volume of his Collected Works. Further studies resulted in the 13th volume, Alchemical Studies; and probably (in my opinion) the most important of his work regarding alchemy, volume 14, Mysterium Coniunctionis.
“There I was concerned with the interplay between conscious and unconscious, and with the impact of the greater personality, the inner man, upon the life of every individual.
This investigation was rounded out by the Mysterium Coniunctionis, in which I once again took up the problem of the transference, but primarily followed by my original intention of representing the whole range of alchemy as a kind of psychology of alchemy, or as an alchemical basis for depth psychology. In Mysterium Coniunctionis my psychology was at last given its place in reality . . . (Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 221)
Now, with this foundation, I will attempt to bring Jung’s words and ideas to you through my lens and filters.