(painting by Jung)
Quotes BY Jung….from ”Psychology and Alchemy”
“When the alchemist speaks of Mercurius, on the face of it he means quicksilver (mercury), but inwardly he means the world-creating spirit concealed or imprisoned in matter.
The dragon is probably the oldest pictoral symbol in alchemy of which we have documentary evidence. It appears as the Ouroboros, the tail-eater, in the Codex Marcianus, which dates from the tenth or eleventh century, together with the legend ‘the One, the All’. Time and again the alchemists reiterate that the opus proceeds from the one and leads back to the one, that it is a sort of circle like a dragon biting its own tail. For this reason the opus was often called circulare (circular) or else rota (the wheel).
Mercurius stands at the beginning and end of the work: he is the prima materia, the caput corvi, the nigredo; as dragon he devours himself and as dragon he dies, to rise again in the lapis. He is the play of colours in the cauda pavonis and the division into the four elements. He is the hermaphrodite that was in the beginning, that splits into the classical brother-sister duality and is reunited in the coniunctio, to appear once again at the end in the radiant form of the lumen novum, the stone.
He is metallic yet liquid, matter yet spirit, cold yet fiery, poison and yet healing draught – a symbol uniting all the opposites.”
(JUNG Part 3, Chapter 3.1)
”Alchemy seems like a continuation of Christian mysticism carried on in the subterranean darkness of the unconscious….
But this unconscious continuation never reached the surface, where the conscious mind could have dealt with it. All that appeared in consciousness were the symbolic symptoms of the unconscious process. Had the alchemist succeeded in forming any concrete idea of his unconscious contents, he would have been obliged to recognize that he had taken the place of Christ – or, to be more exact, that he, regarded not as ego but as self, had taken over the work of redeeming not man but God.
He would then have had to recognize not only himself as the equivalent of Christ, but Christ as a symbol of the self. This tremendous conclusion failed to dawn on the medieval mind.”
(JUNG Part 3, Chapter 5.1)
Quotes ABOUT Jung and Alchemy from this source ~ http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/spirituality/jung.htm
“The essential duality which characterised alchemy from the very beginning…. Alchemy combined the Gnostic spirit of Greek natural philosophy with the highly developed magico-techne of old Egypt, particularly in relation to metallurgy…. and the embalming process associated with the regeneration mysteries of Osiris. This ancient god of resurrection provided a close analogy with the Gnostic doctrine of the Anthropos, the androgynous original man caught in the embrace of Physis and in need of redemption….
“Right up until its high water mark in the seventeenth century it was this myth, above all else, that motivated, consciously or otherwise, the practica of alchemical operations….
“A parallel form of alchemy also developed in the East, in which the liberation of the ‘true man’ from within was sought in forms of Indian yoga and Chinese Taoism….
“For as science freed itself of religion in an Age of Enlightenment and work in the laboratory finally shed its arcane symbolisms… so the philosophical side of the work forfeit the creative medium – the living soul – of its projections only to become the inanimate preserve of secret societies such as the Rosicrucians.…
“Jung showed that the problem… of the body in general developed in Western alchemy as a compensatory undercurrent to the Christian conflict between the opposites, particularly the moral opposites of good and evil, which ever since the first day of Creation had been rent apart into upper and lower worlds. … Alchemy represented the search for the divine spark of God’s reflection in the darkness of the lower world, under the motto ascribed in antiquity to Hermes Trismegistus; ‘as Above, so Below‘….
“As the power of faith upheld by the Church waned, it was left to psychology to uncover the source of this sickness in modern man, a sickness and distress which Jung argued can only be cured through greater knowledge and individual experience….
“The opus of alchemy was essentially concerned with the union of opposites….
“The stone, the lumen novum, arising from the conjunction of the reconciled opposites Sol et Luna was personified as the rounded, bisexual Anthropos and proclaimed… the saviour of the macrocosm and counterpart to Christ…. Because the experience of wholeness re-connects the individual with the universal life of the collective unconscious, Jung called the mandala ‘a window on eternity’, a moment of ‘redemption’ transcending the ego-personality as the whole transcends the part.”