Jung's alchemical writings are amongst the most difficult in his opus. There are three volumes of this in his Collected Works: Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works of C.G. Jung) which is difficult, but repays effort (follow the link to see my review of it); the Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy , which I've read, but that still defeats me; and finally this one.
Of the three, "Alchemical Studies," is by far the most approachable, though there may be some occasional difficulties the text provides. The first part is Jung's commentary on
The Secret of the Golden Flower: Chinese Book of Life (Arkana)
which is essential reading for anyone interested in his ideas, and should not create problems for a general reader. It's available separately for those not wanting to purchase this volume. But here there are three more essays.
One on "Paracelsus as a Spirtual Phenomenon" is Jung's longest essay in this volume about the late Mediaeval alchemist and doctor who is considered the founder of modern chemistry and medicine. It is more technical than Jung's other essays on the same subject in
RC Series Bundle: The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature (Routledge Classics)
- which might be read as an introduction to the one here - but certainly worth reading for the greater depth. Then there are two other fascinating essays on alchemical symbolism.
As with the other alchemical volumes, "Alchemical Studies" is probably mainly of esoteric interest and for specialists, excepting perhaps the commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower. However, if only reading one of them, this is the one to read as it will immediately repay effort, and provide a good introduction preparing for the other volumes. Or alternatively, look up a number of anthologies of Jung's writings on Alchemy or in Anthony Storr's
The Essential Jung: Selected Writings
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 9714 KB
- Print Length: 524 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (1 March 2014)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00GYGPZ2M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
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