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Book Title: Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology|
The author of the book: Marie-Louise von Franz
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 31.13 MB
Edition: Inner City Books
Date of issue: January 1st 1982
ISBN 13: 9780919123045
Read full description of the books Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology:The late Marie-Louise von Franz (1915 -1998) was a Jungian analyst and colleague/student of Carl Jung. She is widely known for her penetrating treatises about seeker's journey motifs, alchemical texts and fairy tales as well as an accessible biography of Jung.
Here again, her insights are profound and broad in scope. The book, published in 1980, is composed of lectures she presented in Zurich in 1959. The lectures contain excerpts from European, Arabic and Greek alchemical texts along with her explanation of the symbolism they contain. Her focus here is the relationship between alchemical process and Jungian analysis as discovered through an examination of the chosen texts.
The difficulty in the book comes not so much from the fact that the lecturers were intended for serious students of Jungian psychology rather than those outside the field, but from the format itself. First, it scatters terms and symbols throughout the book depending on where they appeared in one of the excerpted fragments. This is counter-intuitive to readers expecting an organized, one-to-one comparison of alchemical steps with the individuation process in or out of a therapy setting. This would make the book a true introduction as its subtitle implies.
Second, in as much as the lectures focus on what was to be found in the texts rather than on an orderly presentation of alchemy and individuation, the book suffers by dedicating more space to the excerpts than an introduction requires. That is, the text fragments are less interesting, informative and succinctly on point than von Franz's material. One wishes for more of von Franz and less of the ancients here.
That said, readers who are familiar with Jungian psychology, inner alchemy and related philosophies will experience many "Eureka Moments" as the meaning behind long-puzzling symbols, archetypes, drawings, and processes suddenly clicks into place. Outside of the decision to use a series of already-completed lectures rather writing an introductory work from scratch, the information and insight found here are exceptional.
Read information about the authorMarie-Louise von Franz was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar.
Von Franz worked with Carl Jung, whom she met in 1933 and knew until his death in 1961. Jung believed in the unity of the psychological and material worlds, i.e., they are one and the same, just different manifestations. He also believed that this concept of the unus mundus could be investigated through research on the archetypes of the natural numbers. Due to his age, he turned the problem over to von Franz. Two of her books, Number and Time and Psyche and Matter deal with this research.
Von Franz, in 1968, was the first to publish that the mathematical structure of DNA is analogous to that of the I Ching. She cites the reference to the publication in an expanded essay Symbols of the Unus Mundus, published in her book Psyche and Matter. In addition to her many books, Von Franz recorded a series of films in 1987 titled The Way of the Dream with her student Fraser Boa.
Von Franz founded the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. In The Way of the Dream she claims to have interpreted over 65,000 dreams. Von Franz also wrote over 20 volumes on Analytical psychology, most notably on fairy tales as they relate to Archetypal or Depth Psychology, most specifically by amplification of the themes and characters. She also wrote on subjects such as alchemy, discussed from the Jungian, psychological perspective, and active imagination, which could be described as conscious dreaming. In Man and His Symbols, von Franz described active imagination as follows: "Active imagination is a certain way of meditating imaginatively, by which one may deliberately enter into contact with the unconscious and make a conscious connection with psychic phenomena."
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