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Unlike other books on Jung and alchemy which contain a psychological interpretation of alchemical material, this work uses alchemy to understand the three cornerstones of Jungian spirituality - the self, the transcendent function, and active imagination. Through the interpretation of alchemical imagery, Raff explains the nature of these three concepts and illustrates how together they form a new model of contemporary Western spirituality.

This book is also unique in selecting alchemical texts for analysis that are relatively unknown and which, for the most part, have never been interpreted. In addition, he presents two new concepts - the ally and the psychoid realm. Through the addition of these ideas, and the new understanding that they offer, it is possible to apply alchemical imagery to transpsychic experience - that is, to a world of spirits which may not be reduced to psychological concepts.

Jeffrey Raff

By including this realm in the study of alchemy and Jungian thought, it is possible to gain insights into the nature of visionary and ecstatic experiences that form part of the path of individuation--the road to completion. Finally, there are the modern translations of older works by A.

For lesser known treatises, Jung's bibliographies are a gold mine. Most of us, unfamiliar with the subtle nuances of alchemical practice, view it as the historical predecessor of our modern sciences, like medicine, chemistry, metallurgy, etc. But, according to Jung's research, it seems to be much, much more. It is a curious fact that there is no single alchemy for us to examine.

It is a cross-cultural phenomenon which has been practiced in various forms by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Christian Europeans, and the Islamic, Hindu, and Taoist faiths. All of these use symbols to depict a process of transformation, whether this process is thought to occur inside introverted or outside extroverted of the human body.

and, Alchemical Imagination: Making Psyche Matter

Although there are many types of alchemy, the main split is between intro- and extroverted forms. The deciding factor is the direction of the practitioner's creativity. In his book, The Alchemical Tradition in the Late Twentieth Century , Richard Grossinger summarizes the basic components of the different alchemical paths, which he dubs 'planet science. A theory of nature as made up of primary elements. A belief in the gradual evolution and transformation of substance. A system for inducing transmutation. The imitation of nature by a gentle technology.

The faith that one's inner being is changed by participation in external chemical experiments. A general system of synchronistic correspondences between planets, colors, herbs, minerals, species of animals, signs and symbols, parts of the body, astrological signs, etc. Gold as the completed and perfected form of the metals, in specific, and substance in general Alchemy is the attempt to transmute other substances into gold, however that attempt is understood and carried out.

The existence of a paradoxical form of matter, sometimes called The Philosopher's Stone the Lapis , which can be used in making gold or in brewing elixirs elixer vitae and medicines that have universal curative powers panacea.

Active imagination

The search for magical texts that come from a time when the human race was closer to the source of things or are handed down from higher intelligences, extraterrestrials, guardians, or their immediate familiars during some Golden Age. These texts deal with the creation or synthesis of matter and are a blueprint for physical experimentation in a cosmic context as well as for personal development.

They have been reinterpreted in terms of the Earth's different epochs and nationalities. In the Occident, alchemy is early inductive experimental science and is closely allied with metallurgy, pharmacy, industrial chemistry, and coinage. In the Orient, alchemy is a system of meditation in which one's body is understood as elementally and harmonically equivalent to the field of creation.

Between East and West, the body may be thought of as a microcosm of nature, with its own deposits of seeds, elixirs, and mineral substances. Alchemy is joined to astrology in a set of meanings that arise from the correspondences of planets, metals, and parts of the body, and the overall belief in a cosmic timing that permeates nature.

Thus, alchemy deals fundamentally with the basic mysteries of life as well as with transcendental mysticism. But its approach is neither abstract nor theoretical, but experimental, in nature.


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Just who were the alchemists, and why are their contributions important to us today? The alchemists were the leading explorers of consciousness in medieval times, and their research led to a vast improvement in the conditions of life. The contribution of these eminent alchemists are staggering: Albertus Magnus, alone, wrote eight books on physics, six on psychology, eight on astronomy, twenty-six on zoology, five on minerals, one on geography, and three on life in general from an Aristotelian point-of-view. He was a Dominican friar who was canonized a saint in Paracelsus was a Swiss born in His accomplishments were many and include being the first modern medical scientist.

He fathered the sciences of microchemistry, antisepsis, modern wound surgery, hypnosis and homeopathy. He wrote the first medical literature on the causes and treatment of syphilis and epilepsy, as well as books on illness derived from adverse working conditions. Even with his accurate scientific bent, his work is also in close accord with mystical alchemical tradition. His was a worldview of animism, ensouled and infused by a variety of spirits. He wrote on furies in sleep, on ghosts appearing after death, on gnomes in mines and underground, of nymphs, pygmies, and magical salamanders.

He utilized various techniques for divination and astrology as well as magical amulets, talismans, and incantations.

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Paracelsus believed in a vital force which radiated around every man like a luminous sphere and which could be made to act at a distance. He is also credited with the early use of what we now know as hypnotism. He believed that there was a star in each man, Mishlove. This sentiment was echoed by 19th century magician and alchemist, Aleister Crowley, who said, "Every man and every woman is a star.

Kepler developed the laws of planetary motion.

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But he developed his theories on the basis of explorations into the dimly lit archetypal regions of man's mind as surely as on his mathematical observations of the planetary motions. He was clearly a student in the tradition of earlier mystic-scientists such as Pythagoras and Paracelsus. Thomas Vaughn, Robert Fludd, and Sire Frances Bacon number among the 17th century Rosicrucians who practiced not only alchemy but also other hermetic arts and the qabalah.


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Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematical genius, as well as one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. He discovered the binomial theorem, invented differential calculus, made the first calculations of the moon's attraction by the earth and described the laws of motion of classical mechanics, and formulated the theory of universal gravitation.

Jeffrey Raff

He was very careful not to publish anything which was not firmly supported by experimental proofs or geometrical demonstrations; thus he exemplified and ushered in the Age of Reason. However, if we look at Newton's own personal notes and diaries, over a million words in his own handwriting, a startlingly different picture of the man emerges. Newton was an alchemist though after his death his family burned many of his arcane manuscripts in an attempt to hide the fact.

He devoted himself to such endeavors as the transmutation of metals, the philosopher's stone, and the elixir of life. He was intensely introspective and had great mental endurance. He solved problems intuitively and dressed them up in logical proofs afterwards. He, himself, was astounded by the startling nature of his own theories. Gravity is a problem that still hasn't been dealt with satisfactorily by scientists. His followers, however, emphasized exclusively his mechanistic view of the universe to the exclusion of his religious and alchemical views.

Jung & the Alchemical Imagination: Jeffrey Raff: trodoctwinsisri.ml: Libros

In a sense, their action ushered in a controversy in psychical research which has existed ever since. Since Newton's time, all discoveries suggesting the presence of spiritual force which transcended time or space were ironically considered to be a violation of Newton's Laws -- even though Newton himself held these very beliefs! It is interesting to note, that today scientists actually can turn small amounts of lead into gold through particle acceleration, since they are only one atomic weight apart, but the energy expense is prohibitive.

Despite the advances in science, the "unknown" is still projected into the realm of matter, and the alchemical quest continues. Science is still debating over what is physical, what is psychic and what is metapsychic. VonFranz, in Projection and Recollection in Jungian Psychology , states that "In Western cultural history the transpsychic has been described sometimes as "spirit" sometimes as "matter.

VonFranz points out that "what was once regarded as the opposition between spirit and matter turns up again in contemporary physics as a discussion of the relation between consciousness or Mind and matter. Multidisciplinary studies such as quantum consciousness, quantum chaos and quantum cosmology have manifested Jung's prescient vision. Jung really returned us to the alchemistic viewpoint when he said, in Aion , " Sooner or later nuclear physics and the psychology of the unconscious will draw closely together as both of them independently of one another and from opposite directions, push forward into transcendental territory.

Psyche cannot be totally different from matter for how otherwise could it move matter? And matter cannot be alien to psyche, for how else could matter produce psyche? Psyche and matter exist in the same world, and each partakes of the other, otherwise any reciprocal action would be impossible. If research could only advance far enough, therefore, we should arrive at an ultimate agreement between physical and psychological concepts.

Our present attempts may be bold, but I believe they are on the right lines. As vonFranz notes, "There is therefore no concept fundamental to modern physics that is not in one degree or another a differentiated form of some primordial archetypal idea. Laws in physics are subject to scientific revolutions and there has been a major breakthrough in paradigms shifts about every 20 years, or each generation. One of the most influential recently is Complexity or Chaos Theory.

VonFranz says, "As soon as an archetypal idea that has been serving as a model no longer coincides with the observed facts of the external world, it is dropped or its origin in the psyche is recognized. This process always coincides with the upward thrust of a new thought-model from the unconscious to the threshold of consciousness. This "hard problem" of the subjectivity of our personal experience is the crux of consciousness studies and a sticking point in all neurologically-based descriptions of brain-mind dynamics, whether it is based in the quantum, holographic, electromagnetic, or chemical interactions.

Other experimental-minded persons have sought the mysteries of life and divinity within their own bodies, since ancient times. Some employed entheogenic plants and elixirs, while others manipulated the paradoxical switch of the sympathetic and parasympathetic arousal systems through yoga or magick.