Alchemy in its psychological and religious implications was Jung’s major preoccupation during the last thirty years of his life. This collection of five long essays traces Jung’s developing interest in alchemy from 1929 onwards, and may be read both as a useful introduction and a valuable supplement to his major works on the subject, Psychology and Alchemy, Aion, and the monumental Mysterium Coniunctionis. Each essay is an extended commentary on a theme with alchemical association: an ancient Chinese Taoist text The Secret of the Golden Flower; the visions of Zosimos, a Greek alchemist and Gnostic of the 3rd century A.D.; the Spirit Mercurius in Grimm’s fairy tale “The Spirit in the Bottle”; the symbol of the Philosophical Tree in the drawings of modern patients; and- a theme that breaks new ground- the arcane speculations of Paracelsus, natural philosopher, physician, and empiric, and Jung’s turbulent countryman.
The illustrations include eight plates of alchemical pictures (one in color) and forty-two of drawings or paintings by patients in analysis. Bibliography and index.