Anonymous on Fri Apr 20 23:43:14 2001

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Alchemy operated on a cusp between investigative science, chemistry,
philosophy and spirituality.

Even today scientists and chemists studying alchemical practices can find
themselves in direct opposition to the psychologists and artists examining
the same material - with some scientists dismissing any sort of
psychological interpretation, as alchemy from their position serves only
as a route towards modern chemistry.

It was the exhaustive studies and examinations by the psychologist Carl
Jung which re-evaluated the practice of alchemy. Jung believed the work of
alchemists and the wealth of alchemical texts to be a unique and valuable
resource of the history of the unconscious and workings of the human

He used this historical documentation to confirm his ideas of archetypes;
a belief that universal psychological types and dream symbols are common
to all humans; and the collective unconscious; that the human psyche has a
constancy which runs beyond the existence of individuals and extends
backwards and forwards across history.

He expanded his analytical psychology to encompass the interpretation of
the often surreal and obscure texts with the same system he had already
applied to the interpretation of dreams with his patients. He identified
archetypes and dreams symbols from his patients who had no knowledge of
alchemy to be remarkably consistent and sometimes identical to those used
in alchemical practice; symbols which he recognised to be universal.

>From this perspective Alchemy becomes a key historical documentation of
the unconscious - a means to look deep into the psyches of other eras and
see parallels with our own age.

Material-Spiritual or Physical-Psychic