Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Smaragd wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:16 pmSo the potters field and Judas’ deeds (coming ultimately to the abandonement or sacrifice of power in form of the silver coins and his own body) may be seen referring to the crude material leftovers from which the potter molds new human vessels. Interesting notion indeed. I might be taking this a bit far, but to me this seems to become clearly a metaphor of black magic in the New Testament. If Peter and Andrew were shown how to be fisher of men, Judas in his cosmic role of an apostle seems to give men their vessels of clay.

There is a surprising amount of black magic present in the New Testament, when one really delves into the texts, I have recently noticed. Judas seems to become a "Hanged Man" of sorts, the one I mentioned in the Fosforos to be the picture of neophyte's intiation of reversal. It is also said in another place that his entrails did spill out, which makes the outside the inside & the inside the outside, a process discussed in Argarizim. Both of this reversions (horizontal & vertical) are very important "turnings of the key" in the occult process of initiation. The first belongs to the upper-, and the second to the underworld. (Devas and asuras; Gods and titans; the Stars and the dead.)

Smaragd wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:16 pmReading the book I was amused how Jungs psychology especially with this patient could almost be seen as a classic magician-medium relationship. The patient is a sort of a medium seeing these images of the soul which the magician Jung depicts in a larger scale pointing out of it science of the spirit. The course is just quite a bit altered as the ”medium” is not so much a tool of the magician for he is more like an apprentice whose propably going throuh jungian individuation process, although a tool in the sense that through his capabilities and his soul we – the audience of the magician are seeing the demonstration of the magic of the individuation process.

Now when you say it, this becomes obvious. Our unnamed Roman Catholic dreamer is Dee-Jung's psychically very gifted but intellectually and/or will-orientedly less intense Kelley. This also brings to light a possible problem that tends to loom over the process: In many points it seems to become Jung's process instead of the patient's. Of course, this point of view might become exaggerated in the text we have been going through, because the text itself is Jung's work. Also, the fact that the patient seems to have received a cathartic conclusion, a strong vision of unity, in the end, would suggest that he as a patient really has been guided succesfully through an inner journey.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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In "The Symbols of the Self", the last part of "II - Individual dream symbolism in relation to alchemy", Jung reflects about the dream analysis and concludes his results.

He remarks how the analysed dreams consistently show the "center" as a central dream symbol, and how this symbol presents consciousness with the in itself unobservable center point of the psyche, the self. In case internal processes would go their course unhindered, this symbol shows itself even through the turbulances of the personal psyche. On the other hand, it is possible for consciousness to be afraid of these unconscious processes, in which case the center point works like a disparate magnet, "pushing" its influence upon consciousness and hence effecting its movements. Interestingly, he connects this negative relation to unconscious processes with the symbol of a spider in its net. However, Jung observes the personal psyche in relation to the unconscious to act like a shy animal - fascinated and frightend at the same time, lurking around the center.

He observes how the center often presents itself in symbols related to a spiral. Correspondingly, he upholds how - neither for him nor anyone else - any particular insight on the nature of the center is possible. In itself it remains unrecognizable and only expresses itself symbolically through its phenomenology.

Still, Jung notes a certain fourfoldness showing itself as a quality of the center throughout the dreams, which often would find itself in competition with either the 3 or, less often, the 5. (this has an interesting correspondence in the discontinued use of the citrinitas process in alchemy, as we will see later.) To him, it is highly unlikely that this he showing itself as a quality of the self through dreams would have its origin outside of the unconscious and is, for example, brought to it by autosuggestion. Rather, he infers that there must be a psychical element expressed by this fourfoldness and that this expression must be a meaningful process of the objective psyche. This expression is described as the presentation of Images of the psyches aim, which psyche gives to itself without any outer suggestion.

One of these expressions of the psyche is the madala motif, always pointing towards the center. Jung argues that in case of the analysed dreams, this motif has been present right from the beginning instead of developing in its course. He describes the mandala as an archetype that, correspondingly, can present itself to everyone; In practice, this would happen only for relative few.

Concluding the dream series in my own words, Jung undertook quite an effort to show how the self autonomously presents itself in symbols, hence enabling deductions of current inner processes that must be expressed in symbolic form to be visible in the first place. On one hand, this makes me thing of how many things present themselves to us in a unity of form and essence, so to speak, for which writing and especially poetry would be a good example. The meaning created in poetry is, in my eyes, constituted in the interplay, the rythm and the melody of words, for example, rather than the merely associated meaning of each individual expression that is interpreted differently from person to person. On the other hand, Hegels phenomenlogy of spirit comes to mind, in which he tries to show the different levels of consciousness in their respective forms. I think it is a valid interpretation to say that these forms are necessary in order to make these visible in the first place - and, a step further, that levels of consciousness are even constituted by their respective forms.

III. Religious Ideas in Alchemy

Chapter I: Basic Concepts of Alchemy

In A - Introduction, Jung basically describes how alchemy - before its decline during the enlightenment - dealt with forms and laws which originally come from the soul but are observed via substances. Picking this idea up, we can say that alchemy makes visible inner processes and qualities visible in the outside, much like the self shows itself via symbols in dreams. Interestingly, this seems meaningful for the decline of alchemy, as it becomes impractical nonsense once taken literally, as Jung himself argues as well.

In B - Phases of the alchemical Process, Jung gives an account of the main processes in alchemy. In general, alchemy is explained to describe a chemical transformation process and give instructions for its execution. Even though authors don’t agree upon the phases and the course of the processes, four can be distinguished:

Melanosis (blackening)
Leukosis (whitening)
Xanthosis (yellowing)
Iosis (reddening)

This quadripartition of alchemy corresponds to the four elements, four qualities and other fourfoldnesses found within nature.
In the 15th and 16th century, Xanthosis (citrinitas) becomes more and more negleceted until only melanosis, leukosis and iosis remain. This decline of one of the processes appears to relate to the 3/4 and 4/5 problematic observed by Jung in his dream analysis.

Melanosis, the nigredo phase, is explained as the initial state of the matter, either as quality of the prima materia, chaos or "massa confusa", present either from the beginning or created by divinding the elements (solutio, seperatio, diviso, putrefactio). In case of a seperation, a unification of the opposites via the analogy of the unification of male and female is aimed for, after which the death of the unifed product follows (mortificatio, calcinatio, putrefactio). After nigredo, the cleansing of the blackend substance (ablutio, baptisma) leads directly to whitening. Alternatively, the soul that escaped at death if unifed with the dead body and revitalized or, speaking in colors, many are transformed into one white color which contains all others. This way, Albedo as the silver or moon state is reached, which in the end peaks in the "state of the sun" via rubedeo. Originally, the transition from albedo to rubdeo has been marked by citrinitas, but after its elemination, rubedo directly follows after albdeo via "the increase of the fire to the highest degree".

In C - Conception and Symbols of the Goal, Jung notes the structure of the particular phases described would greatly depend on the goals of the authors, of which he names the white or the red tincture (aqua permanens) or the philosophers stone, containing both as hermaphroditus, or the Panacea, the philosophical gold, the gold glass or the hammerable glass.
The Goals often are as unclear as the phases of the processes - in case of prima materia, for example, it is sometimes the means for the creation of gold, then described as deus terrestris, salvator or filius macrocosmi, the son of the cosmos.

Next to prima materia, fire and water are described in an important role. These are opposites, but are often stated to be one and the same by alchemical authors. Leaning on “Excercitatio VIII in Turbam”, jung for example conludes that the philosophical water is one and the same as the philosophers stone / the prima materia, and at the same time their solvent, which is true for fire as well.

Equally important would be the hermetical vessel, the retort or melting kiln, as a vessel for the substances that are to be transmuted. Even though instrumental, it is not a mere appartus and described to be in a special relatin to prima materia. It has to be round in order to mimic the spherical cosmos and is a kind of uterus from which the stone is born, which is why the vessel is demanded not only to be round, but egg-shaped. Jung quotes Maria the prophet who says how the secret would lay in the knowledge of the hermetical vessel, even further stressing its importance.
From Fire we create life.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Thank you Nayana. Even in case one is not particularly interested in Jung, but wants a solid & brief introduction to the alchemistic process, I would warmly recommend the chapter just discussed ("1. Basic Concepts of Alchemy", Psychology & Alchemy p.224-241).

In October, I will go through half (sub chapters 1-2 of 4) of the second chapter of this part III (Religious Ideas in Alchemy), from page 242 to 274. That will be about eight pages per week.

2. The Psychic Nature of the Alcemical Work
I. The projection of Psychic Contents


As we see from the title, Jung is now discussing the psychological part of alchemy – the one from which he receives critic from those more traditional minded occultists who consider that the interprtetaion should be this or that, either magical or psychological. As I have pointed out elsewhere many times, I do not personally feel this way, instead deem that the approaches are mutually inclusive.

The author himself thinks that the process was purely psychological. In the previous chapter he has already pointed out that "it is certain beyond all doubt [!] that no real tincture or artificial gold was ever produced" (p.239) and "the process never led to the desired goal" (p.230). These are so typically defensive & needless statements that I find it easy to pass them with just the faintest of smiles. I understand that some esotericists find them offensive, but I would be more concerned with the aspirant's lack of interest in self-reflection through psychology than one's lack of interest in the magical transsubstantiation.

In page 243, Jung makes another a bit odd claim that ethical (in the alchemic saying of "tam ethice quam physice", as much ethical as physical) means just psychological. While these are naturally woven together in "psyche", they most certainly are not the same.

He has already mentioned the aethereal process of the stone, and comes back to it in lapis invisibilitatis and lapis aethereus. This "stone of invisibility" and "etheric stone" are linga sharîra, coming to the concept of substantial duality in matter just discussed elsewhere here in the forum. The true alchemists truly worked with substances rather than just psychological projections, I claim, and in this process of "philosophy by fire" their work is almost the same with the one of Rosicrucians: building up the sublimated body of man, invisible yet tangential.

All this Jung denies. He says that "[w]henever anything real is discovered it is usually announced with a flourish of trumpets" (p.243). But he talks here with the distinct mindset of a scientist, which means an exotericist. Yet he understands the problem of such idea, and soon comes to another understanding or esotericism:

Psychology and Alchemy wrote:The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone [...] (p.244)

Jung's claim is that the alchemists themselves never understood what they spoke about, exactly. I disagree and claim that the problem is in the language of esotericism itself. Things that are made manifest in gnosis (buddhi-manas) for an individual may not be directly given to the others, but they must be clothed in symbols to be understandable. Why, the language itself is only an extremely intricate collection of symbols! It is not natural, it is not shared, but learned by a process of mimesis.

But onwards. The author then introduces us an example of a weird little alchemistic treatise, Hyle und Coahyl, which is more a grimoire than the usual high alchemy. Jung quotes a process from its Chapter VIII, "The Creation", where ten quarts of rain water is made to manifest the marvels of six days of creation by dropping in it six drops of red wine. These kind of folklore magic operations were common in 18th century grimoire style, as we know from Grand Grimoire, Grimorium Verum, &c. Jung, however, does not speak of this, neither does he separate the actual hermetic alchemy, and this kind of apparently lower astral kind of little personal wondermakings.

In short, this sub-chapter 3 is much less interesting for a practical esotericist than our September readings, 1-2.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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In this week I will go through the latter part of 3.2.1 and the first part of 3.2.2.

Jung quotes Compendium of Raymond Lully:

You should know, dear son, that the course of nature is turned about, so that without invocation [e.g., of the familiaris] and without spiritual exaltation you can see certain fugitive spirits condensed in the air in the shape of divers monsters, beasts and men, which move like the clouds hither and thither. (p.250)

Jung interprets this to mean the projections of the unconscious. Yet the reader must remain a bit confused what exactly he means by this. Quickly read it seems to imply that there are no actual spirits, no mental acivity outside physical brain. But when we remember Jung's doctrine about the collective subconscious, along with synchronisms as well as other parapsychic phenomena, the things start to seem very different. It seems that the author semiconsciously kept in one strict point of view, close to the shore that was (and still is) the only acceptable for the wider audience. He is constantly facing the occult world where the whole metaphysics turn differently, but he chooses to ignore those temptations of widening and deepening the fundamental understanding. There is something stubborn in this author's attitude, something of an ox that keeps its eyes on one strict spot, whatever happens. And I think that this is also a strength in Jung's writings: that stubborness of one's will, one's self chosen ideal, is a common characteristic for a succesful esotericist.

He then relates a vision of an alchemist Hoghelande, a compeletely new name for me. In his biographical notes from 1594, Hoghelande tells how he was close to perfecting the nigredo or the black aspect of the work, but "a few days later his fire went out in the night, which led to an irreparabile damnum; in other words, he never succeeded in repeating the phenomenon." This "going fire going out" which is literal for a practising alchemist, is equally important for an occultist doing the same work inside. Of course there are times when the furnace needs not blaze, but when the process is in its crucial states, that fire cannot go out without spoiling the whole work, in case one has to start again from the beginning.

From hallucinations (visions) Jung goes to dreams that inspire the alchemical process.

It is repeatedly sressed in the literature that the much-sought after aqua permanens would be revealed in a dream. (p.252)

I interpret this meaning the transsubstantiation of one's astral body. The profane physical body remains much the same, but the esoteric astral bodies go through metamorphoses in their corresponding processes of the Black, Red, White, and the "peacock's tail" (the rainbow vivification where the purified inner colours interact in a new way) phases. Aqua permanens, the permanent water, is buddhi, the "higher water", when the lower water of kâma rupa becomes ignited by the tedious process of âtma-manas on it. It is the "living water" and other epithets in our Hymn of the Messenger.

Jung quotes Laurentius Ventura, who says that the process cannot be learned by oneself in his material intelligence, and the great Paracelsus, who likens the "natural light" (once again a term from our Wednesday hymn) to "Great Stone of the Philosophers, which the whole World has before its eye yet knows not" (p.254). This is the rejected stone, the mystery of the outcast principle of forbidden love, the messianic Davidian principle. But Jung does not go this way; he simply wants to show us that the process is revealed by one's unconscious.

This ends the first part of the second chapter. Its second part is called "The Mental Attitude Towards the Opus". In its beginning Jung notes that "active imagination [is] the thing that sets the process really going" (p.255). But this can yet mean many things. We recently discussed the different ways how the "active imagination" can work its magic under the topic of Building of Images. Simply letting one's mind fly and focus it on something is not enough. Jung omits the whole higher triad, which is extremely important for the active imagination to work dynamically: the higher Will, Love, and Honesty principles. Without these, astral pictures can go on forever without getting anywhere, since at that case they do not form an ascending spiral, but simply a ring.

In the same page, Jung mentions the common demand for the certain grade occultists (in this case, alchemists) that they should not have any physical deformities, and rationalizes this by the authority of Tabula Smaragdina. Since what is the below would be like the one being above, deformation in the maker would result as a deformity in the opus. But I remain unconvinced. The physical is not exceedingly important: it is like a detritus of old karma, and not that meaningful. Even a man who has lost his arm (of sthûla sharîra) will have his astral arm (of linga sharîra), and the latter is that actual "image of God", the luminous substance and eidolonic presence, which casts its simulacra onto the essences worked upon. A mutilated man who is healthy inside can make the perfection where a Dorean dandy would only project his inner malformity.

The very last words on this page 255, from the footnote 30, seem to indicate the intertwining yet possible separation of the astral & physical alchemy, by saying that "you can have it on land or sea", in terra vel in mari habere potes (in the physical or the astral worlds).

Next Jung comes to the symbol of salt, depicting the attribute of reason. This salt works also separating the true from the fantastic imagination; once again something that Jung perhaps should have dealt with more, since it necessitates of two kinds of visions, and casts a shadow of doubt over his theory of individual unconscious being the sole agent in one's alchemical working. Jung claims that:

the author [of Rosarium Philosophorum] was in fact of the opinion that the essential secret of the art lies hidden in the human mind – or, to put it in modern terms, in the unconscious. (p.258)

One needs not be a great philosopher to see how brittle such a claim is. "The human mind" is something much more than simply "unconscious", the latter being just a fraction – however an important fration – of the former. Jung knew this from his extensive studies of all kinds of ancient as well as more modern gnosis, so this blunt simplification seems strange. But we must remember that his idea of the unconscious agency was so new that he most likely had to hammer it forcefully to underline his point. Nowadays the point is clear, the audience has changed, and we can perhaps see the intention behind the words that themselves seem too one-dimensional.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Perhaps a bit uninteresting week in Psychology & Alchemy, but some potentially usable loose quotes. On page 258, Hoghelande gives us advice on how to read occult (alchemical) books: one "should not throw aside a book which he has read once, twice, or even three times, although, he has not understood it, but should read it again ten, twenty, fifty times or even more." Because hermetic philosophy is not as much talking to our straightforward analytic reason than to that deeper manasic form of intellect, which is reached in a different fashion – by the more poetic intuition. Once found this way, the analytic intellect acts in a different role.

Commenting a Mutus liber picture on page 259, Jung identifies Neptune (Poseidon) with animus & Melusine (the mermaid) with anima. Once could add Oannes-Dagon to these half-fish hierophant figures, but in that case there is already a will to form a union with the conscious mind present.

Next, Richardus Anglicus is quoted criticizing the use of "assorted filth the alchemists worked with, such as eggshells, hair, the blood of a red-haired man, basilisks, worms, herbs, and human faeces". In case one has read alchemistic treatises he certainly knows that many of these do not use any such organic ingredients. This seems to form a difference between the Black (organic, more biological) and White (more distanced) forms of magical workings.

Jung then gives a table of 4 x 4 "Platonic Tetralogies" from Theatrum chemicum on page 262:

De opere naturalium________Elementum aqua____Naturae compositae___Sensus
Exaltatio divisionis naturae__Elementum terrae___Naturae discretiae____Discretio intellectualis
Exaltatio animae___________Elementum aëris____Simplicia____________Ratio
Exaltatio intellectus________Elementum ignis____Aetheris simplicioris___Res quam conpludunt hi effectus praecedentes


That is, first Water that corresponds to natural things, composite natures, and senses. Secondly Earth that corresponds to division of nature, discriminated natures, and intellectual discrimination. (Here we see the alchemical salt joining in itself the body and reason of viveka, as I have mentioned elsewhere.) Thirdly, Air that corresponds to exaltation of soul, "simple things" (not diversified, unseen compounds), and reason (which here, like in most of old texts, means manas or purer form of intellect, as opposed to our modern idea of kâma-manasic reason). Fourthly, Fire that corresponds to exaltation of intellect, "even simpler" (~subtle spiritual "atoms", so to say), and "the things included in the foregoing effects".

On page 265 we have both beautiful and funny picture of cooking of Saturn or Mercurius senex. An old, cranky looking man is sitting in a round public bath, while the thus ascending white dove of pneuma sits on his head. (A coloured picture can be found online for example here.)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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October's last reading ends the chapter 3.2.2. This week's text was more interesting to me than the last's, since now Jung discusses mainly about morals of the Great Work, or rather, the proper mindset of the alchemist:
Psychology & Alchemy wrote:("oportet operatorem interesse operi"), "for if the investigator does not remotely possess the likeness [i.e., to the work] he will not climb the height I have described, nor reach the road that leads to the goal." (p.267)

Once again Jung uses his favourite hobbyhorse of likening everything to the psychology of the unconscious, now the moral approach. But even though he tries to put the equal sign between them on page 269, that changes very little what the texts themselves tell. To my joy Jung continues quoting a lot of them verbatim.

Psychology & Alchemy wrote:[O]ne important rule must be observed: "the mind [mens – note of Jung] must be in harmony with the work" and the work must be avove all else. (p.270)

At the last time the idea about Tabula Smaragdina's projection principle (as above, so below) was mentioned. Jung's quote of Alphidius comes once more back to this:

Psychology & Alchemy wrote:"Know that thou canst not have this science unless thou shalt purify thy mind before God, that is, wipe away all corruption from thy heart". (p.270)

This readily brings to mind the Rosicrucian (i.e. Jesus') teaching about man's heart as the generative organ of his soul. (Luke 6:45)

Aurora consurgens gives a list of ethical virtues necessary to the alchemist, bringing to mind our similar system recently spoken in the forum discussion of Ten Virtues:

Psychology & Alchemy wrote:Accoring to Aurora, the treasure-house of Hermetic wisdom rests on a firm foundation of fourteen principal virtues: health, humility, holiness, chastity, virtue [the seeming tautology is understandable from the ethymology of vir[tue] I recently discussed under another topic: it comes back to "heroic virility", vîrya – which indeed is given as one of the necessary virtues for a tantric yogi in The Voice of Silence fragments], victory, hope, charity, goodness (benignitas), patience, temperance, a spiritual discipline or understanding, and obedience. (p. 270-1)

Rosarium philosophorum tells us that the magister must not be "greedy, avaricious, nor irresolute and vacillating".

Psychology & Alchemy wrote:Particularly instructive is the introduction to the art given by Morienus to Kalid:

This thing for which you have sought so long is not to be acquired or accomplished by force or passion. It is to be won only by patience and humility and by a determined and most perfect love. (p.272)


The sub-chapter ends in acknowledging the fact that this mindset of the practical occultist will bring positive fruit only at the end of the work, and in the beginning, it will create nigredo or the black phase of anguish & sorrow. Since these are Saturnine in nature, it is fitting that in November brother Nayana will tell us about "Meditation and Imagination" (3.2.3).
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Nefastos wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:52 pm October's last reading ends the chapter 3.2.2. This week's text was more interesting to me than the last's, since now Jung discusses mainly about morals of the Great Work, or rather, the proper mindset of the alchemist:

I also enjoyed greatly reading these passages. I admire greatly all the more or less clear symbols of alchemical imagination cultivating very allowing romantic surroundings for idealism to start flourishing the midst of. Such alchemical morals of the Great Works feels like home where to return to from journeys to the more challenging sides of the Work.
Psychology & Alchemy wrote:("oportet operatorem interesse operi"), "for if the investigator does not remotely possess the likeness [i.e., to the work] he will not climb the height I have described, nor reach the road that leads to the goal." (p.267)
(Emphasis mine).
I think this likeness talked about here points to the true meaning of the physical purity of form of the alchemist, mentioned earlier in this months passages. In our terms, to be ready for the work of White aspect, the purity of aetheric form (i.e. to be concretely in touch with the aetheric finesse) is needed, or else there lays danger for internal deformity and perversion. I'm quite certain that great deal of the "perversities" revealed from the sacred artforms of blasphemy come from the recognition of these unpure deformities/corruption in the self from the midst of it is not natural to proceed to relate to the crucifix, for example, in a similar way a devoted Christian might be able to. Ofcourse this is just an example as the finesse of aetheric work doesn't have to be exclusively related to Christian imagery and symbols.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Nefastos wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:29 pm The true alchemists truly worked with substances rather than just psychological projections, I claim, and in this process of "philosophy by fire" their work is almost the same with the one of Rosicrucians: building up the sublimated body of man, invisible yet tangential.
Such an essential notions, brother! This crossroads of alchemy and Rosicrucian endeavor is some of the most interesting crossroads I can think of. I wonder if there's some good books on the topic anybody might be familiar with?

I was thinking about the idea of alchemist projecting the spirits or meaning in to the matter within the alchemical process, and how a distantly similar projection happens in all sorts of areas of life. We might for example project our own spiritual needs for balance to larger political situations where we have the feeling that this or that side needs to be supported, even though we are not experts of the larger situation, while we ourself need that sort (or the opposite) rebalancing. What’s the difference in alchemy where the alchemist might have projected, or rather observed some natural phenomena relating to phenomenas in the soul, or happening in their own (and shared) aetheric substance, is the theme of athanor. Assimilated to the hermetic container is a closed vessel meaning the pressure is controlled and not let out from wrong places. It has its specific outlet that will allow the flame to breath well and preventing the pressure damaging the whole structure. I don’t think the smoke coming out of an athanor is necessarily poisonous, because the burning process is so clean that the most obscene materia would not create dross or emission outright harmful. Perhaps destructive in the most gentle way.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Nefastos wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:52 am
the author [of Rosarium Philosophorum] was in fact of the opinion that the essential secret of the art lies hidden in the human mind – or, to put it in modern terms, in the unconscious. (p.258)

One needs not be a great philosopher to see how brittle such a claim is. "The human mind" is something much more than simply "unconscious", the latter being just a fraction – however an important fration – of the former. Jung knew this from his extensive studies of all kinds of ancient as well as more modern gnosis, so this blunt simplification seems strange. But we must remember that his idea of the unconscious agency was so new that he most likely had to hammer it forcefully to underline his point. Nowadays the point is clear, the audience has changed, and we can perhaps see the intention behind the words that themselves seem too one-dimensional.
While it is reasonable to point critique at the danger of turning alchemy in to mere psychology of the past centuries, we should perhaps consider the meaning of the unconscious in Jung’s use to have greater weight than might seem obvious at first, and indeed acknowledge his position where he might have had to conform to the contemporary times and perhaps the friction between science and psychology. The unconscious as something that can not be controlled and something opposite to the conscious to me seems to refer to no lesser function or spirit than Satan and the otherness it represents. Ofcourse in the intimacy of self-reflection and introspection His whole underworld, the carnal body is part of (which Jung seems to agree), doesn’t act from the most fierce and frightful point of the otherness, but is more nuanced and layered. My point is that the unconscious is awfully vast term and could be even seen as the sort of Luciferian world behind the darkness of the night sky, carrying the light that makes us complete. Is there much more than that in the Human Mind? Jung notes the critical difference between the unconscious and the subconscious in the subchapter IV. Soul and Body. Perhaps this explains some part of the strange claim. I agree some of his parallers/correspondences seem like they are made too straightforward and in a blunt way, but maybe they still might be some depth behind them that doesn't just come down to proving a point that the bridge between psychology and alchemy is clear and obvious.
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Nefastos
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

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Smaragd wrote: Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:08 amThis crossroads of alchemy and Rosicrucian endeavor is some of the most interesting crossroads I can think of. I wonder if there's some good books on the topic anybody might be familiar with?

As far as I know this [EDIT: their shared work in aetheric transmutation] is uncharted territory, a truly esoteric subject that we must meditate from the old primary sources.

Smaragd wrote: Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:08 amI was thinking about the idea of alchemist projecting the spirits or meaning in to the matter within the alchemical process, and how a distantly similar projection happens in all sorts of areas of life. We might for example project our own spiritual needs for balance to larger political situations where we have the feeling that this or that side needs to be supported, even though we are not experts of the larger situation, while we ourself need that sort (or the opposite) rebalancing. What’s the difference in alchemy where the alchemist might have projected, or rather observed some natural phenomena relating to phenomenas in the soul, or happening in their own (and shared) aetheric substance, is the theme of athanor. Assimilated to the hermetic container is a closed vessel meaning the pressure is controlled and not let out from wrong places. It has its specific outlet that will allow the flame to breath well and preventing the pressure damaging the whole structure. I don’t think the smoke coming out of an athanor is necessarily poisonous, because the burning process is so clean that the most obscene materia would not create dross or emission outright harmful. Perhaps destructive in the most gentle way.

This is an important thing. All people practice projection, but it is the consciously fed & safeguarded athanor (vessel or channel for the Serpent Power) that makes the difference. Its meaning is not in the separatism of the sealed vessel – in the meaning that the process should be protected and taken apart from the whole – but in the solidity of that microcosm. It was the idea of the alchemical process from the beginning to create "a powder of projection" in the form that would be called to work miracles from the inside to the outside; but in order to accomplish that change in the large, it must first be accomplished in the small. That is, one has to start the process of change from oneself. We could say that this is done in order to protect the whole from one's self, from the fire that goes through the operator.

Smaragd wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:08 pmI think this likeness talked about here points to the true meaning of the physical purity of form of the alchemist, mentioned earlier in this months passages. In our terms, to be ready for the work of White aspect, the purity of aetheric form (i.e. to be concretely in touch with the aetheric finesse) is needed, or else there lays danger for internal deformity and perversion.

Yes, we should take the claim of physical purity as the purity of linga sharîra, whose energies are molded by buddhi-manas.

Smaragd wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:20 amWhile it is reasonable to point critique at the danger of turning alchemy in to mere psychology of the past centuries, we should perhaps consider the meaning of the unconscious in Jung’s use to have greater weight than might seem obvious at first, and indeed acknowledge his position where he might have had to conform to the contemporary times and perhaps the friction between science and psychology. The unconscious as something that can not be controlled and something opposite to the conscious to me seems to refer to no lesser function or spirit than Satan and the otherness it represents.

Jung himself seems to have double mind about what unconscious actually is and isn't. This is typical for ingenious people who transcend themselves in order to bring about a major cultural change. Inside they know the entity they are working with & for, but their outside personality is still the personality that has developed according to the older schema. Jung gives both kinds of answers and teachings about the unconscious: sometimes he seems to lessen it as intrapersonal and border its functions according to the demands of science, in some other occasions he clearly considers it much more deeply & spiritually. This is the usual prophetic attitude, to have one foot on the solid ground & the other in the timeless world that uses a different kind of logic & speech. A true prophet is the one who is able to use these both in a good and uplifting way, and Jung managed to do that. They are those non-occult teachings of his that made possible for the exoteric science to take him seriously. He also played these two fields consciously. These kinds of compromises necessarily mean that the mindsents of both of these two regiments must be expanded in order to understand the pragmatic necessity of the other. This is the reason why Jung often angrily dismissed the claim that he was a mystic. For him it was very important not to become just a mystic, a player of the transcendent field alone.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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