After years of work on his Redbook, what then drew Jung so powerfully to his studies on alchemy? Why is this important to students of Jungian psychology? What do we learn of psyche, our own process, from this essential opus of Jung’s?
The symbols of the process of individuation that appear in dreams are images of an archetypal nature that depict the centralizing process, the production of a new centre of personality. I call this centre the “self,” which should be understood as the totality of the psyche. The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference, which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness (Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, part ll, par. 44).
In the second part of Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy, we are provided with powerful images of the dynamic workings of the unconscious via a dream series that illustrates unconscious processes at work. The deliberate unfolding leads the dreamer toward a new center of personality, an essential process that focuses on archetypal symbols of unity that are present in initial dreams and those that come to us throughout our journey toward individuation. Our focus in this class will be on the symbols, dream images, psychic process, and movement toward wholeness in relation to alchemy.
The format of this class is “read and discuss.” The text is “Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy” in Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12.
For the first class, please read : CW 12 Psychology and Alchemy, Part II Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy; paragraphs 44-90.
Cathryn Polonchak, L.C.S.W., is a certified Jungian Analyst and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of West Virginia. She has a private practice in the Shepherdstown and the Charles Town/Harpers Ferry areas of West Virginia. Cathryn is a member of JAWA, the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA), the International Association of Analytical Psychology (IAAP), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She was the past Director of Seminar for PAJA. She is interested in the interface between body and mind, particularly at the psyche-soma level of trauma.