Top critical review
40 people found this helpful
Very, very, very hard book to understand.
on 3 October 2000
Please don't be put off by my rating, if you are the serious Jungian student who has attended Jungian courses then I guess you won't have the same difficulty as me. It is a very difficult book to understand & I don't think that it is made easier by the fact that it has been translated from another language. I am a big fan of Jung & always find his own work quite difficult to comprehend. However, this book proved especially hard and litrerally I guess I just didn't have the Latin to appreciate this book as much as others could. In the first part of the book he outlines the dreams of patients during various stages of theraphy. He then analyses the symbols in relation to mythology & religion with a great emphasis placed on Alchemy. Jung then explores the origins of Alchemy and its relation to psychotheraphy & the transformation of the mind (its images, thoughts etc.) during the various stages. These images are then analysed in relation with the symbols found in old drawing/writings within Alchemy that highlight the change made from a useless substance to one of great value. You start to see why he has chosen Alchemy in relation to Psychology as they are essentially both based on transforming an unproductive state into a more valuable & appreciative state. In doing this he explores the origins & the meanings of the prima materia, and to be honest with you for half the book I thought I knew what it was but by the end of it there were so many different explanations that I got confused... This being (to my current understanding) a mass of confusion/chaos/the first substance, which is the primary step for an Alchemist's work to be done. I won't go much further but just to say that this book is for the SERIOUS Jungian student & not fully comprehensible by a lay-Jungian psychologist like myself.