Alchemy and Jung – rediscovering my interest in psychological alchemy

The last workshop with Jerry Rhul at Jung Society has stirred up many interests that have fallen into the background.

Some years ago I read a book on Alchemical psychology out of which came my 7 days of the week mixed-media series – although ultimately I did not find a way to bring in the metals associated with the 7 planets, gods, etc.

Now just googling around and found this about the first Alchemical Martyr from

In 1926 Jung had a remarkable dream. He felt himself transported back into the seventeenth century, and saw himself as an alchemist, engaged in the opus, or great work of alchemy. Prior to this time, Jung, along with other psychoanalysts, was intrigued and taken aback by the tragic fate of Herbert Silberer, a disciple of Freud, who in 1914 published a work dealing largely with the psychoanalytic implications of alchemy. Silberer, who upon proudly presenting his book to his master Freud, was coldly rebuked by him, became despondent and ended his life by suicide, thus becoming what might be called the first martyr to the cause of a psychological view of alchemy.


My enthusiasm for compost is a nice metaphor for nigredo stage of alchemy.


Psychologically, nigredo is a process of directing oneself to find self-knowledge. A problem is given full attention and reduced to its core. This is not done so much in an intellectual way, but especially by feeling the emotions. By really going into to it, one causes putrefaction, the decomposition of that in which one had been stuck.


After the black, the white and the red.  Art using just black and white and red all over – and corvus caput – would that make nice Christmas cards this year?

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