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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carl Jung on the Alchemist’s Truth




For the truth these philosophers are seeking is intended to change the philosopher himself in some way; so that in reality there is no tendency to spread abroad formulations of the truth, because the philosopher is aware that in doing so he would simply be handing the task of transformation to other people, instead of facing it himself.

This text is very profound.

When Krates had finished this conversation with the angel, the latter vanished and refused to return, and the text goes on to tell us how Krates behaved in these circumstances; in other words: what a philosopher must do in order to induce his angel to return to him:

" . . . In order to induce God to send the angel again, Krates persists in contemplation, fasting and prayer."

This is a purely religious exercise as you see.

This relationship to an "angel", as you will hear again later, occurs fairly regularly in old alchemy.

The old masters often speak of a "spiritus familiaris", a familiar or helpful spirit, who stood by them in their work.

You find such spirits b eing invoked in Faust, that genuinely alchemistic work, the spirit of earth, for instance.

The familiar spirit is called the "paredros" in Greek, the one who stands by.

The spirits of the planets are most often invoked, particularly those that dominate the alchemist's horoscope.

It was Saturn, above all, that could make men skillful in practising the art. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, 16 May 1941.

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