Jung And Alchemy

Plotinus' system, as I interpret it, represents stellar objects as holders of mind, and the ultimate spiritual source; we apprehend this structure as the macrocosm. Inherent within the human entity is the same Ideal structure that forms the essence of soul, or the microcosm. The ONE as object is an image or reflection of the soul as subject, as mind they can merge and emerge one from the other in the mystical experience. It follows that within the human soul, with the ONE at the center, there should be found a source of great light in a solar image, although hidden in the shadows of waking consciousness.

For Jung the best source for symbolic ideas is found in the historical records of medieval alchemy. The most important is the idea of the scintillae--the sparks from the Spirit of God. Jung compares the sparks to one of the archetypes, which is described as the Monad and the Sun; they both indicate the Deity. Psychologically, the Monad or sun is regarded as a symbol of the Self. As the archetype of the Self takes on numinosity it also takes on luminosity. The medieval alchemist Paracelsus had an idea of this when he said: "And as little as aught can exist in man without the divine numen, so little can aught exist in man without the natural lumen. A man is made perfect by numen and lumen and these two alone. Everything springs from these two, and these two are in man, but without them man is nothing, though they can be without man." 31 Jung recognizes this light as the lumen naturae that illuminates consciousness, and the scintillae are germinal luminosities shining forth from the darkness of the unconscious. Of this natural light Paracelsus went on to say that: "The sun is invisible in men, but visible in the world, yet both are of one and the same sun." 32 The alchemist Dorn went even further to identify the source of this inner light, as he said:

""For the life, the light of men, shineth in us, albeit dimly, and as though in darkness. It is not to be extracted from us, yet it is in us and not of us. But of Him to Whom it belongs, Who deigns to make us his dwelling place . . . . He has implanted that light in us that we may see in its light the light of Him who dwells in inaccessible light, and that we may excel His other creatures; in this wise we are made like unto Him, that He has given us a spark of His light. Thus the truth is to be sought not in ourselves, but in the image of God which is within us." 33

Light is eternal and omnipresent, and while it diminishes in inverse proportion to the square of the distance, it sooner or later fills the entire universe. Light is life in a vehicle of divinity, and might be thought of as an expression of God. We stand at the center of our own creation because at the center is the sun or the light of the ONE. We exist as a preordained Idea manifest within the Self. As an image of the ONE, so is the ONE an image of us; the mind of man is made manifest through his physical body as the ONE manifests through the body of the sun. Life is a solar idea.

In Paracelsus the lumen naturae comes primarily from the "astrum" or "sydus," the "star" in man. As he says: "Indeed, man himself is an "Astrum": not by himself alone, but for ever and ever with all apostles and saints; each and every one is an astrum, the heaven a star . . . therefore saith also the Scripture: 'ye are lights of the world'. Now as in the star lieth the whole natural light, and from it man taketh the same like food from the earth into which he is born, so too must he be born into the star." 34

Psychological symbolism finds expression through the ideas of Paracelsus, and Jung speaks of him with due respect: "He beholds the darksome psyche as a star-strewn night sky, whose planets and fixed constellations represent the archetypes in all their luminosity and numinosity. The starry vault of heaven is in truth the open book of cosmic projection, in which are reflected the mythologems, i.e., the archetypes. In this vision astrology and alchemy, the two classical functionaries of the psychology of the collective unconscious, join hands." 35

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