This program WILL BE recorded. More information on recordings below.
Registration closes at 12:00pm EST the day before the program begins.
Zoom Links will be in your confirmation email.
What [the alchemist] sees in matter, or thinks he can see, is chiefly the data of his own unconscious which he is projecting into it. ~ C.G. Jung (CW 12, para. 332)
In the alchemical tradition, the great work to be performed was known as the opus. More than just a series of chemical operations, the opus was also understood as a spiritual work involving the deepest aspects of the alchemist’s own being. As Jung noted, the material worked on by the alchemist was “chiefly the data of his own unconscious.” The true forge of alchemy, in other words, was the human soul. Accordingly, it was understood that certain preparations and precautions were needed before one could undertake such a sacred work.
In this lecture, we will examine some original alchemical texts to discover the key aspects of the opus and to identify those personal qualities that the alchemists felt were necessary to cultivate as preparation for their work. We will discuss the relevance of these ideas for contemporary life, as well as for Jung’s concept of individuation. Further, we will try to discern the practical implications of this symbolic material for our own personal experience of the individuation process.
Jason E. Smith is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. He is the creator and host of the podcast Digital Jung and the author of Religious but Not Religious: Living a Symbolic Life (Chiron Publications). Jason is a past president of the C.G. Jung Institute of Boston (now of New England) and serves as a training analyst and faculty member for the New England Institute.
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