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Table of Contents
                            Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
Illustrations
About the contributors
Foreword
Foreword
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I Alchemy and Meaning
	Water and Stone
	1 The Stone that the Builders Rejected
	2 Mysterium Coniunctionis: Fabric of Life
	3 The Rosarium Philosophorum
Part II The Symbolic Attitude
	Transubstantiation
	4 The Queen and the Servant
	5 That Moment in the Rose Garden
	6 A Point in Time: The Horoscope as a Living Mandala
	7 Learning to Move: Imagination and the Living Body
Part III The Spirit and the Natural World
	Hermes
	8 The Nature of Burn-Out and the Burn-Out of Nature: The Sloth and the Chickadee
	9 Embodied Being as Alchemy: A Post-Postmodern Approach
	10 Aurum Vulgi: Alchemy in Analysis, a Critique of a Simulated Phenomenon
Part IV Clinical Applications
	The Hours of the Day
	11 Atonement
	12 Sulphur Rises Through the Blackened Body
	13 Masculinity and the Claustrum as Shadow Vas
	14 Anorexia and Alchemy
	15 Jung’s Quest for Individuation
Alchemy
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

ALCHEMY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY

Alchemical symbols are alive in popular culture, as recently popularised in the Harry Potter
books and films. Alchemy intrigued Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. It
inspired him as he wrote The Red Book – the journal of his voyage of internal discovery.
He devoted much of his life to it, using alchemical symbols as metaphors for unconscious
processes. Alchemy and Psychotherapy explores the issue of alchemy in the consulting
room and its application to social and political problems. This book argues against the
dominant discourse in contemporary psychotherapy – scientific materialism – and for the
discovery of spiritual meaning.

Alchemy and Psychotherapy has four main parts:
‘Alchemy and Meaning’ looks at the history of alchemy, particularly the symbol of the

coniunctio – sacred marriage – as a metaphor for the therapeutic relationship.
‘The Symbolic Attitude’ explores working with dreams, fairytales, astrology and the

body: each of which is, itself, a symbolic language.
‘The Spirit and the Natural World’ discusses ‘burn-out’ of therapists and our ecological

resources – the mystical aspects of quantum physics and the philosophical underpinning of
symbol formation.

‘Clinical Applications’ shows alchemy’s use with victims of abuse, with those struggling
to secure gender identity, in anorexia and in ‘social healing’ – atonement and restorative
justice – applying the idea of the coniunctio.

Alchemy and Psychotherapy is illustrated throughout with clinical examples, alchemical
pictures and poetry to emphasise that alchemy is both a creative art and a science. Bringing
together clinicians from different analytical psychology schools in the UK, contributors
show that the consulting room is their alchemical laboratory, and that research is their
creative engagement.

Alchemy and Psychotherapy will be a valuable resource for practitioners, students at all
levels of psychotherapy, analytical psychology, psychoanalysis and creative, art-based
therapies, and for creative practitioners (in film, literature and performing arts) who draw
on Jung’s ideas.

Dale Mathers is a member of the Association of Jungian Analysts. He teaches analytical
psychology in the UK and Europe and is in private practice in South London.

Page 154

forgotten. It prompts the configuration of therapist/patient to re-imagine a stuck
situation, which can’t be forgotten, as a defence against remembering what has
been forgotten.

Laboratory 3 (continued)

The stuck position rehearsed here in the laboratory is one of not being able to move
out of the force field of an internalised ideal and demand, signifying a desperate
need to move from an old body to a body still waiting to be found. In role this
woman is unconcerned about the physical risks she is taking. She is a skilled,
determined and daring performer who is alert to the creative value of aggression
in emotional development and clearly in touch with how the environment is
‘discovered and rediscovered’ through movement.

Her performance explores aspirant relationships outside of home and family.
There is a clear distinction between self and others. Me and not me are separated
by the devices of time, place, age and gender. The persecuting others are located
in another time, another place and of a different generation. They are clearly not
me. The dramaturgy is mainly linear with action tending to be subordinate to
narrative, but the piece is informed by an impassioned aspiration to find a way out
of the repeated mis-en-scêne of the past by re-entering it as a resource.

Preparations for a second autobiographical performance six months later
involve working with leader-follower principles. Three women exchange the roles
of leader and follower, enabling each to have multiple experiences of assuming
each other’s movement idiom in their own bodies. They are rehearsing moving
from one to the other. The movement from improvisation to rehearsal re-defines
the process of collaboration allowing us to second sight ‘the borderlands of
experience where we feel implicated in the play of me, not me and not not me.’

In the performance we witness an epic struggle between three moving bodies.
Though the same performer begins as a clearly delineated protagonist, her two
antagonists challenge that status, providing the dynamic for a battle between all
three. Power moves from one to the other; alliances form and re-form over and
over again. This is a shadow land where integrity is off limits. Playing itself out,
it concludes in total exhaustion, but not the death of the actors, who have become
more like personified forces than people. All three figures are versions of me; their
statuses, but not their actions, are interchangeable. Nothing is disowned. The
staging has moved from its previous proscenium arrangement with its projection
screen effect and face-on presentation. The action moves in and out of the audience
who are allowed to see all sides of the actors’ bodies – to see them from different
positions, whilst at the same time removing from the audience the conceit of being
able to see everything. The movement from initial research, discovery and
disclosure has involved the struggle we have just witnessed in this performance.
It evokes the sense of an authentic self whose status is immanent and in the mak-
ing – and whose evolution in the life of an individual is the real subject of
autobiography.

L E A R N I N G T O M O V E

127

Page 155

Leaders and followers

One of the ways we learn something of the other in dance is in leader-follower
structures. We cannot literally become the other, but we can adopt their way of
moving and sense what it feels like to move in ways we could not arrive at without
attending to the moving other. We move from imitation to identification (empathy)
and incorporation in which the not me is transformed and re-presented as a
potential extension of our repertoire. This involves the complementary process of
locating and embodying the likeness of the other in our body selves. If we are open
to the other, we are moved to recognise that we do not belong to ourselves alone.

A therapeutic endeavour, open to moving and being moved, will devote close
attention to body states and the relational fields between bodies, whether or not
they are literally moving. Our bodies are moving even when they appear to be still,
because our bodies are the sites and vessels of emotion. Emotion and the motion
in emotion are experienced in the body, which is why the body is the organ, or
instrument of the counter transference.

The psychoanalytic concept of projective/introjective identification describes
and theorises the experience of psychic inter-penetration. It is foundational to our
capacity for empathy. This state of identification, in which ‘one unconsciously
subjugates oneself in order to free oneself from oneself’, as the psychoanalyst
Thomas Ogden has it, needs to be mediated by an act of imagination (Ogden, 1994,
p. 103). As in the practice of Active Imagination, we need to be able to move from
inside an experience to being outside it: to move simultaneously between
subjective and objective or, to use a theatrical metaphor, between being the actor
or mover involved in a dramatic plot or score to being the witness. Another
psychoanalyst, Christopher Bollas, addresses this complex mode of psychic
functioning in distinguishing projective identification from perceptive
identification:

If projective identification gets inside the other, perceptive identification
stands outside to perceive the other. The term “identification” means
quite different things for each concept. In projective identification it
means identifying with the object, in perceptive identification it means
perceiving the identity of the object. Both forms of knowing need to work
in tandem with one another in a creative oscillation between appreciating
the integrity of the object and perceiving its identity, and then projecting
parts of the self into the object, a form of imagination.

(Bollas, 2007, p. 68)

The analyst working with this ‘creative oscillation’ in whatever analytic idiom
models it for the so-called patient. The living body is a moving inter-action
between self and other.

R I C H A R D W A I N W R I G H T

128

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Segal, J. 87
Segal, R. E. 21
self 15, 22, 40, 68, 77–8, 82; authentic 80,

85; and ego 22–3, 255; and other
128–30, 138–9, 177, 218; paradox of
24–5; perambulation about 108, 112

self-abuse/neglect 137–9, 141
self-care system 89, 178
self-knowledge 38, 40, 101
self-regulation 121, 123, 239
sensation 199–200
separatio 123, 198, 206
The Serpent Power (Woodroffe) 259
sex-role stereotyping 87–8, 90–1
sexuality 8, 10, 44–5, 48, 50–3, 55, 77, 86,

213, 215, 217, 261–2
shadow 39, 72, 84, 87, 89–91, 147, 167,

203, 213, 217, 228; societal 246–7
Shakespeare, William 39, 118, 136, 139,

189, 230
shaman figure 69, 71, 75–7, 93
shame 36–7, 50, 89, 193, 207; gendered

205, 208, 210–11, 216–18
Sherwood, Dyane 90, 108
Shiva and Shakti 30
Shrek series (Adamson, 2001–2010) 88, 90
Siegfried 92
simulation 173, 176
Singer, Thomas 195, 197, 218
Sky Father 81
The Sleeping Beauty (Geronimi, Clark,

Luske and Reitherman, 1959) 81
sloth 135–6
Snow White (Hand, 1937) 87
Sobchak, Vivian 29
social constructions 4–5, 10, 37, 46, 48,

139, 246–7
Sol 8, 31–5, 39, 108–10
Solnit, R. 136
Solomon, Hester 25, 47, 155
solutio 85, 106, 206–7, 212–13
solve et coagula 32, 34, 41, 112
Somers, Barbara 106
soror mystica 3, 227
soul/empirical being 170–1, 174, 176–80
speech and movement 120–1
spellbound experiences 85–6
Spielrein, Sabina 139, 266–7
The Spirit in the Bottle (Grimm) 10, 92,

231, 247–8
spiritual dimension 7–10, 46, 105, 137,

149, 164–6, 196, 198, 241, 256–7, 260;
and the erotic 261–2

Spiritualism 263
Splendor Solis (Trismosin) 90, 206
stagnation 38, 76, 79, 83, 85
Star Wars (Lucas, 1977) 80–1, 88
Steinberg, W. 227
Stein, M. 86, 89, 156
stereotypes 87–8, 90–1, 205, 213
sterility 8, 76, 85
Stern, Daniel 239
Stoller, Robert 53–4
Stone, Martin 139
Storr, Anthony 267
Strebel, A. 217
stupor 212–13
subjectivity 97, 100, 128, 171,

175–6
sublation 172–3, 177
sublimatio 106, 207, 211
suffering 10, 19, 23, 25, 32–3, 73, 80,

85, 90, 203
sulphur 8, 19
symbolic language 6–8, 235–6
symbols 3, 47, 117; AIDS 216–18;

alchemy 31–2; formation 100, 108,
208, 211–12, 216, 240

Symington, N. 167
synchronicity 10, 20, 40–1, 101–5, 111,

167, 191–2, 202
synthesis 155, 198
Syrett, Karin 8
syzygy 49, 177, 201, 211, 218

Tacey, David 235
Talmud 144
Tanaka, Y. 179
Tangled (Fogelman, Grimm and

Grimm, 2010) 89
Tannic Exodus 17–18
Tantric Yoga 259
Taoist philosophy 30, 137, 141
Tarnas, Richard 202
Tarot Emperor and Empress 72
Taylor, Jill Bolt 129
temenos 109, 114, 149, 244
Temple, C. 209
Tenach: Psalm 118 16
Teresa of Avila 261–2
Teshuvah 192, 194
thanima 230, 232
Theatre du Soleil 118
theatre laboratory 115–18, 120–3, 125,

127
theory of opposites 8, 25, 30–1

I N D E X

281

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therapist–client relationship as alchemy
81–2

Thomas, Dylan 31
Thomas, G. 10
Thomas, Gail 147
Tikkun 193
time and space dimensions 36, 82, 100,

105, 201–2
Tiresias 53
Tolle, Eckart 139–40, 144–5
Totton, N. 123, 145
transcendent function 30, 40–1, 172, 176,

195, 198
transference 8, 27, 44–5, 47–9, 51, 56–7,

65, 76, 108, 117, 175–7, 182, 218
transformation 5, 9–10, 73, 90, 105, 109,

257
transitional objects 53–4
transits in astrology 100–2
transmutation 30–2, 35
transpersonal perspective 9, 190, 192–3,

196, 198
trans-rationality 159, 163–4
transvestism 8, 44–5, 50–5, 57
trapped feelings 228–9
trickster figures 37, 51–2, 88–9, 111, 193,

247
Trismosin, Solomon 105, 206
Truth and Reconciliation Commission

190, 194–5, 203
Tuby, M. 25, 147
Turner, T. 164
Turrius, Johannes 179
Tutu, Desmond 195
Tweedy, R. 129
typology 8–9, 99–100, 106, 112

ubuntu 195–6
Ulanov, A. 208
uncertainty 6, 47, 227, 232–4
unconscious 3, 7, 22, 28–9, 83, 260;

collective 2–3, 80, 93, 189, 202, 247;
psychoid 201–2, 249

unforeseen, encounters with 116, 118,
129

union of opposites 9, 44, 46, 48–9, 55–6,
74, 206–7, 213

unknowable 7, 46–7
unus mundus 10, 32, 41, 105, 137, 141–2,

150, 159, 198, 201–2
uroboric elements 54–5, 68, 76–7, 174–5,

213, 226

Vasalisa 84
vas/vessel 3, 9–10, 19, 51, 77, 109, 116,

243–4 see also claustrum as shadow vas
Vedic philosophy 30
Vesta 71
Vienna Circle 163
Virgin Mary 261–2
Vogler, C. 81
voice 120, 122, 125
von Franz, Marie Louise 10, 16, 41–2, 82,

85–6, 191–2
Voss, Karen-Claire 241

Wainwright, Richard 9
Warner, Marina 86
wasteland/wilderness 38, 85, 91–2, 194
wave-particle theory 161–3
Weil, Andrew 145
weltanschauung 29, 161
West, David 39
Whan, Michael 9
White, Richard 179
White, Victor 21
Whitmont, E. C. 94
Wilhelm, R. 30, 256
Williams, D. 118
Williams, Gianna 239
Williams, Ruth 9, 200
Willoughby, Roger 225–6
Wilson Schaef, A. 136
Winnicott, Donald 52, 116, 120, 122–4,

139–41, 145, 155–6, 158, 240, 244
wisdom 4, 42, 67, 81–4, 87, 94, 179–80
witch 84, 89; persecution 10, 90, 248
Wolff, Toni 266–7
Wolf Hall (Mantel) 90
Woodman, M. 156, 246, 250
Woodroffe, John 259–61
Word Association Experiment 263
work of psychological alchemy 37–42
Wright, Stephen 136–7, 149
Wyman-McGinty, W. 156

Yalom, Irvin D. 88
yellowing stage see citrinitas
Yin and Yang 30, 31
Yom Kippur 190, 193–4, 203
Young, A. 135, 206
Young-Eisendrath, Polly 90, 227, 252

Zacchaeus story 196
Zohar 19–20

I N D E X

282

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