Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Jung, Carl Gustav, and Alchemy

  • Alane Sauder-MacGuireEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_362

The practice of the alchemical arts has its origin in the second or third century BCE in Greece. It spread through the ancient Near and Far East. In the most basic understanding, alchemy has always been about transformation and remains so in the psychological theory of Carl Jung. The name, alchemy, in fact, derives from the Arabic al-kimia meaning the art of transformation.

Transformation in alchemy is effected by the realization of oppositions and the subsequent reconciliation of those opposites. The work involved discerning oppositions and then reconciling what often seem irreconcilable opposites. The goal was to produce a unity and wholeness that was then incorruptible and was able to transcend oppositions. This remained for the alchemist and so remains today for the psychotherapist using an alchemical model in his practice: an ideal never attained, but aspired to. In fact, the attainment of the goal would put an end to the growth as well as the needs for growth of the personality...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Jung, C. G. (1953). The collected works of C. G. Jung. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New YorkUSA