1st Edition

The Self and the Quintessence A Jungian Perspective

By Christine Driver Copyright 2020
    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The Self and the Quintessence explores Jung’s work on number symbolism and the alchemical journey and considers how they act as metaphors underpinning theories about the development of the self and individuation. It goes on to consider the implications of these dynamics in terms of the symbol of the quintessence and what this represents psychologically.

    Initially exploring number symbolism and the way numbers can express dimensionality and emergence, this book explores the theories which underpin Jung’s ideas about the self and its complexity, including the dynamics of opposites, the transcendent function, and the symbol of the quaternity (fourness). The book then explores the symbol of the quintessence from a theoretical and clinical perspective and also in relation to its use in alchemy and physics. It goes on to consider the symbolic and psychological significance of the quintessence in relation to complexity, emergence, individuation, wholeness, truth and the spirit of matter.

    Extending Jungian ideas to explore the archetypal symbol of the quintessence and its psychological significance, The Self and the Quintessence will be of great interest to Jungian academics, researchers and clinicians, and anyone looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of Jungian psychology.

    Acknowledgements and Biography; Glossary of Specific Terms; Section 1. Orientation, Themes and the Symbolic Significance of Number; Orientation and Themes; The Symbolic Significance of Number; Section 2. Number as a Symbol of Psychological Development; The Dynamics of the Opposites; Triadicity, Thirdness and the Transcendent Function; The Symbolic Significance of Four: A Quaternity; Section 3. Exploring Wider Perspectives; Dimensions of the Self; Physics, Psychology and the Quintessence; Alchemy and the Quintessence; Section 4. The Quintessence; The Quintessence: An Overview.; The Quintessence: The Fifth as a Symbol of Psychological Development, Emergence and Psychological Truth; The Quintessence: The Teleological Nature of the Self, Individuation and a Symbol of Wholeness and the Spirit of Matter; The Quintessence: A Final Perspective; Index


    Christine Driver is a Jungian analyst, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer.

    "A marvelous synthesis exploring the animation of psyche and nature through the lens of the quintessence is offered by Christine Driver. With a rich background in the sciences and analytic psychology brought fully to the fore, Dr. Driver opens new vistas in the imagination through examining this rarely investigated notion. Ancient wisdom delivered in the 21st century idiom of complexity and emergence makes this a book worthy of careful study. The reader will be well rewarded for delving into the mysteries illuminated within."

    Joe Cambray, President/CEO, Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA.

    "Where Jung’s and von Franz’s work on number symbolism focused on the first four integers, Driver boldly takes up the task of exploring the fifth — the quintessence. With wide-ranging scholarship impressively grounded in clinical insight, she uses the symbol of the quintessence to carry the reader on an exhilarating journey to the limits of thought about the nature of the self, the process of individuation, and the spirit of matter."

    Roderick Main, Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK.

    "An intelligent, compact, and extremely accessible book on an otherwise complicated and overlooked subject in Jungian studies. Christine Driver takes us on a fascinating journey through numbers by exploring their crucial role in establishing the dynamic conditions for the development of personality. We are treated along the way to a feast of insights into the inner workings of the psyche."

    Lucy Huskinson, Deputy Head of the School of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences at Bangor University, UK, and author of Nietzsche and Jung: the whole self through the union of opposites.