1st Edition

Transformation of the Psyche
The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis

ISBN 9781138872608
Published June 28, 2015 by Routledge
248 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Written by Joseph L. Henderson, one of the first generation of Jungian analysts, and Dyane N. Sherwood, a practising analyst, this book is a striking and unique contribution to the resurgence of interest in alchemy for its way of representing the phenomenology of creative experience.

Transformation of the Psyche is organized around 22 illuminated paintings from the early Renaissance alchemical manuscript the Splendor Solis, and is further illustrated by over 50 colour figures. The images of the Splendor Solis are possibly the most beautiful and evocative alchemical paintings to be found anywhere, and they are widely known to students of alchemy. Jung reproduced several Splendor Solis images in his works, yet prior to this book no one has explored the symbolism of the paintings as a series in relation to the process of depth psychological transformation. This book is the first scholarly study of the paintings in their entirety, and of the mythological and historical allusions contained within the images. Transformation of the Psyche does not simply explain or analyze the pictures, but invites the reader to participate in the creative and transforming process evoked by these images.

Transformation of the Psyche is a truly unique book that will be of immense value and interest to analysts and psychotherapists, as well as scholars of mediaeval and renaissance intellectual history and students of spiritual disciplines.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Alchemy and Modern Depth Psychology. The Ancient Roots of Alchemy. Alchemy in Classical Greece and Post-Classical Alexandria. Arabic Alchemy. Alchemy in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Paracelsus and the Nature of the Soul. The Splendor Solis. The First Series (11 plates): A Sick Sun and a Healthy Sun. Setting out on a Journey. The Inner Quest. The King and Queen. Digging for Gold. The Philosophical Tree. The Drowning King. The Ethiopian. The Hermaphrodite. The Golden Head. The Alchemist in the Bath. The Second Series (7 plates): In the Heart of the Dragon. Three Quarreling Birds. A Three-Headed Bird. A Three-Headed Dragon. The Peacock. The Muse. The New Sun as Inward Light. The Process in the Second Series. The Third Series (4 plates): The Dark Sun. Children at Play. Women Washing. The Journey's End.

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Joseph L. Henderson, M.D., began his analysis with C.G. Jung in 1929 and continued to work with Jung until 1938, when he completed his medical training at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. In 1941, he moved to San Francisco and began his psychiatric and analytic practice. Dr. Henderson was one of the founders of the Society of Jungian Analysts of Northern California (1950), and for the past 53 years he has been an important teacher and training analyst to several generations of analysts.
Dyane N. Sherwood, Ph.D., is an analyst-member and on the teaching faculty of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she has served as Associate Editor of The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal. Dr. Sherwood is in private practice in Woodside, California.


"I am certain this book will continue to be of great value to analytic candidates and seasoned analysts alike, but will also have broad appeal to the academic community and for many educated readers in general." - Stanton Marlan, Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 54, 2009

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