Alchemical Active Imagination

By: Marie-Louise Von Franz

Looking backward historically, we can say that what we see now as two things, and which for the sake of clarity we try to keep apart – namely a difference between what in Jungian terms we call the collective unconscious and what in physics we call matter – were, in alchemy, always one: the psyche.  You know that Jung too was convinced that they were one and the same unknown, appearing different to us depending on whether we observe it from without or within.  If your approach is extraverted and you observe it from without, you call it matter.  If your approach is introverted and you observe it from within, you call it the collective unconscious.   AAI, 11

By physika he means the recipe aspect of chemistry, and by mystika he means the theoretical religious-philosophical aspect attained by meditation.   AAI, 11

So all acids are male because they corrode, they attack other materials.  Silver, on the other hand, is female and passive because it is very easily attacked and corrodes easily. 

The ultimate dynamic impulse to become a physicist is based up on the desire to find out more about how God works.

When, during a discussion with Niels Bohr, Einstein suddenly with affect exclaimed, “God does not play dice,” he gave himself away.  Similarly, after hearing that the principle of parity was no longer completely valid but had been broken, Pauli’s first words were, “Then God is left-handed after all.”  That amounted to the same thing!  So you see, scientists are still true alchemists, in a modern version, and their interest in investigating the mystery of matter is still not carried only by material impulses, or opportunism, or academic ambition, as it is with minor minds.  The really great and creative scientists have the same motivation as the alchemists: to find out more about that spirit or divine substance or whatever you may call it, which lies behind all existence.   AAI, 13