Psychology and Alchemy , by C.G. Jung . page 475 par 555.
” What the old philosophers meant by the Lapis has never become quite clear. This question can be answered satisfactorily only when we know exactly what the unconscious content was that they were projecting. The psychology of the unconscious alone is in a position to solve this riddle. It teaches us that so long as a content remains in the projected state it is inaccessible, which is the reason why the labours of those authors have revealed so little to us of the alchemical secret. But the yield in the symbolic material is all the greater, and this material is closely related to the process of individuation. ”
When he says ” lapis ” he is referring to the ” Lapis Philosophorum “. It is important to understand that when talking about alchemical symbology , that it is just that, symbols. They were not talking about metals and materials necessarily, they were talking about the materials as symbols. This is a language to and for the self, a way of seeing the internal. This is why most of us respond in the way we do to certain icons and symbol sets.
That being said, lets us also say that you and me are individual , but we both own the same symbols and icons with the collective unconscious. There may be infinite variations , but they are all based of certain central types, and these occur universally. In this particular post I am not proposing that we are all connected , I am summarizing a way in which I see how art can and does work. That when one delves into the depths of ones self to then bring out images, it is not surprising that when we do this in a honest way that some people respond strongly to the images. And this then it would be possible to cause change to occur with the observer….
Would the real Hieronymus Bosch please stand up ?
Now with that said , let me also relay another part of Jung’s book, that is equally important to consider.
Psychology and Alchemy , by C.G. Jung . page 99
” People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic text from the literature of the whole world–all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has gradually been turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come. Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth– the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better ! ”
This is not to say that the study of such things are fruitless, it is to say, that remember that in the end, it is you that is the focus of the study.