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Brierley, M. (1941). The Integration of the Personality: By Carl G. Jung. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1940. Pp. 313. Price 15 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 22:172-174.

(1941). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 22:172-174

The Integration of the Personality: By Carl G. Jung. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1940. Pp. 313. Price 15 s.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

Jung's attention was drawn to the literature of alchemy by his interest in a special type of dream sequence. He illustrates this type by quoting a short series from a woman patient and a longer sequence obtained from a young man. He thinks these dreams express in symbols the occurrence in the dreamer of a psychological process of integration that he calls 'individuation'. The arresting feature about the symbols used and the serial story told in them is their close agreement with the imagery used by the alchemists. Jung therefore concludes that the sincere alchemists were never concerned with actual transmutation, e.g. of concrete lead into concrete gold, but with 'individuation', 'the unconscious centralizing processes that form the personality' (p. 276). 'By this I do not mean to say that we have in any way come closer to the secret of this process, but we see it in a new light, through the medium of symbols, clearly enough to make an attempt to save the honour of ancient alchemy' (p. 268). He thinks the alchemist undertook laboratory work because in so doing he had psychic experiences which he 'projected' into the chemical processes (presumably in much the same way as a crystal gazer sees visions in a crystal).

It is impossible to go into detail here. Briefly, the initial stages of the psychological process are often represented by a journey (e.g. a going down to the water) in the course of which great dangers are faced and significant persons or animals encountered.

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