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Meredith-Owen, W. (2008). Solomon, Hester McFarland. The Self in Transformation. London: Karnac Books, 2007. Pp. xx + 332. Pbk. £22.50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 53(3):437-439.

(2008). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53(3):437-439

Book Reviews

Solomon, Hester McFarland. The Self in Transformation. London: Karnac Books, 2007. Pp. xx + 332. Pbk. £22.50.

Review by:
William Meredith-Owen

Edited by:
Linda Carter and Marcus West

I would like to begin this review with a passage from Jung from which Hester Solomon quotes extensively in her opening chapter and which underscores her choice of title The Self in Transformation’ for this book. Here Jung is discussing the operation of projective processes in the writings of the alchemist and sage, Paracelsus. ‘Of course we all have an understandable desire for crystal clarity, but we are apt to forget that in psychic matters we are dealing with processes of experience, that is, with transformations which should never be given hard and fast names if their living movement is not to petrify into something static. The protean mythologem and the shimmering symbol express the processes of the psyche far more trenchantly and, in the end, far more clearly that the clearest concept; for the symbol not only conveys a visualization of the process but—and this is perhaps just as important—it also brings a re-experiencing of it, of that twilight which we can learn to understand only through inoffensive empathy, but which too much clarity only dispels’ (Jung 1945, para. 199).

Now this is resonant and evocative, but a critical view might miss the backbone of more rigorous argument and the flesh and blood of some clinical reference; and it is in both these regards that Hester Solomon's sustained and deeply considered contribution is so complementary and welcome. This book, in short, records her evolving and dynamic relationship with Jungian theory—and, most importantly, practice—over the last twenty years.

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