This was the book that made Jung famous and it marked his departure from the Psychoanalytic School of thought regarding the medical treatment of mental illness. It was first published in 1912 as Symbols and Transformations of the Libido and was extensively revised in 1952. The paperback Bollingen edition that I have is based upon the 1952 rewrite. Its message? That the treatment of the so-called mentally ill, the mentally afflicted, or gifted, requires a deeper than clinical approach. I think Freud, like Jung, and Adler, and many others, Michel Foucault, and Victor Hugo, for instance, realized this, but many medical practitioners just trying to help the mentally ill had increasingly turned toward the pharmacological paradigm. Only Jung, and then after him, certain existential thinkers, fully embraced the deeper more humanistic, and hermeneutic approach that Jung pursued. I am sure that Jung was probably deeply schooled in all the new anthropology and sociology that was popping out all over place. Yes. There really WAS a countercurrent to Social Darwinism and the emergent eugenics culture that helped to propagate the horrors of genocide later on. Jung was a part of this new Renaissance. A renaissance that was put on hold by the Holocaust from 1936-1945.
Fundamentally, the book did not change all that much after 40 years though. It is divided into two major parts. The first Part is mainly a clinical review of a case of schizophrenia. The second Part is mainly Jung’s method of Amplification at work, revealing the plethora of associations that the dreams and fantasies of any consciousness can bring to light. Not just the abnormal consciousness, suffering from mental illness, but also, what we consider to be the normal consciousness not so afflicted.
Known, primarily, for its ground breaking association of processes in the human psyche with Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Alchemy, Symbols of Transformations is the keystone Book to the all important Books that followed.
But, as we readily see right off the bat, Jung was into a lot of different themes all at the same time. He talked about the Dragon repeatedly throughout his writing career, and here, in Symbols of Transformation, we find some of his earliest thoughts on the Symbolism of the Dragon.
We find Jung talking about the Dragon while he is also talking about… the Mother.
Specifically… the Duality of the Mother (think Hecate or Shiva here).
And… the role of the Mother in the Process, and Cycle… of Rebirth.
Just as the Dragon is both a supremely creative as well as destructive force… so is…
Don’t forget that. You are dealing with a walking and talking incarnation of Hecate, or Shiva, every time your Mother calls and you pick up the phone.
Very similar… to being married… to your…