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The Mosaic Within

The Alchemy of Healing Self and Soul

Susan Vorhand


At first a childhood, limitless and free of any goals.
Ah, sweet unconsciousness. Then sudden terror
The plunge into temptation and deep loss
And now in vast, cold, empty space, alone,
Yet hidden deep within the grown up heart,
a longing for the first world, the ancient one…
Then from His place of ambush, God leapt out.

Rainer Maria Rilke, “Imaginary Career”

Matter and Spirit

This imperfect physical world is the perfect setting for growth, challenge and love. As we encounter the darkness and iniquity in the world and within ourselves, we have the opportunity to be creative partners with God in bringing order and light to the world and to ourselves to mend the broken vessels, as kabbalists would say, from this encounter with God.
My roots in Jewish culture and psychology invest me with who I am, my very being. My purpose in this writing is to explore the relationship between the ancient religious teachings of Judaism and Jewish Mysticism, and depth psychology, as filtered through the ideas of Carl Jung, especially his view of alchemy, which will be discussed later.
Both Judaism and alchemy deal with the sacred and the profound and have as their intention the realization of the eternal perfection of all of Creation. Some of the specific issues addressed here are:

What parallel concepts exist between Jung’s re-interpretation of Alchemy and Jewish Mysticism?

What themes appear related and which are wholly shared?

What are their perspectives on paths to reparation and individuation, self-transformation, and the altered states of consciousness of meditation, prophecy and dreams?

What symbols do the two ideologies share?

The fundamental concern of this work is a deepening of our understanding of both traditions through increasing exposure to the other, a hermeneutic inquiry.
Life’s crossroads, at the time that we are experiencing them, are often perceived as broken places. They are actually turning points, moments of relinquishing an outworn shell. Medieval alchemists called such a stage the solutio, wherein the limited self is dissolved as a prelude to a greater synthesis of being. But I am getting ahead of myself . . .
When we have a subjectively inward, mystical experience in which our inner world and our outer existence come together, we get a glimpse of the meaning that underlies our existence. It is a numinous and awe-inspiring experience and we may feel that we have experienced the sacred.
We are all works in progress, forged and shaped by the events, the stories, of our lives, and how we respond to them.

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