'the world of alchemical symbols does not belong to the rubbish heap of the past, but stands in a very real and living relationship to our most recent discoveries concerning the psychology of the unconscious' c.g. jung
I had never heard of this work until I came across this rather wacky book cover-it piqued my curiosity and I went on a search to discover more about it. Mysterium Coniunctionis was Jung's last full length work, in it he presented his research on alchemy and its contribution to psychology and human self-understanding. Alchemy, a sort of protoscience that contributed to the emergence of modern chemistry and science, had/s three major goals: the transmutation of base metals into gold; the creation of a panacea-elixir of life; and was committed to the discovery of a universal solvent,
"Alchemy is the art of liberating parts of the Cosmos from temporal existence and achieving perfection which, for metals is gold, and for man, longevity, then immortality and, finally, redemption. Material perfection was sought through the action of a preparation (Philosopher's Stone for metals; Elixir of Life for humans), while spiritual ennoblement resulted from some form of inner revelation or other enlightenment," H.J. Shepherd.
Alchemy has obviously been around a long time and was very integral to the development of Western civilization and culture. I have noticed lately that it appears to be making a comeback of sorts. Writer Erik Davis notes that 'many of the earliest books on electricity described the force in distinctly alchemical terms, dubbing it the "ethereal fire," the "quintessential fire," or the "desideratum," the long-sought universal panacea,' in his book, Techgnosis. Damon Albarn's opera project Dr. Dee (well worth a listen in my opinion) was about the great alchemist Dr. John Dee, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, whose secret moniker for private communication with the Queen was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming (yes, that's where 007 came from). Old ideas and influences don't go away, they are eclipsed and ignored for a time, then often picked back up and rejiggered for a new time and a new perspective.
I don't have much of a point here, other than to note, that alchemy, rooted as it is, in a pre-modern view of how the world works, remains a source of influence in small and often unnoticed ways in our world, and I find that interesting. Jung was not willing to dismiss the symbolism of alchemy but sort to understand its influence, meaning and contribution to the emerging world of psychology, and somewhere along the way someone designer put together a particularly cheesy book cover that piqued my curiosity enough to get me exploring the field a little more.