Yes, in my intuition quest, I did brush shoulders with magic, and then receded from, for reasons I knew not. But now am encouraged by this, especially after the quote you share from Jung’s Philemon:
“…know that magic is the negation of what you know…there is nothing for you to understand…Magic happens to be precisely everything that eludes comprehension…Magic is neither to be taught nor learned. It’s foolish that you want to learn magic.”
Furthermore, the part on sacrificing solace for the black rod, a sort of sacrifice of like for like. And this speaks not only to another depth psychological formula (or to me, at least is) that I have found through the work and to put it in one sentence: “That which is sacrificed to the underworld is given in consciousness a feature that is an aspect of, or a like-quality reaction to that which is sacrificed. Call it psychic investment. We see it in the Osiris/Horus myth, the Persephone myth, the Christ myth, I think any underworld-visitation myth. I’ve mentioned Glen Slater’s “Re-Sink the Titanic” (easily found online) essay in a former Mythblast and will again here because it is an exceptional piece in laying out the structures and dynamics of sacrifice in soulful (psyche-ological) and mythological contexts. And it lays out the exchange between underworld/unconscious and conscious life regarding what one sacrifices to the below—which also includes, in my opinion, that which we unintentionally lose, which his essay addresses in a theme which is basically: “the necessary sacrifice that is not consciously offered is imposed upon the individual by the unconscious.” In short, that if we don’t take responsibility for the exchange, the unconscious will. And from there he goes on into valuable terrain that addresses the likes of shadow and of neuroses. Like in perhaps my second-favorite line of Jung’s in which the neurosis that springs from repression is but a poor “substitute for legitimate suffering.” whose context is in distinguishing repression and suppression in his Yale Terry Lecture/Psychology and Religion).
And I appreciate your emphasizing alchemy, and that specific and very important aspect of the relationship to the matter being met, from the practitioner’s side, via the conscious projections and via conscious projections that unconscious projections of personal psychic content are also being, well, projected. These days I see projection, like wrong intuitions, not as negative (as you say: to divide them as negative and positive is missing the mark)—I see projections as fingertips, reaching out to touch the mystery, truth, hidden, etc.
On that note, you mention that “Latin alchemy declined by the 18th century, Jung suggested that one reason was that the outer form of alchemy was abandoned in favor of pure imagination.”
Also, intriguing… So it loses an aspect of concreteness, or that aspect is abandoned, of the matter, the vehicle of the metaphor, the primamateria, in this shift to “pure imagination.” And I hesitate to bring up “art,” here. Especially when one considers how vehemently Jung emphasized that his work was not art. But for me, as a poet, the “matter” that I create serves very much as that tangible catalyst/bridge/fingertips. And so much of the work for me is in attending to the sacred “as is” in the profane.
Also, and even on the level of meaning as personal significance, (which as you point out, is not the case in Wolfgang Giegrich’s work, nor in Jung’s employment of the word “meaning,” the removal of this aspect, like a control in the empirical method, I value its conscious separation from the investigation to be valuable in that it makes the “connection” paradoxically all the more intimate by stripping it of the personal meaning, it becomes universal and other, like the great imagery we see in astronomical events like nebulae and images of galaxies—as when I see such, my sense of personal meaning pretty much just comes down to “Where would I fit anywhere into something like that?!” Nonetheless, in (somewhat) removing my meaningful involvement from the equation, I am strangely left with an even a “profounder” sense of awe. And by awe, I mean being replete with personal significance due to the distance or separation—after all aloneness and longing are rich in personal meaning on the emotional/experiential level.
Or to put it in Jung’s Philemon’s terms a lack of solace. Or to employ Marie-Louise von Franz’s approach in her “On Divination and Synchronicity,” where she points out the distinctions between the classifying-aspect of science and divination techniques: where the former pushes “chance” out of the center (an empiric control) and the latter pushes the “control” out of the center and approaches chance/unique event as the center.
And a your insight, from Jung: “Beware of unearned wisdom” or of “knowing what lies beyond oneself.” And especially the advice “Be content and cultivate your garden with modesty” (and again, this theme is emphasized in the essay I mention above, and which if you’ve not read, I think you would quite appreciate. Your point highlights the alchemical approach of subjecting the contents in the vessel to moderate heat, and for long durations. For me, the deeper I go into all this content, the more that precept is emphasized. And even if only (knock on wood) some 80+ years, there is time. Or rather the quality of the time we have is enriched through the patience-attitude.
Regarding quantum entanglement, not long ago I began, and then had to shelf Edmund Musser’s “Spooky Action at a Distance” to get a better sense of this phenomenon. And now I am seeing my pattern, as with magic, of abandoning paths or leaving them. As a friend once told me “a lot of this life is choosing what we’re not going to do.” Even the lucky one’s only have some 80+ years…I’m keeping to the poetry path. That is essentially my frontier and the dimension that I roam in my efforts of making contact with all this content that we have been getting into.
It has been refreshing to dialogue with you, and to learn of approaches and observations from distinctly different from mine—i.e., science and mathematics. I often point out to those who set the sciences and humanities against each other, an example of faith/belief vs. emprirical/expository: Science complements or even directly builds faith—(yes, placebo, etc.) but more important, my knowing, based on whatever scientific study, that something-or-other has been conclusively shown through rigorous trials to have this or that effect, I then have deeper faith/belief in that something-or-other’s efficacy, nature, etc. I digress. I hope to cross paths again and compare notes from our distinct approaches, as I have learned/assimilated much from our dialogue. I’m not dissuading a response from you, just wanted to express all that as the window is closing and the myriad obligations accrue. Ah, what was that that I was so enthusiastically endorsing? Ah yes, patience.