Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review: Pregnant Darkness

Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness by Monika Wikman is an excellent introduction to Jungian psychology and the use of alchemy for personal transformation. My guess is that "pregnant darkness" refers to the subconscious mind and the wealth of treasures there if you know how to look for them. Dreams are prominent in the book as indicators of progress and what needs to be worked on.

Alchemy is the art and science of transformation. In the case of this book, what is being transformed is yourself. The important concepts in alchemy, for example, the philosophers' stone and the first matter, are explained in relation to psychology. Mythology is used to help explain the concepts. The story of King Midas, for example, is given as an illustration of what happens when you refuse to admit when you're being a jackass. That points to what seems to be a prevailing theme of the book: don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and own up to your shadow self. And that makes sense. After all, isn't admitting there's a problem the first step of recovery?

This book is not for newbies, but should prove very helpful with some background knowledge.

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