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Alchemy and the Transformation of Self

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1277
Section 001
Instructor Lee Robbins
Days TR
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM



The focus of this course is the history of the human being’s need to turn what is painful about the human condition into something beautiful. We explore the etymology of the word‘transformation’ and ask ourselves why humans have invoked the ecstasies and agonies of the process to explore the breadth and depth of the human psyche as it moves toward greater degrees of consciousness of self and world. We answer these questions by tracing the ancient science of alchemical transformation from its roots in the Stone Age, through the Eastern spiritual practices of China and India, into the embalming practices of ancient Egypt and the astrological symbol system of the Greeks, culminating in the work of C.G. Jung who discovered the ancient art of alchemy as the philosophical antecedent and language to his own transformational psychology, and so introducing the ancient art into the post modern world. The course culminates in The Alchemy Project where students will have the opportunity to experience transformation in thier own lives. Readings include: Eliade’s  The Forge and the Crucible ; Edward Edinger’s  Anatomy of the Psyche ; Stan Marlan’s  Black Sun ; Edinger’s  Mystery of the Coniunctio  and selections from  The Alchemy Reader  and  Splendor Solis , together with readings from the Buddha, Freud, Jung and Hillman.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)