Carl Jung was an important 20th century alchemist, but he did not spend years in a tower with beakers and flasks. The transformation he searched for was within himself. Psychology and Alchemy (Princeton University Press 1980) has been widely available, though not so widely accessible, and in the 21st century his notebook The Red Book was published (W.W. Norton 2009).
The Red Book is like a journal, but is much more. He illustrated his dreams and visions. This drawing of a Mandala reminds me of some of the images in the Voynich Manuscript. Here is an image from the Red Book and an image from the German alchemy book Die Gab Gottes 1598
Jung said, ”The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is “secret,” i.e., known only through vague hints but essentially unknown. The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. In seeking to explore it he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it. In order to explain the mystery of matter he projected yet another mystery – his own psychic background -into what was to be explained.” –Psychology and Alchemy (Part 3 Chapter 2).
In the Hermetica of Elysium I tried to show both aspects of the medieval alchemists. I wanted to describe how the people who were focused on earthly treasure and power sought to gain an advantage over their competitors using any means possible…including maintaining a resident alchemist who was supposed to be working on turning base metals to gold, while at the same time he was really working on discoveries of the mind. This is a fertile field for adventure and excitement…how could a novelist resist?
Jung spent years in research, and his collected works would take years to study. His ideas about what it means to be a human being have tremendously influenced the field of psychology. His Synchronicity theories tie in with String Theory and link psychology with theoretical physics in ways that make both psychologists and physicists uncomfortable.
Remember, magic is just science we don’t understand.