Aksel Haaning

The Emotion as ‘Seeking Knowledge’ in Alchemy and Hermetic Philosophy

How can The core of C. G. Jung’s and Marie-Louise von Franz’ motivation and decision to publish the medieval manuscript ‘Aurora consurgens.’ (CW 14/companion volume; GW 14/3) lead to a modern way of interpretation?

“If the reader allows this text to work directly upon his or her feelings, he or she will be struck first of all by the high-sounding poetic language …” (slightly modified) and one could continue: … by the emotional tone of the entire text. – In these words, Marie-Louise von Franz introduces the reader to the massive edition of the ‘Aurora consurgens’; in Jung’s foreword he identifies it as “an extraordinary state of mind” (CW 12 p. 376).

The text describes a way of understanding by feeling toned experience of a religious kind – that is, in the language of the Middle Ages. Today we need modern concepts of emotion as an experienced kind of knowledge; a kind of knowledge that transforms the knower, the one who knows. The text is a magnificent stream of consciousness, or rather stream of unconsciousness, in which an experienced transformation of the once known into a completely new kind of awareness is being established. By reading the process is going on in the reader. My lecture intends to describe exactly how this can happen and what is going on in the emotional capacity of the modern reader, by the reading process. The lecture will re-address Jung’s motivation for the discovery and decision to publish and von Franz’ commentary on it as modern ways to make reinterpretation for emotion and religiosity.


Aksel Haaning, PhD., is a full time associate professor, Roskilde University; lecturer at the C.G. Jung Institute Copenhagen, guest lecturer annually C.G. Jung Institute Zürich, Küsnacht since 2014. Lectures and seminars on Psychology and Alchemy (2018), seminar on Paracelsica (1942). Jung’s forgotten book on alchemy (2019) and forthcoming “The Spirit Mercurius” (1942) in Summer 2022.

Aksel has published: “Jung’s Quest for the Aurora consurgens”, Journal of Analytical Psychology 59 (2014) pp.8-30 and recently published a complete translation of the Latin text into Danish, raising all questions of authorship, manuscripts etc. Academic Publisher Copenhagen.


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