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Aion, originally published in German in 1951, is one of the major works of Jung's later years. The central theme of the volume is the symbolic representation of the psychic totality through the concept of the Self, whose traditional historical equivalent is the figure of Christ. Jung demonstrates his thesis by an investigation of the Allegoria Christi, especially the fish symbol, but also of Gnostic and alchemical symbolism, which he treats as phenomena of cultural assimilation. The first four chapters, on the ego, the shadow, and the anima and animus, provide a valuable summation of these key concepts in Jung's system of psychology.
One of his later works in the collected series of hardcovers dealing with the mythology of self behind the religious nature of the Christ figure.
"Aion contains some of Jung's most advanced thinking on the integrative principles of the psyche, and on the relation of matter to the symbolic processes of the collective unconscious. This is difficult ground to explore, but those who attempt the journey will find that their horizons have been surprisingly widened."--Psychosomatic Medicine
I consider myself a fairly large fan of Jung's work and while I'm no scholar, I have read a good portion of his collected works.
That said, this book was a terrible disappointment. It was less about his psychological ideas and more about his (albeit impressively) encyclopedic knowledge of alchemy and other ancient religions.
If you do happen to be looking for a comparative look at alchemy, Jewish mysticism and Egyptian religion, this would be an incredible book, but if you're looking for a book about psychology and Jung's own ideas you'll get little more out of reading the book than you will by reading the description on the back cover. Even the short chapters titled ego, shadow and anima and animus say less about those ideas then the other works in which he mentions them.
Especially since part 1 of volume 9 brings up most of the ideas expanded upon ad nauseum in part 2, Aion is only worth reading as an intellectual curiousity and even just barely that.
Posted January 30, 2010
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