Stan Marlan: Regulating the Alchemical Heat
When I was working on understanding the images that had been drawn after a severe heart attack, my wife gave me a copy of Stan Marlan’s “The Black Sun; The Alchemy and the Art of Darkness.” It had been meant for my birthday, but hid itself for several weeks and was a bit of a late present. By coincidence, the material in the book was related to the images I was working on. I thought it was such a coincidence that I called Stan Marlan to consult with him about the image. To my surprise, he was not only open to talking to me, he didn’t even charge for the consultation. He viewed my phone call as a message from the unconscious and a way of being of service to the unconscious. What a wonderful concept, and action.
This is what I wrote in the book about this encounter:
In my quest to understand these images, I talked last week with Stan Marlan, a Jungian analyst who writes about alchemy. He spoke of the pelican as an alchemical symbol of renewal, of the pelican’s part in an alchemical stage having to do with breaking open the outer shell to reveal the inner person. In the times of alchemy, the pelican was seen as digging into its own heart to provide nourishment for the young, an act of self-sacrifice.
.He also talked about how it was critically important for the alchemist to regulate the heat of the process. Clearly, this pelican was being heated; the green behind the pelican was cooling the process off, protecting him.
When I made the drawing, I was only thinking of how much I liked pelicans.
Podcast: Jung, Art and Healing