“There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Springtime and Easter bring thoughts of renewal as nature–and, perhaps, men–leave the often misunderstood darkness of Winter. That this brings many of us a reaffirmation of our spirituality, regardless of the name of our religion, cannot be doubted. Or, perhaps if can be doubted, but for many of us renewal is as natural as the seasons.

Symbols of renewal. Wikipedia Photo

Carl Jung, in his Red Book, referred to the spirit of the times as a force or set of forces that drew men into the temporal clutches of popular thinking. We often lose confidence in ourselves because the spirit of the times often seems so chaotic, fragile, focused on expedient ends, and sometimes predicts that one kind of doom or another is all the future holds.

It’s hard to ignore the spirit of the times because it’s our common currency. Yet, it sows doubt and can lead us to believe that renewal is something for another time eons into the future or am experience many steps or miles away from wherever we appear to be stuck at the moment.

The spirit of the depths, as Jung called it, appears as madness and insanity to those trying to live “properly” within the consensus spirit of the times. Yet that spirit contains all the great truths, everything that can be known about the cosmos and the Creator behind it and within it. We’re afraid of it and believe its truths are beyond us. So, we often speak of our spiritual journey as a lifetime or multi-lifetime trip. We look for destinations that “matter” and “steps that seem important” and experiences that seem to hold the keys to transformation. It’s vain to think otherwise, we believe, because the spirit of the times continues to lead us to believe that important goals take years to accomplish, and who are we to find the creator in a moment?

And yet, I cannot help but think that spiritual renewal–unlike the clock-like cycle of the seasons–has no timetable. Perhaps we rush hither and yon without grasping how we are changing and why we are going one place or another. While Springtime and Easter remind us of renewal, I rather think it’s always an eye blink away–whenever we’re ready. There’s no hurry: we’re ready when we’re ready, though it seems that we deny how close it may be by brainwashing ourselves to think it’s far away.

Like the “force” in Star Wars, it’s with us always. We’ll hear it better if we can tune out the loud and clamoring voices around us that tempt us to follow one fad or political party or spiritual journey of the moment.  That’s when we finally grasp that we’re already at the place where we’ve been going.


Briefly noted: ‘Red Sulfur’ by Robert Bosnak

Man is a thinker.redsulfur
 He is that what he thinks.
When he thinks fire
he is fire.
When he thinks war,
he will create war.
Everything depends
if his entire imagination
will be an entire sun,
that is, that he will imagine himself completely
that what he wants.
— Paracelsus

Red Sulphur: The Greatest Mystery in Alchemy [Kindle Edition], by Robert Bosnak, Red Sulphur Publications (December 8, 2014), 508pp

As I read this book, I cannot help but think of author Katherine Neville (The Eight, The Fire) who popularized the magical saga long before Dan Brown took the form to even larger audiences. I also cannot help but note that Robert Bosnak is a long-time Jungian analyst with widely-read nonfiction books to his credit who has studied alchemy for years. Jung was also a student of alchemy, seeing it as widely applicable to the understanding and development of the self. The heritage behind Red Sulphur brings great promise to this novel.

From the Publisher: It is 1666, the Year of the Beast, seen by many as the moment the Devil will appear on earth.

Science is in ascendance, crowding out other systems of thought. The ancient art of alchemy is in retreat. No one has been able to make the Philosophers’ Stone for over a hundred years, but many of the best minds of the age are still in a desperate search for it. Stories vividly abound how alchemists of yore had created a powerful stone of sorcery, rejuvenating all it touches — turning decrepit old lead into precious fresh gold. A universal medicine known to the alchemists by its true name: Red Sulphur.

From the Novel’s Epigraph: “This saga is based on the last verified historical reports by credible withesses about a mysterious transmutation. It follows the lives of a great alchemist and the two extraordinary women he loves. The last in the world in possession of the miraculous Red Sulphur, the source of all creative powers, they are pursued by dark forces and powerful world leaders. This is a visionary tale spanning two generations in the last days when magic was strong. It is the story of the final embers of the long gone days when the Magi could still do what we, children of science, hold to be impossible.”

Editorial Reviewer Comment: “A book both compelling and haunting. Robert Bosnak’s saga Red Sulphur traces the history of the split between alchemy and science in a tale of lust, greed and abiding passion.” – Penny Busetto:



From the author’s Amazon Page: “ROBERT BOSNAK grew up in Holland, trained in Switzerland, and has studied alchemy for over 40 years. He is a noted Jungian psychoanalyst specialized in dreaming with a practice in Los Angeles, and is the author and editor of 7 books of non-fiction in the fields of dreams, health, and creative imagination. His bestselling A Little Course in Dreams was translated into a dozen languages. He developed a method called ’embodied imagination’ used widely in psychotherapy and applied worldwide to a variety of creative endeavors. The Red Sulphur saga is his first published work of fiction. He lives in the mountains of Santa Barbara.”

You have to be an alchemist, a Jungian or a mystic to love this book. That’s the beauty of it as a saga. You don’t need footnotes; instead, you need simply to love a story. The story might change you in ways you don’t expect, but then reading always has that kind of power over those who resonate with the characters, plots and themes.


Seeker for promo 1Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism and contemporary fantasy novels including “The Seeker.”

Briefly Noted: ‘Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way’

“Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way,” edited by Patricia Damery and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, Fisher King Press; First edition (April 15, 2012), 196 pages

From the Publisher:

When Soul appeared to C.G. Jung and demanded he change his life, he opened himself to the powerful forces of the unconscious. He recorded his inner journey, his conversations with figures that appeared to him in vision and in dream in The Red Book. Although it would be years before The Red Book was published, much of what we now know as Jungian psychology began in those pages, when Jung allowed the irrational to assault him. That was a century ago.

How do those of us who dedicate ourselves to Jung s psychology as analysts, teachers, writers respond to Soul’s demands in our own lives?  If we believe, with Jung, in “the reality of the psyche,” how does that shape us? The articles in Marked By Fire portray direct experiences of the unconscious; they tell life stories about the fiery process of becoming ourselves.

Contributors to this edition of the Fisher King Review include: Jerome S. Bernstein, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, Jacqueline Gerson, Jean Kirsch, Chie Lee, Karlyn Ward, Henry Abramovitch, Sharon Heath, Dennis Patrick Slattery, Robert Romanyshyn, Patricia Damery, and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky.

From Co-editor Patricia Damery

In a recent blog post, Patricia Damery (“Snakes,” “Goatsong”) mentioned that a guest at an event for this book asked why and how the chapters in this anthology came to be so interesting, to be more than simply personal stories.

Damery said, in part, that, “The personal stories in Marked by Fire are not journal entries but ones much further down the line, ones that have been “worked.” That is what analysis does: it takes the raw material of everyday life, the prima materia, and composts it, until it fertile ground, food for soul development. Although complexes may still be there, they do not obliterate contact with the Self or the Divine.”

These stories have a much wider application than analytical psychology, impacting everyone who appreciates the depth and scope of Carl Jung, comparative mythology, and the trials and joys of every seeker/self on the path.

You May Also Like: New York and Romance the Way We Were, my review of Mark Helprin’s “In Sunlight and In Shadow”


Kindle Edition

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary fantasy novels and the recent paranormal Kindle/Nook short story “Moonlight and Ghosts.” The story draws on Campbell’s experience as a unit manager at a developmental center.