Edward F. Edinger

For a generation, Edward F. Edinger (1922-1998) was at the forefront of those carrying out the work begun by the great Swiss psychiatrist, C. G. Jung.  He is widely considered the most important Jungian analyst that America has produced. Edinger taught that a person's greatest achievement is by nature an invisible one, a level of consciousness that moves civilization ahead. In that regard, Edward Edinger's achievement is inestimable.  Dr. Edinger's seminal works include: Ego and Archetype (1972), Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy (1985), Transformation of the God-Image: An Elucidation of Jung's Answer to Job (1992), The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology (1994), The New God Image (1996), and Science of the Soul (2002).  Dr. Edinger received his medical degree from Yale University in 1946. He was a supervising psychiatrist at Rockland State Hospital in New York, a founding member of both the C.G. Jung Foundation and the C.G. Jung Institute of New York. He served as president of the New York Institute from 1968 to 1979.  For the last twenty years of his life, Edward F. Edinger lived in Los Angeles. It was here that he continued to analyze, lecture, and write most of his more than twenty books and many journal articles. Edinger wrote on four main topics: clinical, cultural, and alchemical issues; and Jung's myth for modern man, i.e. the psychological redemption of traditional religion. A unifying theme runs through them all, namely, the ego's relationship and encounter with the Self.


This Collection contains a lifetime of written work, including books and journal articles, lectures notes, course papers, and correspondence. As well, it contains audio-visual records of interviews and lectures.  It has been accepted by the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., as part of its permanent collection and is currently being digitized for future research. This public honor is significant. It acknowledges Dr. Edinger's dedication to Jung's psychology as a religious response to the "death of God" in Western civilization. It also places Dr. Edinger's own papers and letters alongside those of Lincoln and Emerson whom he so admired and in whose lineage he stands.  An image expresses this understanding. It was painted shortly after his first dream in analysis with M. Esther Harding, M.D., who was analyzed by C. G. Jung.

The dream is as follows:

After some difficulty, I caught a golden-colored fish. It was jumping up from the floor; I managed to catch it with a particular method. And then my task was to extract the blood from that fish and heat it until it reached a permanently fluid state. So I was in a laboratory, and I had a beaker of this fish blood that was being heated to make it permanently fluid. And the danger was that the blood might clot during this process. As I was in the laboratory boiling the blood of this fish, an older man—he was a scientist, a man that I had worked with in a research capacity—came into the laboratory and told me what I was doing would never work. The blood was sure to clot, he said. But I didn't think so, and I was going to continue heating it. I felt quite sure that it was going to succeed.

Eventually, Dr. Edinger interpreted the dream to mean that his life work in the "laboratory" of Jungian psychology was to "extract" the meaning of the Christian myth, all myths, and help to provide a new, more modern "container" so that the "life blood" of our culture would continue to "flow." The materials in this Archive demonstrate that he was successful.

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