Dissertation Title:

The Alchemy of Divorce: Mysterium Disiunctionis


Sam Christopher Allevato

Date, Time & Place:

February 26, 2024 at 2:00 pm
Hyflex defense


This hermeneutic study researches the archetypal experience of divorce through alchemy. Divorce is a psychological ordeal that is painful, persistent, and an assiduous institution of American culture. The decision to divorce a soulmate creates a unique and under analyzed psychological gap between the subjective experience of divorce and the psyche’s archetypal factors of disconnection from a mysterious background of the unconscious. Alchemy as symbolic or metaphorical modes of understanding the psyche, as established by C. G. Jung, provides the lens through which to explore the archetypal experience of dissolution generated by divorce. The literature clarifies how modern couples frequently expect a spouse to meet individual expectations for personal growth but are often disappointed with post-wedding-day reality. A fiery divorce can result, which then provides the prima materia for analysis of archetypal influences at work. Divorce summons forth objective psychological factors constellating in the Mysterium Disiunctionis. As Jung demonstrated, an unconscious psychic reality influences consciousness. Thus, recovery from divorce is incomplete if based solely upon personal or subjective conditions stirred by ego consciousness-driven endeavors. This study was conducted upon the established demarcation between subjective experience and objective dynamics and seeks to provide a re-visioned approach to divorce utilizing Jung’s alchemical opus as a scientific precept of analytical psychology. Not every divorce is influenced by archetypal factors; however, for the many that are, analytical findings underscore the importance of bringing depth psychological understanding to divorce to resuscitate the psyche from drowning under the murky chaos of the dissolution of marriage.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, ZZ, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Safron Rossi
  • Reader: Dr. Sukey Fontelieu
  • External Reader: Dr. Stanton Marlan
  • Keywords: Alchemy, Archetypal Psychology, Depth Psychology, Disiunctio, Divorce, Individuation, Mythology, Nigredo, Prima Materia, Separatio, Solutio, Sublimatio