The Salt Daemon


  • Susan Courtney Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences



Jung’s inquiry into the interconnectivity of psyche and matter and body and soul included alchemical studies and his psychoid theory, which was loosely based on the dynamics of the electromagnetic field. Using Jung’s presentational methodology in which psyche and physis are held evenly, this study presents salt as a liminal, psychophysical substance animating body and soul, world and anima mundi. Salts dissociate in the solutions of the body and sea, creating the electrolytic spark of life, just as alchemical sal in solutio signals a dissociative, incoherent yet psychoactive state, which seeks recrystallization—coagulatio or coherence. The rhythmic movement between incoherence and coherence is self-organized by a fieldlike guiding force of the psychoid that I call the salt daemon, which is entangled with other such salt spirits. The salt daemon’s alternation between uneasiness and calm—the sensate conscience—works toward increasingly differentiated body-soul coherence: the alchemical sal sapientiae, embodied wisdom.