Jung's rediscovery of alchemy and his prolonged period of work on it cannot be separated from his early period of professional and personal development despite the fact that Jung himself was in his early fifties when he first began his serious study of alchemy. The self-imposed experimental phase of Jung's, much of which is contained in what is termed the 'Red Book, began in 1912 and lasted approximately until 1919. However, it was a crucial dream of Jung's in 1926, a year approximately after the preceding dream, that anticipated Jung's encounter with alchemy. According to the fifteenth-century alchemist Norton, 'red is the last in the work of alchemy, and according to Aristotle, the philospher's stone is the grand finale of the system. The denigration of alchemy as mere superstitious nonsense by modem rational thinking represents such a loss, and is symptomatic of the sickness of literality, so pervasive and characteristic of the last two centuries of Western civilisations.