Exciting times! Via various sources, including the intrepid Wild Hunt, I have been made aware of a new book being published by one of my most influential mentors and heroes. “The Red Book” by Carl Gustav Jung, is the magnum opus of one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. The Red Book is a richly illustrated and deeply personal text that chronicles the individual journey of Jung into the depths of his own psyche and the Underworld itself. I have been a fan of Jung ever since I was introduced to him during my college years by Colin Smith, a counselor of some local renown in Durango. Jung’s emphasis on dreams, mythology, vision, and spirituality resonated with me on a deep personal level that has helped to shape my own worldview down to the present day.
Being dubbed, “the Holy Grail of the Unconscious”, “The Red Book” has been in the stewardship of Jung’s family for close to a hundred years. Since the text is such a personal account of Jung’s inner life, the Jung family has resisted all attempts at publishing the book for years. After, however, some bits and pieces of the book were found in other locals, the risk that the book would be quoted out of context has made the Jung family rethink it’s secrecy. I think to the benefit of all. I can, however, understand the Jung families reluctance to publish such a personal journey of one of their kin. It cannot have been an easy decision.
The saga of the books origin and it’s history to publication reads almost like a Dan Brown novel. An excellent account of it has been written up in the New York Times, a very worthwhile read. I think this book has real potential for changing human consciousness, and can’t wait to immerse myself in it. One of the quotes by Jung himself that may shed some light on how he viewed this book really struck home:
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul.”
The Red Book sounds like it literally is one mans account of his own soul. I am immensely grateful to Jung for leaving this account behind. As a recent student of Faery Seership, I was struck by the fact that this chronicles a seven year descent into the Underworld/Innerworld. The seven year initiation period is a frequent motif in stories about seers and I was amazed to see it pop up with Jung as well.
I have a feeling that this book was meant to come out now, and I am interested to see how or if the psychological community embraces it. I am also interested to see what effect it has on paganism, and the occult in the years to come.