When we talk aboutRed bookof Carl Jung, which contains between his pages the alchemy of a spirit who aspired to travel in the underworld to save his soul.We are faced with an enigmatic and fascinating intellectual inheritance, the Holy Grail of the unconscious for many, and for others, the work of a madman who, at a given moment, ended up repudiating humanity.
If there is one mystery still to be solved in the world of psychology, it is the one that concerns this manuscript written by Carl Gustav Jung between 1914 and 1930.It is an unfinished work, a book halfway between the prophetic, mystical and psychological domains;Moreover, he enjoys amazing illustrations where deities mingle with ancestral demons.
"The spirit of my time advanced and dropped enormous volumes in front of me, which contained all my knowledge, and its pages were made of ore."
-Red book, Carl Jung-
Few people venture to give a logical and rational explanation of what the father of analytic psychology was trying to achieve with hisLiber Novus.However, he was perhaps not trying to do anything in particular; it may not be necessary to look with scientific and objective eyes on work that, in reality,could have responded to a cathartic exercise, to a personal therapywith which he would let his mental demons run at a moment of existential crisis.
It may have been nothing but that. Nevertheless, one thing is obvious:After Jung's death, his family carefully and locked the manuscript in a house in Kusnacht, a suburb of Zurich.No one was to approach this work, not even his students or his companions. Later, in 1984, theRed bookorLiber Novuswas transferred to a bank. It was not until 2009 that Ulrich Hoerni, grandson of Jung, authorized his publication. A widely anticipated event that left almost without words the experts and the laypersons …
TheRed bookof Jung, the work of a spirit in crisis
"This spiritual force has subdued the pride and arrogance of my ability to discern, it has taken away my faith in science, stripped me of the satisfaction that the understanding and the order of things gave me and allowed me to die. in me the devotion to the ideals of our century, it pushed me towards simpler things, precious and elementary ".
–Liber Novus,Carl Gustav Jung-
This is one of the paragraphs in the first chapter of theRed bookfrom Carl Jung.For those who know his works and have not yet attacked this work, it must be said that the first thing you feel will be a sense of strangeness,of contradiction and the feeling of having a sometimes wild world in your hands. It is almost a Bible of all that is sacred and forbidden, wrapped in red leather and inhabited in turn by beautiful cream-colored parchments inundated with golden letters.
It is interesting to note that at the time of its publication,many Jungians, as was the case with Andrew Samuels, hastened to say that Jung did not suffer from any mental disorder.Some venture to say that this work is nothing other than the result of a psychotic crisis that Jung could have lived after his discrepancies with Freud.
It was not the case. In reality, Carl Jung was experiencing a deep personal crisis and the beginning of a new stage in his life, one that led to a later intellectual evolution.The writing of this manuscript began in 1914, just at the beginning of the First World War,the moment when this Swiss doctor and psychiatrist felt a deep disappointment towards humanity and a sullen skepticism towards the scientific rationalism of his time.
The cathartic purpose of theRed book
TheRed bookis above all a diary.The difficulty we encounter in deciphering this whole set of symbols, codes and auto-alchemy is therefore the simple fact that no one can dissemble or dissect this body composed of a foreign spirit, especially if this spirit is that of one of the greatest representatives of the dream world.
In these pages,Jung explored his own psyche, his relationships with the subconscious and all that deep architecturein the midst of which he was, of course, a privileged explorer. He used the psychonautical technique to shape each page; he did so with an active imagination created from meditation, an imagination that allowed him to let images flow, those to which they would give shape with an illustration and a description.
So, and this way,all this set of archetypes that he will develop laterbegan to appear; his darkest universes also emerged, as well as that shadow that we do not often want to recognize but which also belongs to our authentic being.
Curious and wonderful data that appeared after the publication of theRed bookin 2009 is thatmany testimonials from people who had been Carl Jung's patients emerged.They understood the purpose of this work.
While some were tearing their hair against this literary ocean inhabited by wisdom trees, reptilian brains, devouring dragons or kundalini snakes, othersremembered a tip that Dr. Jung used to give them:
"I recommend that you write your thoughts, your emotions, and your feelings in a beautifully bound book.Visit visualization, meditate, relax, and your power will be released … When these things are in your free love, you will be able to to use it to look at the pages, it will be for you your church-your cathedral-the silent place of your mind where you can update yourself.If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and that you listen to it you will lose your soul and this book will be his soul ".Share
A wise counsel of a great master whose shadow, which has the form of an intellectual heritage,Delight us and surprise us again.