The Red Book – Carl Jung
Selections and Commentary
The Red Book of Carl Jung
Ann Ulanov is a professor of psychiatry and religion at
The Union Theological Seminary in New York City
Library of Congress, 2010
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The Red Book (SELECTIONS) – CG Jung
The Way of What is to Come
“The knowledge of your heart is how your heart is”
The supreme meaning is the beginning and the end. It is the bridge of going across and fulfillment.
The other Gods died of their temporality, yet the supreme meaning never dies, it turns into meaning and then into absurdity, and out of the fire and blood of their collision the supreme meaning rises up rejuvenated anew.
The image of God casts a shadow. The supreme meaning is real and casts a shadow. For what can be actual and corporeal and have no shadow?
The shadow is nonsense. It lacks force and has no continued existence through itself. But nonsense is the inseparable and undying brother of the supreme meaning.
Like plants, so men also grow, some in the light, others in the shadows. There are many sho the shadows and not the light.
The image of God throws a shadow that is just as great as itself.
The supreme meaning is great and small, its as wide as the space of the starry Heaven and as narrow as the cell of the living body.
The spirit of the time in me wanted to recognize the greatness and extent of the supreme meaning, but not its littleness. The spirit fo the depths, however, conquered this arrogance, and I had to swallow the small as a menas of helaing the immortal in me. It completely burnt up my innards since it was inglorious and unheroic. It was even ridiculous and revolting. But the pliers of the spirit of the depths held me, and I had to drink the bitterest of all draughts.
The spirit of the time tempted me with the thought that all this belongs to the shadowiness of the God-image. This would be pernicious deception, since the shadow is nonsense. But the small, narrow, and banal is not nonsense, but one of both of the essences of the Godhead.
I resisted recognizing that the everyday belongs to the image of the Godhead. I fled this thought, I hid myself behind the highest and coldest stars.
But the spirit of the depths caught up with me, and forced the bitter drink between my lips.
[This section continues in amazing depth.] p. 230
My soul, where are you? Do you hear me? I speak. I call you-are you there? I have returned, I am here again. I have shaken the dust of all the lands from my feet, and I have come to you, I am with you. After long years of long wansering, I have come to you again. Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, and drunk in? Or do you not want to hear about all the noise of life and the world? But one thing you must know: the one thing I have learned is that one must live this life.
This life is the way, the long sought-after way to the unfathomable, which we call divine. There is no other way, all other ways are false paths. I found the right way, it led me to you, to my soul. I have returned, tempered and purified.P. 232
He whose desire turns away from outer things, reach the place of the soul. If does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world. He becomes a fool through endless desire, and forgets the ways of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all the things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men. He has no knowledge of his soul. How could he tell her apart from things and men? He could find his soul in desire itself, but no in the objects of desire. If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.
If we possess the image of a thing, we possess half the thing.
The image of the world is half the world. He who possesses the world but not its images possesses only half the world, since his soul is poor and has nothing. The wealth of the soul exists in images. He who possesses the image of the world, possesses half the world, even if his humanity is poor and owns nothing. But hunger makes the soul into a beast that devours the unbearable and is poisoned by it. My friends, it is wise to nourish the soul, otherwise you will breed dragons and devils in your heart.
P. 232 Liber Primus
Soul and God p. 233
I wandered for many years, so long that I forgot that I possessed a soul. Where were you all this time? Which Beyond sheltered you and gave you sanctuary? Oh, that you must speak through me, that my speech and I are you symbol and expression! How should I decipher you?
Who are you, child? My dreams have represented you as a child and as a maiden. I am ignorant of your mystery. Forgive me if I babble. No one else hears me. I speak to you quietly, and you know that I am neither a drunkard nor someone deranged, and that my heart twists in pain from the wound, whose darkness delivers speeches full of mockery. “You are lying to yourself. You spoke so as to deceive others and make them believe in you. You want to be a prophet and chase after your ambition. The wound still bleeds, and I am far from being able to pretend that I do not hear the mockery.
How strange it sounds to me to call you a child, you who still hold the all-without-end in your hand. I went on the way of the day, and you went invisibly with me, putting the pieces together meaningfully, and letting me see the whole in each part.
You took away where I thought to take hold, and you gave me where I did not expect anything and time and again you brought about fate from new and unexpected quarters. Where I sowed, you robbed me of the harvest, and where I did not sow, you give me fruit a hundredfold. And time and again I lost the path and found it again where I would never have foreseen it. You upheld my belief, when I was alone and near despair. At every deicisive moment you let me believe in myself.
Like a tired wanderer who had sought nothing in the world apart from her, shall I come closer to my soul. I shall learn that my soul finally lies behind everything, and if I cross the world, I am ultimately doing this to find my soul. Even the dearest are themselves not the goal and end of the love that goes on seeking, they are symbols of the their own souls.
The spirit of this time is your measure, but the spirit of the depths surpasses it at both ends. Only the spirit of this time knows the difference between large and small. But this difference is invalid, like the spirit which recognizes it.
The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seeds from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of this time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream, since the soul is everywhere that scholarly knowledge is not.
How can I attain the knowledge of the heart? You can attain this knowledge only by living your life to the full. You live your life fully if you also live what you have never yet lived, but have left for others to live or think. You will say: “But I cannot live or think everything that others live or think.” But you should say: “The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.” It appears as though you want to flee from yourself so as not to have to live what remains unlived until now. But you cannot flee yourself. It is with you all the time and demands fulfillment. If you pretend to be blind and dumb to this demand, you feign being blind and dumb to yourself. This way you will never reach the knowledge of the heart.
The knowledge of your heart is how your heart is.
From a cunning heart you will know cunning.
From a good heart you will know goodness.
So that your undertaking becomes perfect, consider that your heart is both good and evil. You ask, “What? Should I also live evil?”
The spirit of the depths demands: “The life that you could still live, you should live. Well-being decides, not your well-being, not the well-being of others, but only well-being.
I had to recognize that I am only the expression and symbol of the soul. In the sense of the spirit of the depths, I am as I am in this visible world a symbol of the my soul, and I am thoroughly a serf, completely subjugated, utterly obedient. The spirit of the depths taught me to say: “I am the servant of the child.” Through this dictum I learn above all the most extreme humility, as what I most need.
The spirit of this time of course allowed me to believe in my reason. He let me see myself in the image of a leader with ripe thoughts. But the spirit of the depths teaches me that I am a servant, in fact the servant of a child. This dictum was repugnant to me and I hated it. But I had to recognize and accept that my soul is a child and that my God in my soul is a child.
The spirit of the depths taught me that my life is encompassed by the divine child. From his hand everything unexpected came to me, everything living.
The childish is unfruitful, what is to come in him is what already has been engendered and already withered. It does not live onward.
Your God should not be a man of mockery, rather you yourself will be the man of mockery. You should mock yourself and rise above this. If you have still not learned this from the old holy books, then go there, drink the blood and eat the flesh of him who was mocked and tormented for the sake of our sins, so that you can totally become his nature, deny his being-apart-from-you; you should be he himself, not Christians but Christ, otherwise you will be of no use to the coming God.
Is there any one among you believes he can be spared the way? Can he swindle his way past the pain of Christ? I say: “Such a one deceives himself to his own detriment. He beds down on thorns and fire. No one can be spared the way of Christ, since this way leads to what is to come. You should all become Christs.
You do not overcome the old teaching through doing less, but through doing more. Every step closer to my soul excites the scornful laughter of my devils, those cowardly ear-whisperers and poison-mixers. It was easy for them to laugh, since I had to do strange things. P. 234
On the Service of the Soul