The Red Book – Carl Jung – on CBC Ideas

Arrived home late last night to catch the tail end of part two of this excellent CBC Radio broadcast about Carl Jung and his big  Red Book.
Jung lived with his own psychosis by immersing himself in it – his “confrontation with the unconscious” and letting it come out  in The Red Book,  his personal record of his own inner experience and his now sense-making and it became source material for much of his subsequent work.

red book solar barge.jpg

The Red Book, Part 1

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 |

A detail from a page in “The Red Book” by Carl Jung. The Solar Barge that transports the sun across the sky.  Jung’s representation of a solar myth from ancient Egypt.

CBC audio podcast

Part 1

Part 2 2301566418

“Bound in red-leather, a hand-written and vividly illustrated manuscript by Carl Jung documents what he called his “confrontation with the unconscious,”  beginning around World War I. It was, he claimed, the source of all his  later thinking in psychology. But the extent of his dreams, fantasies,  arguments, and encounters were revealed only when the astonishing Red  Book was published in 2009. Marilyn Powell scouts its dangerous contents.”

Part 2 airs Wednesday, November 7.

red-book-cover.jpg“In 2009, a very unusual book was published. The extraordinary Red Book by Carl Gustav Jung. You know him as the great Swiss psychologist who  explored the depths of what he called the “collective unconscious.”
Jung said the Red book, begun in his thirties, was central to his  thinking. Yet he never published it during his lifetime – he died at the age of 85 in 1961. The manuscript lay in a bank vault until his  family were persuaded  to let this intensely autobiographical work see  the light of day.
Through 1913-15, Jung entered the harrowing and pitiless inner world of  his dreams and the fantasies he was able to induce. This was the time he called his “Confrontation with the Unconscious,” and to which he  returned again and again in the following years, reshaping and reworking his original experiences and generating concepts out of which Jungian  psychology was born.
Jung’s Red Book is completely hand-written and brilliantly illustrated. It looks like a manuscript out of the Middle Ages.”

The Red Book Image Gallery
The Red Book

A mythological god presides over a modern industrial town. Jung blends in elements from his imagination: a mediaeval fortress, an eighteenth-century sailing ship on the water.

A typical page from the Red Book, showing an ornamented capital letter. Jung is creating his version of a mediaeval manuscript, with calligraphy and illustrations.

In the early pages of the Red Book, the illustrations are tied to the text. Later, they exist in their own right as symbolic representations.

The Solar Barge that transports the sun across the sky. The serpent in the water is trying to sink the ship. Jung’s representation of a solar myth from ancient Egypt.

Jung painted mandalas as representations of what he called the “totality of the self.” He believed the age-old pattern focuses the mind and introduces a sense of calm.

The intricate patterning in the illustrations in the Red Book is a prominent feature. The art has to rise to the occasion.

Philemon is the figure Jung saw in a dream and painted. Philemon became a kind of inner spiritual advisor to Jung.

A page showing the beginning of the chapter, “The Gift of Magic.” Lines drawn to keep the writing straight on the page are clearly visible.

Snakes figure prominently in the Red Book as mythological creatures that lead into the underworld.

An old photograph of the back of Jung’s house, looking onto Lake Zurich. On the left side of the photograph, the window and door leading onto a balcony from Jung’s library are visible.



Participants in the Programs:
Sonu Shamdasani, Editor and Co-translator of the Red Book into English,  General Editor of the Philemon Foundation, dedicated to publishing the unpublished works of C.G. Jung.
Hansueli Etter, Jungian analyst and Founding Member of the Research and Training Centre for Depth Psychology in Zurich.
Angela Graf-Nold, Psychologist and Historian of psychoanalysis.
Michael Robbins, Psychoanalyst Andrew Samuels, Jungian analyst; Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex.
Judith Harris, Jungian analyst and C-President of the Philemon Foundation. Paul Bishop, Historian of Jungian Psychology, German Dept., University of Glasgow.
Murray Stein, Jungian analyst; Training and Supervising analyst, International School of Analytical Psychology, Zurich.
Andreas Jung, grandson of C.G. Jung Carl  Gustav Jung, archival recording, 1961.
The Red Book edited and co-translated with Mark Kyburz and John Peck by Sonu Samdashani, Philemon series, W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. The Primordial Mind in Health and Illness: a Cross-Cultural Perspective, Michael Robbins, Routledge, 2011.
The Primordial Mind in Health and Illness: a Cross-Cultural Perspective, Michael Robbins, Routledge, 2011.
The House of C.G. Jung: the History and Restoration of the Residence of Emma and Carl Gustav Jung-Rauschenbach, Andreas Jung, contributor, Stiftung C.G. Jung Küsnacht, 2009.
Jung’s Red Book: the Spirit of the Depths, Psychological Perspectives, Vol. 53, Issue 4, 2010 – entire issue devoted to discussion of the Red Book.
“Living with The Red Book,” interview by Judith Harris with Sonu Samdashani, Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, Vol. 4, #1, C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2010, p.161-175.
“The Search for the Lost Soul,” an interview with Murray Stein about the Red Book, Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche, Vol. 4, #4, C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, 2010, p.92-101.
Liber Novus,” that is, The New Bible: A First Analysis of C.G. Jung’s Red Book, by Wolfgang Giegerich, Spring Journal: a Journal of Archetype and Culture, Vol. 83, Summer, New Orleans, Louisiana, p. 361-411.

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