Jung’s Red Book

September 2009

Apparently the great Jung (“Thank God that I am Jung, and not a Jungian”) kept a journal of sorts in which he recorded dreams, thoughts and reflections. The writings can be seen as the musings of a bodhisattva or a madman (likely a little of both?). I must say before proceeding, that although I’m a Jung admirer I am troubled by his anti semitism.

The article/link cited below gives a wonderful introduction to the work as well as some of the history behind why it has not been published much earlier. The work sounds epic… like Dante’s Inferno or something of the sort. I suspect I will buy it and read it. I was intrigued with certain sections of this article:

“Jungian analysis revolves largely around writing down your dreams (or drawing them) and bringing them to the analyst — someone who is patently good with both symbols and people — to be scoured for personal and archetypal meaning. Borrowing from Jung’s own experiences, analysts often encourage clients to experiment on their own with active imagination, to summon a waking dreamscape and to interact with whatever, or whoever, surfaces there. Analysis is considered to be a form of psychotherapy, and many analysts are in fact trained also as psychotherapists, but in its purist form, a Jungian analyst eschews clinical talk of diagnoses and recovery in favor of broader (and some might say fuzzier) goals of self-discovery and wholeness — a maturation process Jung himself referred to as “individuation.” Perhaps as a result, Jungian analysis has a distinct appeal to people in midlife. “The purpose of analysis is not treatment,” Martin explained to me. “That’s the purpose of psychotherapy. The purpose of analysis,” he added, a touch grandly, “is to give life back to someone who’s lost it.” ”

“The footnotes map both Shamdasani’s {the editor} journey and Jung’s. They include references to Faust, Keats, Ovid, the Norse gods Odin and Thor, the Egyptian deities Isis and Osiris, the Greek goddess Hecate, ancient Gnostic texts, Greek Hyperboreans, King Herod, the Old Testament, the New Testament, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, astrology, the artist Giacometti and the alchemical formulation of gold. And that’s just naming a few.”

” Creating the book also led Jung to reformulate how he worked with clients, as evidenced by an entry Shamdasani found in a self-published book written by a former client, in which she recalls Jung’s advice for processing what went on in the deeper and sometimes frightening parts of her mind. “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.” ”

I’ve always been intrigued with dreams… perhaps I will buy a “beautifully bound book” and begin putting it (my dreams) all down…

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/magazine/20jung-t.html?ref=health&pagewanted=all

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