Understanding The Red Book as an improvisation and Jung as an improviser offers a new approach to understanding the active imagination and the analytic method that emerged from it. Such an approach uncovers the mētic spirit – the spirit of polytropic intelligence – that informs The Red Book and the archetypal figure of Hermes/Mercurius/Trickster that informs all improvisations and will come to dominate Jung’s career. The rhetoric of improvisation in The Red Book conveys that, uncontaminated by the directed consciousness or ego, personae and imagoes arise spontaneously from his unconscious and control him, not he them. Such gestures privilege non-rational ways of making art and knowing the self and world, part and parcel of the paradigm shift that characterizes the 20th century. Jung’s Red Book is on the leading edge of that effort to shift from objective rationality to a rationality that can embrace subjective elements: the unconscious and the irrational, not just the “broad highways” but also the “back alleys” of human experience.