Le rouge et le noir

The Genesis and Significance of Analytical Psychology in the Black Books

In: International Journal of Jungian Studies
Paul Bishop University of Glasgow Scotland, UK Glasgow

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This paper explores the genesis and significance of Jung’s recently-published Black Books. It considers the nature of the inspiration behind them, and it suggests that the Black Books reveal the textual nature of Jung’s experience of the process of ‘ordering’ in several different ways. The paper examines the minor and more significant changes between the version of the text found in the Black Books and the Red Book, and it considers whether it is helpful to think of the Black Books in the categories of ‘science’, ‘nature’, or ‘art’. It is argued that one of the key insights into the creative process behind the Black Books can be gained from examining their textual status (reflected, for example, in Jung’s handwriting), which gives a sense of the linguistic, stylistic, conceptual, and emotional struggle out of which they emerged. Finally, the paper discusses Jung’s encounter with the Dionysos-like figure of Wotan, which is linked with Jung’s memory of an ‘unforgettable night in the desert’ when he ‘saw the Χ for the first time’ and ‘understood the Platonic myth’ (BB7, p. 227), and it explores Jung’s longstanding interest in interpreting the myth of the creation in Plato’s Timaeus.


This paper explores the genesis and significance of Jung’s recently-published Black Books. It considers the nature of the inspiration behind them, and it suggests that the Black Books reveal the textual nature of Jung’s experience of the process of ‘ordering’ in several different ways. The paper examines the minor and more significant changes between the version of the text found in the Black Books and the Red Book, and it considers whether it is helpful to think of the Black Books in the categories of ‘science’, ‘nature’, or ‘art’. It is argued that one of the key insights into the creative process behind the Black Books can be gained from examining their textual status (reflected, for example, in Jung’s handwriting), which gives a sense of the linguistic, stylistic, conceptual, and emotional struggle out of which they emerged. Finally, the paper discusses Jung’s encounter with the Dionysos-like figure of Wotan, which is linked with Jung’s memory of an ‘unforgettable night in the desert’ when he ‘saw the Χ for the first time’ and ‘understood the Platonic myth’ (BB7, p. 227), and it explores Jung’s longstanding interest in interpreting the myth of the creation in Plato’s Timaeus.

When, after many years of mystery, Jung’s Red Book finally appeared in 2009, it was a major publishing event: prestigious seminars were held (for instance, at the Library of Congress, in San Francisco, and London). Yet on their publication in 2020 the reception of the Black Books—those six black-bound leather notebooks briefly mentioned in Memories, Dreams, Reflections as containing the transcription of his visionary ‘confrontation with the unconscious’ (Jung & Jaffé 1963, p. 212)—has thus far been rather more muted. There are some obvious reasons for this: for one, because of the global coronavirus pandemic, which meant that, when the Black Books hit the market, many people were almost scared to death of dying (or, in the words of the Office for the Dead, timor mortis conturbat me). And for another, because the Black Books are a very different sort of work from the Red Book and arguably much less accessible. In this article, I wish to discuss exactly what sort of work they might be, and to put forward some suggestions as to their significance.

After the initial reception of the Red Book which was largely positive, not to say adulatory, it was perhaps inevitable there would be a critical backlash. In his review of Sanford Drob’s Reading the Red Book: An Interpretive Guide to C.G. Jung’s “Liber novus” (to which the analyst Stanton Marlan provided a foreword) (Drob 2012), for instance, Robert Segal began by noting that ‘we know we are on shaky ground when […] Stanton Marlan notes, without demurral, that Jung’s work “has been compared to many of the major classics of Western literature, including Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Goethe’s Faust” […]’ (Segal 2013, p. 271). While conceding that Jung’s Red Book ‘may be of alluring interest to Jungians’, Segal claimed that ‘the classics named are finished works of literature and not inchoate outpourings, however significant they are for tracing Jung’s subsequent publications’ (ibid., p. 271). Indeed, Segal was categoric about denying the term ‘classic’ to the Red Book, on the ground that ‘the classics harbor original ideas—about human nature, society, God, and the cosmos’, whereas in his view the Red Book does not and instead ‘presents staid pairs of distinctions, which are incorrectly equated with pairs of oppositions, which are then incorrectly equated with pairs of contradictions’: ‘These pairs are assumed, without argument, to be artificial and outright false. Somehow they must be harmonized, and harmonized by the introduction of a third element’ (ibid., p. 271).

Now whether the term ‘classic’, especially in an age which claims to have abolished the canon (Saul & Schmidt 2007), is useful or not, is not something we have to debate here. Suffice it to say that, of all writers or thinkers, Jung was acutely aware of his debt to those who had preceded him in the past, and one ancient context for what Jung is trying to do in the Red Book might be found in the works of the Neoplatonist Iamblichus and in the practice of theurgy. In his book review of Peter Kingsley’s Catafalque (Kingsley 2018), Gregory Shaw has reminded us of how, in On the Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians, Iamblichus complains to Porphyry about the impiety and rationalistic hubris of those whom he calls ‘the Greeks’:

At the present time, I think the reason everything has fallen into a state of decay—both in our words and prayers—is because they are continually being changed by the endless innovations and lawlessness of the Greeks. For the Greeks by nature are followers of the latest trends and are eager to be carried off in any direction, possessing no stability themselves. Whatever they receive from other traditions they do not preserve; even this they immediately reject and change everything through their unstable habit of seeking the latest terms.1

As Shaw observes in his review, precisely the same objections are raised in the Red Book in respect of the rationalizing tendencies of ‘the spirit of the times’ (Shaw 2020). Now as Kingsley himself notes, we know that Jung not only read Iamblichus’s On the Mysteries, but that he did so in the original Greek—as evidenced, for example, by the bookmarked note in his own personal copy of volume 4 of Walter Scott’s edition of the Hermetica (Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 591).

The passage in question is a significant one, for here Iamblichus discusses the topic of ordinary human fantasy or imagination, but adds that ‘none of this fantasizing is aroused when the life of consciousness inside us is fully activated’ (On the Mysteries, 10.2).2 This distinction between the human faculty of imagination and some other kinds of state of pure consciousness (or nous) certainly caught Jung’s attention, for he added a bookmark with the note, imaginatio vera; and he also bookmarked the passage where the editor, Scott, explained this passage as follows: ‘The rites of initiation culminate in a vision of “great things” (i.e., of gods and things divine). Porphyry has suggested that the things which men see in such visions are not realities, but merely phantasms produced by their own imagination. Abammon denies this. In the men who see these visions, it is not phantasia or ordinary imagination, he says, but nous or pure consciousness, that is at work; and nous does not produce phantasms, but apprehends “the realities that truly are” ’.3 For Kingsley, the similarities in the distinctions between these two kinds of imagination made by Iamblichus and Jung suggests that the existing scholarship in this area requires ‘some significant updating’.4

Might there also be, however, a parallel closer to our own historical times and cultural context? In Dichtung und Wahrheit, part 3, book 13, Goethe writes at length of his ‘peculiar habit’, as he calls it, of ‘recasting even soliloquy as dialogue’ and ‘transform[ing] even solitary thinking into social conversation’ (Goethe 1987, p. 424):

When he found himself alone, he would summon up in spirit some person of his acquaintance. He would ask this person to be seated, pace up and down by him, stand in front of him, and discuss whatever subject he had in mind. The person would occasionally answer him and indicate, with the customary gestures, his agreement or disagreement; and everyone has a particular way of doing this. Then the speaker would continue, and expand on whatever seemed to please his guest; or he would qualify what the latter disapproved of, and define it more clearly, and even finally be willing to abandon his thesis.

ibid., p. 424

That Goethe himself actually did this receives independent corroboration in Stephan Schütze’s account of when he visited Goethe’s house in Weimar in 1813, heard a conversation going on, and asked whether Herr Geheimrat Goethe already had company, only to be told by a servant: ‘He’s talking to himself’.5

Could Jung’s dialogues with his soul, with Elijah and Salome, and with Philemon, be seen as an extension of this Goethean dialogue with the figures of his imagination? As a kind of psychological equivalent of Goethe’s literary version of an exercice spirituel? Was Jung, like Goethe or Nietzsche (in Ecce Homo), someone who tried to (re)create himself through literature or through art?

1 Jung’s Inspiration

Not everyone, including Kingsley, is comfortable with the idea of a ‘textual Jung’ (Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 509), even if the ‘reduction’ which this notion is said to entail is arguably a good deal less ‘fashionable’ these days than it used to be. Yet positing a ‘textual Jung’ does not necessarily involve ‘cutting away the raw dimension of experience from his life and work’, any more than it does to claim that the only access we have to Goethe is through his works (including, of course, his works about his life). When discussing in ‘Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy’ the ‘submersion of thinking’ and the elevation of feeling as a development portrayed in Goethe’s Faust I, Jung suggests that Goethe had ‘acted as his own model’ (Jung 1936, para. 204): so while commenting on a development in a literary text, Jung does not exclude an experiential dimension to its genesis.

At one point, Kingsley draws on the work of the Swiss classicist, Maria Laura Gemelli Marciano, to argue that, in the Red Book, we are not so much confronted with ‘literary concepts’ or ‘attitudes’ as with ‘hard inner experience’.6 But could this itself be a false binary? After all, Sonu Shamdasani has argued that Jung derived his ideas about the collective unconscious from his library.7 Does Shamdasani’s thesis about the collective unconscious as ‘the library within’ in itself refute Jung’s ideas about the collective unconscious? Or could it rather be said to modify our understanding of the transmission of those ideas, perhaps helping us change our idea of the collective unconscious from something metaphysical to something cultural, albeit (for that very reason) no less real? Now more than ever it must be right to resist the superficial postmodern sophistry captured in the slogan il n’ y a pas de hors-texte—usually translated as ‘there is nothing outside the text’, but more accurately rendered as ‘there is no outside-text’—,8 and Jung is preeminently a thinker who can help us to do this. For Jung himself was swift to recognize the role of ‘primordial experience’ in art, or at least in the mode of artistic creation he described as ‘visionary’ (Jung 1930/1950, paras 141–152), and the descriptors he applied to such works as the second part of Faust and Nietzsche’s ‘Dionysian experience’ in Zarathustra (as well as the Shepherd of Hermas, Dante, Wagner, Spitteler, Blake, Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Der goldne Topf, and Jacob Boehme’s ‘poetic-philosophic stammerings’) (ibid., para. 142) surely also apply, mutatis mutandis, to the Red Book?

What is crucial here is not simply a work’s ostensible topic (Gehalt) or literary style (Gestalt), but rather its mode of creation, i.e., how the work came into being, and this is where the significance of the Black Books lies. Now Jung’s own account (or an account that derives from him) of what was happening in the creation of the Red Book can be found in the chapter in Memories, Dreams, Reflections with the much-quoted title, ‘the confrontation with the unconscious’.9 Jung relates how he began to play with the stones on the shore of the lake behind his house in Küsnacht, and how this ‘act of construction’ (das Bauen) ‘released a stream of fantasies’ which he later carefully transcribed (Jung & Jaffé 1963, p. 198; Jung & Jaffé 1971, p. 178).10 Following a sequence of visions and dreams that began in the autumn of 1913, on 1 August 1914 the First World War broke out, and Jung began to write up these fantasies (Jung & Jaffé 1963, p. 200; Jung & Jaffé 1971, p. 180). Jung describes this work (diese Arbeit) as itself ‘unleashing an incessant stream of fantasies’, comparing the experience to a series of thunderstorms and explicitly inscribing himself within the German literary tradition by comparing himself to Hölderlin, to Nietzsche, and to others who have been ‘shattered’ by them (Jung & Jaffé 1963, pp. 200–201; Jung & Jaffé 1971, p. 180).

At the end of the chapter Jung reflects on how, as a young man, he had set himself the goal of achieving something in his ‘science’ (Wissenschaft), and it is worth noting that the term Wissenschaft is a much broader one in German than in English (encompassing not just ‘science’ but also ‘scholarship’ or a ‘system of knowledge’). And at this moment, we read, something happened: in the English translation by Richard and Clara Winston, it reads: ‘But then, I hit upon this stream of lava, and the heat of its fires reshaped my life’ (Jung & Jaffé 1963, p. 225); and, in the German edition, ‘Aber dann stieß ich auf diesen Lavastrom, und die Leidenschaft, die in seinem Feuer lag, hat mein Leben umgeformt und angeordnet’ (Jung & Jaffé 1971, p. 203). One notes how the English translation omits the idea of Leidenschaft, i.e., passion, emotion, or suffering, with its erotic (as in Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers), even religious (in the sense of die Leiden Jesu) connotations; and the two verbs of umformen and anordnen, i.e., reshape and order, are elided into the single verb ‘reshape’. As Kingsley points out, however, there is a much bigger problem with this passage as it stands in both the English and German editions.

For the original version of the sentence in the Jaffé Protocols reads: ‘Das ist die Leidenschaft, die in diesem Feuer lag, dieser Lavastrom, der hat’s erzwungen und alles hat sich dann ganz natürlicherweise eingeordnet’.11 In Kingsley’s view, Jaffé has ‘completely missed the point of this sentence’ and the rewritten version for the published German edition has given rise to a significant misunderstanding (Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 516). Translating in full the passage from the Jaffé Protocols, Kingsley offers this version: ‘It was the passion and intensity inside this fire, it was the stream of lava itself which is the force that compelled whatever happened to happen. And so, completely naturally, everything fell into its own proper place and order’ (ibid., vol. 1, p. 322). What is implied here is the ancient Greek sense of an ordered kosmos (κόσμος), reflected in the Protocols in the phrase in eine Welt einzuordnen (Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 516). And the very same point is repeated in the Protocols when Jung says: ‘Ich wollte etwas leisten in meiner Wissenschaft und bin dann auf diesen Lavastrom gestossen, und der hat dann alles angeordnet’ (Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 517). Far from meaning, as sometimes translated, ‘I wanted to achieve something in my science and then I was plunged in this stream of lava, and then had to classify everything’, the passage really means: ‘I wanted to achieve something in my science, and then I bumped into this stream of lava, and then it brought everything into order’ (Kingsley 2018, vol. 1, pp. 83, 322, 327; cf. vol. 2, p. 697).

What the Black Books show us is how Jung began to go about achieving—or, more precisely, experiencing—this ‘ordering’. For Kingsley, this idea of ‘ordering’ is of paramount importance in understanding the project of analytical psychology, for Jung ‘is, in one fell swoop, cancelling out our human language as well as all our normal understandings of ourselves or the world around us’:

We assume we are the ones who shape and create some order out of the primitive lava. Always we talk not only to others, but also to ourselves, as if we are the ones responsible for making something out of the rough rock and stone of existence. But it’s all done through us, for us. In fact we don’t do a thing because, thanks to a divine process we can’t or won’t acknowledge, it’s the sacred that takes care of everything.

Kingsley 2018, vol. 1, p. 322

What this would mean in practice was, Kingsley suggests, explored by Jung in his seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra held on 3 June 1936, where he argued that, while in ‘ordinary language’ we talk about inventing things, including in the sphere of the sacred (for example, ‘Moses is the inventor of the law […] Christ is understood to be a sort of moral philosopher who had very good ideas […] the prophets in the Old Testament were really people who were just bothered with the fate of their nation’), we should understand that both sacred things and even such technical things as methods for making ships are ‘not inventions, but revelations’, in the sense of ‘a revealed truth or a perceived truth which has been thought before man has thought’ (Jung 1989, vol. 2, pp. 970–971; cf. Kingsley 2018, vol. 1, pp. 323–324).12 If this makes Jung and his relation to the lava of the unconscious sound more like Empedocles or some other prophet, that is for Kingsley precisely the point; and his interpretation of Jung as a prophet is explicitly set against the image of Jung as a scientist (Shamdasani) or as the founder of a cult sect (Noll).

Clearly any interpretation of Jung has to take into account, since its publication in 2009, his Red Book, and now the publication of the Black Books offers fresh insights into the creation of the Red Book, and hence its significance. After all, the question about what Jung was doing when writing down his fantasies in his Black Books prior their calligraphic elaboration in the Red Book (via the Preliminary and various other drafts) is posed by Jung himself in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Was it science or scholarship (Wissenschaft)? Clearly not. Was it art (Kunst)? Jung is at pains to reject this interpretation. Instead, he decided it was nature (Natur), but even this assertion is presented as a preliminary to a discussion with his soul or his anima, and is not a final conclusion (Jung & Jaffé 1963, pp. 201–211; Jung & Jaffé 1971, pp. 188–189). For nature itself is a complicated term, given the distinction made since Spinoza (and taken up by Schelling) between natura naturans and natura naturata. In his Ethics (part 1, proposition 29, scholium) Spinoza sets out this distinction as follows:

By nature viewed as active [i.e., natura naturans] we should understand that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself, or those attributes of substance, which express eternal and infinite essence, in other words […] God, insofar as he is considered as a free cause. By nature viewed as passive [i.e., natura naturata] I understand all that which follows from the necessity of the nature of God, or of any of the attributes of God, that is, all the modes of the attributes of God, insofar as they are considered as things which are in God, and which without God cannot exist or be conceived.

Spinoza 1955, pp. 68–69

Likewise, in his ‘nature philosophy’ (Naturphilosophie) Schelling begins with natura naturata (i.e., nature that has come to be), in order to reveal at work within natura naturans (i.e., nature coming into form or producing itself from itself). Schelling argues that both modes of nature are not entirely separate but rather represent two aspects of the same dynamic process, while in the work of art these two distinct aspects (i.e., as freedom and necessity, or as natura naturans and natura naturata) turn out to be two sides of the same aesthetic coin.13 What is important in the post-Spinozist tradition of German Idealism is the notion of nature as a creative, dynamic process that reveals itself most fully in the work of art, and arguably it is in this light that the dichotomy posed in Memories, Dreams, Reflections between the categories of ‘art’ and ‘nature’ should be seen. What we can actually see unfolding in front of us in the Black Books is this creative, dynamic process itself.

2 Back to the Text

There is much work that needs to be done in terms of a comparison of the textual differences between the Black Books and the Red Book on a thematic level;14 for example, the important difference in the role of the devil.15 In the entry for 26 December 1913, Jung encounters the figure of the red horseman (der rote Reiter), identified here (but not in the Red Book in ‘The Red One’, chapter 1 of Liber secundus) as ‘the red knight’ (der rothe Ritter) (BB2, p. 197; cf. RB, p. 212). This identification underscores the allusion to Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival and the figure of Ither of Gaheviez, the king of Cucumerlant and a knight of the Round Table who is distantly related to Parzival and who, because of the colour of his armour, is known as the ‘Red Knight’ (book 3, § 145-§ 146). In the entry for 5 January 1914, Jung encounters the red rider in the company of an anchorite, unnamed in this episode in the Black Books but identified as Ammonius in ‘The Remains of Earlier Temples’, chapter 7 of Liber secundus (BB3, pp. 116–119; cf. RB, pp. 268–272).

While the episode in the entry for 1 February 1914 when the throne of God and the Holy Trinity, together with Satan, ascends into the upper world is included in ‘The Magician’, chapter 21 of Liber secundus, the Red Book omits the detail of Satan crawling ‘out of a dark hole with horns and tail’ and being pulled out by his hands by Jung (BB4, pp. 240–241; cf. RB, p. 420). But it does offer a detailed commentary on the subsequent passage which concludes with Satan ‘crawl[ing] deftly like a mole back into his hole again’ (BB 4, p. 244; cf. RB, p. 423), including the entire Kabeiroi scene with the construction of the Tower, which is absent from the Black Books and not included until the handwritten draft of 1914–1915 (RB, pp. 425–430; cf. p. 425, fn. 310). Yet a line from that scene in the Red Book, where these mysterious, dwarf-like deities from Samothrace (via Creuzer, Schelling, and Goethe) say, ‘We carry what is not to be carried from below to above’ (RB, p. 426), is expressed in an entry for 8 March 1917 as, ‘What the Cabiri carried up [herauftrugen] must still be pulled up [heraufgezogen werden]’ (BB6, p. 282), echoing the dynamic at the end of Faust II, where the Eternal-Feminine ‘draws us on high’ (zieht uns hinan) (l. 12111; Goethe 2001, p. 344). In fact, the figure of the devil in the Red Book is far more Faustian than he is in the Black Books: he is described as ‘the sum of the darkness of human nature’, Mephistopheles is identified as ‘Satan, taken with my serpenthood’, and Satan himself is said to be ‘the quintessence of evil […], pure negation without convincing force’ (RB, pp. 432–433; cf. Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint, ‘The spirit which eternally denies’ [Faust I, l. 1338; Goethe 2001, p. 37]).

Yet as this example also shows, on the level of linguistic detail the Black Books reveal the essentially textual nature of Jung’s process of ‘ordering’ as it began in these notebooks and was developed into the Red Book on several levels or in several different ways. To begin with, numerous sentences are not reproduced in Red Book, or undergo minor changes. For example, the opening sentences of the entry for 14 November 1913, ‘I am weary, my soul, and lay my head on your shoulder. My wandering has lasted too long, my search for myself outside of myself’ (BB2, p. 150), became in chapter 2, ‘Soul and God’, in Liber primus: ‘I am weary, my soul, my wandering has lasted too long, my search for myself outside of myself’ (RB, p. 130); and: ‘Now I have gone through events and found you behind all the farrago [hinter all dem Allerlei]. For on my straying through this farrago I discovered humanity and the world’ (BB2, p. 150) became instead: ‘Now I have gone through events and find you behind all of them [hinter dem Allerlei]. For I made discoveries on my erring through events [auf meiner Irrfahrt durch die Dinge], humanity and the world’ (RB, pp. 130–131). Then again, the sentence from the entry for 14 November 1913 which reads, ‘You announced yourself to me in advance in dreams, which were dark to me, and which I sought to grasp in my own inadequate way. You know these dreams, how they burned in my soul and drove me to all the boldest acts of daring, and forced me to push for the steepest summits, yes, even to rise above myself’ (BB2, p. 150), became in chapter 3, ‘On the Service of the Soul’, in Liber primus: ‘You announced yourself to me in advance in dreams. They burned my heart and drove me to all the boldest acts of daring, and forced me to rise above myself’ (RB, p. 131).

In this same entry these lines, ‘Forgive me if I speak as in a dream, like a drunkard’ (Verzeih, wenn ich wie im Traume rede, wie ein Trunkener)—with their echo of the famous line from Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion, ‘Dearest! those taking leave of life all speak like drunken men and like to put on a festive manner’ (Liebster! alle Scheidenden sprechen, wie Trunkne, und nehmen gerne sich festlich) (Hölderlin 2019, p. 120; Hölderlin 2008, p. 154)— ‘are you—God? Is God a child, a female child/maiden [ein weibliches Kind/Mädchen]?’ (BB2, p. 151; cf. RB, p. 141), are followed in Black Book 2 by references to Horus, Tages, and Christ as well as Dionysos and Herakles that are absent (although noted in an editorial footnote) in the Red Book. Likewise, in the entry for 23 January 1914 (which became chapter 19, ‘The Gift of Magic’, in Liber secundus), a reference to Herakles and his wait for the return of Atlas in exchange for the golden apples was not reproduced in the Red Book (BB4, p. 226); and a reference in the entry for 17 February 2016 to the sale of Herakles by Hermes as a slave to Omphale as a punishment for killing Iphitus and the hero’s subsequent apotheosis was not reproduced in the Red Book either (BB6, p. 228).

Numerous sentences from the entry for 28 November 1913 (which became chapter 4, ‘The Desert’, in Liber primus) were not reproduced in the Red Book (BB2, pp. 163–165), and likewise numerous sentences from the entry for 12 December 1913 (which became chapter 5, ‘Descent into Hell in the Future’ in Liber primus), as well as for 16 December 1913 (which became chapter 6, ‘Splitting of the Spirit’, in Liber primus), were not reproduced (BB2, pp. 167–171 and 171–174). In the entry of 17 January 1914 (which became chapter 15, ‘Nox secunda’, in Liber secundus), Jung’s request to the assistant in the mental asylum to keep his copy of Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ is met with the professor’s response, ‘Of course, let him keep it’ (BB4, p. 210), which becomes in the Red Book, ‘Well, I suppose so, as it seems to be a harmless prayer book’ (RB, p. 338).

Of the more significant changes, one example might be that, in the entry of 10 January 1914, the regeneration of Izdubar from the egg is something that happens by itself (BB3, p. 131), whereas in the Red Book this regeneration is brought about by the incantations chanted in chapter 10, ‘The Incantations’, of Liber secundus (RB, pp. 299–304). Sometimes, too, a sentence is extended: for instance, in the entry for 31 January 1914, the two sentences, ‘You deny everything that you believed, even Faust. He walked xx calmly past all the specters’ (BB4, p. 238), were expanded into three: ‘You deny everything that you believed. You’ve completely forgotten who you are. You even deny Faust, who walked calmly past all the specters’ (RB, p. 416); however, of the following two sentences, ‘I’m no longer up to this—My spirit, too, is a specter. I must not and cannot walk calmly past it’ (BB4, p. 238), the second sentence was not included (RB, p. 416).

Even more significantly, the first four paragraphs of the entry for 15 November 1913 (including his famous dream of a radiolarian, mentioned in Memories, Dreams, Reflections) were not reproduced in the Red Book (BB2, p. 153); and the sentence, ‘ “Pray to your depths”, it says in me. “Waken the dead”, it continues in’ (BB2, p. 159) is changed to: ‘ “Look into your depths, pray to your depths, waken the dead” ’, and attributed to the spirit of the depths (RB, p. 140), just as the instruction, ‘Climb down to your depths’, attributed to the soul in the entry for 16 December 1913 (BB2, p. 171), is changed to words spoken by the spirit of the depths.

Then again, the entry for 26 November 1913, which included his dream of an old Austrian customs guard (reproduced in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, where it is interpreted both in the context of his relation to Freud and in terms of the legend of the Grail), a dream of his wife in Pompeii, and a dream of an elderly lady and a little child’s hand (interpreted as a source of reassurance for his talks at the Psycho-Medical Society in London in August 1913), and three scenes associated with the Middle Ages (including a scene set in a derelict monastery, which reminds him of Kloster Eschenbach, a community for Augustinian nuns founded in 1290 that became Cistercian in 1588), was not included in the Red Book. And a reference in the entry for 27 January 1914 (that later became chapter 21, ‘The Magician’, in Liber secundus) to the phrase otium cum dignitate (i.e., leisure with dignity) from Cicero’s Pro Sestio, XLV. 98,16 was completely excised from the text when it appeared in the Red Book (BB4, p. 230).

Hence much of the editorial process between the Black Books and the Red Book—which included other, as yet unpublished, draft stages—tends either to leave it relatively untouched, or to reduce the length and density of the text. But one also finds material in the Red Book that is not in the Black Books at all: arguably one of the greatest omissions from them is the dramatic opening section of the Red Book, ‘The Way of What Is To Come’, with its biblical quotations and its distinction between the spirit of the age and the spirit of the depths, which Jung only added when he began retranscribing the typescript of the Red Book in calligraphic script and in the form of a medieval illuminated manuscript in 1915; instead, Black Book 2 opens briskly with a short, programmatic paragraph: ‘A huge task lay before me—I saw its enormous size […]. That path led inward and downward’ (BB2, p. 149). In fact, the Black Books are generally much more reflective than the Red Book about the nature of the task at hand and contain insightful reflections on the nature of Jung’s project in the Black Books. In the entry for 15 November 1913, for instance, Jung reflects again on his task, ‘I despair—how can I manage it?—how and what should I express??’ (BB2, p. 153), and he further notes in relation to this theme of expression: ‘It is not even my language that flows speaks through my pen’ (BB2, p. 155). And in his entry for 27 January 1914 (that became chapter 20, ‘The Way of the Cross’ in Liber secundus), Jung wrote down the following exchange with his soul that was not included in the Red Book: ‘Shall I leave, put down my pen? “Yes, you shall.” I obey’ (BB4, 228). Later on, in the entry for 29 January 1914 (that provided the basis for chapter 21, ‘The Magician’, in Liber secundus), the following two sentences were not reproduced in the Red Book: ‘Every word freezes in ice and drips fire. Thus my words do not flow’ (BB4, 237). And in Black Book 5, in the entry for 15 April 1914 that was not reproduced in the Red Book, Jung offered a threefold comparison of the predicament of his soul in terms of Christ, the Pelican, and a kangaroo with a joey in her pouch, commenting: ‘This ink almost flows too fast in order to write such things easily’ (BB5, p. 209).

Many of the sentences found in the Black Books but omitted from the Red Book highlight the experiential dimension of this ‘experiment’, as Jung called it (in its strict etymological sense of the Latin experimentum, i.e., ‘to experience’ or ‘to attempt’ from the verb experior). For example, in the entry for 15 December 1913 (which was not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung apostrophizes his work as ‘Book of my most difficult experiments, I xx open you with inner resistance!’, and confesses that everything in him ‘balks at the immediacy of this experience’, as if he were ‘a nervous horse’ (wie einem aufgeregten Pferde) (BB2, p. 171). Another omitted sentence highlighting the experiential dimension can be found in the entry for 16 December 1913, where Jung describes himself as ‘stagger[ing] like a drunkard to the roadside ditch in order to sleep off a wild intoxication’ or as ‘wallow[ing] in raging nonsense, which like a breaking flood will swallow you [i.e., his soul] and me’ (BB2, pp. 172–173). Then again, after the tramp Jung meets in the entry for 29 December 1913 (that became chapter 3, ‘One of the Lowly’, in Liber secundus) is murdered in the room next to his at the inn, Jung reflects in sentences not included in the Red Book that address his soul: ‘You have set me with hard thrust on the sharp stones of misery and death. […] my blood, my precious lifeblood trickles away between these stones […]’, and concludes that he must really be ‘a player at life who needs to hear such words’ (ein Spieler des Lebens) (BB2, p. 214). But what kind of game was being played in the Black Books?

3 Artwork

At several significant points in the Black Books the question of their status as a work of art is explicitly thematized. On 16 December 1913, for example, Jung describes his ‘desert vision’ or ‘vision of the solitaries who have wandered down long roads’ (which turns into the famous Siegfried episode in chapter 7, ‘Murder of the Hero’, in Liber primus) in these terms: ‘Ha, a work of art!’ (Ha, ein Kunstwerk!) (BB2, p. 174). The Siegfried episode itself concludes with a vision of ‘a new world’, briefly described in chapter 7, ‘The Murder of the Hero’ as ‘a merry garden, in which forms walked […] all covered in colored light’ (RB, p. 162), but originally described in the entry for 18 December 1913 in much greater detail, including the final sentence which describes it as ‘a strange world in between’ where ‘everything merges in soft shades’ and as ‘a colorful painting, harmonically fused in itself’ (ein farbenreiches, harmonisch in sich verschmelzendes Gemälde) (BB2, p. 176).17 In this way the aesthetic aspect of the vision is highlighted, marking it out as a moment of calm and repose, and anticipating a similar moment that is reached later on in the Red Book in the construction of the Tower.

Yet the immediately following entry for 20 December 1913 sounds a note of warning, describing this new world as ‘weak and artificial’ (schwach und künstlich), and although Jung hesitates over the word ‘artificial’ (künstlich) as ‘a bad word’, this is apparently because he has learned that ‘weak artificial beginnings, unsightly put together semi-unrealities developed into horrible realities’ (BB2, p. 176). This assessment turns into the critique of Christianity found in chapter 8, ‘The Conception of the God’, in Liber primus. This critique leads in turn into the material for the three entries that form the climactic conclusion of Liber primus: the chapters ‘Mysterium. Encounter’ (in which Jung encounters Elijah and Salome), ‘Instruction’ (in which he further engages with Elijah and Salome), and ‘Resolution’ (in which Jung is transformed into the crucified Christ around whom a serpent entwines itself), again with sentences in the Black Books that are not reproduced in the Red Book. Tellingly, however, Jung concludes his entry for 25 December 1913, i.e., written on Christmas Day (!), with the following statement: ‘I am back again. Something has been completed [vollendet]. It is as if I had brought with me a certainty—and a hope’ (eine Gewissheit […]—und eine Hoffnung) (BB2, p. 196).

The next entry for 26 December 1913 opens with two quotations from the Purgatorio of Dante’s Divina Commedia (BB2, p. 197).18 These quotations are by no means randomly chosen. In the first (taken from Canto XXIV, ll. 52–54), Dante responds to Forese Donati’s question about whether he was speaking to the man who wrote ‘Ladies who have intelligence in love’ (Donne ch’avete intelletto d’amore …) (i.e., the opening line of one of the most famous odes in Dante’s La Vita Nuova), as follows:

[…] “I am one who when Loves breathes within

Give ear, and as he prompts take mode and pitch

From him, and go and sing his mind to men”

Dante 1955, p. 255

This stanza highlights the question of communication, and the search for an appropriate style in which to ‘sing one’s mind’ to an audience, while the second (taken from Canto XXV, ll. 97–99) is a stanza from the discourse of Statius on the nature of the rational soul and its relation (while living) to the material body and (after death) to the aetherial:

Then, even as the flame which follows close

On fire, and, as the fire moves, moves withall,

The new form follows where the spirit goes.

Dante 1955, p. 265

Statius is explaining here how the soul becomes ‘a shade’ (Canto XXV, l. 101), anticipating Jung’s own attempt in the Black Books to pay respect to the ancestors, to listen to the dead, and (through the figure of Philemon) even to teach them. In themselves, these quotations function as a means for Jung explicitly to inscribe himself into the European literary tradition, treating Dante’s Divina Commedia not simply as a ‘classic’ (or even as an example of a ‘visionary’ mode of art), but as a work with which to engage as part of his own project in the Black Books (and ultimately the Red Book). Likewise, an inscription apparently in Toni Wolff’s handwriting at the beginning of Black Book 4—the sixth line from the third Canto of Dante’s Inferno, ‘the highest wisdom and the primal love’ (Canto III, l. 6), taken from the inscription above the gate to Hell—suggests that Jung was not alone in seeing the cultural significance of the work undertaken in the Black Books in this light (BB4, p. 203).19

Another example of Jung’s engagement with the literary canon can be found in the identification in the Black Books of the figure called the Red One as ‘the red knight’, which serves as an allusion to Wolfram’s Parzival (see above) as well as more generally to the tradition of the Grail legend. In a sentence not included in the Red Book, Jung comments as ‘the red of the rider transforms itself into a tender reddish flesh color’ and Jung’s own green garments ‘burst into leaf’ (cf. RB, p. 216): ‘The Red One actually looks very much like me’ (BB2, p. 202), just as in the later scene in the entry for 19 January 1914 involving a Good Friday service at which Parzival appears, dressed in a mixture of medieval and modern clothing, Jung turns out to look identical to the figure of ‘Parcifal’, as he spells it (BB4, pp. 218–219).

One of the most significant omissions from the Red Book is the discussion in the entry of 10 January 1914 of Friedrich Theodor Vischer’s Auch Einer (1884), a novel on which Jung touched in Psychological Types (1921) when he wrote that this work ‘gives a deep insight into this side of the introverted state of the soul, and also into the underlying symbolism of the collective unconscious’ (Jung 1921, para. 627). This largely forgotten work, whose significance for our understanding of Jung has been explored elsewhere,20 links Jung to the tradition of German Idealism; Jung himself argues in this entry that Vischer ‘rightly deserves a place among the immortals’, as having been the first to ‘elevate the truth’—namely, that ‘grotesque and tragic […] is what our most sacred life is’— ‘to a system’ (BB3, 130). Reflection on this truth, not only in relation to the fate of Izdubar that has just been recounted (in the entries for 8 and 9 January 1914 that became chapters 8 and 9, ‘First Day’ and ‘Second Day’, in Liber secundus) but also more generally, leads Jung to a deeper appreciation of what he calls ‘the playfulness’ (das Spielerische) or even ‘the childlikness’ (das Kindische) of life, as opposed to ‘serious scientific research’ (BB3, p. 130): ‘All the manifold sides of life, the great, the beautiful, the serious, the black, the devilish, the good, the ridiculous, the grotesque are fields of application which each strive tend to wholly absorb the beholder or describer’ (BB3, p. 130). Here more clearly than anywhere else Jung highlights the significance of his project as being to acquire ‘the living truth of the life of the mind’ (die lebendige Wahrheit des geistigen Lebens), or what he calls ‘the wisdom of real life’ (eine Weisheit des wirklichen Lebens), however ‘murderous’ (or ‘bloody’—blutig) a task it is to write this (BB3, pp. 131 and 130).

In his entry for 15 February 1914 (that was not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung’s soul tells him, ‘You have yet to [or: You still do not yet] understand the art of making your life interesting’ (die Kunst, dir das Leben interessant zu machen) (BB4, p. 263), a remark which Jung—in the bantering tone that one constantly finds in the Black Books and in the Red Book alike—describes as ‘one of your worthy commonplaces, which used to drive me mad’ (BB4, p. 264). In her response, the soul reminds Jung of ‘how valuable the little things [die kleinen Dinge] are that surround us every day’ (BB4, p. 264), echoing Nietzsche’s remarks about the importance of the ‘nearest things’.21 And in his entry for 22 February 1914 (that was again not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung sees a wide plain and engages in discussion with a group of mounted shepherds wearing broad-brimmed straw hats. One of them, who is said curiously to resemble Jung, identifies himself as ‘a German who got bored by the German fatherland’ (BB4, p. 265), and their conversation turns to the significance of culture (Cultur). The German tells Jung that ‘life in the cities is a means deformity’, and accuses civilization of promoting ‘cowardice and weakness’ (BB4, p. 266). In response, Jung defends the idea of a ‘cultural task’ (Culturaufgabe), defining this cultural task or this ‘work’ (Werk) as ‘greater than the individual and its indubitable rights’ (BB4, p. 267). The conceptual link between ‘task’ (Aufgabe) and ‘work’ (Werk) hints that the work undertaken by Jung in the Black Books is also (at least, in part) cultural in nature, and at the end of this entry Jung recognizes, ‘the work awaits you’ (das Werk harrt deiner) (BB4, p. 268).

In fact, in the next entry of 23 February 1914, Jung declares, ‘I want to return to my work’, and asks himself: ‘What’s holding me back?’ (BB4, p. 268). After his soul has told him the fairytale of the king with no children (and invited him to interpret it along the lines of the old king as Jung and his son as Jung’s work), he reflects: ‘It’s true, I want to accomplish my work, but the price I must pay for it is high’ (BB4, p. 272), but his soul tells him: ‘Your work stands even higher’ (BB4, p. 272). Where in this sentence and in later ones Black Book 4 speaks of the ‘work’, the Red Book changes this to the ‘son’ (RB, p. 453). And in the entry of 9 March 1914 (which is not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung admits that he has not yet carried out his work, despite (or because of) what is going on ‘in the depths’ and the chaos ‘hidden deep inside’ him (BB4, p. 273).

In his entry for 13 December 1915, Jung’s soul refers to ‘your work’ (dein Werk), and elicits the response, ‘What do you mean, my work? My science, my book?’ (meine Wissenschaft, mein Buch?), to which his soul significantly replies: ‘It’s not your book, it’s the book’ (das ist das Buch) (BB5, p. 251). At the conclusion to the entry for 13 Janury 1916 Jung writes (in a sentence not produced in the Red Book), ‘I kiss you, you book of light and life’ (Ich küsse Dich, Du Buch des Lichts and des Lebens) (BB5, 267).

Black Book 5 opens with a quotation in Toni Wolff’s handwriting from the penultimate poem from an epic cycle of 1903 (described as a Roman in Romanzen and entitled Zwei Menschen) by Richard Dehmel (1863–1920), the German Expressionist poet (BB5, p. 203). While the choice of the text may have been Wolff’s rather than Jung’s (and may have a more personal meaning in the context of their relationship), the imagery and style of the poem mesh so well with the imagery and style of Jung’s language in the Black Books that it suggests that his project may in fact have more in common with German twentieth-century literary modernism than it has hitherto been considered to have.

The more immediate reference of Black Book 5 is, however, to Nietzsche and to the expression ‘ultimate solitude’ (letzte Einsamkeit) (BB5, p. 203). Jung says that he has come across this expression ‘a number of times’ and that the phrase ‘stands before’ him (BB5, p. 203). In fact, Nietzsche uses the phrase three times: (a) in the opening section of Part Three of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, called ‘The Wanderer’, where Zarathustra declares: ‘My last solitude has just begun. / Ah, this sorrowful, black sea beneath me! Ah, this brooding reluctance! Ah, destiny and sea! Now I have to go down to you!’ (Nietzsche 1969, p. 174); (b) in ‘The Beacon’, one of the Dithyrambs of Dionysos:

My soul, my soul itself, is this flame:

Six solitudes he knew already—

but the sea itself had too little solitude for him,

the island welcomed him, and on the mountain he became a flame,

and when now he whirls his fishing-line

it is a seventh solitude he seeks to catch.


to all that knows solitude do I now throw this line:

give answer to the flame’s impatience,

catch me, the fisherman on high mountains,

my seventh, final solitude!

Nietzsche 1984, p. 47

and (c) in the Nachlass fragments for late 1884 to early 1885.22

The motif of solitude is frequently found in Memories, Dreams, Reflections and in Jung’s complaints of being misunderstood but, over and above this dimension of personal experience, it is a more universal theme. In his seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Jung interpreted the opening passage of ‘The Wanderer’ by seeking to establish a remarkable parallel between Nietzsche’s Zarathustra as a whole and the transitus of ancient mystery cults. On the one hand, there is the cult of Mithras, the rite of Christian baptism, or the suggestive architecture of the Hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni in Malta, a sanctuary and necropolis that constitutes one of the best examples of Maltese temple-building culture in the Neolithic age; on the other, there is the action of this chapter and Zarathustra’s cry, ‘Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal vexation! Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now go down!’ (Jung 1989, vol. 2, p. 1252). Here (as in the opening section of the Prologue; cf. ibid., vol. 1, p. 14), the sea serves as a symbol of the collective unconscious to which Zarathustra has to descend, and the link between the ancient mysteries and Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is said to lie in the acceptance of one’s fate (ibid., vol. 2, 1252).

And in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (1911–1912) Jung had commented on the stanzas from ‘The Beacon’ that contained this expression as an example of analogies of the libido as sun, light, and fire—and, in this case, fire, flame, and snake: ‘The Egyptian symbol of the “living disc of the sun”, the disc with the two entwining snakes, contains the combination of both the libido analogies’, for ‘the disc of the sun with its fructifying warmth is analogous to the fructifying warmth of love’, and so ‘the comparison of the libido with sun and fire is in reality analogous’ (Jung 1991, para. 163). Rather than arguing for an equivalence between different symbols, which is a mistake frequently attributed to Jung (sometimes with some justification, when he is using a kind of argumentational shorthand), he is drawing attention to the structure of analogy that allows us to interpret dreams, visions, and mythology and to make sense of them.

Another major difference between the Black Books and the Red Book, signalled in the editorial apparatus to the latter, is the later substitution of the term HAP for what, in his entries for 2 and 5 December 1915 Jung terms the phallus (BB5, pp. 241–247). To the extent that these terms may be seen as interchangeable (or, as the English Orientalist and philologist E.A. Wallis Budge (1857–1934) noted in his study of the Egyptian afterlife, ‘the PHALLUS of this Pepi is Hāp [i.e., one of the four sons of Horus]’),23 this change may not be seen as significant, but stylistically it shows how Jung was absorbing mythological ideas and transforming them into his own private mythology. Yet it was also a mythology that was intended in some way or another to be shared.

In the entry for 5 December 1915 that later became part of Prüfungen (or ‘Scrutinies’), Jung’s project is defined for him by the female shade who visits along with two other dead as follows: ‘Build the Church [Baue die Kirche]. Write the holy books [Schreibe die heiligen Bücher], the age-old new ones [die uralt-neuen], that contain the echo of the eternal being [ewigen Wesens Widerklang], the mysterious ones [die rätselhaften], mocked wisdom [die verspottete Weisheit], the lower and upper truth [die untere und obere Wahrheit]’ (BB5, 245). As becomes clear from the entry for 26 December 1915, however, this Church is to be something not external but internal; its ceremonies should also be internal— ‘dissolved and become spirit [aufgelöst und zu Geist werden]’; as a bridge, it should lead out ‘beyond humanity’ (hoch über Menschliches hinüber); and there should be ‘a community of spirits’ (eine Gemeinschaft der Geister) (BB5, pp. 254–255).

In part of the entry for 15 January 1916 that was not included in Prüfungen, however, Jung plays with the dichotomy between language and action familiar from the first ‘Study’ scene in Goethe’s Faust, Part One, where Faust begins by translating the opening of St John’s Gospel as ‘in the beginning was the word’ (Wort) and ends by translating it as ‘in the beginning was the deed’ (Tat) (ll. 1224 and 1237). In response to Jung’s request that she tell him how to invoke her, she tells him that ‘it is something wordless’ (es ist Wortloses) and ‘few words’ (wenige Worte), in fact ‘on the contrary it is deed’ (That) (BB5, p. 269). She elaborates that there should be ‘few’ or ‘no’ words, but instead insists ‘it must be deed [es muss That sein], prostration on a colorful prayer mat that signifies the world’ (BB5, p. 269). In response to Jung’s query about the need for ceremony and external things, she reminds him of ‘the power of matter’ (die Macht des Stoffes) and, for all the apparent abstraction of this dialogue and the others in the Black Books, she grounds her teaching in a materialistic form by praising ‘the hardest, most imperishable matter’ (Stoff) and instructs him to ‘build into this matter’ (in diesen Stoff hinein zu bilden) by this injunction: ‘Always build into matter’ (Immer bilde in den Stoff hinein) (BB5, p. 269). This emphasis on materiality, on concreteness, on Stoff forms an important counterpart to the Gnostic cosmology that Jung elaborates in the entry for 16 January 1916 but did not reproduce in the Red Book (although it was included as Appendix C when published in 2009) (BB5, pp. 269–277; cf. RB, pp. 577–582).

In Dichtung und Wahrheit, Goethe brings the first book to a close with an account of how, as a seven-year-old child, he built an altar to the God of Nature— ‘the God who is in direct contact with nature, who acknowledges and loves it as His work’; and, further on, introduces a distinction between ‘natural, universal religion’ (natürliche, allgemeine Religion) and ‘particular, revealed religion’ (besondere, geoffenbarte Religion), developing the idea of making up a version of Christianity ‘for my own private use’ (zu meinem privaten Gebrauch) (Goethe 1987, pp. 44, 109 and 208, 466). Although what Jung was attempting in the Black Books and the Red Book was obviously on a much vaster scale, in its essence his project is remarkably similar and, paraphrasing Goethe, one might say that Jung was trying to make up ‘a version of Gnosticism for his own use’. Indeed, in his entry for 7 January 1917 Jung will lend a distinctly Faustian dimension to his project when an exchange between Jung and ‘the one from the East’ contrasts ‘the joy of the earth’ (die Freude der Erde) and ‘the pain of the earth’ (den Schmerz der Erde) (BB6, p. 275), replicating Faust’s ambition expressed in the opening ‘Night’ scene when he he sees the sign of the Erdgeist: ‘I feel emboldened now to venture forth, / To bear the bliss, the sorrow of this earth’ (Der Erde Weh, der Erde Glück zu tragen) (ll. 464–465; Goethe 2001, pp. 14–15).

The inclusion of the first of what was to become the Septem Sermones ad mortuos in the entry for 30 January 1916, i.e., the very last pages of Black Book 5, points to a surprising lack of centrality of these seven discourses within the project of the Black Books (BB5, pp. 284–285). On the other hand, it indicates the high degree of spontaneity with which the material in the Black Books was composed, before it was elaborated and turned into the Red Book (and, in the case of the Septem Sermones, published separately as a private publication).24

In fact, one of the key insights into the creative process behind the Black Books (and, in turn, the Red Book) can be gained from even a glance at the facsimile pages of this edition and from Jung’s handwriting. While a full graphological analysis of his handwriting lies outside the scope of the article (and might anyway be considered a problematic proposition), it is fascinating to read the Black Books in their original handwriting, which gives a sense of the linguistic, stylistic, conceptual, and emotional struggle out of which they emerged. Even to the graphologically untrained eye, the handwriting reveals the flow of Jung’s creative mind, sometimes neatly structured, sometimes swirling across the page. And it varies in size, too: in Black Book 7 it visibly shrinks, becoming small and dense; and on some pages it is laid out in double columns that Jung has inserted into the notebook.

The handwriting also helps anchor Jung’s project, for want of a better word, ins Stoffliche – i.e., in the material world, on a textual level in the case of the Black Books and on a combined level of text and image in the Red Book. By no means does this de-transcendentalize Jung’s project or make it less significant or less prophetic: rather, in terms of the image of volcanic lava used by Jung himself, it demonstrates less how the stream of lava ‘brought everything into order’ and more how the life-changing experience of this encounter was itself shaped, moulded, or ‘worked’ upon by Jung. In the final analysis, however, both aspects complement each other, and explain the fascination exercised by the Red Book which has, with the publication of the Black Books, acquired a new and significant dimension.

In the course of Black Book 6 (covering the period 30 January 1916 to 21 May 1917), the Septem Sermones continue, developing a cosmology that one can fairly describe as Gnostic (or neo-Gnostic). As well as the ‘staid’ pairs of opposites to which Segal demurs (see, for example, BB6, p. 209 and BB7, pp. 193–194), there are very different kinds of passage: a revisioning of the figure of Jesus Christ (BB6, pp. 232–234), repeated allusions to the Book of Isaiah (BB6, p. 236; BB7, pp. 165 and 197), a visionary transcription that introduces the motif of runes (BB6, pp. 262–263), engagement with the figure from Nietzsche’s Zarathustra of ‘the spirit of gravity’ (der Geist der Schwere) (BB6, p. 275), and passages that can only be described as poetic, as when Elijah declares:

The image that I saw was crimson, fiery colored, a gleaming gold. The voice that I heard was like distant thunder, like the wind roaring in the forest, like an earthquake. It was not the voice of my old God. It was a thunderous pagan roar, a call my ancestors knew but which I have never heard. It sounded prehistoric, as if from a forest on a distant coast; it rang with all the voices of the wilderness. It was full of horror yet harmonic.

BB6, p. 237

or when Jung reads out the following text of lamentation: ‘I am alone—god-forsakenly alone—in an abyss of solitude—a sea of nothingness around me—a frozen ice-cold nothingness. Black and blue misty skies hang over it. A graphite colored ocean with stiffened horrors. A sun left me and now lights far-off humankind. They celebrate the morning, I mourn the night. My husband left over distant seas, the spouse who never embraced me—a bride of God in the empty bed of the ice-cold night. I send up a cry that cuts through the clouds like a keen spear. But no-one hears me above and below. The goggle eyes of the sea monster look toward me and see—nothing’ (BB6, pp. 277–278). In Black Book 7, the hymns or eulogies sung by Philemon to Phanes in the entries for 11 September, 11 October and 22 October 1917 (which could, as the editorial apparatus suggests, be described as further Sermones) represent the inclusion of a further genre.

Along with the changes in Jung’s handwriting, the Black Books also reveal how Jung’s cosmology changed, too: or rather, the figures within them changed. In fact, perhaps it is wrong even to talk about Jung’s cosmology, which implies something fixed and static, whereas it is anything but: from the Red Book and from Memories, Dreams, Reflections we are familiar with the figures of Elijah, Salome, and Philemon, but in the Black Books a series of new figures emerge, such as Phanes,25 Atmavictu, Ha, Ka,26 a divine Arab youth, the spirit of gravity, and (most strikingly of all) Wotan (cf. Shamdasani’s introductory essay in BB1, p. 70). The relationships between these figures and even the figures themselves change: Atmavictu incarnates in a variety of animal forms, for instance. Ka, a figure that emerges in the entry for 22 October 1917, is, as Philemon’s shadow, a relativization of Philemon and as the other side of Ha, the black magician and the father of Philemon. In the entry for 3 June 1918 Jung’s soul ascribes the qualities of the quaternio to Philemon as ‘the one who loves’ and to humankind itself (BB7, p. 185). Amid this, at times, almost kaleidoscopic whirl of shifts and changes, the constant themes and motifs of the Black Books acquire a special significance as conceptual Fixpunkte or pivots, one of which is the theme of beauty.

4 Beauty

Towards the end of Black Book 1 in the entry for 29 December 1913, Jung reflects on the tramp whom he meets and declares, ‘What demands beauty makes! Something can be learned from this man’ (BB2, p. 212; cf. RB, p. 235). In the entry for 6 February 1914 (that was not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung declares, ‘Today I feel the abundance of beauty and clarity’ (die Fülle der Schönheit und Klarheit) (BB4, p. 247). In this state where even ‘contradiction’ (der Gegensatz) has become ‘a rung in the ladder of life’, Jung finds ‘peace, great serenity, and beauty’ (der Friede, die grosse Ruhe und Schönheit) (BB4, 247). As opposed to systematicity or indeed ‘every system’ (jegliches System), Jung declares that ‘only one’s ownmost truth is alive and real’ (lebendig und wirklich ist nur eigenste Wahrheit) (BB4, 248), recalling Nietzsche’s famous aphorism, ‘I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity’.27

In an entry for 15 April 1914 (that was not reproduced in the Red Book), Jung’s soul tells him that ‘acknowledged beauty [das anerkannte Schöne] would be too easy’ and that instead he needs ‘resistance’ (Widerstand) (BB5, p. 209). Towards the end of this entry, Jung tells his soul that she possesses ‘a desperate wisdom’ which is ‘agonizingly beautiful’ (qualvoll schön). His soul responds by remarking that it is also ‘antagonistic to culture’ (culturwidrig), and in reply to Jung’s question, ‘Where do you go with that? Into non-culture [die Uncultur]?’, she says: ‘Or into the super-culture’ (In die Übercultur) (BB5, p. 210), thus categorizing Jung’s project as a cultural one while at the same time associating it rhetorically with Nietzsche. In the entry for 19 April 1914 Jung tells his soul, ‘What a beauty living together will be in the long run!’ (Was giebt noch ein schönes Zusammenleben auf die Dauer) (BB5, p. 216); and in the conclusion to his entry for 10 January 1916, Jung cries out, rejoicing, to his soul: ‘How divinely beautiful you are!’ (Wie bist du göttlich schön!) (BB5, p. 262).

Nearly a decade later, however, and the theme of beauty suddenly becomes more complex. In his entry for 2/3 January 1923, Jung addresses his soul and then turns to speak to a figure that turns out to be identifiable as Wotan, saying: ‘I would like to call you “the most beautiful”, but this word remains stuck in my throat’ (ich möchte Dich “Schönsten” nennen, aber dieses Wort bleibt mir im Hals stecken), for: ‘How can I call you beautiful? [Wie kann ich Dich schön nennen?] […] I don’t know your form [Deine Gestalt]. You radiate an unspeakable dread [ein unnennbares Grauen]’ (BB7, p. 224). In fact, Wotan emerges in the Black Books as a highly significant figure in a way that casts new light on Jung’s account of his mother’s death in Memories, Dreams, Reflections and on his political essay ‘Wotan’ (1936) alike.28 In the entry for 3 January 1923, Jung’s soul describes this figure, referred to as ‘the foreign guest’ and ‘the dark one’, as being on his first appearance ‘of terrifying beauty’ (von erschreckender Schönheit) and ‘a true God’ (ein wahrhaftiger Gott), comparable to ‘Dionysos with all the force of your imagination’, but on his second appearance as ‘completely different, again beautiful, inexpressibly beautiful [schön, unaussprechlich schön], but of phosphorescent deathly pallor […] the final innermost meaning and the xx final true quintessence of eternal death’ (BB7, pp. 226–227).

At this point Jung recalls a dream that he had during his trip to North Africa in 1920 in the company of his friend, the businessman Hermann Sigg (1875–1927). This dream is said to have ‘revealed the “existence” ’ (enthüllte die “Existenz”) to Jung of this enigmatic, demiurgic, Pleromatic figure, which Jung linked to an insight gained from an experience in Africa. In turn, Jung goes on to link this insight to the myth of the creation in Plato’s Timaeus and specifically to the passage where the Demiurge takes this compound of three ingredients (i.e., Sameness, Difference, and Existence) as if it were a long strip of soul-stuff, splits it lengthwise into two strips, binds them at their middles, and bends round into two circles or rings:

Next, He split all this that He had put together into two parts lengthwise; and then He laid the twain one against the other, the middle of one to the middle of the other, like a great cross ; and bent either of them into a circle, and joined them, each to itself and also to the other, at a point opposite to where they had first been laid together. And He compassed them about with the motion that revolves in the same spot continually, and He made the one circle outer and the other inner. And the outer motion He ordained to be the Motion of the Same, and the inner motion the Motion of the Other. And He made the Motion of the Same to be toward the right along the side, and the Motion of the Other to be toward the left along the diagonal […].

Timaeus, 36b–c; Plato 1929, pp. 71–73

This myth had long interested Jung, and the allusion in Black Book 7 to this passage from the Timaeus forms part of a larger reception of this Platonic dialogue in Jung’s work.

In Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (1911–1912), Jung had noted in the context of his discussion of the symbolism of the mother and of rebirth that ‘the thought of “union”, expressed by the symbol of the cross, is met with in the Timaios of Plato, where the world soul is conceived as stretched out between heaven and earth in the form of an X (Chi)’ (and hence, he added, ‘in the form of a “St Andrew’s cross” ’) (Jung 1991, para. 406). He went on to cite the following passage from the preceding section where Timaeus introduces the world-soul:

And in the midst thereof He set Soul, which He stretched throughout the whole of it, and therewith He enveloped also the exterior of its body; and as a Circle revolving in a circle He stablished one sole and solitary Heaven, able of itself because of its excellence to company with itself and needing none other beside, sufficing unto itself as acquaintance and friend. And because of all this He generated it to be a blessed God.

Timaeus, 34b; Plato 1929, p. 65

On the basis of this passage Jung argues that ‘this highest degree of inactivity and freedom from desire, symbolized by being enclosed within oneself’, signifies ‘divine blessedness’ (göttliche Seligkeit), a conception for which the only human prototype is the child in the mother’s womb or the adult in a perpetual embrace and entwinement with the mother as the origin (Jung 1991, para. 407). (The decision of Diogenes the Cynic to live in a tub, as reflected in the famous painting, Diogenes Sitting in His Tub by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1860), is, for Jung, a means of giving mythological expression to the blessedness and resemblance to the divine in his lack of needing anything, i.e., the fantasy of the womb.) Turning to Timaeus’s account of how the soul is prior to the body, Jung cites the following passage:

Now as regards the Soul, although we are essaying to describe it after the body, God did not likewise plan it to be younger than the body; for, when uniting them, He would not have permitted the elder to be ruled by the younger; but as for us men, even as we ourselves partake largely of the accidental and casual, so also do our words. God, however, constructed Soul to be older than Body and prior in birth and excellence, since she was to be the mistress and ruler and it the ruled […].

Timaeus, 34b–c; Plato 1929, p. 65

On Jung’s reading, Timaeus is suggesting that the very concept of the ‘soul’ itself is a derivative of the mother-imago, or in other words ‘a symbolic designation for the amount of libido remaining in the mother-imago’ (Jung 1991, para. 408). (As an analogous example, Jung cites the Christian representation of the soul as ‘the bride of Christ’.) At this point Jung refers to Timaeus’s account of the composition of the World-Soul and its division into harmonic intervals (35a–c), describing it as a development ‘tak[ing] place in an obscure fashion in mystic numerals’ (ibid., para. 408). Once this is complete, the Demiurge constructs the Circles of the Same and the Different and the planetary circles in the passage cited above from which Jung highlights two sentences. First, citing the passage: ‘Next, He split all this that He had put together into two parts lengthwise; and then He laid the twain one against the other, the middle of one to the middle of the other, like a great cross’ (36b), Jung comments that this account ‘approaches very closely the division and union of Atman who, after the division, is compared to a man and a woman who hold each other in an embrace’ (ibid., para. 409). Jung is thinking here of a passage in the Brihadāranyaka Upanishad (I, 4),29 whose notion of the original state of Ātman he had earlier in Chapter 3 of Transformations and Symbols of the Libido compared to Plato’s conception of the world-soul (ibid., para. 251).30 And second, citing the passage: ‘And when the construction of the Soul had all been completed to the satisfaction of its Constructor, then He fabricated within it all the Corporeal, and uniting them center to center He made them fit together’ (36d–e), Jung refers the reader back to his comments on the maternal meaning of the world-soul as found in Plotinus in Chapter 2 of Transformations and Symbols of the Libido.

There, in his discussion of the conception and the genetic theory of the libido, Jung moves from Schopenhauer’s notion of the libido via the ‘cosmogonic meaning’ of Eros in Plato (presumably, in the Symposium) and in Hesiod (in his Theogeny) to the Orphic figure of Phanes or the ‘shining one’: Phanes is the first created, the ‘father of Eros’; signifies, in Orphic terms, Priapus; and is the bisexual god of love similar to Dionysos Lysios, whose sanctuary was in Thebes (Jung 1991, para. 223). At this point Jung turns to Plotinus and the Neoplatonic conception of the world-soul as the energy of the intellect. As Jung makes clear, in so doing he is drawing in part on the study by the Monist philosopher Arthur Drews (1865–1935), Plotin und der Untergang der antiken Weltanschauung (1907),31 and Drews is the source of the formulation that the world-soul is ‘the energy of the intellect’ (Drews 1927, p. 127). In his Enneads, Plotinus compared the One (or the creative primordial principle) to light; the intellect, to the sun (♂); and the soul, to the moon (♀), ‘which gets its light from the sun’.32 Elsewhere Plotinus suggests that the relation of the One to the intellect is like that of a father to a son.33 Inasmuch as the One as Ouranos is transcendent,34 the son as Kronos has dominion over the visible world, and the world-soul (as Zeus) is subordinate to him.35 Plotinus describes the One or οὐσία as the first hypostasis, one of three metaphysical principles or forms of emanation (i.e., the Soul, the Intellect, and the One), and therefore as ‘one being in three hypostases’; hence comparable, as Drews argued, with the formula ‘three hypostases in one ousia’ (μία ουσία έν τρισίν υποστάσεσιν) that came to be accepted as the orthodox formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity (God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) at the Councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381) (Drews 1907, pp. 134–135).36 At this point, Jung notes that some early Christian sects attributed a material significance to the Holy Spirit (as the world-soul or the moon), and cross-refers to his later comments about the chi in the Timaeus.

On Jung’s account, Plotinus argues that the world-soul ‘has a tendency towards a divided existence and towards divisibility’ (see Enneads, IV.2, § 1, ‘On the Essence of the Soul’),37 something which Jung regards as ‘the conditio sine qua non of all change, creation, and procreation’ (and hence as ‘a maternal quality’) (Jung 1991, para. 223). (It is ‘in its nature to be divided’, Plotinus argues, because in this world souls are ‘in bodies and are divided by bodies’ [IV.2, § 1].) Drawing again on Drews, Jung describes the soul as ‘an “unending all of life” and wholly energy […] a living organism of ideas, which attain in it effectiveness and reality [Wirksamkeit und Wirklichkeit]’.38 What is the relation of the (world) soul to intellect? On Jung’s reading of Plotinus, ‘the intellect is its procreator, its father, which, having conceived it, brings it to development in thought’; although Jung refers the reader to Enneads, IV.8, § 3, in reality he is adopting Drew’s account, according to which the soul distinguishes itself from the intellect precisely in this respect—that it unfolds what it intuits into reality and brings it into appearance in the sensible (i.e., as opposed to the intelligible) realm.39 Or in other words, the inward ‘effectiveness’ of the intelligible (Wirksamkeit […] nach innen) that takes place in the intellect corresponds to that of the soul as an outward ‘effectiveness’ (Wirksamkeit nach außen) (Drews 1907, p. 138).

Although Jung appears to be citing Plotinus, he is in fact citing directly from Drews when he quotes the following passage: ‘What lies enclosed in the intellect, comes to development in the world-soul as Logos, fills it with meaning [Inhalt] and makes it as if intoxicated with nectar’.40 Pointing to the analogy between nectar (as the drink of fertility and life) and sperma, Jung argues that the soul is fructified by the intellect (or, in other words, by the father—as found in analogous Egyptian representations) (Jung 1991, para. 224). Following Drews’s account of the Plotinian doctrine of the duality of the world-soul, i.e., an upper soul (represented by the heavenly Aphrodite) and a lower soul (represented by the earthly Aphrodite), Jung cites Drews’s allusion to how the soul ‘knows the birth pangs’,41 before noting that it is not for nothing that the dove as the bird of Aphrodite is also the symbol of the Holy Spirit (ibid., para. 224). What this fragment of the philosophy of history teaches us, Jung concludes, is ‘the significance of the endopsychic’—or as we might now say, ‘intrapsychic’— ‘perception of the libido and its symbols for human thought’ (ibid., para. 225).

When Jung discusses the myth of creation in the Timaeus again in ‘On the Psychology of the Idea of the Trinity’, a lecture given at the Eranos conference in 1940 (and later revised and expanded into a longer essay published in Symbolik des Geistes in 1948),42 he points out that Proclus records how, according to Porphyry, an X in a circle was, for the Egyptians, a symbol of the world-soul (Jung 1942/1948, para. 190). Endorsing Thomas Taylor’s interpretation that its right lines signified ‘its biformed progression’, and its circle ‘its uniform life and intellective progress, which is of a circular nature’,43 Jung notes in addition that a circle in a cross was an Egyptian hieroglyph for ‘city’;44 and, as an example, Jung cites in a footnote an example where the symbol represents the plan of a village with cross-streets. And Jung even goes so far as to suggest that, in Timaeus 36b, Plato was trying to constellate the mandala structure that would later appear in the Critias in its account of the capital of Atlantis (Jung 1952/1948, para. 190).45

Here in this memory of Africa in the Black Books, however, the emphasis is not so much on the scholarly interpretation of Plato as on the experiential dimension: in that ‘unforgettable night in the desert’, we read, Jung ‘saw the Χ for the first time’ and ‘understood the Platonic myth’ (BB7, p. 227). Yet this understanding is conveyed not conceptually, but imagistically: ‘In the zenith where there was a large radiant planet exactly at the intersection’, a sight that is interpreted as an image (Bild) that constitutes ‘an expression of the mystery of individuation’ (ein Ausdruck des Geheimnisses der Individuation) (BB7, p. 227). Or as Jung described his impressions to Emilii Medtner (1872–1936) in a letter of March 1920: ‘The most mysterious here are the nights of the waxing moon that wanders in indescribably silver clarity across the dark clear sky of Africa. The symbol of the Punic tombs of Carthage, , Astarte herself, came close to me, when I saw the moon slowly descend over the tops of the palm trees for the first time. I came here according to inner necessity, already prepared by the unconscious, a symbolic act of the grandest style, nevertheless the meaning is still dark’ (Ljunggren 1994, p. 215; cited in BB1, 76).

Clearly the ‘darkness’ of this experience in 1920 gave way in 1923 to an understanding of Platonic myth and insight into the mystery of individuation, and it is this sort of intellectual as well as emotional dynamic that comes to the fore when reading the Black Books. Even if, as the saying goes, things are always at their darkest before they go completely black, the publication after so many years of the Black Books promises to shed much valuable light on the intellectual genesis (and hence significance) of analytical psychology in new (and possibly unexpected) ways.


Iamblichus, On the Mysteries, 259.4–10; cited in Shaw 2011, pp. 120–121. For further discussion of the theurgic aspects of the Red Book in general and in the ‘divine’ Iamblichus in particular, see Greene 2018a (esp. pp. 93–98).


Iamblichus, On the Mysteries, 10.2; cited in Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, pp. 753–754 = Scott & Ferguson 1936, pp. 36–37.


Scott & Ferguson 1936, pp. 88–89; cited in Kingsley 2018, p. 754.


Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 754; cf. Shaw 2003, pp. 75–76.


According to an account by Stephan Schütze; cited in Goethe 1966, p. 92 (based on Werke [Artemis edn], vol. 22, p. 691).


Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, pp. 493–494; citing Gemelli Marciano 2013, pp. 231–233 and 280.


Shamdasani describes the collective unconscious as ‘the library within’ (Shamdasani 2012, p. 49) and observes in relation to an episode described in the Red Book: ‘[W]hile Jung’s self-investigation marked a turn away from scholarship, his fantasies and his reflections were marked by and indebted to his extensive scholarly readings’ and ‘[his] self-experimentation was largely undertaken while seated in his library’ (ibid., p. 90).


Derrida 1967, p. 227; 1975, pp. 158–159; and see Merquior 1986, p. 220.


For an account of how Memories, Dreams, Reflections was composed, see Elena Fischli’s historical commentary in Jaffé 2021 (pp. 223–410).


Prior to the publication of the Black Books in 2020 and Sonu Shamdasani’s introductory essay, ‘Toward a Visionary Science: Jung’s Notebooks of Transformation’ (BB1, pp. 11–112), most critics relied on the account given in Memories, Dreams, Reflections; for an earlier discussion, see Shamdasani 2012, pp. 63–73.


Kingsley 2018, vol. 2, p. 516; citing the Jaffé Protocols (C.G. Jung Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC), p. 149.


As Jung went on to explain: ‘Before I had that thought it had already been thought, and I merely happened to perceive it once in time; it has been there since eternity, is always there, has always lived, and I just happened in a certain moment to perceive it’ (Jung 1989, vol. 2, p. 971; cf. Kingsley 2018, vol. 1, p. 324).


For further discussion, see Shaw 2010.


For ease of reference, the following abbreviations are used: BB = Black Books (i.e., Jung 2020), referred to by volume number and page; RB = Red Book [Reader’s Edition] (i.e., Jung 2012).


For further discussion of the theme of evil and the figure of the devil in the Red Book, see Bishop 2018 and Bishop 2021.


Id quod est praestantissimum, maximeque optabile omnibus sanis et bonis et beatis, cum dignitate otium, i.e., ‘that which is most excellent and most desirable to all men in their senses, and to all good and happy men,—ease conjoined with dignity’ (Cicero 1875, p. 200).


For further discussion of the use of colour in paintings in the Red Book, see Zervas 2020. Apart from a few run-like sketches in an entry in 1916 (BB6, p. 262), the set of runes sent by Ha in the autumn of 1917 (BB7, pp. 148–156, cf. p. 214), and a few sketches inspired by dreams in 1919 and 1923 (BB&, pp. 201 and 233, 236, 240, 244) the Black Books contain no coloured paintings; in fact, they contain no illustrations whatsoever—they are an eminently textual product. That said, the image of the Greek letter chi is central to Jung’s recollection in 1923 of a night in the African desert and its Platonic resonances (BB7, p. 227; see below).


In his seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Jung argues that ‘the real message’ of that work is that ‘the great noontide’—the moment when the human being is ‘in the middle of his course between animal and Superman’—is also the moment when one ‘celebrates communion […] with the self’. For a literary analogue to this psychological message, Jung turned to Dante’s Divine Comedy, noting that, ‘in the middle of their way, Dante’s adventure happens to certain people, if not consciously, then at least unconsciously’; and he described this experience as the touch of the self (Jung 1989, vol. 2, p. 838). For further discussion of the links between the Red Book and the Divine Comedy, see Shamdasani 2016; and Priviero 2018.


At the same time, this inscription reminds us of the fundamental role of Toni Wolff in the earliest phase of Jung’s experiment as well as of Maria Moltzer, let alone of Emma Jung, their family, and Jung’s professional therapeutic activities at the time. These were all aspects which Jung explicitly considered to be absolutely crucial for the successful outcome of his threatening inner journey, and it is only for reasons of space that these relational elements, as part of the experiential rather than the conceptual dimension of his Black Books, are not considered in greater detail here.


For further discussion, see Bishop 2012.


‘There exists a feigned contempt for all the things which men in fact take most seriously, for all the things nearest to them. One says, for example, “one eats only in order to live”—which is a damned lie, as is that which speaks of the begetting of children as the real objective of all voluptuousness. Conversely, the high esteem in which the “most serious things” are held is almost never quite genuine: the priests and metaphysicians, to be sure, have in these domains altogether accustomed us to a feignedly exaggerated linguistic usage, but they have not converted the feeling which refuses to take these most serious things as seriously as those despised nearest things’ (Human, All-Too-Human, vol. 2, ‘The Wanderer and his Shadow’, § 5; in Nietzsche 1986, p. 303); ‘We must again become good neighbours to the nearest things and cease from gazing so contemptuously past them at clouds and monsters of the night. In forests and caves, in swampy regions and under cloudy skies—this is where man has lived all too long, and lived poorly, as on the cultural steps of whole millennia. There he has learned to despise the present and nearness and life and himself—and we, who dwell in the brighter fields of nature and the spirit, we too have inherited in our blood something of this poison and contempt for what is nearest’ (‘The Wanderer and his Shadow’, § 16; in Nietzsche 1986, p. 309); and compare the dialogue between the Wanderer and the Shadow at the end of this book, where the Shadow says: ‘Of all you have said nothing has pleased me more than a promise you have made: you want again to become a good neighbour to the things nearest to you’ (ibid., p. 394). Nietzsche returns to this theme in Ecce Homo when he argues that ‘these little things’, such as diet, location, climate, recreation, ‘the entire casuistry of selfishness’, are, in fact, ‘inconceivably more important than everything hitherto considered of importance’ (Ecce Homo, ‘Why I am so Clever’, § 10; in Nietzsche 1992, p. 36).


See Nietzsche, KSA, vol. 11, 29[8], 339.


Wallis Budge 1905, p. 110; cited in the editorial apparatus in BB5, p. 244. The context of this gnomic remark is the deification of the dead and, in particular, the prayer for the deification of the members of the body as found in the text of Pepi I where, after considering the skull, the hair, the face, the mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the lips, the chin, the backbone, the shoulders and arms, and the breast of this Pepi, ‘the PHALLUS’ is identified as ‘Hāp’ (ibid., pp. 109–110).


For further discussion of the Septem Sermones and their Gnostic import, see Hoeller 1989; Segal (ed.) 1992; Maillard 1993 (revised as Maillard 2017); and Ribi 2013, pp. 155–277.


For further discussion of the Orphic deity Phanes in the Red Book, see Stein 2012, pp. 291–294; and Greene 2018b, pp. 129–142.


For further discussion of the function and relation of Ka and Philemon, see Zervas 2019.


Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, ‘Maxims and Arrows’, § 26; in Nietzsche 1968, p. 25.


For further discussion of the significance for Jung of Wotan, see Bishop 1995, pp. 298–322; Liebscher 2001 (translated as Liebscher 2006); Liebscher 2012, pp. 102–111; and Domenici 2019, pp. 10, 114, and 194. For sociological and political-theoretical approaches to the figure of Wotan in Jung’s thought, see Dohe 2016; and Johnson 2019.


Here Ātman is described as ‘of the size of a man and a woman in close embrace’: ‘He split (pat-) this Self in two: and from this arose husband (pati) and wife (patnī). […] He copulated with her, and thence were human beings born’ (Zaehner 1992, p. 42).


‘For of eyes it had no need, since outside of it there was nothing visible left over; […] For nothing went out from it or came into it from any side, since nothing existed’ (Timaeus, 33c; Plato 1929, p. 63).


In this study (a copy of which is in Jung’s library), Drews used the translations of Plotinus by Hermann Friedrich Müller (1843–1919) (see Müller 1878–1880) and by Otto Kiefer (1846–1912) (see Kiefer 1905). Jung owned a copy of the latter translation; his copies of Plotinus’s works in Greek date from the Fifties.


Enneads, V.6, § 4, in Plotinus (1966–1988, vol. 5, p. 211); cf. Drews 1907, p. 132.


Enneads, V.8, § 13 (ibid., vol. 5, p. 279) and Enneads, V.9, § 8 (ibid., vol. 5, p. 307) (where κόρος = ‘fullness’, ‘satiety’ is read as equivalent to ‘son’ or ‘boy’; cf. Drews 1907, p. 133). For the word-play on Χρόνος (khrónos) and κόρος (kóros), see the notes to V.1, § 4 (ibid., p. 23) and to V.1, § 7 (ibid., p. 38).


Enneads, III.5, § 2 (ibid., vol. 3, p. 177); cf. Drews 1907, p. 133.


Enneads, V.1, § 7 (ibid., vol. 5, pp. 37–39); cf. Drews 1907, p. 133.


There are, however, important differences between this Plotinian Trinity and the Christian: first, because it is not three persons; and second, because the three principles involved are unequal (Kreeft 2018, p. 45).


Plotinus 1966–1988, vol. 4, pp. 21–23; cf. Drews 1907, p. 137.


Drews 1907, p. 138; cf. Enneads, II.5, § 3.


Drews 1907, p. 138; cf. Enneads, IV.8, § 3; and IV.8, § 6.


Although Jung cites this as ‘Enneads, III.5, § 9’, he is quoting Drews’s summary of the passage (Drews 1907, p. 138).


Drews 1907, pp. 140–141. The motif is a common one in Platonic thought and constitutes the starting-point of ‘philosophical midwifery’ (see Grimes & Uliana 1998).


See Jung 1942; and Jung 1948.


See ‘Introduction to the Timaeus’ in Taylor 1996, p. 405.


See Griffith 1898, p. 34 B, Fig. 142.


Cf. Critias, 115c–117e. For further discussion, see Rosenmeyer 1956; Dušanic 1982; Morgan 1998.


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