Posts Tagged ‘The Red Book of Jung’

Call and Response—What’s up with The Red Book?

April 29, 2010

“Soul is made in the veil of the world”—Keats

Last Tuesday evening Andy and I attended a talk between Helen Hunt and James Hillman on The Red Book of Carl Jung at the Hammer Museum.  While the evening abounded in synchronicities too labyrinthine to extrapolate, Andy, who may be less prone to marinate in the verbiage of depth psychology while being arguably all the more “deep” for her willingness to pursue both direct experience of the world and to inhabit her life not only as a keen mind, but as a gardener, parent, film curator, friend and kindred spirit of animals amongst other Anima-like qualities, simply listened, chatted with the dear friend who had invited us, and then went to sleep where she dreamed the following:

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Big Red Book Dreams

April 28, 2010

Back in September of last year, in the build-up to publication of The Red Book of Carl Jung, there was an article by Sara Corbett in the New York Times in which she wrote about traveling to Zurich and reporting on the rather top-secret preparations for publication.

Now in April of 2010, The Red Book sits in a case at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, a copy of that big beast sprawls enormously on my nightstand, and a dream that Sara Corbett shared in her article comes back into my mind:

“One night during the week of the scanning in Zurich, I had a big dream. A big dream, the Jungians tell me, is a departure from all your regular dreams, which in my case meant this dream was not about falling off a cliff or missing an exam. This dream was about an elephant — a dead elephant with its head cut off. The head was on a grill at a suburban-style barbecue, and I was holding the spatula. Everybody milled around with cocktails; the head sizzled over the flames. I was angry at my daughter’s kindergarten teacher because she was supposed to be grilling the elephant head at the barbecue, but she hadn’t bothered to show up. And so the job fell to me. Then I woke up.”

Sara ran her dream by a couple of the Jungians she was hanging with as part of her reportage, but their responses seemed generic (mostly that elephants were maternal, one said, and related to Ganesha added the other). It seemed to me that Sara dropped this big dream right in these Jungian laps, but they were too busy revering the Master (Jung) to notice that the collective was erupting right before their eyes.

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Red Book Diaries

April 27, 2010

Although I choose to discuss The Red Book by Jung, I want to start by saying that although I’m more than interested to examine my own personal unconscious, I’m wishing in this blog to be of service to the group, to the collective both unconscious and increasingly conscious—and hope to frame my efforts to commune with our ineffable group (fellow bloggers, the world at large) regarding The Red Book at least inspired by this intention.

First, the background in very brief terms (for more on the publication of The Red Book see Sara Corbett’s NY Times article, although Sonu Shamdasani, editor and translator of The Red Book, said in a talk at the Hammer Museum, that he thought Jung would be “apoplectic over it.”  While I would not speak for old C.G., the collective zeitgeist is what it is, and so that article is part of the picture):

Carl Jung was a successful psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who, in 1913 had a series of haunting and horrible visions, which he later realized were premonitions of World War I.  Daring to take the contents of his unconscious seriously, he entered into a long experiment of “active imagination,” in which he dialogued with whatever figures arose out of the depths of his unconscious process—taking notes on what everybody said, and later drawing and painting the figures.

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