Feb 20, 2010 I Amelia Crater

Gift of the Gods: Download Jung’s Alchemical Red Book

For nearly a quarter of a century following the death of famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung's, his family kept the Red Book locked in a safety deposit box, which is an irony Jung would most certainly have found synchronistic , reflecting as it does  nearly the number of years it took to purge the material from his own subconscious.

The book was finally released by the family in 2009. The original has been on display at the Rubin Museum in New York and W.W. North has published the book which you can find on Amazon for $122.00.   Or as a  kind of miracle of the internet and thank to Justininfinity via Ledgergermane you can download the entire book, including the lavish color plates and the English translation in one (large) file. Free!

If the price isn't enough of an enticement, this is from the Washington Post review

He composed [The Red Book] during a state of "active imagination" -- that is, of reverie or waking dream. As he said, he wanted to see what would happen when he "switched off consciousness." To the modern reader, the result recalls an allegorical-mythological amalgam of Nietzsche's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Blake's illuminated poems, Renaissance Neoplatonic dialogue, Eastern scripture, Dante's "Inferno," Yeats's "A Vision" and even the biblical book of Revelation. Jung's pictures sometimes resemble simplified versions of Georgia O'Keeffe's flower paintings and sometimes the symbol-laden images in treatises about alchemy (a subject that Jung was soon to study intently). Throughout, one finds illuminated capitals, interlaced roundels that call to mind stained-glass windows, stars, half moons, swords, crosses, dying animals. Jung also drew circular patterns that he later recognized as versions of the mystical shape called the mandala. "The Red Book" was never published during the psychologist's lifetime, though a few friends and disciples were allowed to examine it. Apparently Jung felt it was not only too personal and quirky for publication, but also that he had already mined the text for the insights set forth in his later writings. As editor Sonu Shamdasani stresses, "The overall theme of the book is how Jung regains his soul and overcomes the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. This is ultimately achieved through enabling the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and developing a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmogony."

After you've finished downloading the book (do that first because it seems unlikely such a boon will be around for long), here are some other links about the book and Jung that you can check out:

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious by Sarah Corbett, The New York Times

The Red Book via the Jung Society of Port Townsend, which includes many Red Book related links, including the Rubin Museum where the original has been on display. There is also a link to a video of a series of programs called The Red Book Dialogues.

Jung and the Occult via the Book of Thoth

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