'The Red Book: Liber Novus' by Carl Jung (1914-17)

A selection from Carl Jung's The Red Book: Liber Novus, 1914-17.

The Red Book is a red leather bound book hand crafted by Jung after the fashion of a medieval illuminated manuscript which first took shape during the Great War but which was subsequently worked on and embellished with original artwork until 1930. Although the books existence has long been known, and small sections of it have been reproduced, it was not published in its entirety and made available to the public until 2009. 

In his Dreams, Memoirs and Reflections, written in 1952 (towards the end of his life), in the section titled 'Confrontation with the Unconscious', reflecting back upon the period after his break from Freud's school of psychoanalysis in 1913-- where he was being groomed by Freud to be his successor--, Jung says that "a period of inner uncertainty began for me", "I felt totally suspended in mid-air, for I had not yet found my own footing." Between 1913 and 1914 a series of dreams occurred to him, dreams which signaled the onset, he feared, of madness, although the feeling that it was not just 'his' madness asserted itself, and then, on August the first, the barbaric war between 'civilized' nations which no one believed was possible in the 'age of progress', suddenly broke out:

Now my task was clear: I had to try to understand what had happened and to what extent my own experience coincided with that of mankind in general.

One thunderstorm followed another. My enduring these storms was a question of brute strength. Others have been shattered by them--Nietzsche, and Holderlin, and many others. But there was a demonic strength in me, and from the beginning there was no doubt in my mind that I must find the meaning of what I was experiencing... . When I endured these assaults of the unconscious I had an unswerving conviction that I was obeying a higher will, and that feeling continued to uphold me... .

In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me "underground," I knew that I had to let myself plummet down into them, as it were. I felt not only violent resistance to this, but a distinct fear. For I was afraid of losing command of myself and becoming a prey to the fantasies--and as a psychiatrist I realized only too well what that meant. After prolonged hesitation, however, I saw that there was no other way out. I had to take the chance, had to try to gain power over them; for I realized that if I did not do so, I ran the risk of their gaining power over me. A cogent motive for my making the attempt was the conviction that I could not expect of my patients something I did not dare to do myself. [...] This idea-- that I was committing myself to a dangerous enterprise not for myself alone, but also for the sake of my patients-- helped me over several critical phases.
It was during Advent of the year 1913-- December 12, to be exact-- that I resolved upon the decisive step. [...] ...I let myself drop. Suddenly it was as though the ground literally gave way at my feet, and I plunged down into dark depths.
In order to seize hold of the fantasies, I frequently imagined a steep descent. I even made several attempts to get to the very bottom. [...] ...I found myself at the edge of a cosmic abyss. ...I had the feeling that I was in the land of the dead. The atmosphere was that of the other world. Near the steep slope of a rock I caught sight of two figures, an old man with a white beard and a beautiful young girl. [...] The old man explained that he was Elijah... . [...] But the girl staggered me even more, for she called herself Salome! She was blind. What a strange couple: Salome and Elijah. But Elijah assured me that he and Salome had belonged together from all eternity, which completely astounded me... .

I have mentioned that there was a third figure in my fantasy besides Elijah and Salome: the large black snake. In myths the snake is a frequent counterpart of the hero. [...] Salome is an anima figure. She is blind because she does not see the meaning of things. Elijah is the figure of the wise old prophet and represents the factor of intelligence and knowledge; Salome, the erotic element. One might say that the two figures are personifications of Logos and Eros. But such a definition would be excessively intellectual. It is more meaningful to let the figures be what they were for me at the time--namely,-- events and experiences.

Soon after this fantasy another figure rose out of the unconscious. He developed out of the Elijah figure. I called him Philemon. Philemon was a pagan and brought with him an Egypto-Hellenistic atmosphere with a Gnostic coloration.
Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, "If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them." It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche.
It is of course ironical that I, a psychiatrist, should at almost every step of my experiment have run into the same psychic material which is the stuff of psychosis and is found in the insane. This is the fund of unconscious images which fatally confuse the mental patient. But it is also the matrix of a mythopoeic imagination which has vanished from our rational age. Though such imagination is present everywhere, it is both tabooed and dreaded, so that it even appears to be a risky experiment or a questionable adventure to entrust oneself to the uncertain path that leads into the depths of the unconscious.

The unconscious contents could have driven me out of my wits. No matter how deeply absorbed or how blown about I was, I always knew that everything I was experiencing was ultimately directed at this real life of mine. I meant to meet its obligations and fulfill its meanings.

In 1916 I felt an urge to give shape to something. I was compelled from within, as it were, to formulate and express what might have been said by Philemon. This was how the Septem Sermones ed Mortuos [The Seven Sermons to the Dead written by Basilides in Alexandria, the City where the East toucheth the West] with its peculiar language came into being.
It began with a restlessness, but I did not know what it meant or what "they" wanted of me. There was an ominous atmosphere all around me. I had the strange feeling that the air was filled with ghostly entities. Then it was as if my house began to be haunted.

The atmosphere was thick, believe me! Then I knew that something had to happen. The whole house was filled as if there were a crowd present, crammed full of spirits. They were packed deep right up to the door, and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe. As for myself, I was all a-quiver with the question: "For God's sake, what in the world is this?" Then they cried out in chorus, "We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought." That is the beginning of the Septem Sermones.

...the unconscious corresponds to the mythic land of the dead, the land of the ancestors.

When I look back upon it all today and consider what happened to me during the period... , it seems as though a message had come to me with overwhelming force. There were things in the images which concerned not only myself but many others also. It was then that I ceased to belong to myself alone, ceased to have the right to do so. [...] My delivering myself over to it, as it were, was the only way by which I could endure my existence and live it as fully as possible.

All my works, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies and dreams which began in 1912, almost fifty years ago. Everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them, although at first only in the form of emotions and images. The years when I was pursuing my inner images were the most important in my life--in them everything essential was decided. It all began then; the later details are only supplements and clarifications of the material that burst forth... , and at first swamped me. It was the primo materia for a lifetime's work.

[Dreams, Memoirs and Reflections, Carl Jung, 1952]

Although several conversation were had among his friends about the possibility of publishing the Liber Novus in Jung's lifetime,

he recalled to Aniela Jaffe that the work still needed a suitable form in which it could be brought into the world because it sounded like prophecy, which was not to his taste. (Introduction by Sonu Shamdasani).

No doubt, this is partly owing to the influence which Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathrustra', which he was re-reading at the time, had on him. In 1924, while Jung was in Africa, Cary Baynes was charged with making a fresh manuscript of the text. From some of her letters to Jung:

So much of what you had experienced you said, would be counted as sheer lunacy that if it were published you would lose out altogether not only as a scientist, but as a human being, but not I said if you went at it from the Dichtung and Wahrheit [Poetry and Truth] angle, then people could make their own selection as to which was which.
..as they were now you said they might come out of a madhouse.


There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely, so does it re-envisage and clarify the things that are today, staggering everyone who is trying to find the clue to life.


Of course it may be that as he says, if he published it as it is, he would forever be hors du combat in the world of rational science, but then there must be some way around that, some way of protecting himself against stupidity, in order that the people who would want the book need not go without for the time it will take the majority to get ready for it.

Note for further reading see Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book by James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani (who was the editor of The Red Book).

[work in progress]


The Way of What Is to Come

I have learned that in addition to the spirit of this time there is still another spirit at work, namely that which rules the depths of everything contemporary. The spirit of this time would like to hear of use and value. I also thought this way, and my humanity still thinks this way. But that other spirit forces me nevertheless to speak, beyond justification, use, and meaning. Filled with human pride and blinded by the presumptuous spirit of the times, I long sought to hold that other spirit away from me. But I did not consider that the spirit of the depths from time immemorial and for all the future possesses a greater power than the spirit of this time... . The spirit of the depths has subjugated all pride and arrogance to the power of judgment. He took away my belief in science, he robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me. He forced me down to the last and simplest things.
The spirit of the depths took my understanding and all my knowledge and placed them at the service of the inexplicable and the paradoxical. He robbed me of speech and writing for everything that was not in his service, namely the melting together of sense and nonsense, which produces the supreme meaning.

Refinding the Soul
Cap i.

The vision of the flood ["in the fortieth year of my life"] seized me and I felt the spirit of the depths, but I did not understand him.

I have shaken the dust of all the lands from my feet, and I have come to you. I am with you. After long years of long wandering. I have come to you again. Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, and drank in? [...] ...one thing you must know: the one thing I have learned is that one must live this life.

I found the right way, it led me to you, to my soul. [...] Do you still know me? How long the separation lasted! Everything has become so different. And how did I find you? How strange my journey was! What words should I use to tell you on what twisted paths a good star has guided me back to you. [...] My soul, my journey should continue with you. I will wander with you and ascend to my solitude.

Hence I had to speak to my soul as something far off and unknown, which did not exist through me, but through whom I existed.

If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him... . [...] He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men. [...] My friends, it is wise to nourish the soul, otherwise you will breed dragons and devils in your heart.

Soul and God
Cap. ii.

On the second night I called out to my soul [November 14, 1913].
"I am weary, my soul, my wandering has lasted too long, my search for myself outside of myself. Now I have gone through events and find you behind all of them. [...] I found you where I least expected you. [...] 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 let me see truths of which I had no previous inkling.

I wandered for many years, so long that I forgot that I possessed a soul.

Forgive me if I speak as in a dream. [...] Forgive me if I babble. No one hears me. I speak to you quietly, and you know that I am neither a drunkard nor someone deranged, and that my heart rends in pain from the wound, whose darkness delivers speeches full of mockery: "You are lying to yourself! You spoke so as to deceive others and make them believe in you. You want to be a prophet and chase after your ambition." The wound still bleeds, and I am far from being able to pretend that I do not hear the mockery.

...time and again I lost the path and found it again where I would never have foreseen it. [...] You upheld my belief, when I was alone and near despair. At every decisive moment you let me believe in myself."

Dreams are the guiding words of the soul. Why should I henceforth not... make their riddling images into objects of daily consideration? You think that the dream is foolish and ungainly. What is beautiful? What is ungainly? What is clever? What is foolish? The spirit of this time is your measure, but the spirit of the depths surpasses it at both ends.

Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is a knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight. The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of the time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream... .

But how can I attain the knowledge of the heart? You can attain this knowledge only by living your life to the full. [...] It appears as though you want to flee from yourself so as not to have to live what remains unlived until now [Trans/Ed note: In 1931, Jung commented on the pathogenic consequences of the unlived life of parents upon their children: "What usually has the strongest psychic effect on the child is the life which the parents... have not lived."]. But you cannot flee from yourself. It is with you all the time and demands fulfillment. If you pretend to be blind and dumb to this demand, you feign being blind and deaf to yourself. This way you will never reach the knowledge of the heart.

The spirit of this time of course allowed me to believe in my reason. [...] But the spirit of the depths teaches me that I am a servant, in fact the servant of a child. This dictum was repugnant to me and I hated it. But I had to recognize and accept that my soul is a child and that my God in my soul is a child.

My God is a child, so wonder not that the spirit of this time in me is incensed to mockery and scorn. There will be no one who will laugh at me as I laughed at myself.
Your God should not be a man of mockery, rather you yourself will be the man of mockery. You should mock yourself and rise above this. If you have still not learned this from the old holy books, then go there, drink the blood and eat the flesh of him who was mocked and tormented for the sake of our sins, so that you totally become his nature, deny his being-apart-from-you; you should be he himself, not Christians but Christ... .

No one can be spared the way of Christ, since this way leads to what is to come. You should all become Christs.

On the Service of the Soul.

Cap. iii.

Where are you leading me? [...] My foot hesitates to follow you. [...] I limp after you on crutches of understanding. I am a man and you stride like a God.

I recognize my injustice. It seems to me that I despised you. My joy at finding you again was not genuine. I also recognized that the scornful laughter in me was right.
I must learn to love you. Should I also set aside self-judgement? I am afraid. Then the soul spoke to me and said: "This fear testifies against me!" it is true, it testifies against you. It kills the holy trust between you and me.

If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness.

I spoke to a loving soul and as I drew nearer to her, I was overcome by horror, and I heaped up a wall of doubt, and did not anticipate that I thus wanted to protect myself from my fearful soul.
You dread the depths; it should horrify you, since the way of what is to come leads through it. You must endure the temptation of fear and doubt, and at the same time acknowledge to the bone that your fear is justified and your doubt is reasonable. How otherwise could it be a true temptation and a true overcoming?

I have had to recognize that I must submit to what I fear; yes, even more, that I must even love what horrifies me.

In everything regarding your salvation and the attainment of mercy, you are dependent on your soul. Thus no sacrifice can be too great for you. If your virtues hinder you from salvation, discard them, since they have become evil to you. The slave to virtue finds the way as little as the slave to vices.
If you believe that you are the master of your soul, then become her servant. If you were her servant, make yourself her master... .

The Desert
Cap. iv.

Sixth night [November 28, 1913]. My soul leads me into the desert, into the desert of my own self. I did not think that my soul is a desert... . [...] How eerie is this wasteland. It seems to me that the way leads so far away from mankind

Why is my self a desert? Have I lived too much outside of myself in men and events? Why did I avoid my self? Was I not dear to myself? [...] Is it solitude, to be with oneself? Solitude is true only when the self is a desert. I hear the words: 'An anchorite in his own desert.' The monks in the Syrian desert occur to me. Should I also make a garden out of the desert? [...] Is it a deception that I can no longer trust my thoughts? [...] My soul, what am I to do here? But my soul spoke to me and said, "Wait." I heard the cruel word. Torment belongs to the desert.

I had cultivated my spirit, the spirit of this time in me, but not that spirit of the depths that turns to the things of the soul, the world of the soul. The soul has its own peculiar world. Only the self enters in there, or the man who has completely become his self, he who is neither in events, nor in men, nor in his thoughts. [...] I turned my self away from things and men, but that is precisely how I became the secure prey of my thoughts, yes, I wholly became my thoughts.

Wherever the creative power of desire is, there springs the soil's own seed. But do not forget to wait. Did you not see that when your creative force turned to the world, how the dead things moved under it and through it, how they grew and prospered, and how your thoughts flowed in rich rivers? If your creative force now turns to the place of the soul, you will see how your soul becomes green and how its field bears wonderful fruit.
Nobody can spare themselves the waiting and most will be unable to bear this torment, but will throw themselves with greed back at men, things, and thoughts, whose slaves they will become from then on.

Everything to come was already in images: to find their soul, the ancients went into the desert. This is an image. [...] There they found the abundance of visions, the fruits of the desert, the wondrous flowers of the soul. Think diligently about the images that the ancients have left behind. They show the way of what is to come. Look back at the collapse of empires, of growth and death, of the desert and monasteries, they are the images of what is to come.

The words that oscillate between nonsense and surpreme meaning are the oldest and truest.

Experiences in the Desert

"...Can you not wait? Should everything fall into your lap ripe and finished? You are full, yes, you teem with intentions and desirousness!-- Do you still not know that the way to truth stands open only to those without intentions?"

The spirit of this time considers itself extremely clever... . But wisdom is simpleminded... . Because of this, the clever person mocks wisdom, since mockery is his weapon. [...] The mockery falls on the mocker, and in the desert where no one hears and answers, he suffocates from his own scorn [Editors note: see Foucault on Rameau's Nephew: "
Without the madman, reason would be deprived of its reality, and would be empty monotony, bored with itself, an animal desert constantly confronted with its own contradiction: 'Now that they no longer have me, what do they do? They're as bored as dogs... '"].

We cannot save ourselves from the cleverness of the spirit of the time through increasing our cleverness, but through accepting what our cleverness hates most, namely simplemindedness. [...] That leads to the supreme meaning. Cleverness couples itself with intention. Simplemindedness knows no intention. Cleverness conquers the world, but simplemindedness, the soul.

Against this the scorn of my cleverness rose up. Many will laugh at my foolishness. But no one will laugh more than I laughed at myself.
So I overcame scorn.

Descent into Hell in the Future
Cap v.

In the following night [December 12 1913], the air was filled with many voices. A loud voice called, "I am falling." Other cried out confused and excited during this: "Where to?..." Should I entrust myself to this confusion? I shuddered. It is a dreadful deep. Do you want me to leave myself to chance, to the madness of my own darkness?

I see a gray rock face along which I sink into great depths. I stand... in a dark cave. Shadows sweep over me. I am seized by fear, but I know I must go in. [...] The cave is full of the frightful noise of shrieking voices. [...] I hear the flow of underground waters.

In the deepest reach of the stream shines a red sun, radiating through the dark water. There I see-- and a terror seizes me--- small serpents..., striving toward the depths, where the sun shines. A thousand serpents crowd around, veiling the sun. Deep night falls. A red stream of blood, thick red blood springs up, surging for a long time, then ebbing. I am seized by fear. What did I see?

I have sworn to you, my soul, to trust you even if you lead me through madness. [...] I want to go down cleansed into your depths with white garments and not rush in like some thief, seizing whatever I can and fleeing breathlessly. Let me persist in divine astonishment, so that I am ready to behold your wonders.

To the extent that the Christianity of this time lacks madness, it lacks divine life. Take note of what the ancients taught us in images: madness is divine. [...] It is unquestionable: if you enter into the world of the soul, you are like a madman, and a doctor would consider you to be sick.

This is how I overcame madness. If you do not know what divine madness is, suspend judgement and wait for the fruits. But know that there is a divine madness which is nothing other than the overpowering of the spirit of this time through the spirit of the depths. Speak then of sick delusion when the spirit of the depths can no longer stay down and forces a man to speak in tongues... and makes him believe that he himself is the spirit of the depths. But also speak of sick delusion when the spirit of this time does not leave a man and forces him to see only the surface, to deny the spirit of the depths and to take himself for the spirit of the times. The spirit of this time is ungodly, the spirit of the depths is ungodly, balance is godly.
Because I was caught up in the spirit of this time, precisely what happened to me on this night had to happen to me, namely that the spirit of the depths erupted with force, and swept away the spirit of this time with a powerful wave.

Thus can you differentiate sick and divine delusion. Whoever does the one and does without the other you may call sick since he is out of balance.
But who can withstand fear when the divine intoxication and madness comes to him? [...] If the spirit of the depths seizes you, you will feel the cruelty and cry out in torment.

You see in these days what the spirit of the depths bore.

Blood shone at me from the red light of the crystal, and when I picked it up to discover its mystery, there lay the horror uncovered before me: in the depths of what is to come lay murder. The blond hero lay slain.

Depths and surface should mix so that new life can develop.

I would not have been able to see what was to come if I could not have seen it in myself.

But I ask you, when do men fall on their brothers with mighty weapons and bloody acts? They do such if they do not know that their brother is themselves.

The time is still not ripe. But through this blood sacrifice, it should ripen. [...] Frightful things must happen until men grow ripe. [...] Hence all this that takes place in these days must also be, so that the renewal can come.

Murder of the Hero
Cap. vii.

We also live in our dreams, we do not live only by day.

Sigfried, blond and blue-eyed, the German hero, had to fall by my hand... .

Judge not! Think of the blond savage of the German forests, who had to betray the hammer-brandishing thunder to the pale Near-Eastern God who was nailed to the wood like a chicken marten. The courageous were overcome by a certain contempt for themselves. But their life force bade them to go on living, and they betrayed their beautiful wild Gods, their holy trees and their awe of the German forests. Siegfried had to die, just like Wotan. [In 1918, Jung wrote of the effects of the introduction of Christianity into Germany: "Christianity split the Germanic barbarian into his upper and lower halves and enabled him, by repressing the dark side, to domesticate the brighter half and fit it for culture. But the lower, darker half still awaits redemption and a second domestication. Until then, it will remain associated with vestiges of prehistory, with the collective unconscious, which must indicate a peculiar and increasing activation of the collective unconscious."]
What does Siegfried mean for the Germans! What does it tell us that the Germans suffer Siegfried's death!

The Conception of the God
Cap. viii.

How can man live in the womb of the God if the Godhead himself attends only to one-half of him?

The depths are stronger than us; so do not be heroes, be clever and drop the heroics... . The depths want to keep you, they have not returned very many up to now, and therefore men fled from the depths and attacked them.
What if the depths, due to the assault, now change themselves into death? [...] We cannot slay death, as we have already taken all life from it. If we still want to overcome death, then we must enliven it.

We should become reconciled to solitude in ourselves and to the God outside of us. If we enter into this solitude then the life of the God begins. If we are in ourselves, then the space around us is free, but filled by the God.

Our relations to men go through this empty space and also through the God. But earlier it went through selfishness since we were outside of ourselves. Therefore the spirit foretold to me that the cold of outer space will spread across the earth. With this he showed me in an image that the God will step between men and drive every individual with the whip of icy cold to the warmth of his own monastic hearth.

If you embrace your self, then it will appear to you as if the world has become cold and empty. The coming God moves into this emptiness.
If you are in your solitude, and all the space around you has become cold and unending, then you have moved far from men, and at the same time you have come near to them as never before. Selfish desire only apparently led you to men, but in reality it led you away from them and in the end to yourself, which to you and to others was the most remote. But now, you are in solitude, your God leads... to the neighbor of the self in others.

Cap. x.

If you do not acknowledge your yearning, then you do not follow yourself, but go on foreign ways that others have indicated to you. So you do not live your life but an alien one.

If you give up your self, you live it in others; thereby you become selfish to others, and thus you deceive others. [...] Through reciprocal imitation you live according to the average expectation. Therefore the hero was murdered, since we have all been aping him. Do you know why you cannot abandon apishness? For fear of loneliness and defeat.

The image of the mother of God with the child that I foresee indicates to me the mystery of the transformation.

On account of my thoughts, I had left myself; therefore my self become hungry and made God into a selfish thought. If I leave myself, my hunger will drive me to find my self in my object, that is, in my thought. Therefore you love reasonable and orderly thoughts, since you could not endure it if your self was in disordered... thoughts. Through your selfish wish, you pushed out of your thoughts everything that you do not consider ordered.

My thoughts are not my self... . Just as I am not damaged through living in a partly chaotic world, so too I am not damaged if I live in my partly chaotic thought world. Thoughts are natural events that you do not possess, and whose meaning you only imperfectly recognize. Thoughts grow in me like a forest, populated by man different animals. But man is domineering in his thinking, and therefore he kills the pleasure of the forest and that of the wild animals.

Just as my thinking is the son of forethinking, so is my pleasure the daughter of love, of the innocent and conceiving mother of God. [...] I won the power back again from the depths, and it went before me like a lion.

Cap. xi.

My longing led me up to the overbright day, whose light is the opposite of the dark space of forethinking. The opposite principle is, as I think I understand it, heavenly love, the mother.

Before I ascend to love, a condition must be fulfilled, which represents itself as the fight between two serpents. [...] Both principles ['forethinking' and the mother] have separated themselves strictly, and are even hostile to one another and have taken on the form of serpents. The form [of the serpent] indicates the daimonic nature of both principles. I recognize in this struggle a repetition of that vision where I saw the struggle between the sun and the black serpent [I.e., in ch. 5. "Descent into Hell in the Future."].
At that time, the loving light was annihilated, and blood began to pour out. This was the great war. But the spirit of the depths wants this struggle to be understood as a conflict in every man's own nature. [...] But since men don't know that the conflict lies within themselves, the Germans thus believe that the English and the Russians are wrong; but the English and the Russians say that the Germans are wrong. [...] Because one-half of mankind is wrong, every man is half wrong. Therefore a conflict resides in this own soul. But man is blind and always knows only his half. The German has in him the English and the Russian whom he fights outside of himself. Likewise, the English and the Russians has in him the German whom he fights. But man appears to see the outer quarrel, not the one within, which alone is the wellspring of the great war. Since after the death of the hero our urge to live could no longer imitate anything, it therefore went into the depths of every man and excited the terrible conflict between the powers of the depths. [...] Since men do not know that the conflict occurs inside themselves, they go mad, and one lays the blame on the other. If one-half of mankind is at fault, then every man is half at fault. But he does not see the conflict in his own soul, which is however the source of the outer disaster. If you are aggravated against your brother, think that you are aggravated against the brother in you, that is, against what in you is similar to your brother.
As a man you are part of mankind, and therefore you have a share in the whole of mankind, as if you were the whole of mankind. If you overpower and kill your fellow man who is contrary to you, then you also kill that person in yourself and have murdered a part of your life. The spirit of this dead man follows you and does not let your life become joyful. You need your wholeness to live outward.
If I... endorse the pure principle, I step to one side and become onesided. [...] That which is lacking in the pure principle appears as the serpent. [...] The serpent lurks behind the pure principle.

The spirit of this time has condemned us to haste. You have no more futurity and no more past if you serve the spirit of this time. We need the life of eternity. We bear the future and the past in the depths. The future is old and the past is young. You serve the spirit of this time, and believe that you are able to escape the spirit of the depths. But the depths do not hesitate any longer and will force you into the mysteries of Christ. It belongs to this mystery that man is not redeemed through the hero, but becomes a Christ himself.

If you do not succeed in producing the greatest evil out of this war, you will never learn the violent deed and learn to overcome fighting what lies outside you. Therefore it is good if you want this greatest evil with your whole heart. You are Christians and run after heroes, and wait for redeemers who should take the agony on themselves for you, and totally spare you Golgotha. With that we pile up a mountain of Calvary over all Europe.

You already feel the fist of the iron one on your back.

The symbol of the crystal signifies the unalterable law of events that comes of itself. In this seed you grasp what is to come. I saw something terrible and incomprehensible (it was on the night of Christmass day of the year 1913). I saw the peasant's boot, the sign of the horrors of the peasant war (the German peasant's rebellion of 1525), of murdering incendiaries and of bloody cruelty. I knew [at the time] to interpret this sign for myself as nothing but the fact that something bloody and dreadful lay before us. I saw the foot of a giant that crushed a whole city. How could I interpret this sign otherwise? I saw that the way to self-sacrifice began here. They will all become terribly enraptured by these tremendous experiences, and in their blindness will want to understand them as outer events. It is an inner happening; that is the way of the mystery of the Christ, so that the peoples learn self-sacrifice.
May the frightfulness become so great that it can turn men's eyes inward, so that their will no longer seek the self in others but in themselves. I saw it, I know that this is the way. I saw the death of Christ and I saw his lament; I felt the agony of his dying, of the great dying. I saw a new God, a child, who subdued daimons in his hand. The God holds the separate principles in his power, he unites them. The God develops through the union of the principles in me. He is their union.

But fundamentally you are terrified of yourself, and therefore you prefer to run to all others rather than to yourself. I saw the mountain of the sacrifice, and the blood poured in streams from its sides. When I saw how pride and power satisfied men, how beauty beamed from the eyes of women when the great war broke out, I knew that mankind was on the way to self-sacrifice.

The spirit of the depths, the great spirit, has seized mankind and forces self-sacrifice upon it. Do not seek the guilt here or there. The spirit of the depths clutched the fate of man unto itself, as it clutched mine. He leads mankind through the river of blood to the mystery. In the mystery man himself becomes the two principles, the lion and the serpent.


The Anchorite
Cap. iv.

The solitary lives in endless desert full of awesome beauty. He looks at the whole and at inner meaning. He loathes manifold diversity if it is near him. He looks at it from afar in its totality. Consequently silvery splendor and joy and beauty cloak diversity for him. What is near him must be simple and innocent, since close at hand the manifold and complicated tear and break through the silvery splendor. No cloudiness..., no haze or mist is allowed to be around him, otherwise he cannot look at the distant manifold in the whole. Consequently the solitary loves the desert above all, where everything nearby is simple and nothing turbid or blurred lies between him and the far-away.

Cap. vi

Divine Folly
Cap. xiv.

I'm in the reading room of a large library. In the background sits a small thin man of pale complexion, apparently the librarian. [...] I step toward him. He looks up from his book and says, "What do you want?"

I: "I'd like to have Thomas a Kempis's The Imitation of Christ."
He looks at me somewhat astonished as if he didn't credit me with such an interest.
"Are you surprised that I'm requesting Thomas's work?"
"Well, yes, the book is seldom asked for, and I wouldnt' have expected this interest from you."
"Do you have particular theological or philosophical interests, or--"

"Do you mean-- whether I want to read it for the purpose of prayer?"
"Well, hardly."
"If I read Thomas a Kempis, I do so for the sake of prayer, or something similar, rather than out of scholarly interest."
"Are you that religious? I had no idea."
"You know that I value science extraordinarily highly. But there are actually moments in life where science also leaves us empty and sick. In such moments a book like Thomas's means very much to me since it is written from the soul."
"But somewhat old-fashioned.... ."
"We haven't come to an end with Christianity by simply putting it aside. It seems to me that there's more to it... ."
"... there seem to be all sorts of things in Christianity that maybe one would do well to keep. Nietzsche is too oppositional. Like everything healthy and long-lasting, truth unfortunately adheres more to the middle way, which we unjustly abhor."

The divine wants to live with me. My resistance is in vain. I asked my thinking, and it said: "Take as your model one that shows you how to live the divine." Our natural model is Christ. We have stood under his law since antiquity, first outwardly, and then inwardly. At first we knew this, and then knew it no longer. We fought against Christ, we deposed him, and we seemed to be conquerors. But he remained in us and mastered us.
It is better to be thrown into visible chains than into invisible ones. You can certainly leave Christianity but it does not leave you. Your liberation from it is delusion.

If I imitate Christ, he is always ahead of me and I can never reach the goal, unless I reach it in him. But thus I move beyond myself and beyond time, in and through which I am as I am. [...] And so I am outside my time, despite the fact that my life is in this time and I am split between the life of Christ and my life that still belongs to this present time. But if I am truly to understand Christ, I must realize how Christ actually lived only his own life, and imitated no one. He did not emulate any model.
If I thus truly imitate Christ, I do not imitate anyone, I emulate no one, but go my own way, and I will also no longer call myself a Christian. Initially, I wanted to emulate and imitate Christ by living my life, while observing his precepts. A voice in me protested against this and wanted to remind me that my time also had its prophets who struggle against the yoke with which the past burdens us. I did not succeed in united Christ with the prophets of this time. The one demands bearing, the other discarding; the one commands submission, the other the will. How should I think of this contradiction without doing injustice to either?

And so I decided to cross over into lower and everyday life, my life, and to begin down there, where I stood.
When thinking leads to the unthinkable, it is time to return to simple life. What thinking cannot solve, life solves.

Nox secunda
Cap. xv.

I put the small book into my pocket and go to the door [which] leads to a large kitchen, with a large chimney over the stove. [...] A large fat woman is standing at the stove... wearing a checkered apron. [...] I ask her: "May I sit down for a while? It's cold outside and I must wait for something."

Having nothing else to do, I take out my Thomas and begin to read.

My eyes fall on the following passage in the nineteenth chapter: "The righteous base their intention more on the mercy of God, which in whatever they undertake they trust more than their own wisdom."
This is the intuitive method that Thomas recommends, it occurs to me [translators/editors note: Instead of this sentence, Black Book 4 has: "Well, Henri Bergson, I think there you have it-- this is precisely the genuine and right intuitive method"].

I believe one can also follow one's own nose. That would also be Bergson's intuitive method. But the beautiful way in which Christ does this must nevertheless be of special value. I would like to imitate Christ-- an inner disquiet seizes me... . ...suddenly a roaring sound fills the room like a horde of large birds... -- I see many shadowlike human forms rush past and I hear a manifold babble of voices utter the words: "Let us pray in the temple!" [recall the opening words of the Seven Sermons to the Dead,
'We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought.'] "Where are you rushing off to?" I call out. A bearded man with... dark shining eyes stops and turns toward me: "We are wandering to Jerusalem to pray at the most holy sepulcher."
"What drives you to this?"
"I don't know. But it seems that we still have no peace, although we died in true belief."
"Why do you have no peace if you died in true belief?"
"It always seems to me as if we had not come to a proper end with life."
"Remarkable-- how so?"
"It seems to me that we forgot something important that should also have been lived."
"And what was that?"
...he reaches out greedily and uncannily toward me, his eyes shining as if from inner heat.
"Let go, daimon, you did not live your animal." [Translators/editors note: In 1918, Jung argued that Christianity had suppressed the animal element ("On the unconscious," CW 10, par 31). He elaborated this theme in his 1923 seminars in Polzeath, Cornwall. In 1939, he argued that the "psychological sin" which Christ committed was that d(Modern Psychology 4, p.230)].
The cook is standing in front of me with a horrified face; she has taken me by the arm and grips me firmly. "For God's sake," she calls out, "Help, what's wrong with you? Are you in a bad way?"
I look at her astonished and wonder where I really am. But soon strange people burst in-- among them the librarian-- ...astonished and dismayed at first, then laughing maliciously: "Oh, I might have known! Quick, the police!"
Before I can collect myself, I am pushed through a crowd of people into a van. I am still clutching my copy of Thomas and ask myself: "What would he say to this new situation?"

I was flanked by policemen left and right. "Well," I said to them, "you can let me go now." "Yes, we know all about this," one said laughing. "Now just you hold your peace," said the other sternly. So, we are obviously heading for the madhouse. That is a high price to pay. But one can go this way too, it seems. It's not so strange, since thousands of our fellows take that path.

We have arrived-- a large gate, a hall-- a friendly bustling superintendent-- and now also two doctors. One of them is a small fat professor.
Pr: "What's that book you've got there?"
"It's Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ."
Pr: "So, a form of religious madness... . You see, my dear, nowadays, the imitation of Christ leads to the madhouse."
"That is hardly to be doubted, professor."
Pr: ".[...] Do you hear voices?"
"You bet! Today it was a huge throng of Anabaptists that swarmed through the kitchen."
Pr: "[...] Are the voices following you?"
"Oh no, Heaven forbid, I summoned them."
Pr: "[...] This belongs in the case history. Would you immediately take a note of that, doctor?"
"With all due respect, Professor, may I say that it is absolutely not abnormal, but much rather the intuitive method."
Pr: "Excellent. The fellow also uses neologisms.

Now my clothes are inventoried-- then the bath-- and now I'm taken off to the ward. [...] I enjoy perfect silence. The problem of madness is profound. Divine madness-- a higher form of the irrationality of the life streaming through us-- at any rate a madness that cannot be integrated into present-day society-- but how? What if the form of society were integrated into madness?

The "imitation of Christ" led me to the master himself and to his astonishing kingdom. I do not know what i want there; I can only follow the master who governs this other realm in me. [...] Here, the "mercy of God," which I had never relied on, for good practical reasons, is the highest law of action. The "mercy of God" signifies a particular state of the soul in which I entrust myself to all neighbors with trembling and hesitation and with the mightiest outlay of hope that everything will work out well.
I can no longer say that this or that goal should be reached.... instead I grope through mist and night. No line emerges, no law appears; instead everything is thoroughly and convincingly accidental, as a matter of fact even terribly accidental.

And suddenly to your shivering horror it becomes clear to you that you have fallen into the boundless, the abyss, the inanity of eternal chaos. It rushes toward you as if carried by the roaring wings of a storm, the hurtling waves of the sea.

If you break through this most everyday of walls, the overwhelming stream of chaos will flood in. Chaos is not single, but an unending multiplicity.

These figures are the dead, not just your dead, that is, all the images of the shapes you took in the past, which your ongoing life has left behind, but also the thronging dead of human history, the ghostly procession of the past, which is an ocean compared to the drops of your own life span.

What you excluded from your life, what you renounced and damned, everything.... awaits you behind that wall before which you sit quietly.

While you mock them, one of them stands behind you, panting from rage and despair at the fact that your stupor does not attend to him. He besieges you in sleepless nights... . ...he pricks your longing... . He accompanies you as your evil spirit, to whom you can grant no release.

Beside them place Christ, who was the greatest among them. [...] Their hordes people the land of the soul. [...] They forgot only one thing: they did not live their animal.

He who never lives his animal must treat his brother like an animal. Abase yourself and live your animal so that you will be able to treat your brother correctly. You will thus redeem all those roaming dead who strive to feed on the living.

When the time has come and you open the door to the dead, your horrors will also afflict your brother, for your countenance proclaims the disaster. Hence withdraw and enter solitude, since no one can give you counsel if you wrestle with the dead. Do not cry for help if the dead surround you, otherwise the living will take flight and they are your only bridge to the day. Live the life of the day and do not speak of mysteries, but dedicate the night to bringing about the salvation of the dead.
For whoever well-meaningly tears you away from the dead has rendered you the worst service, since he has torn your life branch from the tree of divinity.

Then turn to the dead, whose champion you are, listen to their lament and accept them with love.

What seeks to distance you from Christianity and its holy rule of love are the dead, who could find no peace in the Lord since their uncompleted work has followed them. A new salvation is always a restoring of the previously lost.

...the spirits of those who die before their time will live, for the sake of our present incompleteness, in dark hordes in the rafters of our houses and besiege our ears with urgent laments... .

We are a blinded race. We live only on the surface, only in the present, and think only of tomorrow. We deal roughly with the past in that we do not accept the dead. We want to work only with visible success. Above all we want to be paid. We would consider it insane to do hidden work that does not visibly serve men.

There is one necessary but hidden and strange work-- a major work-- which you must do in secret, for the sake of the dead. [...] And until he has fulfilled this, he cannot get to his outer work, since the dead do not let him. [...] Do not look forward so much, but back and into yourself... .

It belongs to the way of Christ that he ascends with few of the living, but many of the dead. His work was the salvation of the despised and lost, for whose sake he was crucified between two criminals.
I suffer my agony between two madmen.

You seem to believe that you can absolve yourself from the care of the dead, and from the work that they so greatly demand, since what is dead is past. You excuse yourself with your disbelief in the immortality of the soul. Do you think that the dead do not exist because you have devised the impossibility of immortality?

I accepted the chaos, and in the following night, my soul approached me.

Nox tertia
Cap. xvi

My soul spoke to me in a whisper, urgently and alarmingly: "Words, words, do not make too many words. Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life."
I: "Your words sound hard and the task you set me is difficult."
S: "If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature."
"Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life."
I: "That... prompts me to disagree."
S: " You have nothing to disagree with-- you are in the madhouse."
Prof: "Yes, my dear, you are confused. Your speech is completely incoherent."
I: "I too believe that I've completely lost myself. Am I really crazy? It's all terribly confusing."

Everything inside me is in utter disarray. Matters are becoming serious, and chaos is approaching. Is this the ultimate bottom? Is chaos also a foundation? If only there weren't these terrible waves. Everything breaks asunder like black billows. Yes, I see and understand: it is the ocean, the almighty nocturnal tide-- a ship moves there-- a large steamer-- I'm just about to enter the smoking parlor-- many people-- beautiful clothes-- they all look at me astonished-- someone comes up to me and says: "What's the matter? You look just like a ghost! What happened?"
I: "...I believe that I have gone crazy-- the floor sways-- everything moves--"
Someone: "The sea is somewhat rough this evening, that's all... you're seasick."
I: "You're right, I am seasick, but in a special way-- I'm really in a madhouse."
Someone: "Well now, you're joking again, life is returning."
I: "Do you call that wit? Just now the professor pronounced me truly and utterly mad."

Prof: "I hope that I haven't upset you too much."
I: "Well, to be committed is no small matter."
The person to whom I had been speaking before suddenly comes up to me and looks me in the face. He [has] dark shining eyes. He speaks to me vehemently: "Something worse happened to me, it's five years now that I've been here."

"He goes on speaking fiercely and urgently: "But I am Nietzsche, only rebaptized, I am also Christ, the Savior, and appointed to save the world, but they won't let me."
I "Who won't let you?"
The fool: "The devil. We are in Hell. But of course, you haven't noticed it yet. I didn't realize until the second year of my time here that the director is the devil."
I: "You mean the professor? That sounds incredible."
The fool: "You're an ignoramous.... ."
I: "But what you have told me is pure mythology."
The fool: You're crazy and understand nothing of it. You belong in the madhouse. My God, why does my family always shut me in with crazy people? I'm supposed to save the world, I'm the Savior!"
He lies down again and sinks back into his lassitude. I clutch the sides of my bed to protect myself against the terrible waves. [...] A horizontal line runs along the wall, which is painted a darker colour beneath. A radiator stands in front of it-- it is a railing and I can see the sea beyond it. The line is the horizon. [...] The sun of martyrdom has arises and is pouring bloody rays over the sea. [...] I see a tree arise from the sea. its crown reaches Heaven and its roots reach down into Hell. I am completely alone and disheartened and gaze from afar. It is as if all life had flown from me and completely passed into the incomprehensible and fearful. I am utterly weak and incapable. "Salvation," I whisper. A strange voice speaks: "There is no salvation here, you must remain calm, or you will disturb the others. It is night and the other people want to sleep. I see, it's the attendant.

I: "I couldn't find the way."
He says: "You don't need to find a way now."
He speaks the truth. [...] There are no paved ways into the future. We say that it is this way, and it is. We build roads... . Our life is the truth that we seek.

This is the night in which all the dams broke, where what was previously solid moved, where the stones turned into serpents, and everything living froze.

Be tentative with words,... for you are the first who is ensnared in them. For words are not merely words, but have meaning for which they are set. They attract these meanings like daimonic shadows. [...] With words you pull up the underworld.

So if I fall prey to the web of words... . I am at the mercy of the sea, of the inchoate waves that are forever changing place. Their essence is movement. [...] The work of men is steady but it swims upon chaos. The striving of men seems like lunacy to him who comes from the sea. But men consider him mad. [...] He can hardly bear the gaze of men. For to him they all seem to be drunk and foolish from sleep-inducing poisons. They want to come to your rescue, and as for accepting help, for sure you would like less of that, rather than swindling your way into their company and being completely like one who has never seen the chaos but only talks about it.
But for him who has seen the chaos, there is no more hiding... . [...] He knows the sea and can never forget it. The chaos is terrible: days full of lead, nights full of horror.
But just as Christ knew that he was the way, the truth, and the life, in that the new torment and the renewed salvation came into the world through him, I know that chaos must come over men, and that the hands of those who unknowingly and unsuspectingly break through the thin walls that separate us from the sea are busy. For this is our way, our truth, and our life.
Just as the disciples of Christ recognized that God had become flesh and lived among them as a man, we now recognize that the anointed of this time is a God who does not appear in the flesh; ...but in spirit... ; hence he can be born only through the spirit of men as the conceiving womb of the God [translators/editors note: Jung elaborated this issue many years later in Answer to Job (1952), where he studied the historical transformation of Judeo-Christian God images.] What is done to this God you do to the lowest in yourself, under the law of love according to which nothing is cast out. For how else should your lowest be saved from depravity? Who should accept the lowest in you, if you do not?

The lowest in you is the source of mercy. We take this sickness upon ourselves, the inability to find peace, the baseness, and the contemptibility so that the God can be healed and radiantly ascend, purged of the decomposition of death and the mud of the underworld. The despicable prisoner will ascend to his salvation shining and wholly healed.
Is there a suffering that would be too great to want to undergo for our God? You only see the one, and do not notice the other. But when there is one, so there is also another and that is the lowest in you. But the lowest in you is also the eye of the evil that stares at you and looks at you coldly and sucks your light down into the dark abyss. Bless the hand that keeps you up there, the smallest humanity; the lowest living thing. Quite a few would prefer death. Since Christ imposed bloody sacrifice on humanity; the renewed God will also not spare bloodshed.

If I accept the lowest in me, I lower a seed into the ground of Hell. The seed is invisibly small, but the tree of my life grows from it and conjoins the Below with the Above. At both ends there is fire and blazing embers. The Above is fiery and the Below is fiery. Between the unbearable fires grows your life. You hang between these two poles.

Therefore he who strives for the highest finds the deepest.

...he who accepts what approaches him because it is also in him, quarrels and wrangles no more, but looks into himself and keeps silent.
He sees the tree of life, whose roots reach into Hell and whose top touches Heaven. He also no longer knows differences: who is right? What is holy? What is genuine? What is good? What is correct? He knows only one difference: the difference between below and above. For he sees that the tree of life grows from below to above, and that it has its crown at the top, clearly differentiated from the roots. To him this is unquestionable. Hence he knows the way to salvation.
To unlearn all distinctions save that concerning direction is part of your salvation. Hence you free yourself from the old curse of the knowledge of good and evil. Because you separated good from evil according to your best appraisal and aspired only to the good and denied the evil that you committed nevertheless and failed to accept, your roots no longer suckled the dark nourishment of the depths and your tree became sick and withered.
Therefore the ancients said that after Adam had eaten the apple, the tree of paradise withered. Your life needs the dark. But if you know that it is evil, you can no longer accept it and you suffer anguish and you do not know why: Nor can you accept it as evil, else your good will reject you. Nor can you deny it since you know good and evil. Because of this the knowledge of good and evil was an insurmountable curse.
But if you return to primal chaos and if you feel and recognize that which hangs stretched between the two unbearable poles of fire, you will notice that you can no longer separate good and evil conclusively, neither through feeling nor through knowledge, but that you can discern the direction of growth only from below to above. You thus forget the distinction between good and evil, and you no longer know it as long as your tree grows from below to above. But as soon as growth stops, what was united in growth falls apart and once more you recognize good and evil.