The Red Book

Reprinted from The Red Book by C. G. Jung (c) Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung.

THOSE attracted to Theosophy and to Occultism are becoming every day more numerous. With every inquiry lies the potency and promise of genuine spiritual development.

The Masters of Wisdom in every age set up no barriers against any one’s approach. Their works and lives are not limited to adepts, saints, and the “purest of heart.”

The humblest searcher would not be made to feel discouraged by the sense of his own shortcomings, or by the perception of the difficulties at every step on his journey of self-realization.

This week we feature the work and life of one of the humblest and fearless of searchers, the renowned writer-artist-occultist-psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. The exhibit of his Red Book at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City ends January 25, 2010.

Redbook_CGJungLike Jung, it was the characteristic quality of H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, preeminent Theosophical writer-teachers, that every newcomer be met as a dear friend returning from a long journey — as one new-born — not as someone to look down upon, as if they were inferior or somehow spiritually disabled.

And the Christian phrases “ministering unto the one who will exceed you in glory” and welcoming strangers who may be “angels unawares,” is good advice for those greeting seemingly “new” students in any lodge or study group.

The Sand Mandala – a lesson in letting go

Lama Karma Tenzin creates a sand mandala in the theater gallery of the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA). The mandala took over two weeks to create out of millions of grains of crushed marble, and under 2 minutes to destroy.

(At the Rubin Museum of Art, NYC)

Three Objects

Asked what are the objectives of the Theosophical Society — begun in New York City, November 17, 1875 — the Founder Mme. Blavatsky answered:— “They are three, and have been so from the beginning.”

(1.) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.

(2.) To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.

(3.) To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially.

“These are, broadly stated, the three chief objects of the Theosophical Society.”

Those who fear and rail against “psychism” forget this Third Object, and the purpose and importance of the “Hall of Learning,” and the human power of imagination. Incredibly, some Theosophical groups have removed the word “psychic” from their version of the original Objects.

redbook_mandala_jungThe King Faculty

Imagination is called the “King faculty” in occultism. Deeper than mere “fancy” at its lower levels, true imagination is a power tool of mind that can reveal to us the roots of wisdom— a tool transcending any intellectual or psychic interest in Theosophy and Occultism. Jung was a master of this spiritual faculty of soul, as evidenced by his Liber Novus.

RedBook6In his Ocean of Theosophy, Ch. 16, William Q. Judge spoke of the imagination as “the picture-making power of the human mind.” In the average person it “lacks training and force,” he says, but when trained “it becomes capable of making a matrix in the astral substance.”

“One of the powers of the trained Imagination is that of evolving, in the Astral substance, an actual image or form which can then be used in the same way as an iron molder uses a mold of sand for the molten iron. It is, therefore, considered the King faculty, inasmuch as the Will cannot do its work if the Imagination be at all weak or untrained.”

red_book_page_54The Astral Senses

Behind all the visible phenomena is the occult universe. This primal, hidden world is available to our astral senses. These senses reside in hakomi2the astral sheath of our body field.

Using this faculty, man has the power to evolve forms, first as astral ones in astral substance, and later as visible ones by accretions of matter on our visible plane.

In the astral substance, all sounds and pictures exist. Correspondingly, the impressions of every event, past, present or future, however seemingly insignificant, are also reflected on our astral body.

Theosophy and Occultism

Thus, every Theosophist is a theoretical Occultist, as every Occultist is a practical Theosophist.

The two terms, Theosophy and Occultism, are different only in the sense of degree — the distinction between the seed and the tree.

The emergence as a genuine Occultist is the normal evolution of the human being into the full-grown Tree of Life everlasting through the pursuit of Self-knowledge.

lotus_seed_podsThe seed of the Tree of Life is in every man, as it is in every other form in nature.

Man is man on earth because in him this germinal essence, like the seed of the lotus, contains within itself already the fully formed prototype.

It is the antitype of all future  Soul-memory and Soul-knowledge. But it can never come to actual birth except through Union — the union of all the elements of his being, with all the Elements in nature.

But self-knowledge, according to “the pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy,” must be self-induced and self-devised. The doctrine allows “no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit.”

The Kaliyuga Cycle

In a footnote to Part 1 of her article “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels,” H. P. Blavatsky noted there are “several remarkable cycles that come to a close at the end of this [19th] century.

First, the 5,000 years of the Kaliyug cycle” and “the Messianic cycle of the Samaritan (also Kabalistic) Jews of the man connected with Pisces (Ichthys or ‘Fish-man’ Dag).”


It is a cycle, historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years — having a true significance only when computed by lunar months.

The Kaliyuga [dark age] occurred, she said, 2410 B.C. — “when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram.” And said the Messianic cycle began 255 B.C. in the sign of Pisces. “When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius,” she warned:

“… psychologists will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change.”

The Alchemy of C.G. Jung

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychologist, the founder of analytical psychology known as Jungian psychology. What is not as well known is that he was a ‘holy heretic,’ both personally and professionally.

In a world of global scale diversity, Carl Jung was driven to answer the pioneering questions: “how do we learn to relate to those that are different, and how do we learn to understand and accept who we are?”


Photos courtesy Library of Congress Sigmund Freud (left) and Carl Jung

Jung, embarking on his own painful journey of self-discovery, had nagging doubts about his mentor Sigmund Freud’s limited view of human nature, and became his most outspoken critic.

Carl Jung – The Journey to Self Discovery

“As a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician,” writes author Bret Burquest —

“… he explored the psyche through an examination of dreams, mythology, religion, and art. He also spent much of his life delving into alchemy, astrology and Eastern philosophy. Some of his notable achievements include the concept of psychological archetypes, synchronicity, and the collective unconscious.”


“Coincidentally, Albert Einstein read from ancient alchemy texts every night when he went to bed.

“In 1926, Jung had a significant dream whereby he was in the 1600s engaged in the ‘Great Work’ as an alchemist. He believed that alchemy was the connection between the modern world and the ancient world of the Gnostics.”

(Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels)

Carl Jung on Alchemy

For more information about Carl Jung and Gnosis, you may like to read the scholarly historical article by Stephan A. Hoeller: “C. G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal”.

Collective Consciousness

There seems to be a natural tendency for us to daydream. But dreaming and reminiscing is not always an individual phenomenon.

Human beings seems to be attracted to group states. This shared dreaming Mme. Blavatsky called “floating reminiscences,” which “unite the broken links of the chain of time.” And these form, she said:-

“…the mysterious, dream foundation of our collective consciousness.”

Related Post:

Fields of Dream


Publication of C. G Jung’s Red Book

See a preview of The Red Book contents, including several illustrations and the translation of the first page: Download and view in .pdf format.

jung_redbookThe Gnosis Archive writes:

“This is the extraordinary event many of us have awaited for decades, and its importance cannot be overstated.”

Building the RMA

The Rubin Museum of Art’s latest exhibit is The Red Book of C.G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology (October 7, 2009 – January 25, 2010) is well worth visiting. The Museum notes “This unprecedented exhibition marks the first public presentation of the preeminent psychologist C. G. Jung’s (1875-1961) famous Red Book.”

“During the period in which he worked on this book Jung developed his principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation. It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology.”

This is an abbreviated version of a longer documentary following the transformation of the building which houses The Rubin Museum of Art.

Up Close and Personal

The editors of TheosophyWatch were impressed with Jung’s Red Book when they recently visited the exhibit (and were also elated with the museum’s expansive collection of Trans-Himalayan art).

One editor learned about the publishing of The Red Book through a workshop on Active Imagination offered by Gary Goodwin from the Inner Arts Center. buddha_action

Carl Jung developed Active Imagination as a meditation technique and linked it with the processes of alchemy in that both strive for oneness and inter-relatedness from a set of fragmented and dissociated parts.

Doing Active Imagination permits the thoughtforms of the unconscious, or Inner Self, and of the totality of the psyche, to act out whatever messages they are trying to communicate to the conscious mind.

This editor has found the technique very useful, energizing, and transformative.

While most people can benefit from doing “inner work” based on Jung’s systems, it should not be considered replacement for therapy provided by health professionals such as psychotherapists or psychiatrists.

We are not psychotherapists or psychiatrists and cannot advise the care that only a health care professional can.

Cracked Chalice

It is this same editor’s personal opinion (this is a blog) that one can’t develop oneself spiritually without also making efforts to heal or find wholeness for one’s own psychology.  To develop one without the other leads to dangerous hypocrisy.jung-red-book-dragon

To have an association with the Mahatmas and receive a boost from their presence and/or teaching requires alchemical co-measurement to be sure that intercession is fully assimilated and not empower a fractured and dysfunctional aspect of self.

Emma Coulomb, H. P. Blavatsky’s housekeeper who ended up betraying her and the Cause, perhaps is a good example of someone who had abundant opportunities being in the presence of HPB and her Teachers to be healed of her brokenness. Had she been self-reflective and realized her own tendencies towards deviousness, she could have humbly asked for help.

Many examples come to mind in this editor’s life of individuals who, for the lack of addressing their own psychology, failed the Movement and their own souls. When such a one is in a position of leadership, the damage is multiplied.

jung_redbook2This is why this editor feels adamant that now is a crucial time to look at oneself through such techniques that Jung brought forth to enable that dialog between the inner and outer selves and heal ancient wounds and schisms.

“The ladder by which the candidate ascends is formed of rungs of suffering and pain; these can be silenced only by the voice of virtue. Woe, then, to thee, Disciple, if there is one single vice thou hast not left behind. For then the ladder will give way and overthrow thee.” The Voice of the Silence

C. G. Jung’s “Liber Novus”

Guest curator Sonu Shamdasani introduces C. G. Jung’s Liber Novus, commonly referred to as The Red Book. This video is featured in the RMA exhibition “The Red Book of C.G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology.”

During WWI, Jung commenced an extended self-exploration that he called his “confrontation with the unconscious.” During this period, he developed his principal theories of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, psychological types and the process of individuation, and transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with the treatment of pathology into a means for reconnection with the soul and the recovery of meaning in life.


“At the heart of this endeavor was his legendary Red Book, a large, leather bound, illuminated volume that he created between 1914 and 1930, and which contained the nucleus of his later works.”

While Jung considered the Red Book, or Liber Novus (New Book) to be the central work in his oeuvre, it has remained unpublished, and unavailable for study and unseen by the public at large, until now. The work can be best described as a work of psychology in a literary and prophetic form.


“It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. Its publication is a watershed that inaugurates a new era in the understanding of Jung’s life and work.”

As Jung stated:

“The years … when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore.

“My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me.

“That was the stuff and material for more than only one life…. Everything later was merely the outer classification,the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.” is now taking orders and copies are also available in the museum.

Carl Jung and Alchemy


“Jung considered alchemy to be the key to the transformation of the soul on its path toward perfection. His manuscript titled PSYCHOLOGY AND ALCHEMY was published in 1944.

“The focus of the alchemist is the union of opposites. Rather than a battle between good and evil (dualism), Jung claimed there was no right or wrong, no order or chaos, no black or white — they are simply opposites that transform into grey, demanding of humanity to be transformed.” (Bret Burquest)

Pierre Grimes, Ph.D discusses the Lost treasure of Plato, hidden in Carl Jung. This video studies Plato as an Intellectual Yoga, a spiritual tradition which is magnificent, structured, aggressive, descriptive and psychologically profound.

Synchronicity and Archetypes

CARL JUNG 1875 – 1961

Dr. C. George Boeree

Synchronicity is the occurrence of two events that are not linked causally, nor linked teleologically, yet are meaningfully related.

“Once, a client [of Jung] was describing a dream involving a scarab beetle when, at that very instant, a very similar beetle flew into the window.”


People sometimes dream about something, like the death of a loved one, and find the next morning that their loved one did, in fact, die at about that time. Sometimes people pick up he phone to call a friend, only to find that their friend is already on the line. Most psychologists would call these things coincidences, or try to show how they are more likely to occur than we think.

“Jung believed the were indications of how we are connected, with our fellow humans and with nature in general, through the collective unconscious.”


Helena Petrovna Blavatsky ….


“The world is not prepared yet to understand

… the philosophy of Occult Science – let them assure themselves first of all that there are beings in an invisible world … and that there are hidden powers in man …” (HPB Letters)


“Races of men differ in spiritual ‘gifts

… as in color, stature, or any other external quality — among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship.” (Isis Unveiled)


Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers

… is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the [mental] and spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the [mind] principle, are valuable aids in development.

But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of being controlled, using instead of being used, lead the student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction.”

(H. P. Blavatsky to the American Conventions)


“The acquisition of the highest knowledge and power

… require not only many years of the severest study …. and an audacity bent by no peril, but also as many years of retreat in comparative solitude, and association with but students pursuing the same object, in a locality where nature itself preserves like the neophyte an absolute and unbroken stillness, if not silence!” – (H. P. Blavatsky)


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5 responses to “The Red Book

  1. “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic text from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has been turned into a Nazareth Gradually from which nothing good can come. Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth – the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better.”
    – Carl Gustav Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, pg.99

    “The destructive quality of this thinking as well as its occasional and limited usefulness, hardly need further elucidation. But there still exists another form of negative thinking, which at first glance perhaps would scarcely be recognized as such.

    “I refer to the theosophy thinking which is to-day rapidly spreading in every quarter of the globe, presumably as a reaction phenomenon to the materialism of the epoch now receding. Theosophical thinking has an air that is not in the least reductive, since it exalts everything to transcendental and world-embracing ideas. A dream, for instance, is no longer a modest dream, but an experience upon another plane’. The hitherto inexplicable fact of telepathy is very simply explained by ‘vibrations ‘ which pass from one man to another.

    “An ordinary nervous trouble is quite simply accounted for by -the fact that something has collided with the astral body. Certain anthropological peculiarities of the dwellers on the Atlantic seaboard are easily explained by the submerging of Atlantis, and so on. We have merely to open a theosophical book to be overwhelmed by the realization that everything is already explained, and that ‘ spiritual science ‘ has left no enigmas of life unsolved. But, fundamentally, this sort of thinking
    is just as negative as materialistic thinking.

    “When the latter conceives psychology as chemical changes taking place in the cell-ganglia, or as the extrusion and withdrawal of cell-processes, or as an internal secretion, in essence this is just as superstitious as theosophy. The only difference lies in the fact that materialism reduces all phenomena to our current physiological notions, while theosophy brings everything into the concepts of Indian metaphysics.

    “When we trace the dream to an overloaded stomach, the dream is not thereby explained, and when we explain telepathy as ‘vibrations’, we have said just as little. Since, what are ‘vibrations’? Not only are both methods of explanation quite impotent they are actually destructive, because by interposing their seeming explanations they withdraw interest from the problem, diverting it in the former case to the stomach, and in the latter to imaginary vibrations, thus preventing any serious investigation of the problem.

    “Either kind of thinking is both sterile and sterilizing. Their negative quality consists in this : it is a method of thought that is indescribably cheap; there is a real poverty of productive and creative energy. It is a thinking taken in tow by other functions.”
    ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types, General Description of Types, Page 445.


    • Thanks for posting this very useful discourse.


    • Especially the first, fourth, and last quotes show that Jung didn’t understand Eastern wisdom, nor read Blavatsky seriously. As it were, he was a flawed person like all of us. Perhaps his distrust of women also played into this opposition to theosophy, an integrative discipline with no less potency than his own psychology. It’s unfortunate that Jung projected his own weaknesses and negativity onto his friends, friends and co-thinkers indeed as we found from the blog post. I think the first step of any supposed wise person is the attainment of ability to differentiate friends from enemies, and that Jung failed to do, as he failed to grasp that there is indeed good and evil in the world. We only need to notice it in ourselves, in our own acts and thoughts.

      Concerning ‘vibrations’, here is what Nikola Tesla said: ‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.’


  2. Just wanted to let everyone know that the Red Book will be on displav, I’ve heard, at the Armand Hammer museum in Los Angeles and then at the Library of Congress in June.


  3. I received the Red Book yesterday after a months delay at Amazon. My wife and I looked at it on the sofa last night and realised how sacred it is. I fully intend to use the art work and mandalas in meditation and to do the same in Leicester lodge. Now I must phone friends in the clergy, psychologists and a Jungian counsellor to come round like magi to adore the prodigy. Sadly I have no stable for the viewing.
    I have prepared myself by reading Jung’s autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams and Reflections’ again. I especially recommend the chapter ‘Visions’. If you haven’t seen the Liber Novus yet, stand by to have your breath taken away.


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