Monday, May 11, 2015

Jung's Red Book: A Must for all Freemasons?

There is without a doubt no more influential figure in the field of human psychology and the modern search for human spiritual self understanding than Karl Gustav Jung. There is also no doubt that there is no other work by Jung as important as the Red Book or Liber Novus.

This impressively hand illuminated manuscript chronicles Jungs spiritual quest through dreams and his inner turmoil which led to his ultimate spiritual recover, which followed closely the form of a classic spiritual crisis. This was the means by which the Father of the modern concept of Archetypes developed his philosophy and insights.

The publisher says that the Red book is

The most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. When Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration he called his “confrontation with the unconscious,” the heart of it wasThe Red Book, a large, illuminated volume he created between 1914 and 1930. Here he developed his principle theories—of the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation—that transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means for higher development of the personality.

While Jung considered The Red Book to be his most important work, only a handful of people have ever seen it. Now, in a complete facsimile and translation, it is available to scholars and the general public. It is an astonishing example of calligraphy and art on a par with The Book of Kells and the illuminated manuscripts of William Blake. This publication of The Red Book is a watershed that will cast new light on the making of modern psychology. 

The original manuscript
I will note that it is a virtual feast for the eyes. I have to say though that comparing it to the Book of Kells is a bit more hyperbolic than even this Irishman can handle. That said, I believe that there is no more valuable text that a modern Freemason can have at his disposal to assist in the personal search for more light than this remarkable text.

The full sized book (12 1/4" by 18 1/4") is at roughly $150.00 well worth the cost. It will be a prized possession the rest of your life, and it is not "just a book." It contains the original calligraphic text in German script, the translation into English and the full illustrations. At  If you cannot afford that price, or just want to dig into the text without distractions, then you can buy the Reader's edition at roughly $20-$25.  If you feel you need some guidance to better appreciate this work, there is very useful guide by Sanford L. Drob, entitled Reading the Red Book: An interpretive Guide to C. G. Jung's Liber Novus at about $16-$20 which will help orient you to the work.

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