Tag Archives: The Red Book

Book Review: The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung

Hermetic Library anthology artist David Shoemaker has posted a review of Carl Jung’s The Red Book (Liber Novus), over on the College of Thelema of Northern California site, which may be of interest, at “Book Review: The Red Book (Liber Novus) by Carl Jung“.

“As one might hope, the content of the book is as impressive as its form. The central motifs of the text concern Jung’s attempt to “recover his soul” in a series of visions, journeys to Hell, “lectures” from various entities he encounters, and dialogues with characters as diverse as the prophet Elijah, Salome, and the Holy Guardian Angel-like magician Philemon. (Fans of Gematria will enjoy the fact that Philemon (rendered in Greek) has the same value as “Persephone” and “thrice-great”.) In the course of fleshing out these visions, Jung presents a number of ideas and themes which resonate powerfully with those of Thelemic philosophy, and the Hermetic corpus generally. Among the most prominent of these is the intensifying relationship between Jung and Philemon, essentially Adept and Angel, which resulted not only in visionary experiences, but in Jung’s later attempts to translate these experiences into cogent scientific theory and psychoanalytic practice. Many years after the completion of the Red Book, near the end of his life, he wrote of this process:

“The years, of which I have spoken to you, 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.” (p. vii)”


Red Book family photo, plus rock

Red Book family photo, plus rock

Red Book family photo, plus rock, originally uploaded by jgbell.


Jung’s Red Book, Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, The Book of the Law, and a red rock from Sedona, AZ.


The Hermetic Library visual pool is a visual scavenger hunt for images of a living Western Esoteric Tradition.

Images of your ritual or ritual space, images of sigils or tools, showing off your own library or special volume from the restricted stacks – these and much more are part of the culture and practice of magick.

The Red Book by Carl Jung

From a few days ago, images from the forthcoming Jung’s The Red Book, which if you haven’t seen yet, you should see at The Red Book by Carl Jung.

The Red Book by Carl Jung from The Guardian UK

“During the first world war, Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration he called his ‘confrontation with the unconscious’. At the heart of this exploration was The Red Book, a grand, illuminated volume which he created between 1914 and 1930, in which he developed the nucleus of his later theories.

The book is a remarkable blend of calligraphy and art; an illuminated manuscript that bears comparison with The Book of Kells and William Blake. But while Jung considered The Red Book his most important work, only a handful of people have ever seen it. Finally, nearly 80 years after it was completed, it is available in a facsimile edited by Jung historian Sonu Shamdasani and published by WW Norton. View a handful of the pages here.”

I ran into this again today when I was doing a search on William Blake. So, you know, if you’d rather, check out this blog about William Blake: Psychology and Religion instead.

Here’s a more narrative article about the book from back in Sept, if you’re interested in more information at The Holy Grail of the Unconscious.

Apparently, some people are already getting their copies. Here’s someone posting about it at Red Book. Check out the size of the book in that last photo! She says, in that post, “opening the pages is like seeing the work of William Blake for the first time.” Now, that’s saying something!