The Red Book by C.J. Jung

Last week I had the special opportunity to visit Pacifica University for James Hillman’s Lecture, entitled “The Active Imagination,” which was prompted by the recent and controversial release of C. G.Jung’s The Red Book (Liber Novu) which last month was published by his heirs with the assistance of the translator Sonu Shamdasani. Hillman encountered Jung in Zurich in 1958 after obtaining his Ph.D. Jung began the journal in 1913 after a falling-out with Freud. Apparently he was afflicted by a psychotic episode which he viewed as a voluntary confrontation with his unconscious. At the time he was having strange dreams and frightening visions. Because of the personal and quirky nature of the manuscript, it was not published during his lifetime. The book’s theme is about how Jung regained his soul and overcame his imbalance and spiritual isolation.

In The Red Book, Jung described his dreams which reflected what was going on in the world—what was happening during the horror and crumbling of the 19th century. According to Hillman, Jung was thrown off by all the events of the time. Hillman described The Red Book as the theory of madness and the defending of madness. He continues, “Many have written that Jung was psychotic or had something called, ‘creative illness.’ This makes the point that in order to do something radical, one must leave the safe terrain. What held it together for Jung was his commitment to his own world, which had no acceptance and had no real authoritative background.” Apparently, Jung stayed committed to the journal for about 15 years and wrote in it at the end of the day, in spite of a busy practice, a wife and children. He was desperate. He was going crazy and had to do something. He was trying to survive with his demons, images and voices, which is why he wrote in the journal.

Jung believed that imagination is the reproductive activity of the mind in general. He believed that people often suffer from a lack of imagination. According to Hillman, many might have thought this book to be a book of instruction, but in fact it’s not – it is simply a book to learn from. The book retails for $195, but is available on Amazon for $ 114.07, although I noticed this morning that it is temporarily out of stock. I also understand the book is on display until January at The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC.

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6 Responses to “The Red Book by C.J. Jung”


  1. 1 Mark W December 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Right now there are 9 copies of The Red Book in Amazon stock. If you ever find that an item you want is out of stock, you can use the free service http://www.aznotify.com/ to monitor inventory and notify you the moment it’s back in Amazon stock.

  2. 2 Todd Laurence December 15, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Hello Diana, something different….

    The final conclusions about “acausal
    reality” was discussed by Jung with
    the Nobel laureate physicist, Professor
    W. Pauli, the discover of the neutrino
    particle…. Their letters were published
    under title, “atom and archetype.” The
    ‘bottom line’ is their belief that number
    is the most primal archetype of order in
    the human mind, i.e., pre-existent to
    consciousness.
    The following is an example, (personal
    experience.)

    Here is a first verification of psychic relativity:

    Bx Times Reporter

    http://www.webspawner.com/users/cosmic/

    The second number message in the article, i.e.,
    7.16.18.21.26., came out this past Friday, the 11th,
    as – 7.16.18.21.35., in the NY Pick-5 game.

    It may be that the 35 represents Nostradamus. His
    birthdate was 12.14.1503, which equals 35….

    The reasons for that would have to be explained, as
    well as other details….

    As Jung said: “man has need of the word, but in
    essence number is sacred.”

    See Kochab 1080, in search:

  3. 3 Jeannie December 17, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Journaling has been my lifeline to sanity over the years. I will write and write about a subject until I feel closure. I have heard about Jung’s journal and would love to see it. I believe it was on display somewhere but cannot recall where at the moment.

  4. 4 Nancy Gifford December 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Diana,
    I too was looking into getting the Red book. I will have to look out for more interesting lectures at the Pacifica Institute. Happy holidays.
    Nancy G

  5. 5 Peter Klein October 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

    A psychology masterpiece. For me, this book is a reveal of Jung’s rich archetypal world through paintings and text. One of my favorite explorations into the human subconscious and collective unconscious.

    Love it!

  6. 6 Peter Klein October 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

    For me, the red book is a reveal of Jung’s rich archetypal world through paintings and text. A psychology masterpiece. One of my favorite explorations into the human subconscious and collective unconscious.

    Love it!


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Quote of the Week


"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me


I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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