C.G. Jung’s Red Book is a bombastic volume, much like a medieval illuminated manuscript, recording in images and narrative reflections Jung’s encounters with the unconscious. The content of the Red Book was created by recording—and thereby preserving—his dreams and visions, his imaginal research during this “confrontation with the unconscious.” In the few years since its publication, there has been a fair amount of scholarship on the Red Book, much of it focusing on the psychological, historical, personal, or literary contexts.
But what does it mean?
As far as I have been able to discern, the main contribution the Red Book makes is on the matter of knowing; it is a product of imaginal (not imaginary!) research that can tell us much about imaginal research. From this perspective, the Red Book is to be viewed not as a literary, mystical, or artistic product (though it certainly is all of those to some degree), but a product of imaginal knowing that provides us with an invitation and a means to re-imagine our own knowing. Even if we decline, the Red Book invites us to consider the imaginal encountered in dreams and imagination as a valid way of research and knowing…
This is a brief adapted excerpt/introduction from a paper on Jung’s Red Book that I posted on The Temenos Center for Jungian and Archetypal Studies site. As I thought it might be of interest to some here, I am posting a link below (since the reblog function doesn’t work on self-hosted sites).
archetypal, archetypal psychology, Carl Jung, center, chalk art, circle, colorful, community, consultation, depth psychology, drawing, James Hillman, journey, library, mandala, psyche, Red Book, sacred, Self, Temenos, vibrant, wheel, wholeness
Before introducing some of the concepts of archetypal astrology, I would like to briefly announce The DruidEye – a partnership offering druidic and shamanic divination services and handcrafted ritual objects and divination tools. You can find us at our website druideye.com or at our shop at etsy.com/shop/TheDruidEye We have also started a new blog dedicated to the DruidEye… not much there yet, but some links to a couple of posts are below. Be sure to follow us there for updates…
As an antidote to Balor’s poisonous eye of Irish mythology that killed anything he looked at, the DruidEye works to deeply honor and restore spiritual and mythic life. Rooted in the ancient Celtic mystery traditions, our work is a contemporary expression of shamanic Druidry that intends to form a doorway into a fuller life in harmony with the earth and with the world soul. Reestablishing a mythic worldview is an essential task as we move into a new era of human psychospiritual evolution. Our contemporary druidic work in the area of divination and the crafting of ritual tools aims to support this transition and provide a foundation for re-inhabiting authentic relationships to self, other, and world. All of our work is aimed at bringing about a new balance in a polarized world that falsely separates masculine and feminine, spirit and matter, humans and earth, and many other forms of perceived dualism. The overarching goal of our work is to help our customers come into better alignment with the will of their soul, their connection to the web of existence that is the anima mundi, known in the druidic tradition as the Oran Mor, The Great Song. We see this as a sacred dialogue, and we strive to provide a container for this dialogue. All of our work, whether readings or crafting of ritual tools, is done jointly. In this way the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine infuse all we do. This is the world soul in action, a balancing of energy, and the path to healing and soul retrieval and integration.
now, as promised… an introduction to archetypal astrology:
Alban Arthan, apples, Carmina Gadelica, cedar, celebration, cleansing, clooties, December, festival, holly, Holly King, juniper, libations, longest night, mandala, nemetons, oak, Oak King, pilgrimage, ritual, smudging, stag, sun, sunset, tradition, wheel of the year, wine, winter, Winter Solstice, wreath
Yes, it has taken this long to get around to posting about the Winter Solstice of 2014.
The Serpentine Mother and the Altar of Dreams (Birth of Heroes)
Serpentine Mother, beautiful and terrible
of breath and spirit, lantern-eyes brightening
patterns in sunlight and forest shadow – she enters
the labyrinth and places sacred riddles,
scribbled flags in perfect order,
for you to find when you awake in the center,
on the altar of your dreams.
Her Spirit and Breath will never be far, but now,
a vessel of living or dying and her ancestral scream
unchains you –
Sight, sound, touch, and
SCREAM. Aahhh, the taste of
dappled shadow ground in the grove, a pattern of sunlight,
an unknown verse, the first of your great song,
resting on the deep lake of Mother, warm
with blood of forgotten riddles, cold
from long footsteps of journey, she dares you
to read those scribbled flags, she leaves you
on the altar of your new name.
Beowulf is a frightening and beautiful story. It is an Anglo-Saxon poem of heroic battles against monsters. The hero, Beowulf, goes to a kingdom that is being plagued by a monster named Grendel, who attacks the great hall only at night, killing and destroying. Beowulf, after a heroic struggle with sea monsters, arrives to bring battle to Grendel. After killing the gruesome Grendel, his praises are sung, but his work is not done. After her son is killed, Grendel’s mother attacks the great hall and in revenge kills the king’s rune-reader. Beowulf is then given a magical sword and sets off to kill the mother, whose lair is under a lake. He ultimately does kill her, but in so doing, the sword is disintegrated, leaving only the rune covered hilt. Beowulf returns to the great hall and presents the king with the hilt. The king seems melancholy, pleased that his kingdom has been freed of the menace of Grendel and his mother, but melancholy nonetheless. He counsels Beowulf not to succumb to the same fate as he did. Beowulf then returns to his own land and becomes king. After ruling for many years, one of his men steals a chalice from a dragon’s lair. The dragon awakes, and the aging Beowulf must do battle with the dragon. Ultimately, he succeeds in killing the dragon, but in the process he is mortally wounded and dies. Beowulf is a frightening and beautiful story of being within a frightening and beautiful world, among frightening and beautiful creatures.
Unlike most Anglo-Saxon poetry, Beowulf is, at its core, mythological. Not only in the motifs of the hero’s journey and fantastic creatures, but in the purpose it served for the people of the Anglo-Saxon culture, and, I would argue, for us today. There are many motifs in the story that deserve attention, and many ways the story, as a whole, can be interpreted. There is no doubt that Beowulf is a mythic story though, and as such, conveys an account of cultural and personal psychospiritual development. Unfortunately, much of the available scholarship is dry, stale, and unsavory; many of the interpretations are grossly inadequate. Along these lines, I would like to draw special attention to two elements of the story upon which I feel any interpretation must ultimately rest. These are foundational keys to understanding the story, but ones that most interpretations, for one reason or another, seem not to take into full consideration, robbing us of a complete, vivid, and relevant account.
The first of these points is the death of the rune-reader. Continue reading
Lughnasadh has aspects of the death-rebirth process. The fertility of spring is coming to full realization with the beginning harvest. The light half of the year is moving toward darkness but we know that life will be reborn again; this is a time for celebration and gratitude…
As a contemplative practice, the construction of land art is an embodiment of sacred space. It is a physical manifestation and acknowledgement of the awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the human soul, place, earth, and the universe… Continue reading
The integrative mythdream is an archetypal meditation that has grown out of my depth psychology studies and my personal contemplative practice. It allows us to encounter the archetypes through their personification in mythology. It involves the experiencing of a mythic story through active imagination, and engaging the bodily felt-senses associated with the places and characters of the myth.