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).