The Red Book (Philemon)

The myth commences, the one that need only be lived, not sung, the one that sings itself I subject myself to the son, the one engendered by sorcery, the unnaturally born, the son of the frogs, who stands at the waterside and speaks with his fathers and listens to their nocturnal singing.

Truly he is full of mysteries and superior in strength to all men. No man has produced him, and no woman has given birth to him.

The absurd has entered the age-old mother, and the son has grown in the deepest ground. He sprang up and was put to death.

He rose again, was produced anew in the way of sorcery; and grew more swiftly than before.

I gave him the crown that unites the separated. And so he unites the separated for me. I gave him the power and thus he commands, since he is superior in strength and cleverness to all others.

I did not give way to him willingly, but out of insight. No man binds Above and Below together.

But he who did not grow like a man, and yet has the form of a man, is capable of binding them.

My power is paralyzed, but I survive in my son. I set aside my concern that he may master the people. I am solitary; the people rejoice at him.

I was powerful, now I am powerless. I was strong, now I am weak. Since then he has taken all the strength into himself.

Everything has turned itself upside down for me. I loved the beauty of the beautiful, the spirit of those rich in spirit, the strength of the strong; I laughed at the stupidity of the stupid, I despised the weakness of the weak, the meanness of the mean, and hated the badness of the bad.

But now I must love the beauty of the ugly, the spirit of the foolish, and the strength of the weak.

I must admire the stupidity of the clever, must respect the weakness of the strong and the meanness of the generous, and honor the goodness of the bad. Where does that leave mockery; contempt, and hatred?

They went over to the son as a token of power. His mockery is bloody, and how contemptuously his eyes flash!

His hatred is a singing fire! Enviable one, you son of the Gods, how can one fail to obey you? He broke me in two, he cut me up. He yokes the separated. Without him I would fall apart, but my life went on with him.

My love remained with me. Thus I entered solitude with a black look on my face, full of resentment and outrage at my son’s dominion.

How could my son arrogate my power?

I went into my gardens and sat down in a lonely spot on rocks by the water, and brooded darkly: I called the serpent, my nocturnal companion, who lay with me on the rocks through many twilights, imparting her serpent wisdom.

But then my son emerged from the water, great and powerful, the crown on his head, with a swirling lion’s mane, shimmering serpent skin covering his body; he said to me:

“I come to you and demand your life.”

I: “What do you mean? Have you even become a God?”

He: “I rise again, I had become flesh, now I return to eternal glitter and shimmer, to the eternal embers of the sun, and leave you your earthliness. You will remain with men. You have been in immortal company long enough. Your work belongs to the earth.”

I: “What a speech! Weren’t you wallowing in the earth and the under-earth?”

He: “I had become man and beast, and now ascend again to my own country:”
I: “Where is your country?”

He: “In the light, in the egg, in the sun, in what is innermost and compressed, in the eternal longing embers. So rises the sun in your heart and streams out into the cold world.”

I: “How you transfigure yourself!”

He: “I want to vanish from your sight. You ought to live in darkest solitude, men-not Gods-should illumine your darkness.”

I: “How hard and solemn you are! I’d like to bathe your feet with my tears, dry them with my hair-I’m raving, am I a woman?”

He: “Also a woman, also a mother, pregnant. Giving birth awaits you.”

I: “Oh holy spirit, grant me a spark of your eternal light!”

He: “You are with child.”

I: “I feel the torment and the fear and the desolation of pregnant woman. Do you go from me, my God?”

He: “You have the child.”

I: “My soul, do you still exist? You serpent, you frog, you magically produced boy whom my hands buried; you ridiculed, despised, hated who appeared to me in a foolish form? Woe betide those who have seen their soul and felt it with hands. I am powerless in your hand, my God!”

He: “The pregnant woman belongs to fate. Release me, I rise to the eternal realm.”

I: “Will I never hear your voice again? Oh damned deception! What am I asking? You’ll talk to me again tomorrow, you’ll chat over and over in the mirror.”

He: “Do not rail. I will be present and not present. You will hear and not hear me. I will be and not be.”

I: “You utter gruesome riddles.”

He: “Such is my language and to you I leave the understanding. No one besides you has your God. He is always with you, yet you see him in others, and thus he is never with you. You strive to draw to yourself those who seem to possess your God. You will come to see that they do not possess him, and that you alone have him. Thus you are alone among men-in the crowd and yet alone. Solitude in multitude-ponder this.”

I: “I suppose I ought to remain silent after what you have said, but I cannot; my heart bleeds when I see you go from me.”

He: “Let me go. I shall return to you in renewed form. Do you see the sun, how it sinks red into the mountains? This day’s work is accomplished, and a new sun returns. Why are you mourning the sun of today?”

I: “Must night fall?”

He: “Is it not mother of the day?”

I: “Because of this night I want to despair.”

He: “Why lament? It is fate. Let me go, my wings grow and the longing toward eternal light swells up powerfully in me. You can no longer stop me. Stop your tears and let me ascend with cries of joy: You are a man of the fields, think of your crops. I become light, like the bird that rises up into the skies of morning. Do not stop me, do not complain; already I hover, the cry of life escapes from me, I can no longer hold back my supreme pleasure. I must go up-it has happened, the last cord tears away, my wings bear me up. I dive up’ into the sea of light. You who are down there, you distant, twilight being-you fade from me.”

I: “Where have you gone? Something has happened. I am lamed. Has the God not left my sight?”

Where is the God? What has happened? How empty, utterly empty! Should I proclaim to men how you vanished? Should I preach the gospel of godforsaken solitude? Should we all go into the desert and strew ashes on our heads, since the God has left us? I believe and accept that the God is something different from me. He swung high with jubilant joy I remain in the night of pain. No longer with the God, but alone with myself Now shut, you bronze doors I opened to the flood of devastation and murder brooding over the peoples, opened so as to midwife the God. Shut, may mountains bury you and seas flow over YOU. I came to myself a giddy and pitiful figure. My I! I didn’t want this fellow as my companion. I found myself with him. I’d prefer a bad woman or a wayward hound, but one’s own I –this horrifies me.

An opus is needed, that one can squander decades on, and do it out of necessity I must catch up with a piece of the Middle Ages-within myself We have only finished the Middle Ages of-others. I must begin early, in that period when the hermits died out.

Asceticism, inquisition, torture are close at hand and impose themselves.

The barbarian requires barbaric means of education.

My I, you are a barbarian. I want to live with you, therefore I will carry you through an utterly medieval Hell, until you are capable of making living with you bearable. You should be the vessel and womb of life, therefore I shall purify you.

The touchstone is being alone with oneself. This is the way. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 312-330.