The Red Book

[Carl Jung on our Solar and Stellar Natures from “The Red Book.”]

(A cautionary note: These are only excerpts from “The Red Book.” They ought to be read in their entire context prior to drawing what might probably be premature conclusions.)

  1. But our ruler is the spirit of this time, which rules and leads in us all. It is the general spirit in which we think and act today. He is of frightful power, since he has brought immeasurable good to this world and fascinated men with unbelievable pleasure. He is bejeweled with the most beautiful heroic virtue, and wants to drive men up to the brightest solar heights, in everlasting ascent. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 240.

  2. And you yourself want to be that solitary who strolls with the sun in his garden, his gaze resting on pendant flowers and his hand brushing a hundred-fold of grain and his breath drinking the perfume from a thousand roses. Dull from the sun and drunk from fermenting wines, you lie down in ancient graves, whose walls resound with many voices and many colors of a thousand solar years.

  3. When you grow, then you see everything living again as it was. And when you sleep, you rest, like everything that was, and your dreams echo softly again from distant temple chants. You sleep down through the thousand solar years, and you wake up through the thousand solar years, and your dreams full of ancient lore adorn the walls of your bedchamber. You also see yourself in the totality. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Pages 269-270.

  4. After all the rebirths you still remain the lion crawling on the earth, the [Chameleon], a caricature, one prone to changing colors, a crawling shimmering lizard, but precisely not a lion, whose nature is related to the sun, who draws his power from within himself who does not crawl around in the protective colors of the environment, and who does not defend himself by going into hiding. I recognized the chameleon and no longer want to crawl on the earth and change colors and be reborn; instead I want to exist from my own force, like the sun which gives light and does not suck light. That belongs to the earth. I recall my solar nature and would like to rush to my rising. But ruins stand in my way They say: “With regard to men you should be this or that.” My chameleonesque skin shudders. They obtrude upon me and want to color me. But that should no longer be. Neither good nor evil shall be my masters. I push them aside, the laughable survivors, and go on my way again, which leads me to the East. The quarreling powers that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 277.

  5. [Image 55] Footnote: 128

One word that was never spoken.
One light that was never lit up.
An unparalleled confusion.
And road without end.

5a. Footnote 128: The solar barge is a common motif in ancient Egypt. The barge was seen as the typical means of movement of the sun. In Egyptian mythology, the Sun God struggled against the monster Aphophis, who attempted to swallow the solar barge as it traveled across the heavens each day. In Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (I912)

Jung discussed the Egyptian “living sun-disc” (CW B, §I53) and the motif of the sea monster (§ 549f). In his I952 revision of this text, he noted that the battle with
the sea monster represented the attempt to free ego-consciousness from the grip of the unconscious (Symbols of Transformation, CW 5, §539).

The solar barge resembles some of the illustrations in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (ed. E. A. Wallis Budge [London: Arkana, I899 / I985]), i.e., the vignettes on pp. 390,400, and 404). The oarsman is usually a falcon-headed Horus. The night journey of the sun God through the underworld is depicted in the Amduat, which has been seen as symbolic process of transformation. See Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung, Knowledge for the Afterlife. The Egyptian Amduat: A Quest for Immortality (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2003). ~Footnote 128; The Red Book; Page 285.

  1. What does power avail us? We do not want to rule. We want to live, we want light and warmth, and hence we need yours. Just as the greening earth and every living body needs the sun, so we as spirits need your light and your warmth. A sunless spirit becomes the parasite of the body. But the God feeds the spirit. [Image 63] / [Image 64] Footnote: 132; Footnote 133. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 286.

6a. Footnote 132: In “Dreams,” Jung noted on February 4,1917: “Started work on the Opening of the Egg (Image)” (p. 5). This indicates that the image depicts the regeneration of Izdubar from the egg. Concerning the solar barge in this image, cf image 55. ~Footnote 132; The Red Book; Page 286.

6b. Footnote 133: Image legend: ‘atapatha-brahmanam 2,2,4.” Satapatha-brahmana 2,2,4 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. 12) provides the cosmological justification behind the Agnihotra. It commences by describing how Prajapati, desiring to be reproduced, produced Agni from his mouth. Prajapati offered himself to Agni, and saved himself from Death as he was about to be devoured. The Agnihotra (lit. fire healing) is a Vedic ritual performed at sunrise and sunset. The performers purify themselves, light a sacred fire,
and chant verses and a prayer to Agni. ~Footnote 133; The Red Book; Page 286.

  1. “Where am I? How narrow it is here, how dark, how cool-am I in the graver Where was I? It seemed to me as if I had been outside in the universe-over and under me was an endlessly dark star, glittering sky and I was in a passion of unspeakable yearning.
    Streams of fire broke from my radiating body.
    I surged through blazing flames.
    I swam in a sea that wrapped me in living fires.
    Full of light, full of longing, full of eternity-
    I was ancient and perpetually renewing myself.
    Falling from the heights to the depths,
    And I whirled glowing from the depths to the heights hovering
    around myself amidst glowing clouds as
    raining embers beating down like the foam of the surf, engulfing
    myself in stiffing heat.
    Embracing and rejecting myself in a boundless game-
    Where was I? I was completely sun.” Footnote136. ~Izdubar; The Red Book; Page 286.

7a. Footnote 136: Roscher notes that “As a God, Izdubar is associated with the Sun-God” (Auifiihrliches Lexikon der Griechischen und R6mischen Mythologie, vol. 2, p. 774). The incubation and rebirth of Izdubar follows the classic pattern of solar myths.

In Das Zeitalter des Sonnengottes, Leo Frobenius pointed out the widespread motif of a woman becoming pregnant through a process of immaculate conception and giving birth to the sun God, who develops in a remarkably short period of time. In some forms, he incubates in an egg. Frobenius related this to the setting and rising of the sun in the sea ([Berlin, G. Reimer, 1904], pp. 223-63). Jung cited this work on a number of occasions in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (1912). ~Footnote 136; The Red Book; Page 286.

  1. To distinguish him from God, we call God HELlOS or sun. (Footnote 94.) Abraxas is effect. Nothing stands opposed to him but the ineffective; hence his effective nature unfolds itself freely. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 349.

8a. Footnote 94: Helios is the Greek Sun God. Jung discussed solar mythologies in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido (1912, CW B, §177f) and also in his unpublished concluding talk on Opicinus de Canistris at the Eranos conference in Ascona in 1943 (fa). ~Footnote 94; The Red Book; Page 349.

  1. “You may call me death-death that rose with the sun. I come with quiet pain and long peace. I lay the cover of protection on you. In the midst of life begins death. I lay cover upon cover upon you so that your warmth will never cease.”

“You bring grief and despair,” I answered, “I wanted to be among men.”

But he said, “You will go to men as one veiled. Your light shines at night. Your solar nature departs from you and your stellar nature begins.” ~Philemon to Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 355.

  1. Therefore I had to remain true to love, and, devoted to it voluntarily, I suffer the dismembering and thus attain bonding with the great mother, that is, the stellar nature, liberation from bondage to men and things. If I am bound to men and things, I can neither go on with my life to its destination nor can I arrive at my very own and deepest nature. Nor can death begin in me as a new life, since I can only fear death. I must therefore remain true to love since how else can I arrive at the scattering and dissolution of bondage? ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 356.

  2. Only fidelity to love and voluntary devotion to love enable this binding and mixing to be dissolved and lead back to me that part of my self that secretly lay with men and things. Only thus does the light of the star grow, only thus do I arrive at my stellar nature, at my truest and innermost self that simply and singly is. ~Carl Jung; The Red Book; Page 356.

“You may call me death-death that rose with the sun. I come with quiet pain and long peace. I lay the cover of protection on you. In the midst of life begins death. I lay cover upon cover upon you so that your warmth will never cease.”

“You bring grief and despair,” I answered, “I wanted to be among men.” ~”The Dark One” to Carl Jung in the presence of Philemon; The Red Book; Page 356.