The Red Book

The symbol is the word that goes out of the mouth, that one does not simply speak, but that rises out of the depths of the self as a word of power and great need and places itself unexpectedly on the tongue. It is an astonishing and perhaps seemingly irrational word, but one recognizes it as a symbol since it is alien to the conscious mind.

If one accepts the symbol, it is as if a door opens leading into a new room whose existence one previously did not know. But if one does not accept the symbol, it is as if one carelessly went past this door; and since this was the only door leading to the inner chambers, one must pass outside into the streets again, exposed to everything external. But the soul suffers great need, since outer freedom is of no use to it. Salvation is a long road that leads through many gates. These gates are symbols.

Each new gate is at first invisible; indeed, it seems at first that / it must be created, for it exists only if one has dug up the spring’s root, the symbol.

To find the mandrake, one needs the black dog, since good and bad must always be united first if the symbol is to be created. The symbol can be neither thought up nor found: it becomes. Its becoming is like the becoming of human life in the womb. Pregnancy comes about through voluntary copulation. It goes on through willing attention. But if the depths have conceived, then the symbol grows out of itself and is born from the mind, as befits a God. But in the same way a mother would like to throw herself on the child like a monster and devour it again.

In the morning, when the new sun rises, the word steps out of my mouth, but is murdered lovelessly; since I did not know that it was the savior. The newborn child grows quickly; if I accept it. And immediately it becomes my charioteer. The word is the guide, the middle way which easily oscillates like the needle on the scales. The word is the God that rises out of the waters each morning and proclaims the guiding law to the people. Outer laws and outer wisdom are eternally insufficient, since there is only one law and one wisdom, namely my daily law, my daily wisdom. The God renews himself each night.

The God appears in multiple guises; for when he emerges, he has assumed some of the character of the night and the nightly waters in which he slumbered, and in which he struggled for renewal in the last hour of the night. Consequently his appearance is twofold and ambiguous; indeed, it even tears at the heart and the mind. On emerging, the God calls me toward the right and the left, his voice calling out to me from both sides. Yet the God wants neither the one nor the other. He wants the middle way: But the middle is the beginning of the long road.

Man, however, can never see this beginning; he always sees only one and not the other, or the other and not the one, but never that which the one as well as the other encloses in itself The point of origin is where the mind and the will stand still; it
is a state of suspension that evokes my outrage, my defiance and eventually my greatest fear. For I can see nothing anymore and can no longer want anything. Or at least that is how it seems to me.

The way is a highly peculiar standstill of everything that was previously movement, it is a blind waiting, a doubtful listening and groping. One is convinced that one will burst. But the resolution is born from precisely this tension, and it almost always appears where one did not expect it.

But what is the resolution? It is always something ancient and precisely because of this something new, for when something long since passed away comes back again in a changed world, it is new. To give birth to the ancient in a new time is creation. This is the creation of the new, and that redeems me.

Salvation is the resolution of the task. The task is to give birth to the old in a new time. The soul of humanity is like the great wheel of the zodiac that rolls along the way: Everything that comes up in a constant movement from below to the heights was already there. There is no part of the wheel that does not come around again. Hence everything that has been streams upward there, and what has been will be again. For these are all things which are the inborn properties of human nature. It belongs to the essence of forward movement that what was returns.

Only the ignorant can marvel at this. Yet the meaning does not lie in the eternal recurrence of the same, but in the manner of its recurring creation at any given time. The meaning lies in the manner and the direction of the recurring creation. But how do I create my charioteer? Or do I want to be my own charioteer? I can guide myself only with will and intention. But will and intention are simply part of myself.

Consequently they are insufficient to express my wholeness. Intention is what I can foresee, and willing is to want a foreseen goal. But where do I find the goal? I take it from what is presently known to me. Thus I set the present in place of the future. In this / manner, though I cannot reach the future, I artificially produce a constant present. Everything that would like to break into this present strikes me as a disturbance, and I seek to drive it away so that my intention survives. Thus I close off the progress of life. But how can I be my own charioteer without will and intention? Therefore a wise man does not want to be a charioteer, for he knows that will and intention certainly attain goals but disturb the becoming of the future.

Futurity grows out of me; I do not create it, and yet I do, though not deliberately and willfully; but rather against will and intention. If I want to create the future, then I work against my future. And if I do not want to create it, once again I do not
take sufficient part in the creation of the future, and everything happens then according to unavoidable laws to which I fall victim.

The ancients devised magic to compel fate. They needed it to determine outer fate. We need it to determine inner fate and to find the way that we are unable to conceive. For a long time I considered what type of magic this would have to be. And in the end I found nothing. Whoever cannot find it within himself should become an apprentice, and so I took myself off to a far country where a great magician lived, of whose reputation I had heard. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, The Way of the Cross, Paragraph 8.

Corresponding Footnotes:

259 The mandrake is a plant whose roots bear some resemblance to the human figure, hence they have been used in magical rites. According to legend, they shriek when they are pulled from the ground. In “The philosophical tree” (1945), Jung noted that the magical mandrake “when tied to the tail of a black dog, shrieks when it is torn out of the earth” (CW 13, §4IO).

260 The Draft continues: “Everything is forever the same and yet not, for the wheel rolls along on a long road. But the way leads through valleys and across mountains. The movement of the wheel and the eternal recurrence of its parts is essential to the carriage, but meaning lies in the way. Meaning is attained only through the wheel’s constant revolution and forward movement.

The recurrence of the past is inherent in forward movement. This can only baffle the ignorant person. Ignorance makes us resist the necessary recurrence of the same, or greed allows the wheel to toss us up and away in its upward movement because we believe that we will rise ever higher with this part of the wheel. But we will not rise higher, but deeper; ultimately we will be at the very bottom.

Thus praise standstill, since it shows you that you are not bound to the spokes like Ixion, but sit alongside the charioteer who will interpret the meaning of the way to you” (pp. 469-70). In Greek mythology, Ixion was the son of Ares. He tried to seduce Hera, and Zeus punished him by binding him to a fiery wheel that rolled unceasingly.

261 The notion that everything recurs is found in various traditions, such as Stoicism and Pythagoreanism, and features prominently in Nietzsche’s work. There has been much debate in Nietzsche studies as to whether it should primarily be understood as an ethical imperative of life affirmation or as cosmological doctrine. See Karl with, Nietzsche’s Doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same, tr. J. Lomax (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). Jung discusses this in 1934, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, vol. I, pp. 191-92.


The Charioteer of Delphi