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Gems from Liber Novus aka The Red Book


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I am alone, but I fill my solitariness with my life.

I am man enough. I am noise, conversation, comfort, and help enough unto myself.

And so I wander to the far East.

Not that I know anything about what my distant goal might be.

I see blue horizons before me: they suffice as a goal.

I hurry toward the East and my rising—I will my rising. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 277.

My God, I love you as a mother loves the unborn whom she carries in her heart.

Grow in the egg of the East, nourish yourself from my love, drink the juice of my life so that you will become a radiant God.

We need your light, Oh Child.

Since we go in darkness, light up our paths.

May your light shine before us, may your fire warm the coldness of our life.

We do not need your power but life. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 286.

I no longer think that you come from the blessed Western lands.

Your country must be desolate, full of paralysis and renunciation.

I yearn for the East, where the pure source of our live-giving wisdom flows. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 279

Happy am I who can recognize the multiplicity and diversity of the Gods.

But woe unto you, who replace this incompatible multiplicity with a single God.

In so doing you produce the torment of incomprehension, and mutilate the creation whose nature and aim is differentiation.

How can you be true to your own nature when you try to turn the many into one?

What you do unto the Gods is done likewise unto you.

You all become equal and thus your nature is maimed. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 351.

There is no escape.

So it is that you come to know what a real God is.

Now you’ll think up clever truisms, preventive measures, secret escape routes, excuses, potions capable of inducing forgetfulness, but it’s all useless.

The fire burns right through you.

That which guides forces you onto the way. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 291.

I believe we have the choice: I preferred the living wonders of the God.

I daily weigh up my whole life and I continue to regard the fiery brilliance of the God as a higher and fuller life than the ashes of rationality.

The ashes are suicide to me.

I could perhaps put out the fire but I cannot deny to myself the experience of the God.

Nor can I cut myself off from this experience.

I also do not want to, since I want to live.

My life wants itself whole. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 339.

The spirit of the depths opened my vision and let me become aware of the birth of the new God.

The divine child approached me out of the terrible ambiguity, the hateful-beautiful, the evilgood, the laughable-serious, the sick-healthy, the inhuman-human and the ungodly-godly.

I understood that the God whom we seek in the absolute was not to be found in absolute beauty and goodness, how should he encompass the fullness of life, which is beautiful and hateful,
good and evil, laughable and serious, human and inhuman?

How can man live in the womb of the God if the Godhead himself attends only to one-half of him? ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 243.

A religious conversation is inevitable with the devil, since he demands it, if one does not want to surrender to him unconditionally.

Because religion is precisely what the devil and I cannot agree about.

I must have it out with him, as I cannot expect that he as an independent personality would accept my standpoint without further would accept my standpoint without further ado. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 261.

I want to love my God, the defenseless and hopeless one.

I want to care for him, like a child. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 286

The creation of a God is a creative act of highest love. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 291.

You can never deny your knowledge of good and evil to yourself, so that you could betray your good in order to live evil.

For as soon as you separate good and evil, you recognize them.

They are united only in growth.

But you grow if you stand still in the greatest doubt, and therefore steadfastness in great doubt is a veritable flower of life. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 301.

You suffer from evil because you love it secretly and are unaware of your love.

You wish to escape your predicament, and you begin to hate evil.

And once more you are bound to evil through your hate, since whether you love or hate it, it makes no difference: you are bound to evil.

Evil is to be accepted.

What we want remains in our hands.

What we do not want, and yet is stronger than us, sweeps us away and we cannot stop it without damaging ourselves, for our force remains in evil.

Thus we probably have to accept our evil without love and hate, recognizing that it exists and must have its share in life.

In doing so, we can deprive it of the power it has to overwhelm us. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 288.

I understood that the God whom we seek in the absolute was not to be found in absolute beauty, goodness, seriousness, elevation, humanity or even in godliness.

Once the God was there.

I understood that the new God would be in the relative.

If the God is absolute beauty and goodness, how should he encompass the fullness of life, which is beautiful and hateful, good and evil, laughable and serious, human and inhuman?

How can man live in the womb of the God if the Godhead himself attests only to one-half of him?

If we have risen near the heights of good and evil, then our badness and hatefulness lie in the most extreme torment.

Man’s torment is so great and the air of the heights so weak that he can hardly live anymore. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 243

A religious conversation is inevitable with the devil, since he demands it, if one does not want to surrender to him unconditionally.

Because religion is precisely what the devil and I cannot agree about.

I must have it out with him, as I cannot expect that he as an independent personality would accept my standpoint without further ado.

I would be fleeing if I did not try to come to an understanding with him.

If ever you have the rare opportunity to speak with the devil, then do not forget to confront him in all seriousness.

He is your devil after all.

The devil as the adversary is your own other standpoint; he tempts you and sets a stone in your path where you least want it.

Taking the devil seriously does not mean going over to his side, or else one becomes the devil.

Rather it means coming to an understanding.

Thereby you accept your other standpoint.

With that the devil fundamentally loses ground, and so do you.

And that may be well and good.

Although the devil very much abhors religion for its particular solemnity and candor, it has become apparent, however, that it is precisely through religion that the devil can be brought to
an understanding. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 261

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. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 311

The word created the world and came before the world.

It lit up like a light in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

And thus the word should become what the darkness can comprehend, since what use is the light if the darkness does not comprehend it?

But your darkness should grasp the light. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 270

What are words?

Be tentative with words, value them well, take safe words, words without catches, do not spin them with one another so that no webs arise, for you are the first who is ensnared in them.

For words have meanings.

With words you pull up the underworld.

Word, the paltriest and the mightiest.

In words the emptiness and the fullness flow together.

Hence the word is an image of God.

The word is the greatest and the smallest that man created, just as what is created through man is the greatest and the smallest. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 299

If you are in yourself, you become aware of your incapacity.

You will see how little capable you are of imitating the heroes and of being a hero yourself.

So you will also no longer force others to become heroes.

Like you, they suffer from incapacity.

Incapacity, too, wants to live, but it will overthrow your Gods. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 245

It is no small matter to acknowledge one’s yearning.

For this many need to make a particular effort at honesty.

All too many do not want to know where their yearning is, because it would seem to them impossible or too distressing.

And yet yearning is the way of life.

If you do not acknowledge your yearning, then you do not follow yourself, but go on foreign ways that others have indicated to you.

So you do not live your life but an alien one.

But who should live your life if you do not live it?

It is not only stupid to exchange your own life for an alien one, but also a hypocritical game, because you can never really live the life of others, you can only pretend to do it, deceiving the other and yourself, since you can only live your own life. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 249

Fulfill that which comes to you. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 300

The knowledge of your heart is how your heart is. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 234.

No one can or should halt sacrifice.

Sacrifice is not destruction, sacrifice is the foundation stone of what is to come.

Have you not had monasteries?

Have not countless thousands gone into the desert?

You should carry the monastery in yourself.

The desert is within you.

The desert calls you and draws you back, and if you were fettered to the world of this time with iron, the call of the desert would break all chains.

Truly, I prepare you for solitude. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 230.

One can speak in beautiful words about love, but about life?

And life stands above love.

But love is the inescapable mother of life.

Life should never be forced into love, but love into life.

May love be subject to torment, but not life.

As long as love goes pregnant with life, it should be respected; but if it has given birth to life from itself, it has turned into an empty sheath and expires into transience. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 327

To live oneself means: to be one’s own task.

Never say it is a pleasure to live oneself.

It will be no joy but a long suffering, since you must become your own creator.

If you want to create yourself, then you do not begin with the best and the highest, but with the worst and the deepest.

Therefore say that you are reluctant to live yourself.

The flowing together of the stream of life is not joy but pain, since it is power against power, guilt, and shatters the sanctified. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Pages 249-250

The tension of the future is unbearable in us.

It must break through narrow cracks, it must force new ways.

You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable.

Running away is deception and detour.

Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting.

There is only one way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation.

Why are you looking around for help?

Do you believe that help will come from outside?

What is to come is created in you and from you.

Hence look into yourself.

Do not compare, do not measure.

No other way is like yours.

All other ways deceive and tempt you.

You must fulfil the way that is in you. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 308.

When thinking leads to the unthinkable, it is time to return to simple life.

What thinking cannot solve, life solves, and what action never decides is reserved for thinking. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 293

Happy is he who can be a hermit in his own desert. He survives. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 327

The touchstone is being alone with oneself. This is the way. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 330

In addition to the spirit of this time there is still another spirit at work, namely that which rules the depths of everything contemporary.

The spirit of this time would like to hear of use and value.

I also thought this way, and my humanity still thinks in this way.

But that other spirit forces me nevertheless to speak, beyond justification, use, and meaning.

But I did not consider that the spirit of the depths from time immemorial and for all the future possesses a greater power than the spirit of this time, who changes with the generations.

The spirit of the depths has subjugated all pride and arrogance to the power of judgment.

He took away my belief in science, he robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me.

He forced me down to the last and simplest things.

The spirit of the depths took my understanding and all my knowledge and placed them at the service of the inexplicable and the paradoxical.

He robbed me of speech and writing for everything that was not in his service, namely the melting together of sense and nonsense, which produces the supreme meaning. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 229

The spirit of the time whispered to me:

“This supreme meaning, this image of God, this melting together of the hot and the cold, that is you and only you.”

But the spirit of the depths spoke to me: “You are an image of the unending world, all the last mysteries of becoming and passing away live in you.

If you did not possess all this, how could you know?” ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 230

If we still want to overcome death, then we must enliven it. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 244

The spirits of those who die before their time will live, for the sake of our present incompleteness, in dark hordes in the rafters of our houses and besiege our ears with urgent
laments, until we grant them redemption through restoring what has existed since ancient times under the rule of love. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 297

Death is the more enduring of all things, that which can never be canceled out.

Death gives me durability and solidity. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 323.

Community with the dead is what both you and the dead need.

Do not commingle with any of the dead, but stand apart from them and give to each his due.

The dead demand your expiatory prayers. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 342.

There is one necessary but hidden and strange work—a major work —which you must do in secret, for the sake of the dead.

He who cannot attain his own visible field and vineyard is held fast by the dead, who demand the work of atonement from him.

And until he has fulfilled this, he cannot get to his outer work, since the dead do not let him.

He shall have to search his soul and act in stillness at their behest and complete the mystery, so that the dead will not let him.

Do not look forward so much, but back and into yourself, so that you will not fail to hear the dead. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 297

We need the coldness of death to see clearly. Life wants to live and to die, to begin and to end.

You are not forced to live eternally, but you can also die, since there is a will in you for both.

Life and death must strike a balance in your existence.

Today’s men need a large slice of death, since too much incorrectness lives in them, and too much correctness died in them.

What stays in balance is correct, what disturbs balance is incorrect.

But if balance has been attained, then that which preserves it is incorrect and that which disturbs it is correct.

Balance is at once life and death.

For the completion of life a balance with death is fitting.

If I accept death, then my tree greens, since dying increases life.

If I plunge into the death encompassing the world, then my buds break open.

How much our life needs death!

Joy at the smallest things comes to you only when you have accepted death.

But if you look out greedily for all that you could still live, then nothing is great enough for your pleasure, and the smallest things that continue to surround you are no longer a joy.

Therefore I behold death, since it teaches me how to live.

If you accept death, it is altogether like a frosty night and an anxious misgiving, but a frosty night in a vineyard full of sweet grapes.

You will soon take pleasure in your wealth.

Death ripens.

One needs death to be able to harvest the fruit.

Without death, life would be meaningless, since the long-lasting rises again and denies its own meaning.

To be, and to enjoy your being, you need death, and limitation enables you to fulfill your being. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Pages 274-275

This star is the God and the goal of man.

This is his one guiding God, in him man goes to his rest, toward him goes the long journey of the soul after death, in him everything that man withdraws from the greater world shines resplendently.

To this one God man shall pray.

Prayer increases the light of the star, it throws a bridge across death, it prepares life for the smaller world, and assuages the hopeless desires of the greater.

When the greater world turns cold, the star shines. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 354.

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