Red Book

On the following night, I wandered to the northern land and found myself under a gray sky in misty-hazy cool-moist air.

I strive to those lowlands where the weak currents, flashing in broad mirrors, stream toward the sea, where all haste of flowing becomes more and more dampened, and where all power and all striving unites with the immeasurable extent of the sea.

The trees become sparse, wide swamp meadows accompany the still, murky water, the horizon is unending and lonely, draped by gray clouds. Slowly, with restrained breath, and with the great and anxious expectation of one gliding downward wildly on the foam and pouring himself into endlessness,

I follow my brother, the sea. It flows softly and almost imperceptibly, and yet we continually approach the supreme embrace, entering the womb of the source, the boundless expansion and immeasurable depths. Lower yellow hills rise there.

A broad dead lake widens at their feet. We wander along the hills quietly and they open up to a dusky, unspeakably remote horizon, where the sky and the sea are fused into infinity.

Someone is standing there, on the last dune. He is wearing a black wrinkled coat; he stands motionless and looks into the distance. I go up to him-he is gaunt and with a deeply serious look in his eyes. I say to him:

“Let me stand beside you for a while, dark one. I recognized you from afar. There is only one who stands this way, so solitary and at the last corner of the world.”

He answered: “Stranger, you may well stand by me, if it is not too cold for you. As you can see, I am cold and my heart has never beaten.”

“I know, you are ice and the end; you are the cold silence of the stones; and you are the highest snow on the mountains and the most extreme frost of outer space. I must feel this and that’s why I stand near you.”

“What leads you here to me, you living matter? The living are never guests here. Well, they all flow past here sadly in dense crowds, all those above in the land of the clear day who have taken their departure, 1 never to return again. But the living never come here. What do you seek here?”

“My strange and unexpected path led me here as I happily followed the way of the living stream. And thus I found you. I gather this is your place, your rightful place?”

“Yes, here it leads into the undifferentiable, where none is equal or unequal, but all are one with one another. Do you see what approaches there?”

“I see something like a dark all  of clouds, swimming toward us on the tide.”

“Look more closely; what do you recognize?”

“I see densely pressed multitudes of men, old men, women, and children. Between them I see horses, oxen and smaller animals, a cloud of insects swarms around the multitude, a forest swims near, innumerable faded flowers, an utterly dead summer. They are already near; how stiff and cool they all look, their feet do not move, no noise sounds from their closed ranks. They are clasping themselves rigidly with their hands
and arms; they are gazing beyond and pay us no heed -they are all flowing past in an enormous stream. Dark one, this vision is awful.”

“You wanted to stay by me, so get hold of yourself Look!”

I see: “The first rows have reached the point where the surf and the stream flow together violently. And it looks as if a wave of air were confronting the stream of the dead together with the surging sea, whirling them up high, scattering them in black scraps, and dissolving them in murky clouds of mist. Wave after wave approaches, and ever new droves dissolve into black air. Dark one, tell me, is this the end?”


The dark sea breaks heavily-a reddish glow spreads out in it-it is like blood -a sea of blood foams at my feet-the depths of the sea glow-how strange I feel-am I suspended by my feet? Is it the sea or is it the sky? Blood and fire mix themselves together in a ball-red light erupts from its smoky shroud-a new sun escapes from the bloody sea, and rolls gleamingly toward the uttermost depths-it disappears under my feet.

I look around me, I am all alone. Night has fallen. What did Ammonius say? Night is the time of silence.

I looked around me and I saw that the solitude expanded into the immeasurable, and pierced me with horrible coldness. The sun still glowed in me, but I could feel myself stepping into the great shadow.

I follow the stream that makes its way into the depths, slowly and unperturbed, into the depths of what is to come.

And thus I went out in that night (it was the second night of the year 1914), and anxious expectation :filled me. I went out to embrace the future. The path was wide and what was to come was awful. It was the enormous dying, a sea of blood. From it the new sun arose, awful and a reversal of that which we call day.

We have seized the darkness and its sun will shine above us, bloody and burning like a great downfall.

When I comprehended my darkness, a truly magnificent night came over me and my dream plunged me into the depths of the millennia, and from it my phoenix ascended.

But what happened to my day? Torches were kindled, bloody anger and disputes erupted.

As darkness seized the world, the terrible war arose and the darkness destroyed the light of the world, since it was incomprehensible to the darkness and good for nothing anymore. And so we had to taste Hell.

I saw which vices the virtues of this time changed into, how your mildness became hard, your goodness became brutality; your love became hate, and your understanding became madness.

Why did you want to comprehend the darkness! But you had to or else it would have seized you. Happy the man who anticipates
this grasp.

Did you ever think of the evil in you?

Oh, you spoke of it, you mentioned it, and you confessed it smilingly; as a generally human vice, or a recurring misunderstanding.

But did you know I what evil is, and that it stands precisely right behind your virtues, that it is also your virtues themselves, as their inevitable substance?

You locked Satan in the abyss for a millennium, and when the millennium had passed, you laughed at him, since he had become a children’s fairy tale. But if the dreadful great one raises his head, the world winces. The most extreme coldness draws near.

With horror you see that you are defenseless, and that the army of your vices falls powerless to its knees. With the power of daimons, you seize the evil, and your virtues cross over to him.

You are completely alone in this struggle, since your Gods have become deaf You do not know which devils are greater, your vices, or your virtues.

But of one thing you are certain, that virtues and vices are brothers.

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, Red Book, Pages 274-275