Image: Carved relief of the cartouche representing Thutmose III on the wall of the Precinct of Amun-Re, Karnak

The Red Book

I awaken, the day reddens the East. A night, a wonderful night in the distant depths of time lies behind me.

In what far-away space was I?

What did I dream? Of a white horse?

It seems to me as if I had seen this white horse on the Eastern sky over the rising sun. The horse spoke to me: What did it say?

It said: “Hail him who is in darkness since the day is over him.”

There were four white horses, each with golden wings.

They led the carriage of the sun, on which Helios stood with flaring mane.

I stood down in the gorge, astonished and frightened. A thousand black serpents crawled swiftly into their holes.

Helios ascended, rolling upward toward the wide paths of the sky: I knelt down, raised my hands suppliantly, and called: “Give us your light, you are flame-curled, entwined, crucified and revived; give us your light, your light!”

This cry woke me. Didn’t Ammonius say yesterday evening: “Do not forget to say your morning prayer when the sun rises.”

I thought that perhaps he secretly worships the sun. Outside a fresh morning wind rises.

Yellow sand trickles in fine veins down the rocks.

The redness expands across the sky and I see the first rays shoot up to the firmament.

Solemn calm and solitude on all sides.

A large lizard lies on a stone and awaits the sun.

I stand as if spellbound and laboriously remember everything from yesterday, especially what Ammonius said.

But what did he say?

That the sequences of words have many meanings, and that John brought the LOGOS to man.

But that does not sound properly Christian. Is he perhaps a Gnostic?

No, that seems impossible to me, since they were really the worst of all the idolaters of words, as he would probably put it.

The sun-what fills me with such inner exaltation?

I should not forget my morning prayer-but where has my morning prayer gone?

Dear sun, I have no prayer, since I do not know how one must address you. Have I already prayed to the sun? But Ammonius really meant that I should pray to God at the break of day.

He probably does not know-we have no more prayers.

How should he know about our nakedness and poverty? What has happened to our prayers?

I miss them here. This must really be because of the desert.

It seems as if there ought to be prayers here. Is this desert so very bad?

I think it is no worse than our cities. But why then do we not pray there?

I must look toward the sun, as if it had something to do with this. Alas-one can never escape the age-old dreams of mankind.

What shall I do this whole long morning?

I do not understand how Ammonius could have endured this life for even a year.

I go back and forth on the dried-up river bed and finally sit down on a boulder.

Before me there are a few yellow grasses.

Over there a small dark beetle is crawling along, pushing a ball in front of it-a scarab.

You dear little animal, are you still toiling away in order to live your beautiful myth?

How seriously and undiscouraged it works! If only you had a notion that you are performing an old myth, you would probably renounce your fantasies as we men have also given up playing at mythology.

The unreality nauseates one.

What I say sounds very odd in this place, and the good Ammonious would certainly not agree with it.

What am I actually doing here?

No, I don’t want to condemn him in advance, since I still haven’t really understood what he actually means.

He has a right to be heard. By the way,

I thought differently yesterday.

I was even very thankful to him that he wanted to teach me.

But I’m being critical once again, and superior, and may well learn nothing. His thoughts are not that bad at all; they are even good.

I don’t know why I always want to put the man down.

Dear beetle, where have you gone?

I can no longer see you.

Oh, you’re already over there with your mythical ball.

These little animals stick to things, quite unlike us-no doubt, no change of mind, no hesitation.

Is this so because they live their myth?

Dear scarab, my father, I honor you, blessed be your work-in eternity-Amen.

What nonsense am I talking?

I’m worshiping an animal that must be because of the desert.

It seems absolutely to demand prayers.

How beautiful it is here!

The reddish color of the stones is wonderful; they reflect the glow of a hundred thousand past suns these small grains of sand have rolled in fabulous primordial oceans, over them swam primordial monsters with forms never beheld before.

Where were you, man, in those days? On this warm sand lay your childish primordial animal ancestors, like children snuggling up to their mother.

o mother stone, I love you, I lie snuggled up against your warm body, your late child. Blessed be you, ancient mother.
Yours is my heart and all glory and power-Amen.

What am I saying?

That was the desert.

How everything appears so animated to me!

This place is truly terrible.

These stones-are they stones?

They seem to have gathered here deliberately.

They’re lined up like a troop transport.

They’ve arranged themselves by size, the large ones stand apart, the small ones close ranks and gather in groups that precede the large ones.

Here the stones form states.

Am I dreaming or am I awake?

It’s hot-the sun already stands high-how the hours pass!

Truly, the morning is nearly over-and how astonishing it has been!

Is it the sun or is it these living stones, or is it the desert that makes my head buzz?

I go up the valley” and before long I reach the hut of the anchorite.

He is sitting on his mat lost in deep reflection.

I: “My father, I am here.”
A: “How have you spent your morning?”

I: “I was surprised when you said yesterday that time passes quickly for you.

I don’t question you anymore and this will no longer surprise me. I’ve learned a lot.

But only enough to make you an even greater riddle than you were before.

Why, all the things that you must experience in the desert, you wonderful man! Even the stones are bound to speak to you.”

A: “I’m happy that you have learned to understand something of the life of an anchorite.

That will make our difficult task easier.

I don’t want to intrude on your mysteries, but I feel that you come from a strange world that has nothing to do with mine.”

I: “You speak truthfully.

I’m a stranger here, more foreign than any you’ve ever seen.

Even a man from Britain’s remotest coast is closer to you than I am.

Therefore have patience, master and let me drink from the source of your wisdom.

Although the thirsty desert surrounds us, an invisible stream of living water flows here.”

A: “Have you said your prayer?”

I: “Master, forgive me: I’ve tried, but I found no prayer.

Yet I dreamed that I prayed to the rising sun.”

A: “Don’t worry yourself because of that.

If you do find a word, your soul has nevertheless found inexpressible words to greet the break of day.”

I: “But it was a heathen prayer to Helios.”
A: “Let that suffice for you.”
I: “But Oh master, I’ve prayed not only to the sun in a dream, but in my absentmindedness also to the scarab and the earth.”

A: “Be astonished at nothing, and in no case condemn or regret it.

Let us go to work Do you want to ask something about the conversation we had yesterday?”

I: “I interrupted you yesterday when you spoke of Philo.

You wanted to explain your notion of the various meanings of particular sequences of words.”

A: “Well, I’ll continue my account of how I was freed from the awful predicament of spinning words.

A man my father had set free once came to me; this man, whom I’d been attached to since my childhood, spoke to me and said:

“Oh Ammonius, are you well?” “Certainly,” I said, “as you can see, I am learned and have great success.”
He: “I mean, are you happy and are you fully alive?”
I laughed: ”As you can see, all is well.”

The old man replied: “I saw how you lectured. You seemed to be anxious at the judgment of your listeners.

You wove witty jokes into the lecture to please your listeners.

You heaped up learned expressions to impress them.

You were restless and hasty, as if still compelled to snatch up all knowledge.

You are not in yourself”

Although these words at first seemed laughable to me, they still made an impression on me, and reluctantly I had to / credit the old man, since he was right.
Then he said: “Dear Ammonius, I have delightful tidings for you: God has become flesh in his son and has
brought us all salvation.” “”What are you saying,” I called, “you probably mean Osiris, who shall appear in the mortal body?”
“No,” he replied, “this man lived in Judea and was born from a virgin.”
I laughed and answered: “I already know about this; a Jewish trader has brought tidings of our virgin queen to Judea, whose image appears on the walls of one of our temples, and reported it as a fairy tale.”
“No,” the old man insisted, “he was the Son of God.”
“Then you mean Horus the son of Osiris, don’t you?”
I answered.
“No, he was not Horus, but a real man, and he was hung from a cross.”
“Oh, but this must be Seth, surely; whose punishments our old ones have often described.”
But the old man stood by his conviction and said: “He died and rose up on the third day.”
“Well, then he must be Osiris,” I replied impatiently.
“No,” he cried, “he is called Jesus the anointed one.”
”Ah, you really mean this Jewish God, whom the poor honor at the harbor, and whose unclean mysteries they celebrate in cellars.”
“He was a man and yet the Son of God,” said the old man staring at me intently.

“That’s nonsense, dear old man,” I said, and showed him to the door.

But like an echo from distant rock faces the words returned to me: a man and yet the Son of God. It seemed significant to me, and this phrase was what brought me to Christianity.

I: “But don’t you think that Christianity could ultimately be a transformation of your Egyptian teachings?”
A: “If you say that our old teachings were less adequate expressions of Christianity, then I’m more likely to agree with you.”
I: “Yes, but do you then assume that the history of religions is aimed at a final goal?”

A: “My father once bought a black slave at the market from the region of the source of the Nile. He came from a country that had heard of neither Osiris nor the other Gods; he told me many things in a more simple language that said the same as we believed about Osiris and the other Gods. I learned to understand that those uneducated Negroes unknowingly already possessed most of what the religions of the cultured peoples had developed into complete doctrines.

Those able to read that language correctly could thus recognize in it not only the pagan doctrines but also the doctrine of Jesus.

And it’s with this that I now occupy myself I read the gospels and seek their meaning which is yet to come.

We know their meaning as it lies before us, but not their hidden meaning which points to the future.

It’s erroneous to believe that religions differ in their innermost essence.

Strictly speaking, it’s always one and the same religion.

Every subsequent form of religion is the meaning of the antecedent.”

I: “Have you found out the meaning which is yet to come?”
A: “No, not yet; it’s very difficult, but I hope I’ll succeed. Sometimes it seems to me that I need the stimulation of others, but I realize that those are temptations of Satan.”
I: “Don’t you believe that you’d succeed if you were nearer men?”
A: “Perhaps you’re right.”

He looks at me suddenly as if doubtful and suspicious. “But,” he continues, “I love the desert, do you understand?

This yellow, sun-glowing desert. Here you can see the countenance of the sun every day; you are alone, you can see glorious Helios-no, that is – pagan-what’s wrong with me?

I’m confused-you are Satan I recognize you-give way; adversary!”

He jumps up incensed and wants to lunge at me.

But I am far away in the twentieth century.

He who sleeps in the grave of the millennia dreams a wonderful dream.

He dreams a primordially ancient dream. He dreams of the rising sun.

If you sleep this sleep and dream this dream in this time of the world, you will know that the sun will also rise at this time.

For the moment we are still in the dark, but the day is upon us.

He who comprehends the darkness in himself, to him the light is near. He who climbs down into his darkness reaches the staircase of the working light, fire maned Helios.

His chariot ascends with four white horses, his back bears no cross, and his side no wound, but he is on fire and his head blazes in the fire.

Nor is he a man of mockery, but of splendor and unquestionable force.

I do not know what I speak, I speak in a dream. support me for I stagger, drunk with fire.

I drank fire in this night, since I climbed down through the centuries and plunged into the sun far at the bottom.

And I rose up drunk from the sun, with a burning countenance and my head is ablaze.

Give me your hand, a human hand, so that you / can hold me to the earth with it, for whirling veins of fire swoop me up, and exultant longing tears me toward the zenith.

But day is about to break, actual day; the day of this world.

And I remain concealed in the gorge of the earth, deep down and solitary, and in the darkening shadows of the valley. That is the shadow and

heaviness of the earth.

How can I pray to the sun that rises far in the East over the desert?

Why should I pray to it?

I drink the sun within me, so why should I pray to it? But the desert, the desert in me demands prayers, since the desert wants to satisfy itself with what is alive.

I want to beg God for it, the sun, or one of the other immortals.

I beg because I am empty and am a beggar.

In the day of this world, I forget that I drank the sun and am drunk from its active light and singeing power.

But I stepped into the shadows of the earth, and saw that I am naked and have nothing to cover my poverty.

No sooner do you touch the earth than your inner life is over; it flees from you into things.

And a wondrous life arises in things.

What you thought was dead and inanimate betrays a secret life and silent, inexorable intent.

You have got caught up in a hustle and bustle where everything goes its own way with strange gestures, beside you, above you, beneath you, and through you; even the stones speak

to you, and magical threads spin from you to things and from things to you.

Far and near work within you and you work in a dark manner upon the near and the far. And you are always helpless and a prey.

But if you watch closely, you will see what you have never seen before, namely that things live their life, and that they live off you: the rivers bear your life to the valley,.

One stone falls upon another with your force, plants and animals also grow through you and they are the cause of your death.

A leaf dancing in the wind dances with you; the irrational animal guesses your thought and represents you.

The whole earth sucks its life from you and everything reflects you again.

Nothing happens in which you are not entangled in a secret manner; for everything has ordered itself around you and plays your innermost.

Nothing in you is hidden to things, no matterhow remote, how precious, how secret it is. It inheres in things.

Your dog robs you of your father, who passed away long ago, and looks at you as he did.

The cow in the meadow has intuited your mother, and charms you with total calm and security.

The stars whisper your deepest mysteries to you, and the soft valleys of the

earth rescue you in a motherly womb.

Like a stray child you stand pitifully among the mighty, who hold the threads of your life.

You cry for help and attach yourself to the first person that comes your way.

Perhaps he can advise you, perhaps he knows the thought that you do not have, and which all things have sucked out of you.

I know that you would like to hear the tidings of he whom things have not lived, but who lived and fulfilled himself. For you are a son of the earth, sucked dry by the suckling earth, that can suck nothing out of itself, but suckles only from the sun.

Therefore you would like to have tidings of the son of the

sun, which shines and does not suckle.

You would like to hear of the son of God, who shone and gave, who begot, and to whom life was born again, as the earth bears the sun green and colorful children.

You would like to hear of him, the radiating savior, who as a son of the sun cut through the webs of the earth, who sundered the magic threads and released those in bondage, who owned himself and was no one’s servant, who sucked no one dry, and whose treasure no one exhausted. You would like to hear of him who was not darkened by the shadow of earth, but illuminated it, who saw the thoughts of all, and whose thoughts no one guessed, who possessed in himself the meaning of all things, and whose
meaning nothing could express.

The solitary fled the world; he closed his eyes, plugged his ears and buried himself in a cave within himself but it was no use.

The desert sucked him dry, the stones spoke his thoughts, the cave echoed his feelings, and so he himself became desert, stone, and cave. And it was all emptiness and desert, and helplessness and barrenness, since he did not shine and remained a son of the earth who sucked a book dry and was sucked empty by the desert. He was desire and not splendor, completely earth and not sun.


Consequently he was in the desert as a clever saint who very well knew that otherwise he was no different from the other sons of the earth.

If he would have drunk of himself he would have drunk fire. The solitary went into the desert to find himself.

But he did not want to find himself but rather the manifold meaning of Holy Scripture. You can suck the immensity of the small and the great into yourself and you will become emptier and emptier, since immense fullness and immense emptiness are one and the same.

He wanted to find what he needed in the outer. But you find manifold meaning only in yourself not in things, since the manifoldness of meaning is not something that is given at the same time, but is a succession of meanings. The meanings that follow one another do not lie in things, but lie in you, who are subject to many changes, insofar as you take part in life.

Things also change, but you do not notice this if you do not change. But if you change, the countenance of the world alters.

The manifold sense of things is your manifold sense.

It is useless to fathom it in things. And this probably explains why the solitary went into the desert, and fathomed the thing but not himself And therefore what happened to every desirous solitary also happened to him: the devil came to him with smooth tongue and clear reasoning and knew the right word at the right moment. He lured him to his desire.

I had to appear to him as the devil, since I had accepted my darkness.

I ate the earth and I drank the sun, and I became a greening tree that stands alone and grows. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 270-273.