Black Books

  1. XII. 1922.

[I]. Your voice called me. You have disturbed my sleep.

You came to me in the middle of the night and attacked me with fear. You are not my soul. Or are you? Answer.

S. It’s not me, faithless one,

I was kept waiting by you for so long, and yet I stood with you the whole time and gave you more than a warning these last days.

And still you have hesitated. Are you finally listening?

[I]. So speak, who is it that robs me of sleep, coming in the middle of the night, like a lost stranger, or like a thief?

S. Here he stands, one greater than you. Foreign and yet known.

I. I can’t see him.

S. He is decorated with green wreaths, almost naked and half-draped in loose silk. [I]. How should I make him out? Who are you?

He. One whom you overcame.

[I]. Are you my friend, my much loved one? Did the heart of Africa release you? How
did you find the way through northern clouds?

He. I had to come, the time was ripe, the conditions have been fulfilled. I have come
to be with you.

I. What do you want to say? How are you going to be with me? You, whom I don’t
see, whom fear proceeds, the terror of death, nocturnal anxiety and sinister forebodings?

What do you bring so suddenly, you long awaited and unanticipated one?

He. I bring the gold, the golden heart of the world.

[Note: It emerges, from the following exchange, that the figure had first appeared to Jung in a dream he’d had in Tunis in 1910.]

I. What do your words mean? Gold is deceptive.

Has the word not already deceived?

He. Don’t be surprised.

You thought that you knew me, because you saw my beauty in dreams, as you slept blissfully under the silver moon of Africa.

But you don’t know me. You saw one of my coverings, a mortal appearance that I borrowed from you.

As you can’t see me, so you can’t make out my form. Your soul made a song about me, since she is a woman.

What you may always grasp of me is appearance. My words are appearance, borrowed from the chambers of your speech.

The golden heart of the world is an appearance, something radiant or shining like gold, like a sun of the world.

I come from the heart of the world, I am the heart of the world, I am radiance, not light.

I cover myself in solstices, my robe is time, and time is my appearance. I am unable to appear to you without appearance,

Oh teacher of the black letters!

I. Oh, you speak of the book, that I forced you to read – a teacher, who should learn from his own children!-it was not I, noble master, who raised himself and was presumptuous.

It was a dream vision gifted to me, a gift of heaven, that fell to me that night from the middle of the fourfold division of the world, when I saw the starry heaven of the eternal desert for the first time. Yes, what nights!

I wasn’t presumptuous, a dream from unknown eternity was.

I longed for you, my most beautiful friend, in all cold and foggy darknesses, in all the confusion and sickness of Europe.

Yet you were far and only once did I hear a distant message from you.

Yes, I have seen your true divine beauty; I didn’t do it from the hubris of my imagination, but the dream from the foreign heaven showed it to me.

My eye was truly unworthy, my understanding, dull.  I believed that I had seen you, but I saw only your appearance, and I didn’t know this.

I didn’t teach you from myself, from my hubris, but the dream sent from the heaven of the Gods showed it to me.

I didn’t teach you my wisdom, but I taught you from a book that I found on the carpet, the red carpet of your he-use chamber.

It lay in your house. The book didn’t belong to me. It was precious and more beautifully written than I could ever write.

I never saw more delicate, whiter parchment than this, never was there a blacker ink than that which the book was written with.

It was indeed an old book, and it spoke a language which wasn’t my language, but one more beautiful and perfect than there truly has been on earth.

And how could I have taught you, if that dream hadn’t shown it, that thrice blessed dream, that truly flowed to me from the heart of the world.

He. Stop, it was truly you who was elevated to the radiance, because you overcame me. Have you ever understood that?

I . Never. My understanding was puny and couldn’t even get to a question.

And whatever wanted to say to myself about it was hollow and stale. Noble one, you know it better, so teach me.

He. Do you believe that I have come to teach you? Didn’t the dream show you that you had to teach me as a youth, ignorant of wisdom?

Didn’t it say that I am the ignorant one, since you had to be the teacher?

I . What do I have to teach you from my poverty?

He. Appearance thirsts for content. What is appearance, when it is not mirrored on bodies?

I. Oh, you speak in riddles that I can’t make out. I fear that a king is the guest of a beggar. What can I offer you? What is your wish?

He. I would like to be taught by you.

I. Who are you, that I could teach you?

You call yourself the heart of the world. How can I speak to the heart of the world, I, a poor man, who sits in the cover of darkness?

He. Speak to me and you speak to the heart of the world.

I. But what should I say to you, my beloved, whom one night gave to me and robbed?

You have returned to me invisible, truly beautiful beyond all measure; oh, if I had the vision of my soul!

Perhaps I would then find the words to speak to you.

He. Spell it out, teach me. I don’t know. Tell me who I am.

I. How should I know that?

He. What use is my light, if it does not illumine you?

But it illumines you and you will not be able to contain your words, since my appearance betrays them. Don’t hold back.

Express what darkness and poverty taught you, express what you found from errancy in eternal clouds and what you brought back from long wandering.

Don’t be afraid of your words.

I came to you at midnight, l disturbed your speech, l demanded entrance,

l wanted instruction, as the dream that came to you from the depths of the world taught you.

Talk to me and I will listen to your words. You’ve overcome me and made me willing. ~The Black Books, Vol. VII, Page 222-224

In 1921- 22, Jung painted Images 129,131, and 133 in the calligraphic volume of LN.

On November 25 he completed Image 135. It bore the following inscription: “Completed on 25 November 1922.

The fire comes out of Muspilli and grasps the tree of life. A cycle is completed, but it is the cycle within the world egg.

A strange God, the unnameable God of the solitary, is incubating it. New creatures form from the smoke and ashes.”

In Norse mythology Muspilli (or Muspelheim) is the abode of the fire Gods.

On November 29, Jung was transcribing p. 134 in the calligraphic volume of LN.

He gave a lecture to the Society for German Language and Literature, “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetic Art Works,” on May 26 (CW 15), which he repeated at the Psychological Club on July 9. From June 2 to 6 he was on holiday in Schmerikon.

On November 7, Emma Jung gave a presentation to the Psychological Club, “Considerations on a Word of Meister Eckhart.” ~The Black Books, Vol. VII, Page 222, fn 199