The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition (Philemon)

“I am Mime, and I will show you the wellsprings. The collected light becomes water and flows in many springs from the summit into the valleys of the earth.”

He then dives down into a crevice. I follow him down into a dark cave. I hear the rippling of a spring. I hear the voice of the dwarf from below: “Here are my wells, whoever drinks from them becomes wise.” ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 251

In Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung, the Nibelung dwarf Mime is the brother of Alberich and a master craftsman. Alberich stole the Rhinegold from the Rhinemaidens; through renouncing love, he was able to forge a ring out of it that conferred limitless power.

In Siegfried, Mime, who lives in a cave, brings up Siegfried so that he will kill Fafner the giant, who has transformed into a dragon and now has the ring. Siegfried slays Fafner with the invincible sword that Mime has fashioned, and kills Mime, who had intended to kill him after he had recovered the gold. ~The Red Book, Footnote 209

If I myself endorse the pure principle, I step to one side and become one-sided. Therefore my forethinking in the principle of the heavenly mother becomes an ugly dwarf who lives in a dark cave like an unborn in the womb.

You do not follow him, even if he says to you that you could drink wisdom from his source. But forethinking appears to you there as dwarfish cleverness, false and of the night, just as the heavenly mother appears to me down there as Salome.

That which is lacking in the pure principle appears as the serpent. The hero strives after the utmost in the pure principle, and therefore he finally falls for the serpent.

If you go to thinking, take your heart with you. If you go to love, take your head with you. Love is empty without thinking, thinking hollow without love. The serpent lurks behind the pure principle.

Therefore I lost courage, until I found the serpent that at once led me across to the other principle. In climbing down I become smaller. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 252-253.


“Mímer and Balder Consulting the Norns” (1821-1822) by H. E. Isabell Freund