The Red Book is C.G. Jung’s record of a period of deep penetration into his unconscious mind in a process that he called ‘active imagination’, undertaken during his mid-life period. Answer to Jung: Making Sense of ‘The Red Book’ provides a close reading of this magnificent yet perplexing text and its fascinating images, and demonstrates that the fantasies in The Red Book are not entirely original, but that their plots, characters and symbolism are remarkably similar to some of the higher degree rituals of Continental Freemasonry. It argues that the fantasies may be memories of a series of terrifying initiatory ordeals, possibly undergone in childhood, using altered or spurious versions of these Masonic rites. It then compares these initiatory scenarios with accounts of ritual trauma that have been reported since the 1980s. This is the first full-length study of The Red Book to focus on the fantasies themselves and provide such an external explanation for them.
Sonu Shamdasani describes The Red Book as an incomplete task that Jung left to posterity as a ‘message in a bottle’ that would someday come ashore. Answer to Jung brings its message to shore, providing a coherent, but disturbing, interpretation of each of the fantasies and their accompanying images.
Table of Contents
List of boxes. Preface. Acknowledgements. 1 Introduction. Freemasonry and the Mysteries. Continental Freemasonry. True and spurious Freemasonry. Masonic abuses in the literature of ritual abuse. Trauma studies since Jung. The perspective and layout of this study. 2 Some notes on Jung’s childhood dreams. 3 Discussing Liber Primus. The Way of What is to Come. Refinding the Soul – Soul and God – On the Service of the Soul. The Desert – Experiences in the Desert. Descent into Hell in the Future. Splitting of the Spirit. Murder of the Hero. The Conception of the God. Mysterium Encounter. Instruction. Resolution. 4 Discussing Liber Secundus. The Images of the Erring. The Red One. The Castle in the Forest. One of the Lowly. The Anchorite – Dies I. Dies II. Death. The Remains of Earlier Temples. First Day. Second Day. The Incantations. The Opening of the Egg. Hell. The Sacrificial Murder. Divine Folly. Nox secunda. Nox tertia. Nox quarta. The Three Prophecies. The Gift of Magic. The Way of the Cross. The Magician. 5 Discussing Scrutinies. Scrutinies. The Seven Sermons to the Dead. Epilogue. 6 Other questions, other explanations. Was Carl Jung insane? If he wasn’t mad was he, in fact, a Freemason and consciously veiling. his Masonic initiations? Could The Red Book have been a form of channelling? Were Jung’s active imaginations based on his reading? 7 Conclusion. Index
Lynn Brunet is an Australian art historian whose research examines the coupling of trauma and ritual in modern and contemporary Western art and literature. In particular, it traces the connection between Masonic initiation rites and complex trauma in the work of so-called ‘tortured’ artists and writers.