Posts Tagged ‘Red Book’

Izdubar Headshot

Jung, Izdubar, and Enantiodromion

By Dr. Curtiss Hoffman A Response to “Liber Secundus: Individuation as Integration”, an excerpt by Dr. Murray Stein from AJC #10: Carl Jung’s Red Book On the topic of Izdubar, back in 1914, when Akkadian (the language of the Gilgamesh Epic) was only beginning to be well known to scholars, and the much older Sumerian language was poorly understood, the three cuneiform signs which make up the name “Gilgamesh” were all misread as “IZ.DU.BAR”.  It was not until R. Campbell Thompson’s authoritative edition of 1922 that the name was recognized as Gilgamesh.  I go into great detail on this subject in the next Asheville Jung Center Webinar on February 28th titled, “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration”. The first sign is not to be pronounced at all; it is what Assyriologists call a “determinative” – a sign which announces that a certain type of noun is to follow.  There are determinatives for gods, for male and female humans, for birds, for fish, for items made of copper, and – in this case – items made of wood.  (Actually, the original form of the sign was an erect phallus!  Compare the Egyptian djed pillar which replaced the phallus of Osiris when he became king of the underworld.)  The second sign is to be pronounced “BILGA” or “GILGA” and has the primary meaning of “grandfather” or “ancestor”. The third sign is a kind of a visual pun.  It is the sign for goat (MASH) but it is understood to be a gloss for the word for hero (MESH).  So what we have in this name is a heroic progenitor or ancestor, who is – somehow – also made of wood.  Then again, given Gilgamesh’s reputation with the young women of Uruk, perhaps the original reading of the determinative is not inappropriate!  Jung was aware of the change of the reading of the name – in his library there is a copy of J.V. Pritchard’s classic Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, which contains a good translation of the entire epic. While we are on the subject of Jung’s library, in addition to the bust of Voltaire in the study he also had a Neanderthal skull (a model, I think) in the library.  So we have a strong contrast between the urbane, witty, erudite Voltaire and the Neanderthal, who likely reflects Jung’s concept of the “million year-old man”. The encounter between Jung and Gilgamesh/Izdubar itself carries a mythological valance.  Readers who are familiar with Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival may well recognize in it the two encounters between East and West in that epic.  In the first, the unprepared Anfortas, riding from the Grail Castle (of which more in my webinar) in the West encounters in battle the unprepared (and unnamed) eastern knight whose goal is the Grail.  Their collision – symbolic of the alchemical massa confusa – results in disaster for both of them:  the eastern knight is killed, and Anfortas is rendered impotent by a spear thrust through his groin, as a result of which his land goes waste.  In the second, the well-prepared Parzival, riding in search of the Grail Castle, but also in search of his lady-love, encounters in battle a man who turns out to be his half-brother from the East, who fights for love and gems.  In this case, neither can prevail in battle, and they declare a truce, during which they discover that they share the same father.  And the Easterner’s complexion – under European misconceptions of heredity of the day – is a mixture of white and black.  The result of their encounter is the healing of the Waste Land.  So Jung encountering Gilgamesh and each warning the other about going too far in the other’s direction – partakes of this alchemical meeting of the pairs of opposites – a theme which was to occupy much of Jung’s later thought.  He called it enantiodromion:  the running together of the opposites. It is true that Jung in his later writings inveighed against the appropriation by Europeans (and I suppose, by extension, Americans also) of the trappings of Eastern religions and argued instead that we should acknowledge and affirm the spiritual poverty of post-Reformation Christianity.  The metaphor he uses is of a beggar stumbling into a ornate Eastern palace and claiming it as his own.   But now, in the 21st Century, at a time when easterners have increasingly appropriated western materialism, perhaps it is no longer so inappropriate for westerners to seek eastern spirituality!  Or, perhaps, if we do explore that ornate palace, we will find that it is not so unfamiliar and exotic as we at first thought.  As Novalis wrote, “Where are we going?  Always home!” Don’t miss this Thursday night Webinar on February 28! Reserve your seat, sign on live (or recorded), and speak directly with the Dr. Hoffman during this 2 hour Webinar.  This is the fourth installment of our Red Book series titled “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration”.

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Liber Secundus: Individuation as Integration

An excerpt by Murray Stein, Ph.D. from AJC10: Carl Jung’s Red Book

[Join us in our 4th Seminar on Carl Jung’s Redbook, Presented this time by Curtis Hoffman]

The first part of Carl Jung’s Red Book was more about separation, in the second part Jung begins integrating several important things.  You could also refer to the section as a holy illness and the constellation or the birth of the wounded healer because Jung has to accept his holy illness, his craziness if you will, his own psychic reality.

On the first day, it says erste tag, this is the 8th of January 1914, chapter eight, Jung is traveling to the east.  He traveled to the north, where he met death.  Now, he is going to the east.  As he goes to the east he comes upon a figure, a mythological figure named Izdubar the mighty.  This is where Jung paints his first big picture in The Red Book, I do not care much for the picture but it is quite an impressive figure.  He is a giant of a figure, Izdubar the mighty, there you see him.  Izdubar comes from the east, he is a figure of the east and Sonu Shamdashani writes something in a footnote about him, that he is related to Gilgamesh and so on.  He is a mythological figure and he is wounded.  He comes from the land of faith and belief and he has been wounded by reports that he has gotten that in the west.

He wants to go to the west, in the west there is a very different attitude towards religion and faith, very skeptical, very scientific, and Jung comes from the west to the east and they confront each other.  Izdubar represents the mythological man, mythological attitude, an early sort of pre-enlightenment, pre-Christian even or eastern religious, people who to this day go to India.  They say it is a very spiritual place, it is so different from the west, from Europe or North America.  Izdubar comes from the east, or rather from the Middle East, comes this way for his meeting with Jung.  Jung wants to go to the east and Izdubar says, “don’t go to the east, it will blind you, the sun is too bright for you there.” So he warns Jung not to go to the east and Jung is sorry for him because he has been wounded by science, he says, “in the west we no longer have faith, we no longer have religion, God is dead.  Nietzsche announced it years ago and what we have now is science and science wounds religion.  If you come to the west, it will destroy you, they will take you apart, they will analyze you to pieces, they will reduce you to rubble.  You can’t go to the west.” And so, they are stuck there and Izdubar is wounded, Jung feels sorry for him but he is too big to pick up.  What is he going to do with him?  How can he heal him?  That becomes the problem and the question.

So Jung comes upon an ingenious idea.  He says, “I am going to treat Izdubar as a fantasy.  I am going to say he is just a fantasy, and then I can take this big figure and I am going to put him in a tiny shell, an eggshell, put him in my pocket and go back home, go back to the west.  And, as long as I have got him in my pocket nobody will see him, they can’t attack him, and I will just carry this mythological attitude home and hold it secretly and that will offer it protection.  And then, while it is there I will try to heal it.”

So he does that, he puts him in an egg, goes home with him, and then when he gets home, having made religion a private affair, hidden it away in his pocket, this is the solution.  This is how you can be religious in the atheistic, scientific, enlightenment west.  You can be secretly, you can be secretly religious.  Keep it in your pocket, do not tell anybody about it.  And so when he gets home with it he realizes it’s still is not healed, it is in the egg and he has to breathe life into it, he has to bring it back to life.  So, there is this section called the incantations which was inserted later where he does these prayers and incantations to bring Izdubar back, to heal him, bring him back to life and here you see Jung as spiritual healer at work, breathing life into this figure Izdubar, and he is successful, he is immensely successful.  He opens the egg in chapter eleven, and Izdubar comes out of the egg, healed and well like a reborn son, and he rises up and he returns to where he came from, to the east where the sun rises.

So he is a healed mythological man but he leaves Jung behind and now there is a separation again.  Jung then realized that he could not go to the east for religion.  He writes about this later, he says, “It is a mistake to try to mimic eastern religions.  We have to stay true to our own history, to our own path, that is not the way for us.”  It certainly was not for him although he learned a lot about eastern religions and he even traveled to India and so on.  Jung was not in favor of leaving your own belief, whatever that is, and in the west it is Christianity, Judaism, whatever your tradition happens to be, but rather to go with it, to try to elaborate or carry it further, but not to leave it behind or go after something else and tried to mimic the people of the east.  So Izdubar returns, retreats, and Jung have realized he cannot regress to being a mythological person, taking on mythological meanings and living in a phony mythology.  It would not work, he was too honest.  He was scientific, he was enlightenment man.  He had a statue of Voltaire in his study, you know, the arch enlightenment figure for another reason, which I will tell you later, so mythological man, heal it and leave it be.

Let us know your thoughts on Liber Secundus by commenting below.  Stay tuned for Dr. Curtiss Hoffman’s blog response to this excerpt by Dr. Murray Stein.

For more insight into Carl Jung’s Red Book you may attend our Webinar on Thursday, February 28th titled, “Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration.”  You may also find many other exciting information on our Red Book page.

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Red Book Boat

Poll: Source of Jung’s Red Book

Thank you for participating in our poll! For more captivating conversation about Jung’s Red Book please join us on February 28th for the next installment in our Red Book series titled Cross-Cultural Symbolism in C.G. Jung’s Red Book: An Anthropological Exploration.Dr. Curtiss Hoffman brings his scholarly expertise as an anthropologist to thoroughly examine cross-cultural elements In this incredible text.

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Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung

On February 4, 2011, Dr. Murray Stein will present a conference together with Andreas Jung, in collaboration with the Asheville Jung Center titled “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. Andreas Jung is an architect whose father and great uncle were also architects.  He is a graduate of Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) and currently lives in the home on Seestrasse.

C. G. Jung was intimately involved in the design of this home and attended to such things as the cladding upon the walls that provided deeply niched windows and lovely inset glass cabinets in the dining room.  Andreas Jung authors two very personal chapters and serves as the co-editor of the book.

Arthur Rüegg, a professor of architecture at ETHZ, opens one of the chapter titled “Living in a Museum?” with the following rendering:

The house of Carl Gustav Jung is without a doubt the physical expression of a great mind.

In 1906, while still “an impecunious assistant medical director at the Burghölzi mental home in Zürich”, Jung wrote to his cousin, architect Ernst Fietcher, of his plans “… to build a house someday, in the country near Zürich, on the lake”.  It was the untimely death of Emma Jung’s father that allowed the couple to build the home.   The Jungs worked closely with the architect and landscape architects on the design. Three generations of Jung’s have lived in this home that is now owned by a foundation (Stiftung C. G. Jung Küsnacht).  Two of those generations of inhabitants were “…families who could read these traces and respectfully carry on the tradition.” (p 90). The history of the house and it’s renovations is crisply and artfully presented.

What emerges from the pages of  The House of C. G. Jung is a portrait of an intentional man who demonstrated an uncanny ability to move between the worlds of the mythopoetic interior life and the tangible, concrete realms.  It should be no surprise that the man who constructed the Tower at Bollingen would have built a home worthy of memorializing.   Jung gave attention to details such as wall hangings, tile selection and placement of the rooms where he conducted analysis so as not to displace Emma from the library and interfere with her work.

The chapter “Living in a museum?” reads like a patient’s anamnesis as it reviews the homes history and developmental influences.  The reader is reminded that homes, like organic things, change and adapt to their circumstances and their inhabitants.  Despite several major renovations through the last century, the respect and regard for the original home was preserved.  The home is a testament to what concentrated self-examination and openness to the individuation process can produce.  It is the biography of a house that is no less impressive for what it reveals or the man who built it.

Architecture and psychology are first cousins.  Consider a few quotes assembled from several renown architects.

“Space and light and order.  Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.”  Le  Corbusier

“The home should be the treasure chest of living.”  Le Corbusier

“Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.”  Frank Lloyd Wright

Form follow function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  Frank Lloyd Wright

“Freedom is from within.” Frank Lloyd  Wright

“The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.” Frank Lloyd Wright

“Architecture is the will of the epoch translated into structure.” Ludwig Miles van der Rohe

Invitation:  The house that “you” built

Take a moment to consider the space you inhabit, whether it is a home, office, apartment, or just a room.  Examine it for details that reflect aspects of your interior life.  Where do you see function pronouncing itself and where does aesthetic seem to announce itself?  Examine the space for signs and signifiers of your individuated self and for signs of where your individuation is ensnared in its effort to emerge.

Compose a work of your own that reflects the house you have built.  If you feel so moved, please share those reflections with others in our community by posting a comment on this blog. If you are planning to attend the seminar on February 4, “Architecture of the Soul: Inner and Outer Structures of C. G. Jung”. then this exercise might be a useful preparation, like tilling the soil before the planting.

Len Cruz, MD

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The Mythopoetic Path – A Road Less Traveled

There is an age old battle between the rational and irrational, the logical view versus an artistic or symbolic one. Jung talks of a “Mythopoetic Imagination,” which he saw as severely lacking in our modern culture.  It is what often engages us on  the Jungian path, which stands in stark contrast to our daily & mundane realities. Watch this brief video from our 2nd Red Book seminar (AJC #11) where Dr. Murray Stein introduces the idea of the Mythopoetic Journey. As always, your comments are welcome… ____________________________ ____________________________
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What’s in Your “Red Book”?

Carl Jung’s Red Book provides a window into his interior life and since its publication there has been intense interest and study of the it’s contents.  We live in an extraordinary time in which information is so accessible that if you are near a wi-fi network and have any one of dozens of devices in hand, you can secure an answer to a question almost instantly.  I am typing this on an iPad.  I was tempted to pause and look up some shocking comparisons between the typical number of pages read by a modern person compared to someone from Jung’s era.  But that would lead me astray.  It seems we are flooded with more information but take less time to contemplate or reflect on that information.   Like humus that enriches the soil, data and information must be allowed to compost, to decompose, to dissolve in order to be reconstituted as psychological substance. Is there an inverse function between the quantity of information we encounter and the depth to which it penetrates us?  The Red Book was one man’s effort to plumb his own depths.  Jung must have had substantial faith to devote himself for so long and with such committed self-examination.  The Red Book is a testament to Jung’s willingness to descend into his inner universe with faith that there would be riches waiting to be discovered. I doubt that I am the only therapist who spends his/her days honoring client’s processes while neglecting his own.  I feel disheartened when clients disregard or neglect their rich interior life.  Yet, I have no right to cast the first stone; too often, I do not practice what I preach. This is an invitation.  If you feel so moved, share an excerpt from your personal Red Book. Many of us have been enriched by Jung’s Red Book.  Words, drawings, photos, verse, or whatever speaks to (and from) your depths would be welcome.  Many more may be enriched by some examples of the sort of entries being made in a current Red Book. Maybe those excerpts from your personal Red Book will inspire others to give their interior explorations their proper due.

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In What Spirit Are You Living?: Jung’s “Spirit of the Times” vs “Spirit of the Depths”…

In the first section of Carl Jung’s Red Book he dives into the question of how he is living his life.  He feels torn between two powerful forces within his soul.  He calls them “the Spirit of the Times” & “the Spirit of the Depths”.   In this 3 minute video blog Dr. Murray Stein describes these two spirits.
Under what spirit does our society live?  In what spirit do you live?
Comments and reflections are welcome!    -Steven Buser, MD
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