Red Book Lecture 2      February  2-16


Welcome all and especially newcomers to the second chunk of the RED BOOK.  


As Robbie compares Jung’s experiences of image both as metaphor and as an embodied experience, we are presented with a great challenge. How to be with the Red Book both from Jung and Robbie’s perspectives in a state of Negative Capability-- being in the unknown without going right to meaning even, and, especially when an insight comes.

There is the great example of the desert and how Jung at first is experiencing it as an embodied state and then almost immediately is pulled to meaning-- desert as soul.

Robbies says:

“The Spirit of the Depth is teaching Jung to be a phenomenologist.  How to wait on images... to get into their true becoming and then he can find the seeds for them and find what they are doing and who they are.  If we want to honor him we have to try to move through this material without understanding.  And of course, Jung fails miserably and so will we.”


So then the question comes:  What are we to ‘discuss’ in this forum as we endeavor to be in the ‘waiting’, experiencing the Red Book and what Robbie and each other have to say, as an environment, a place?

Well Janet asked me a question this morning when we talked about this: “What was your experience as you listened to this section?”

I told her I had spread out the big Red Book on my bed along with the little one and as I listened I took notes and stopped the recording, re-listened to parts ....  then I worried oh ,oh,  I was trying to make meaning, but no, I really felt like I was diving into the experience in a deeper way than the last time I listened.  I was thrilled, confused, excited, and worried.

So let’s continue on as we go slowly, waiting, being with the discomfort of not knowing and share what that is like for us and perhaps noticing other places where Jung (and we) go to metaphor, to embodiment and back again.



 Chris and Janet

You need to be a member of Depth Psychology Alliance to add comments!

Join Depth Psychology Alliance

Email me when people reply –


    • Thank you for the lines from Four Quartets....Soooooo movingly appropriate and beautiful. Like a healing, peaceful world to be inhabited for a while. 

  • OK, so I haven’t posted a lot recently and I am seeing that I was in my ‘pus’, feeling uncomfortable with sharing who I am (as we have been asking you to do!) thinking I will be judged, thought of as stupid,  ... oh the whole gamut!

    So open your ‘pus’ umbrellas ....!

    I realized I was in a ‘state’ of pain rather than totally identifying with it when a teacher pointed out that being a gay man I lived in a world of hatred /homophobia towards me.  He spoke of it as a morphic field that I daily had to move through and was that was/is often directed at me; that it wasn’t a surprise that I isolated, had never had a relationship and had a hard time putting myself out in the world.  Hillman would call this realization a state of alchemical Silvering /whitening, a sliver of light in the nigredo of living in a world where I am thought of as less than human, even as evil, pus personified I guess you could say :)

    I didn’t have much choice in the matter of being in the state of pain most of my life but at this time of silvering I began a journey of exploration and discovery about his state of feeling different, flawed, stupid, not fitting in.

    Through my work with dreams, studies of shamanic healing/journeying, and contact with information about how many of the indigenous peoples honored and respected gay and transgendered people as the medicine people, the ‘gatekeepers’ between the worlds BECAUSE of their nature, I began to stand in my own sense of Self.

    I see now how as a “gatekeeper” between the dream worlds and this world my place is actually one of ‘in between’, out of the mainstream.  Who I am in this world does NOT fit in with the mainstream and that is my job,  my own unique purpose on this amazing planet,  to build  and live on those rainbow bridges bridges between the worlds.  

    Pus is a protein-rich fluid called liquor puris, usually whitish-yellow, yellow, or yellow brown in color. Pus consists of a buildup of dead leukocytes (white blood cells) from the body's immune system in response to infection.

    Pus is nutritious!

    • Heres' what I really want to say...I am glad, Chris you have found a place of balance and beauty in your inner and outer life. Personally I find I still experience being completely without a place, anywhere. No where. Nothing in my life has ever truly situated me within the outer world in any way that feels complete, or right, or comfortable. No rainbows, no bridges. I feel inadequate, stupid and ugly most of the time but manage to stay within a small world, a circumferenced world that keeps these feelings at bay. I believe I expect too much of the big world's people, and distrust, dislike authority, and all leaders who are mostly men. Including Jung, whose journey precipitates upon social conditions I can not even imagine, having his wife's money, for instance to support his journey, having had status and security in his world, not spending most of his life as a child and teen working with nightmares of both waking and sleeping types. I am content that he contributed so much. I have taken on this forum because I intuited it would raise these specters of discontent, of restlessness of wanting to run away, get drunk...I do not feel, it seems within a spectrum capable of the things I read about here which seem so cozy... I think in ways that allow me to imagine such feelings, but I do not feel them. Pus indeed.

    • Not to take your 'job away' : ) , but is it possible that you are much more mainstream than you suspect?  I grew up convinced that I was different, "flawed, stupid, and not fitting in", and I am 'mainstream' heterosexual. I am wondering about the connection between the horrors of the war we are discussing, and the continuation of fear and hatred which is still so much in evidence.  

    • Dear Chris. I was very moved by your rain of pus. I much respect what you did with your in-between nature. You're terrific. I want to add an alchemical note that may clarify the rainbow: actually, the first movement out of the dakness is not the white, but the tail of the peacock. The tail of the peacock denotes the first rainbow shimmering of light on top of the dark and burnt out (nigredo) material, like the reflection of sunlight on a thin flm of oil on water.

      May your regiment of in-between connector souls continue to prosper!

    • Good evening Chris - I love the idea of the umbrella opening and say let it rain down on me - protective and cleansing at the same time!!!  Regards Linda

    • Chris,

      I think again of E.M. Forster:

      How do I know what I think unless I read what I write?

      I find living outside the herd can be dangerous. It can also be consoling. A school of fish make for us a beautiful metaphor. Upon scrutiny, we find the fish constantly move from the inside of the school to the outside and back to the inside. It has been said they do this to share the danger. Jung often speaks of that middle way. Maybe it's the fish in him having a voice.

  • I am finally recovering from a bout of the flu 6 days after onset of symptoms; a perfect occasion for reflecting on the phenomenology of the illness experience as a form of descent. It seems that with loss of contact with the external world and its identifications and meanings and containment by a somatic experience of suffering that one moves one into a psychic configuration involving consciousness of death and of residual inner pain...a sensation of falling from a state of grace to one of loss...and yet in staying with the experience through the somatic connection of illness, finding that reaching the "floor" of that experience provides a grounded place to stand that makes the new reality tolerable and allows an exploration of the source of unintegrated pain. I vowed to stay as long as I could but after sleeping through a night with the fever is gone and air now passing through my right nostril the somatic containment is gone and my imagination and resilience restored. It would require some other container such as seclusion or contact with a core complex containing an experience of suffering in order to remain in that place for an extended period. Otherwise we live in both worlds--dropping down with sleep and returning with the sunrise.

  • To be able to be in the presence of contagions, to drink the pus is a pugative to transcend repulsion. I am no saint and could not 'drink the pus myself.'  There are those who can drink the pus while searching for a cure; the laws of similarity, with the hopes of achieving immunity!  If it was drink this pus or die - I do not know that one, in my time.  I do know my drink that I needed to transcend was pain.  Regards Linda

    • Thank you Linda, for your thoughts in response to this question I am attempting to come to understand. 

This reply was deleted.