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The Red Book: Liber Novus

4.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,860 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
When Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration he called it his “confrontation with the unconscious,” the heart of it was The Red Book, a large, illuminated volume he created between 1914 and 1930. Here he developed his principle theories—of the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation—that transformed psychotherapy from a practice ...more
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published October 7th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2009)
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Mar 20, 2010 Tait rated it it was amazing
I couldn't sleep last night, as inspired as I was having begun to read Carl Jung's Liber Novus, his "Red Book." My first impression is that this is a massive tome; at 16x12x2'' it is easily the largest book I've ever laid hand on, and just turning the pages takes a substantial effort. But it's well worth it.

The Liber Novus is Jung's account of his decades long process of psychological and subconscious self experimentation, through a technique called "active imagination;" a process that
Feb 02, 2011 Christine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystics and soul searchers
Only a few books read in a lifetime actually change you. Can you honestly say you are a different person after the work is absorbed? I feel that my cells have been re-charged with a new vitality.

The Red Book is a lovingly inscribed and illustrated account of a deep inner journey into the heart of god, spirituality, mythology, and primarily the depths that Jung called the Shadow. Within only a few pages I was struck by many synchronicities - (another term coined by Jung) - specific details that c
Kraig Grady
Jul 31, 2012 Kraig Grady rated it it was amazing
Already the Book has broaden my feel for a man whose works i spent 10 years reading. This is 2/3 of the collected works. My dreams intensified by just looking at the paintings of really a remarkable and underrated visual artist. It might be the sequel to Blake's 'Island in the moon' in spirit and not an reference to the style. It changes the meaning of that Blake's work for me. CGJ has always been a path of precognative and synchronistic experience. I don't see how it cannot alter the reader or ...more
Ed Smiley
Jul 18, 2010 Ed Smiley rated it it was amazing
I have no idea how to rank this book, nor am I even quite sure what the hell I read.

Although I know a little German, I read the accompanying English text. However one thing is certain, the experience was powerful, and the impact of the combination of the hand lettering, calligraphy and the careful illuminations with a bewildering flood of psychic imagery is something not to be forgotten.

Here's a sample:
The noise of the days of the world falls silent and the warming fire blazes inside.

Sitting at
Aug 18, 2010 Cedar rated it it was amazing

"All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination." CG JUNG

Beautiful Beautiful book. Jung was truly a talented man, who was and is respected in his field.

Some people have left negative reviews regarding the packaging. It is a big big book, but It needs to be to show the plates that is Jungs own handwriting. I wouldn't have it any other way. In saying that tho it is awkward. Maybe the publishers should have included a smaller book with
An interrupted read--this book is so personal and ephemeral, a blakean diary of personal discovery, completely inside one man's symbol system, written for himself. I'm about a third of the way through the body of the text--there's also a long introduction. It's already inspired me to go back to keeping a dream journal, to think of what my own 'red book' would be. Dream life has become extremely active. But it lacks any quality of suspense or forward motion. I have a friend who has the big book-- ...more
Mar 07, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
Interested in symbolism, mythology and archetypes, I started reading Jung in my 20's. When this book came out, I had to own it, despite the price and its huge size. The timing is good for me, being in my early 50's and trying to let go of whom I think (or others think) I should be, versus being who I am. This book was Jung's personal diary as he struggled with integrating his own 'dark side' and was kept from publication by his family for many years. Just the act of reading it - propped awkwardl ...more
Jun 19, 2011 Isabelle rated it it was amazing
Opening this book is like entering a magical world of wonders. It is an adventure in and of itself.
I am so glad the public can finally see this notebook.
I even think the size serves the purpose: a very large volume comparable to some kind of rare Medieval book that you would need a beautifully ornate lectern for!!!

And then there is the text, illuminated as it is... it is more powerful.
Dec 26, 2010 Cory rated it it was amazing
I don't understand the folks who give this a poor rating because the book is huge. It is huge and weighs a ton, but it would
be a much diminished work in a smaller format because the large facsimiles of Jung's manuscript and drawings are stunning.
Joseph Mccaleb
Mar 21, 2011 Joseph Mccaleb is currently reading it
What an amazing book! The historical background, the high-quality copy of original calligraphy & drawings, the interpretive notes, and, of course, the penetrations of Jung during his descent into the soul. From opening pages: "The spirit of the depths has subjugated all pride and arrogance to the power of judgment. He took away my belief in science, he robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me. he forced me down to th ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Bryan rated it liked it
Yes, for us Carl Jung fans this book is the Grail, but really it is kind of a let down. Aesthetically this book is the revelation all of us hoped it would be. The paper, the typography, the reproductions are scrumptious. (Yes, I ate them.)

But there is a little bit of the presentation that leaves me head scratching. There is sort of this "introduction to Carl Jung," section and I think to myself, why would anyone interested in this book need an introduction to Carl Jung? And let's be serious: th
Ştefan Bolea
Sep 10, 2011 Ştefan Bolea rated it it was amazing
Clearly Nietzschean, inspired by esoteric Christianity, alchemy and Tarot and written by a spirit different (perhaps stronger) than Nietzsche. Some of Jung's ideas are delelopped in Meyrink's work as well. A piece of experimental psychology with a touch of Medievalism in it. I'm not very fond of the parodical and satirical pages.
Apr 29, 2013 Travis rated it really liked it
Awesome stuff. Real and uneditted (except for the forward, of which I skipped. I hate it when folks interpret something before I even read it). But the actual Red Book is raw. Just how I like Jung, and books in general. Raw and edgy is always my cup of tea. And yes, he really did go bonkers. That is evident in his writing. I wonder if that is why the estate held on to this sooooo long and gave the excuse that it was Jung's wishes. His contributions are astronomical so knowing about his dark nigh ...more
Wesley Blixt
Sep 28, 2009 Wesley Blixt marked it as to-read
I have no business spending over $100 buck on this thing. None. It's irresponsible. I have no business even LISTING this book, as I will like not read it in the way that one normally READS a book. I will simply dabble in it the ways I might dabble in Consumer Reports or the new Levenger catalog. Quoting it the ways I might quote Naked Lunch (which, come to think of it, I finally did read). So, no, I should. But I do. And I will. And I WANT it PLEASE-SOMEBODY-GET-IT-FOR-MEEEEEEEE!
Sophie Fletcher
May 16, 2010 Sophie Fletcher rated it it was amazing
A totally unexpected present from my mother who can now do no wrong. It's a gorgeous book, the paper is sublime and the images beautifully, exquisitely printed. Divine in both senses of the word. This is by far the most precious book in my library and I doubt whether much else could usurp it.
Donald Scott
Aug 02, 2014 Donald Scott rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautifully produced books I've ever seen, held and read. It really is an extraordinary work of art and its content gives an insight into the mind and spirit of someone who guided societies emerging ideas about what constitutes the Mind as opposed to the Brain.

Gorgeous. It is now a family heirloom.... that I open up like a poetry book and drink in it's extraordinary imagery:

'The noise of the days of the world falls silent and the warming fire blazes inside.

Sitting at the
May 08, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
I read an article about this book and Carl Jung in the New York Times Magazine, and I'm dying to read it now. This is a facsimile of a book that Jung wrote and illustrated in which he recorded his dreams and visions when he went through some sort of psychotic breakdown, and it sounds both completely bizarre and absolutely fascinating. If you look at the book on Amazon, you can see some of the images; they look like something out of a cross between Lord of the Rings and some ancient and obscure r ...more
Carbis Tribe
Oct 15, 2013 Carbis Tribe rated it it was amazing
Astounding. I found myself investing a lot of myself into Jung's journey through the unconscious, and like many other reviewers, have found myself affected on a deep level after taking the journey. A deep, mesmerising account of the figures and archetypes met by Jung, over the course of several years, a combination of visions, dreams, fantasies and allegory woven together into a rich, moving, living work. This is not like most of Jung's work, so anybody expecting an analytical or "clinical" appr ...more
Melissa A Rosati
Jan 09, 2014 Melissa A Rosati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
The Red Book is really the cosmology of C.G. Jung. Over the span of his lifetime, he recorded the imagery and dialogues of his dreams. While this is fascinating, I felt challenged by the text and worked through it slowly. Finishing it was an accomplishment. I believe it is an important book because it does show Jung's process of building a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind.

This is not the kind of book you pick up to study on your own, unless you are really into C.G. Jung. It hel
Lindsay Moore
Sep 22, 2012 Lindsay Moore rated it it was amazing
This book publishes a large, unknown collection of paintings that the psychologist Carl Jung painted in the privacy of his study during the closing decades of his life. They represent an immense contribution to students of depth psychology and the spirit in that they dimensionalize his concept of the "archetypes" and the "collective unconscious" to a terrifying extent. The book reproduces Dr. Jung's handwritten German manuscript, but much of it is well introduced for those who do not read German ...more
Alyson Hagy
Aug 15, 2013 Alyson Hagy rated it it was amazing
A titanic, original composition by a titanic, original mind. The paintings are fascinating. The pages and pages of gorgeous, careful, and strange calligraphy are captivating. Jung had his own reasons for chronicling his dreams and visions. For me, decades later, perusing this book made me rethink some of my own premises about what constitutes fiction and how the imagination can work. THE RED BOOK isn't for everyone. But if you're the least bit curious about Jung, archetypes, or your own unconsci ...more
Ann Gimpel
Feb 19, 2012 Ann Gimpel rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. After reading most of Jung's voluminous writings, which (other than MDR) tended to be scholarly works, the personal touches in The Red Book Liber Novus, made Jung come alive for me. In many ways it validates my choice of depth psychology for a career. Jung was a mystic and a visionary. I think this book is almost required reading for anyone who wants to study the man and his work.
J Gary Sparks
Aug 14, 2014 J Gary Sparks rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the most important documents of the soul of the twentieth century. For anyone interested in psychology it is a must-read.
Dec 29, 2014 All-1 rated it did not like it
Shelves: satan
In my view Jung's own writing reveals a somehow derailed personality. If this book are compared with his Memories, seminar texts and CW, then something are entirely wrong, if it reflect his being, then he seems to suffer from a serious lack of empathy and self-reflection.

A few examples from his Memories!

At early childhood, 3-4 years old, he has a remarkable dream which seems to have a strong and lasting effect. It is a close encounter with a one-eyed creature on a high throne underneath the grou
Lettie Prell
Aug 18, 2012 Lettie Prell rated it liked it
Memories, Dreams, Reflections is the more accessible book on Jung's inner life by far. To get through The Red Book, a trio of friends formed, and we read it together, an hour to ninety minutes at a time, once a week, for month after month. I found it at times wonderful, at times utterly frustrating, at times too full of Christian imagery and at times refreshingly freeing of it. In the end the wisdom wins out.

"If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who s
May 19, 2013 Tiffany rated it liked it
Shelves: metaphysical
A fascinating book that I found ... remedial. Remedial? Really? Yes! While this is the man--half philosopher, half mystic--who provided us with many of the concepts we use today to explain consciousness and spirituality; and this is the man who entered the ring against that titan Sigmund Freud to convince him that psychoanalysis had a place for the concept of the soul, I wonder how on earth did his most private musings, his dream journal, his doodles of his inner fantasies--how did they end up s ...more
Mar 18, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist, myth
Although I believe the effect of and my opinion of this book will better develop over time, I can convey a basic imprint. Jung created this book over several decades, nurturing it with the same care and privacy as one gives to their diary. Few people read it during his lifetime, though some tailored excerpts made there way into others of his publications. The writing tone of this work highly contrasts that of his books and lectures, being more an attempt at creative literature or myth, much in t ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Mell rated it did not like it
My husband found this book through an article discussing the fact that Jung's heirs had kept the analyst's private notebook under lock and key for decades. I wrote a paper about Jung and archetypes in literature back in college, and was really looking forward to examining it.

While the book is beautiful- amazing color plates of drawings- it is not user friendly. The book is literally the size of a small end table- it's a coffee table book on steroids. Good for the technicolor images inside but no
Francesco D'Isa
The Red Book by Carl Gustav Jung

To all appearances, the work of an exorcist possessed by the devil: theological scrolls and mythological delusions abound in this inspired manuscript, filled with alchemical symbols and mandalas. Left unpublished until 2009, for fear it would ruin Jung's reputation (I don't even know) at last we can enjoy the best graphic novel of all time.

Plot: “Sometimes we accomplish our greatest deeds in dreams." It's true and he proves it.

Rating: 98 out of 100.

Malak Czar
Nov 08, 2015 Malak Czar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The secret in this book.>>

Amazing and deeply inspiring
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  • Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey
  • Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction
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  • The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead
  • The Freud/Jung Letters
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  • The Psychology of C.G. Jung
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  • Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung's Psychology
Carl Gustav Jung (/jʊŋ/; German: [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf jʊŋ]), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, l ...more
More about C.G. Jung...

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“Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life...If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature...Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.” 149 likes
“My soul, where are you? Do you hear me? I speak, I call you - are you there? I have returned, I am here again. I have shaken the dust of all the lands from my feet, and I have come to you, I am with you. After long years of long wandering, I have come to you again. Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, and drunk in? Or do you not want to hear about all the noise of life and the world? But one thing you must know: the one thing I have learned is that one must live this life. Do you still know me? How long the separation lasted! Everything has become so different. And how did I find you? How strange my journey was! What words should I use to tell you on what twisted paths a good star has guided me to you? Give me your hand, my almost forgotten soul. How warm the joy at seeing you again, you long disavowed soul. Life has led me back to you. Let us thank the life I have lived for all the happy and all the sad hours, for every joy, for every sadness. My soul, my journey should continue with you. I will wander with you and ascend to my solitude.” 18 likes
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