"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Friday, April 30, 2010

Robin Blaser, Henry Corbin & James Hillman

The Holy Forest  Collected Poems of Robin Blaser
Revised and Expanded Edition. Edited by Miriam Nichols. Foreword by Robert Creeley. With a New Afterword by Charles Bernstein.

As I've mentioned before (here) Blaser draws on Corbin both in this volume and in his Collected Essays. You can find these quotes at Google Books, or preferably, in your own copy...

On page 238, the quote is from Man of Light, p. 4.
On page 339, from Hillman's "Thought of the Heart."
On page 500, from Creative Imagination, p. 203.

For those who may not know, Hillman's Eranos Lecture "The Thought of the Heart" is an extended response to Corbin and a must read for all with an interest in Corbin's influence. Hillman's essay can be read here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Resid Hafizovic on Henry Corbin

Professor Resid Hafizovic, Ph.D.
Faculty of Islamic Studies, Sarajevo University
54 Cemerlina Street, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.CV & Bibliography here.

October 2009: Dr. Resid Hafizovic, professor at Sarajevo University has been selected as best researcher in Islamic human sciences and will be awarded this year’s Farabi award for his book “Human face in the mirror of mystic literature”. See this article.

- "Henry Corbin’s Anti/philosophy of anti/history," Afterword to Henry Corbin’s En islam iranien, I-IV, Bemust, Sarajevo 2001. (in Bosnian)
- "Philosophy of exile," Afterword to Henry Corbin’s  La philosophie iranienne islamique – XVIIè et XVIIIè siècle, “Ibn Sina Institut”, Sarajevo 2002. (in Bosnian)

It's interesting to note that Corbin's 4 volume masterwork is now available in Bosnian, but not (yet) in English.

It would be wonderful if someone would translate these pieces by Hafizovic for us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simerg - Ismaili Insights from Around the World

I have just had a note from Abdulmalik Merchant, Ottawa, Canada, Editor/Publisher of simerg.com.
This is a website and blog devoted to "all things Ismaili" and there is a very great deal on the site worthy of attention. Highly recommended.

Photo by Sarite Sanders - from this wonderful photo essay.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

James Hillman on Jung, The Red Book & Active Imagination

I've not seen this yet, but a two and half hour lecture that Hillman delivered at Pacifica Graduate Institute in December 2009 is available on DVD through Depth Video here. I have a note from a colleague as follows: "Did you get to see the DVD of Hillman's recent talk at Pacifica on the Red Book?  You are one of the few writers he quotes during his long lecture on the Red Book." Needless to say I am flattered & delighted. Hillman was among the first people to read the draft of my first book on Corbin and has been a source of encouragement and support for many years. I am deeply grateful to him. He has said that the three founding figures of his archetypal psychology are Freud, Jung and Henry Corbin. 

The description of the lecture is as follows:

The emergence of C.G. Jung’s Red Book from years of storage in a Swiss vault has re-kindled interest in active imagination. This method of self-exploration involves actively engaging one’s own imagination in dialogue, through writing, art, or the spoken word.

In this 3-hour DVD, James Hillman —noted author, psychologist, and the first Director of Studies at the Jung Institute in Zurich — introduces the method and delves deeply into the therapeutic value it offers in an increasingly noisy and demanding world.

Hillman considers the history and theory of active imagination in Jung, its relationship to making art, and offers examples for scrutiny and discussion. He discusses the fear of inviting demons and opening wounds, and addresses the difference between the voices of inner figures and auditory hallucinations. The major re-examination of Jung’s original ideas and inspiration doesn’t stop there, though. Hillman goes on to examine the role of imagination in contemporary culture, and whether imagination itself might need re-imagining.

Hillman’s seminar was taped December 9, 2009, in front of a sold-out audience at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Avicenna Colloquium in Paris

Avicenne (Ibn Sînâ) aujourd’hui : sciences et philosophie
Colloque organisé par :
la Délégation Permanente de la République d’Ouzbékistan auprès de l’UNESCO
l’Ambassade d’Ouzbékistan à Paris
et l’Institut du monde arabe

Institut du monde arabe, vendredi 30 avril 2010
Auditorium, 14h-18h. Entrée libre  Annonce Avicenne-1

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ancien cimetière, Rue Gallieni, 95160 Montmorency, France

I have been asked more than once where Henry Corbin's final resting place is. Thanks to Aziz Ibrahim we have the answer. This is from the obituary published in  Le Monde, October 10, 1978:

"The orientalist Henry Corbin, who died on October 7, 1978, was buried in the cemetery of Champeaux, Rue Gallieni, in the city of Montmorency, Val d' Oise."

I would of course hope that some intrepid pilgrim will eventually send a photo of the grave site. [Someone did: see this post.]


You can zoom in on "A" on the map below: Rue Gallieni, 95160 Montmorency, France

* approximate times

View Larger Map

Sunday, April 18, 2010

15th EXESESO Conference - April 24-25 - Exeter, England

Out of Egypt: Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Alchemy, and Cabala in Late Medieval and Modern Europe
15th EXESESO Conference 
24th-25th April 2010
Centre for the Study of Esotericism
University of Exeter
Venue: Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies

Further details from:
Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke
Director, Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO)
Dept. of History
School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HUSS)
University of Exeter, United Kingdom
 Tel  + 44 (0) 1626 779941
E: n.goodrick-clarke@exeter.ac.uk
web: http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/exeseso/

The program is given in full in the 9 page document below. It includes a lecture by Dr. Angela Voss on "Henry Corbin and the Mundus Imaginalis."
EXESESO Conference (April 2010) Out of Egypt

Anticline - by Clayton Eshleman

One of the epigraphs to Clayton Eshleman's remarkable new book is from Mulla Sadra via Henry Corbin's Spiritual Body & Celestial Earth :

"Of all the realities that man sees and contemplates in the world beyond, those which delight, like houris, castles, gardens, green vegetation, and steams of running water - as well as their opposites - the horrifying kinds of which Hell is composed - none of these is extrinsic to him, to the very essence of his soul, none is distinct or separated from his own act of existing." Spiritual Body & Celestial Earth, 165

Eshleman at Poets.org
Sulfur Journal Homepage (Interview on the ending of  Sulfur)

Kenneth Warren in his recent review of Grindstone for The Denver Quarterly writes: "For roughly half a century, Clayton Eshleman has embraced, like nobody else in American poetry, a massive practice of self-creating engagement with emotionally stirring artists, poets and psychologists. By way of editing, lecturing, teaching, translating, travelling, and writing, Eshleman has formed an interdisciplinary body of work, which through complex relationship with others feeds and radiates a powerfully realized madcap love for the rough and tumble of human experience, imagination, and instincts." 

"Nobody is like him in a struggle. With ornery stubbornness, Clayton Eshleman has kept visiting the dark occasions, and brought back for us poems unlike anybody else’s. At times he makes the wildness of most poetry seem merely effete. I know of no poet who has fed so richly from the thingliness of the world beneath his feet, none who so resists the glamour of beliefs. He is a shaman without a single superstition." ––Robert Kelly

A very fine and interesting review here

See more on Anticline at Black Widow Press

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jami's Salaman and Absal

In Avicenna and the Visionary Recital Corbin tells of the story of the Persian lovers Wamiq and Azra as recounted in a 15th century poem of Jāmī. Wamiq “anticipates the mystical consummation demanded by all love in the true sense” which can only be attained “through a slow initiation, a long experience of  integration. The wish expressed by Wamiq… is a summons to [an] extraordinary coincidentia oppositorum...:”

What I wish… is to flee all alone with Azra into a desert, is to seek my native country in solitude and to pitch my tent beside a spring, keeping far from friend and enemy alike, soul and body both in peace, safe from men. May I be able to walk more that two hundred parsangs in any direction without finding human footprints. And then may every hair of my head, every hair on my body, become so many eyes, and may the one object of my sight be Azra, so that I may turn to her with thousands of eyes and contemplate her face forever. Ah! better yet, may my contemplative condition be abolished. What I seek is to be delivered from duality, is to become She. As long as duality remains, distance remains, the soul is branded with the iron of separation. When the Lover enters the retreat of Union, it can contain but One alone. Peace! (Avicenna, p. 215)

Edward Fitzgerald's translation of Jami's poem.

Readers of Corbin's book may find this essay of interest:  "Jāmī's Salāmān and Absāl" by Iraj Dehghan.  Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1971), pp. 118-126.
Jami's Salaman & Absal

Image from Jami's Rose Garden: Rosary of the Pious, 16th century,  Arthur Sackler Gallery, Folio 146a-b.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Demon and the Angel

I've been forced to think a good deal lately about daimons and demons,  gods and angels, which leads me always to Lorca and Rilke. And much to my surprise and delight, I have happened upon another little gem of a book in which Corbin and the mundus imaginalis figure prominently. Here we find Lorca, Rilke, Ibn Arabi, Yeats, Keats and a host of others in a small tour-de-force on the sources of creative imagination.

The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration, by Edward Hirsch.

Hirsch writes,

"It is helpful to think of the mundus imaginalis as a transcendence deployed in language. It is the specific place where St. John of the Cross composes his Spiritual Canticles, where Arthur Rimbaud enters a rational delirium and Hart Crane systematically deranges the senses, where Gerard de Nerval formulates visions and Robert Desnos simulates trances, where William Blake canonizes voices and Samuel Taylor Coleridge troubles dreams, where W. B. Yeats listens to unknown instructors speaking through his wife's unconscious and James Merrill contacts spirits through a Ouija board, where Wallace Stevens imagines that God the the imagination are One and Rainer Maria Rilke starts taking dictation from angels." (p. 108)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reconfiguring Romanticism

It seems to me that Henry Corbin's work as a whole can perhaps be understood best not (certainly) from within the framework of Islamic Studies, or even "history of religions," but rather that of the European romantic tradition, especially as it is conceived by Rothenberg and Robinson in their landmark Volume of Romantic and Post-Romantic Poetry.  The series below devoted to this book is not to be missed.

Reconfiguring Romanticism: An Eight-Part Series on KPFA San Francisco

 The full program is available HERE for an eight-part series on Poems for the Millennium, volume 3, The University of California Book of Romantic & Pre-Romantic Poetry, prepared by Jack Foley for presentation on Cover to Cover, his longrunning program on KPFA-FM (Pacifica Radio) in San Francisco. Show times are Wednesdays from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. beginning on April 14, barring occasional changes or preemptions.

Poems for the Millennium Volume 3 (from the publisher):  The previous two volumes of this acclaimed anthology set forth a globally decentered revision of twentieth-century poetry from the perspective of its many avant-gardes. Now editors Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson bring a radically new interpretation to the poetry of the preceding century, viewing the work of the romantic and post-romantic poets as an international, collective, often utopian enterprise that became the foundation of experimental modernism. Global in its range, volume three gathers selections from the poetry and manifestos of canonical poets, as well as the work of lesser-known but equally radical poets. Defining romanticism as experimental and visionary, Rothenberg and Robinson feature prose poetry, verbal-visual experiments, and sound poetry, along with more familiar forms seen here as if for the first time. The anthology also explores romanticism outside the European orbit and includes ethnopoetic and archaeological works outside the literary mainstream. The range of volume three and its skewing of the traditional canon illuminate the process by which romantics and post- romantics challenged nineteenth-century orthodoxies and propelled poetry to the experiments of a later modernism and avant-gardism.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Castoriadis on the Imaginary

I've just had a chance to read a really excellent piece by Todd Lawson which should be published soon. I'll post a note (I hope) when this volume is released: "Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsā’ī and the World of Images" by Todd Lawson in Shi'ite Trends and Dynamics in Modern Times (1750-1911) / Courants et dynamiques shi‘ites à l’époque moderne (1750-1911). Orient-Institut of Beirut & IFRI [Beiruter Text und Studien, 115], Beirut. Denis Hermann & Sabrina Mervin (eds.) Forthcoming.

Among the gems in Lawson's essay is a marvelous reference to Cornelius Castoriadis (also here) (1922-1997) the Greek philosopher and psychoanalyist, who I've heard of but never read. Lawson writes that "we occasionally find a validation of the imaginal in contemporary intellectual discourse" and quotes Castoriadis as follows:

[P]hilosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table; what does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night; what does this show me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let the Requiem of Mozart be a paradigm of being”, and seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way around, instead of seeing in the imaginary, i.e., human mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being.[1]

[1] Cornelius Castoriadis, “The Imaginary Creation in the Social Historical Domain”, in: Disorder and Order: Proceedings of the Stanford International Symposium (Sept. 14-16, 1981), Edward P. Livingston, ed., Saratoga: Anma Libri, 1984, 146-161, this is from p. 148. See also Castoriadis, World in fragments: writings on politics, society, psychoanalysis, and the imagination, David Ames Curtis, ed. and trans., Stanford, California: Stanford University Press 1997 [originally published as Monde morcelé: Les Carrefours du labyrinthe Paris: Seuil 1990].

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writer's Place

There are better places on the internet to find information concerning Charles Olson, but given the attention I have paid in recent months to Olson's debt to Henry Corbin I will pass along this interesting news and request for support:

Writer's House Slated for Gloucester

Contact Henry Ferrini
5 Wall Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
PHOTO: Peter Anastas, Charles Olson and Vincent Ferrini, left to right, at 126 East Main Street (c.1965. Mark Power)

Gloucester may soon be home to a new cultural and literary center. When Gloucester’s Poet Laureate Vincent Ferrini died on Christmas Eve 2007, many of his friends in Gloucester and elsewhere hoped his house could be purchased and turned into a center where artistic activities could be shared with the community. Today this idea is very close to becoming a reality. Plans are progressing to establish The Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writers Place at 126 East Main Street, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This former home of Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007) lies across the harbor from Charles Olson’s (1910-1970) 28 Fort Square home. These two poets, known as the consciences of our city for over half a century, wrote about Gloucester with enlightened passion and energy. Organizers of this project believe it is only fitting that a place that honors their work and keeps their vision alive be established. Since Ferrini’s death Paul Sawyer, an old friend of Vincent’s who lives in California, has been advocating for the purchase of the house. This spring, Sawyer, a Unitarian-Universalist Minister, called Vincent’s nephew filmmaker Henry Ferrini to report that he has pancreatic cancer and has been given a year to live. With that time he wanted to put his energy toward helping to create a Vincent Ferrini/ Charles Olson Writers Place at Vincent’s East Main Street studio. The poet’s nephew was moved by Paul’s decision. “Paul’s decision has motivated so many people close to Vincent, Charles and Paul to work to make this a reality,” Ferrini said. To date the group has raised $23,000 and hopes to raise ten times that amount during the upcoming year. This would enable the organization to own the house outright, repair the building and begin to develop programs for the site, including public readings, writing workshops and residencies for local and visiting writers. According to Ferrini, the timing for this project could not be more perfect. “This year is the Centenary of Charles Olson’s birth,” he says, “and attention is focused on the poet.” The group hopes that by Vincent’s centenary in 2013 the project will be up and running, presenting programs, providing a writer’s retreat and functioning as one of the most innovative educational and cultural organization in the city. Tax-deductible contributions for the establishing of the Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writers Place can be made to the Charles Olson Society and sent to Henry Ferrini, 5 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Painted Ceilings of Cappella Palatina (Palermo, Sicily)

In the NOTE ON ILLUSTRATIONS from Corbin's Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, pp. xxxi-xxxii, he discusses the Palatine Chapel at Palermo (see this earlier post: The Green Bird & the Resurrection Body). This April 13th lecture should be of some interest:

Islamic Art for Christian Patrons
The Painted Ceilings of Cappella Palatina (Palermo, Sicily), circa 1140

Tuesday, April 13, 7 PM
Freer Gallery, Meyer Auditorium

Located within the Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans), the Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) is the finest example of Arab-Norman art in Palermo, Sicily. Built by Roger II in 1130 to 1140, the chapel is decorated with exceptional mosaics and paintings of saints and biblical stories as well as scenes of Arab and Norman court life.
The palace was originally built for the Arab emirs and their harems in the ninth century on a site where Roman and Punic fortresses once stood. Centuries later, the conquering Normans fully restored the palace and added to its splendor. In the mid-sixteenth century, the abandoned palace was again restored, this time by the ruling Spanish viceroys, and today it serves as the seat of Sicily's government.

Dr. Jeremy Johns is professor of art and archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean and serves as the director of the Khalili Research Centre at the University of Oxford, England. He is a world expert on Norman Sicily.

Click here for more information.
Detail: North aisle, Cappella Palatina

 find us on flickr                        become a fan                      follow @ FreerSackler 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jung's Red Book in Washington

This note from the ARAS Newsletter and the Jung Society of Washington: Beginning on June 17 and ending July 31, 2010 the U.S. Library of Congress, in collaboration with the Jung Society of Washington, in one of only three venues in the United States, will centerpiece the original illuminated manuscript of C. G. Jung's The Red Book in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library. The exhibit will include Jung's manuscript of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, several Jung-Freud letters,and many other items of real interest.

On Saturday, June 19, the Library of Congress will host a Red Book Symposium. Speakers includes Sonu Shamdasani, James Hillman, Ann Ulanov, John Beebe, Tom Kirsch, Beverley Zabriskie, and others.

Friday, April 2, 2010

L'Ame de l'Iran

Henry Corbin, J. Duschesne-Guillemin, René Grousset, P. N. Khanlari, Louis Massignon. Preface par Daryush Shayegan
Poche - Broché, 2009, 227 pages

at amazon.fr

L'Âme de l'Iran, grand classique de l'iranologie, rassemble en un dialogue rare les meilleurs spécialistes de la civilisation perse, l'une des plus anciennes, et aujourd'hui encore au coeur de l'histoire mondiale.
" Patrie des philosophes et des poètes ", selon l'expression d'Henry Corbin, l'Iran est au carrefour de deux continents spirituels. En rappelant tout l'héritage de la Perse, de l'ancienne religion de Zoroastre jusqu'à l'islam chi'ite, et en saisissant au vol l'âme de cette civilisation qui fit se rencontrer et se mêler tant de cultures, les auteurs célèbrent les retrouvailles de l'Orient et de l'Occident en leur berceau commun.
Daryush Shayegan, dans sa préface, souligne la valeur toujours actuelle de ce volume aux intervenants prestigieux.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ARAS Newsletter Featuring the Red Book

Some readers will be interested in the quarterly ARAS Newsletter, which can be subscribed to for free at their website. I append a replica of the current issue below - apologies for the background - you can have a readable version by subscribing:

ARASThe Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism Visit ARAS Online

ARAS Connections
Image and Archetype
• 2010 • Issue 1 •

In This Issue
Welcome by Tom Singer
Announcement by Ami Ronnberg
Watch the Kalachakra Mandala Video by Kavita Bala and Liz Popolo

This edition is devoted to several articles on the recently published Red Book. The publication of the Red Book has been a joint effort of the Philemon Foundation and W.W. Norton & Company, both of whom have been extremely generous in allowing us to reproduce many images from this extraordinary volume. Linda Carter and Ami Ronnberg made invaluable contributions to this edition of the Journal as my co-editors.

The Red Book is huge in many ways. Physically, it weighs 8.8 pounds and its dimensions are 15 3/4 inches x 12 inches--a very large book by any standards. Psychologically, it reveals the prima materia of Jung's own mythology, grounded in archetypal images and forces. Historically, the Red Book is a foundation stone for much of both the past and future development of Analytical Psychology. Culturally, the Red Book reflects many of the currents that emerged in early 20th century “globalism”. Spiritually, the Red Book is one of the first modern records of the rediscovery of the inner world and its link to spiritual values.

Another part of the enormous scope of the Red Book is that it cannot be digested in a few sittings or even a few years. Perhaps it will take fully another generation of scholars to put the Red Book in perspective. That's why this edition of the ARAS/Art and Psyche Online Journal devoted to the Red Book presents no more than an early taste of what this book has to offer. In the following articles our authors touch just a few of the multiple ways in which one might approach the Red Book: “On the Aspects of Beauty in C.G. Jung's Red Book” by Paul Brutsche, “First Impressions” by Thomas Kirsch, and “A Pictorial Guide to The Red Book” by Jay Sherry. Each of our authors has a point of view and an early “take” on the Red Book that might help us begin to develop our own point of view about what is of value in this book. Their reflections are highlighted by a beautiful, three-dimensional Tibetan image, “The Mandala of the Enlightened Mind” by Kavita Bala and Liz Popolo of Cornell University. Our next edition will return to the publication of papers from the Art and Psyche conference, as well as other ARAS Online articles of interest.

Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of ARAS Online for National ARAS

With the completion of this special edition about The Red Book, there is another ending as Linda Carter will be leaving her role as Co-editor of the Journal. She has recently become the US Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Analytical Psychology (JAP) and this will require much of her time. She will also continue to lead the development of a second independent conference, called Art and Psyche in the City, which will be linked to the many offerings of art and music in New York City in April 2011. We will miss her enthusiasm and creative spirit, her many talents as an editor and her willingness to put in a tremendous amount of hard work. We wish her well with her new endeavors.

Ami Ronnberg
ARAS New York

Upcoming Events
- The Philemon Foundation is pleased to announce a series of Red Book events in Los Angeles in April, 2010.More information

- The C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco is hosting a weekend conference on the Red Book in June, 2010. More information

- The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is hosting a conference on the Red Book and Jung's life/work June 19, 2010 in the Coolidge auditorium in connection with the Red Book exhibition, June 17-August, 2010.

We Value Your Ideas
As our journal grows to cover both the ARAS archive and the broad world of art and psyche, we're eager to have your suggestions and thoughts on how to improve it. Please click here to email us or send your comments to info@aras.org.  We look forward to your input and will reply to every message.

Receive This Newsletter for Free
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A Pictorial Guide to The Red Book
An excerpt from A Pictorial Guide to The Red Book, by Jay Sherry

The Red Book, page 125.
C.G. Jung
The publication of The Red Book by W.W. Norton & Co. last October was a major publishing event not only for the Jungian community but for all those interested in psychology and 20th century culture. The fact that Jung circulated drafts of it and showed it to many different people makes it clear that he did intend it to reach a wider public. The Philemon Foundation and the Jung family are to be thanked for doing just that. The book is selling well and is now in its sixth printing; the original was on display at the Rubin Museum of Asian Art in New York and now travels to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where a series of events are planned in coordination with its exhibition. (Readers should look for specific information about these events on the front page of this issue.) It then goes to the Library of Congress with final stops in Paris and Zurich. How lucky we are to realize that when we read Jung addressing himself to “my friends” that we are now included in his salutation. Sonu Shamdasani's commentary and footnotes brilliantly elucidate the text and its evolution while the cross-referencing system helps us navigate its complexities with relative ease.

I will confine my observations to its imagery because the text will take time to unravel. The book is like a primeval forest that readers enter at the spot meant for them alone; it is a hermeneutistic delight!

It was with a sense of excitement that I opened the book and paged through it for the first time. How would Jung's depictions of his fantasies compare to the images I had formed in my mind over the years from reading “Confrontation with the Unconscious”? They unfold in the Liber Primus in a series of panels done in a style reminiscent of illustrations found in the popular historical literature of the period which would have inspired his boyhood drawings of battles and castles.

Read the entire paper.

The Red Book, First Impressions
An excerpt from The Red Book, First Impressions by Thomas Kirsch

The Red Book
C.G. Jung
Jung's Red Book has just been released, and I am writing this a week after the material has been made available to the public. What has long been considered the source of all Jung's creative ideas after his traumatic split with Freud is now public. In the seminal chapter “Confrontation with the Unconscious” in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, his so-called autobiography, Jung writes “All my later discoveries come from the experiences that I had during that period of immersion in my inner fantasies.” This is where Jung experienced the reality of the unconscious and “knew” that there was a layer beyond the personal unconscious as expressed by Freud. This deeper strata of the unconscious Jung variously called the realm of archetypes, collective unconscious, the objective psyche, but no matter what name he used, he identified an aspect of the psyche that is common to all mankind and is similar to other inborn functions of the human organism. Since his break with Freud, Jung has been criticized by scientists and others who have not accepted his theory that there is an inherited level of the psyche, the collective unconscious.

Now, thanks to the brilliant editorial work of Sonu Shamdasani, with the support of the Jung Estate, we have the raw data of The Red Book, carefully researched and amply footnoted. It is from this material that Jung developed all his mature thoughts on the nature of the psyche. How does one interpret this book of 54 paintings and over 200 pages of text written in Gothic text?

Read the entire paper.

On Aspects of Beauty in C.G. Jung's Red Book
An excerpt from On Aspects of Beauty in C.G. Jung's Red Book by Paul Brutsche

The Red Book, page 72.
C.G. Jung
The publication of The Red Book has met with tremendous success. Such success, of course, rests on the exceptional quality of the content and the depth and richness of the imagination conveyed throughout; also of central significance is the unique artistic quality. The book immediately impresses by the beauty of the calligraphy, the stunning images and the many beautiful adornments. It amazes by the technical skill and the aesthetical sense of the author, reaching a level of artistry one would not have expected from a scientist. The patience and care with which this precious work has been elaborated is profoundly moving. One finds oneself witnessing an inner process of a rare depth, having taken shape in the silence of a long and loving encounter with the soul.

The beauty of the forms one finds in The Red Book did not primarily emanate from an aesthetic preoccupation on the part of Jung: for him this was a soul matter. It is amazing to think that a person, throughout 16 long years, would be willing to produce a transcription of a text containing inner experiences previously written (in the Black Books) and to invest an incredible amount of laborious devotion to embellishment of color and pictures; and all this without the intention of publishing it, at least not while he was working on it. While elaborating his pictures and carefully transcribing his original reflections in a calligraphic style, Jung's mind was not turned towards a future public he wanted to please or to whom he wanted to teach something; this endeavour was a goal in and of itself. Read the entire paper.

Watch the Kalachakra Mandala Video
By Kavita Bala and Liz Popolo

Mandala of the Enlightened Mind
To view the animation, please click on the image to the left.

The Kalachakra (wheel of time) Mandala, depicted here, represents one of the most complex teachings in Tibetan Buddhism. The sand Mandala, drawn by laying down grains of colored sand, represents a 5-storied palace, the residence of 722 deities, with the Kalachakra deity at the center. This 3D model of the Mandala was created by Prof. Kavita Bala, Associate Professor in Computer Science, Cornell University, and Liz Popolo, a Cornell graduate, in collaboration with the monks from Ithaca's Namgyal Monastery. This 3D model, unveiled for the Dalai Lama's visit to Cornell, shows the 5 stories of the Mandala: Enlightened Body, Enlightened Speech, Enlightened Mind, Enlightened Wisdom, and Enlightened Great Bliss, drawn as exponentially-proportioned mandalas nested within each other.
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