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Red Book Ruminations I


Red Book Ruminations I

Mark Hunziker, November 15, 2010

Van Gogh, Asylum Corridor“I look to the right it is dark night, to the left it is bright day. The rock separates day and night. On the dark side lies a big black serpent, on the bright side a white serpent. They thrust their heads toward each other, eager for battle. Elijah stands on the heights above them. The serpents pounce on one another and a terrible wrestling ensues. The black serpent seems to be stronger; the white serpent draws back. Great billows of dust rise from the place of struggle. But then I see: the black serpent pulls itself back again. The front part of its body has become white. Both serpents curl about themselves, one in light, the other in darkness.”

C. G. Jung, The Red Book, p. 251


Mark Hunziker

Mark Hunziker

Mark Hunziker, co-editor of Personality Type in Depth, is a coach, teacher, and consultant whose professional goal is to help clients lead lives of greater authenticity, effectiveness, integrity, and well-being. He is the founder of Wellness Resources of Vermont, co-author of Jung's Mental Processes: Building Blocks of Personality Type, 2006, author of Depth Typology: C. G. Jung, Isabel Myers, John Beebe and The Guide Map to Becoming Who We Are, 2016, former APTi Health and Wellness Interest Area Consultant, principal developer of the Integrated Problem-Solving™ training system, and a faculty member at the Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences.

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Comments (5)

[…] Quote and image from The Red Book, Liber Novus, Copyright © 2009 by The Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung, and from […]

[…] Quote and text from The Red Book, Copyright © 2009 by The Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung, and from […]

it is indeed no small thing to acknowledge ones yearnings. I am reminded of
Bob Dylan’s line–“if they knew what was in my mind they would put my head in a guillotine” (sic). That fear stops me, or used to stop me from letting them be known. But I have learned (duh) that the deep yearnings that seemed so weird and so awful or foolish are more often than I could have hoped welcomed, appreciated, and shared. And the speaking of them is often a gift to the other and always lets me see what in me is indeed worthy of love.
And the most “disgusting” of them is of course also close to and pointing to gold inside. And the reading of that sign post is often aided by sharing.

A cause of disease in the shamanic traditions stems from not living one’s authentic life. I am continuously pleased and appreciative of how Jung perceived, identified and validated the deeper dimensions of our unconscious and the archetypal dimensions that nourish our psyches.

As I reflect on this quote from Jung, it seems to me that the white serpent represents a mental function that tends to be conscious and the black serpent represents its opposite which tends to be unconscious, Si and Se for example. It’s as if there is a battle between the two as the unconscious function tries to enter consciousness. Even though the unconscious function was not able to stay in consciousness long, it was forever changed never being as unconscious as it initially was.

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