The Ariadne's Thread of The Red Bookby Carlos Byington

Jung Journal



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Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche

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The Ariadne's Thread of The Red Book

Carlos Byington

Published online: 25 Feb 2015.

To cite this article: Carlos Byington (2015) The Ariadne's Thread of The Red Book, Jung Journal:

Culture & Psyche, 9:1, 68-72, DOI: 10.1080/19342039.2015.988070

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D ow nl oa de d by [N ew

Y or k U niv ers ity ] a t 0 6:4 6 3 0 A pr il 2 01 5

PUDDI KULLBERG, MA, LPC, is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a member of the Inter-Regional Society of

Jungian Analysts (IRSJA) and a founding member of the Boulder Association of Jungian Analysts (BAJA). Correspondence: 1301 South 8th Street, #300, Colorado Springs, CO 80905. E-mail: puddi


Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite and the Loss and Regeneration of Soul is a deeply moving explication of the compelling, golden, and erotic nature of Aphrodite Venus women. Arlene

Diane Landau uses personal experience (she is Los

Angeles born and bred), myth, film, literature, classical and Jungian traditions along with clinical vignettes to reveal her topic. Landau knows firsthand the overwhelming power of the archetype of the goddess of love. She lyrically and unflinchingly tells how one can live with or die from the

Aphrodite energy. Reflection, steadfastness, intelligence, and courage are attributes that need to be present for a woman to relate to rather than identify with or be possessed by Venus Aphrodite.

Unexpectedly, joy is also essential. Some survive and thrive; others do not.

KEY WORDS alchemy, Aphrodite, archetype, beauty, individuation, Jung, love, shadow, soul, Venus, wholeness

The Ariadne’s Thread of The Red Book


Review of: Maria Helena Mandacarú Guerra, The

Love Drama of C. G. Jung: As Revealed in His Life and in His Red Book, Toronto: Inner City Books, 2014.

Few people had seen, read, or studied The Red

Book before its publication in 2009. The secrecy and illusiveness that preceded publication contributed to the fascination it exerted on the public, both within and outside of the Jungian community. The main symbols associated with it were stimulated by Jung’s separation from Freud and his vision of bloodied Europe, which he had in 1913 and which he himself associated with a possible schizophrenic breakdown (Jung 1961/1989, 175). (Jung’s fear of a psychotic breakdown associated with his vision was allayed by Jung himself when he had news of World War I in August 1914.

He wrote to Mircea Eliade that this terrible event gave him much personal relief: “Nobody was happier than I. Now I was sure that no schizophrenia was threatening me” [McGuire and Hull 1977, 201]). Guerra, however, introduces a new perspective, considering

The Red Book the result of a personal love drama lived by Jung. He was married to

Emma when he fell in love with Toni Wolff, and he wanted to live with both women.

Geniuses can arouse a range of reactions from great and esteemed admiration to diminished status and even aversion in the collective and, with Jung, that was certainly the case. He himself was ambivalent and unsure whether his was creativity or fragile mental health. This might partially explain why he was reluctant to publish his Red Book.

It is also likely that Jung’s reluctance to publish The Red Book during his lifetime was that the meaning of the symbols was deeply intimate (Shamdasani 2009, 221). In this respect, it is important to know that Toni

Wolff was the only person who knew the contents of The Red Book until World War I broke out and that she was against its publication (214). For Jung, a likely difficulty with this book was the originality of expressing a “scientific work”—for he always considered himself a scientist—in a pictorial style with archetypal images. Would this style 68 J UNG JOURNAL : CULTURE & P SYCHE 9 : 1 / W INTER 2 0 1 5

D ow nl oa de d by [N ew

Y or k U niv ers ity ] a t 0 6:4 6 3 0 A pr il 2 01 5 be accepted by the academic world and not jeopardize his reputation? Would it be considered an esoteric regression into alchemy?

Amid extraordinary transpersonal images in The Red Book, there are many instances of very personal experiences of crime, passion, sex, guilt, love, and punishment. How could they be explained without being related to tragic existential events and guilt? The lack of personal associations to Jung’s own life contributes to the difficulty of understanding