Red Book — Jung’s dialogue with the serpent

This is from page 317 in the section called “The Magician.”

jung-curling-snake-red-book“The serpent crept up to me quietly and wound herself smoothly around my feet. Evening fell and night came. I spoke to the serpent and said: ‘I don’t know what to say. All pots are on the boil.’

The serpent: A meal is being prepared.

I: A last supper, I suppose?

The serpent: A union with all humanity.

I: A horrifying, sweet thought: to be both guest and dish at this

The serpent: That was also Christ’s highest pleasure.

I: Oh, how holy; how sinful, how everything hot and cold flows into one another! Madness and reason want to be married, the lamb and the wolf graze peacefully side by side. It is all yes and no. The opposites embrace each other, see eye to eye, and intermingle. They recognize their oneness in agonizing pleasure. My heart is filled with wild battle. The waves of dark and bright rivers rush together, one crashing over the other. I have never experienced this before.

Serpent: That is new, my dear one, at least for you.

I: I suppose you are mocking me. But tears and laughter are one. I no longer feel like either and I am rigid with tension. Loving reaches up to Heaven and resisting reaches just as high. They are intertwined and will not let go of each other, since the excessive tension seems to indicate the ultimate and highest possibility of feeling.

Serpent: You express yourself emotionally and philosophically. You know that one can say all this much more simply. For example, one can say that you have fallen in love all the way from the worm up to Tristan and Isolde.”

I’ve posted about the Red Book several times. If you’ve missed them here are three of those posts.


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