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The Egg Cracks

Visions, c.1914/1/10, painted c.1917/2/4, by Carl Jung

Jung, in his massive Red Book, painted mandalas and images from dreams and (more often) dialogs in a hypnogogic state which he calls "active imagination". Just before and during World War I, Jung had intense, apocalyptic visions and dreams of rebirth. Here, a monster guards the egg of creation; then comes the hatching of the egg.

A monster guards the divine egg; Plate 61 of Jung's 'Red Book'. Click to enlarge.
The footnotes describing these are long and complex, referring to Hindu mythology; in summary, Jung saw this egg as an encapsulation of his (and all Europe's) old conception of God getting reborn in a new form.
The divine egg explodes in a plume of energy; Plate 64 of Jung's 'Red Book'. Click to enlarge.
I wanted to include these, though they're not dreams, because some Jungian piously paint him, both as thinker and artist, as loving wholeness and stability over dynamism and energy--the serene, balanced mandala, not goofy monsters and exploding eggs. But that last image, especially, is as spectacular, strange, and dynamic as a San Francisco psychedelic poster--fifty years ahead of its time. And that's not chance. Jung is a spiritual AND artistic ancestor of that cultural revolution.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Jung's Red Book (2009). Images, plate 61 (foot) & 64 (whole page). Notes based on footnotes, p.285-286



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