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Tree of Light

Visionary painting, (mid-Nov?) 1922, 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". This one, plate 131, appears to be nondream. A later portrait of this tree, plate 135 (more detailed, but visually cluttered; I prefer this one) has an explanatory inscription that applies to both:

"Completed 1922/11/25. The Fire comes out of Muspilli and grasps the tree of life. A cycle is completed, but it is the cycle within the world egg. A strange God, the unnameable God of the solitary, is incubating it. New creatures form from the smoke and ashes."
Dusk? An egg of light in the Tree of Life. Plate 131 of Jung's 'Red Book'. Click to enlarge.
The Red Book editors note that in Norse myth Muspilli (Muspelheim) is the abode of the Fire Gods. They don't mention that Muspel was in the cultural air at the time; just two years earlier, David Lindsay published his classic fantasy A Voyage to Arcturus, a visionary journey guided by sparks of Muspel-fire, through then out of our false world into the true cosmos: Muspel. Lindsay is a purer Gnostic than Jung, but they share an apocalyptic vision of complacent life drifting toward its second holocaust in a generation--a world needing Muspel-fire (a total spiritual overhaul) to avoid more hellish flames.

Europe, of course, partied until it burned. Oh well! E for effort.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Jung's Red Book (2009), plate 131, plus footnotes p.309.



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