April 16-17, 2010: Sonu Shamdasani


Presentation:  ‘The Way of What is to Come’ Jung’s Liber Novus and the past and future of Jungian psychology


In 1913, when psychiatrist C.G. Jung was 38 years old, he began to experience an overwhelming number of waking dreams and visions.  Convinced that this was an opportunity to understand his own psyche as well as that of his patients, Jung began his “confrontation with the unconscious,” which he first documented in a series of small, black books, and later expounded upon, analyzed and illustrated in a large, red leather-bound journal. 

At the onset of Jung’s encounter with psyche, he was in a state of disillusionment with scientific rationalism – what he called “the spirit of the times.” In the course of many quixotic encounters with his own soul and with other inner figures, he came to know and appreciate “the spirit of the depths,” a field that makes room for magic, coincidence and the mythological metaphors delivered by dreams.  During this time he developed his principal theories-of the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation-that transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means for higher development of the personality.

In this illustrated presentation, Dr. Shamdasani will explain how Jung regained his soul and overcame the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation, which he ultimately achieved through enabling the rebirth of a new image of God and developing a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmogony.


Seminar: Understanding Jung and Jungian Psychology through Liber Novus


The years… when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this.  It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded  me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me.  That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.  C. G. Jung, 1957.  


With the publication of The Red Book, students of Jung have a window into the genesis of Jung’s psychology in a way that none of his published works has revealed. 


The Red Book is the nuclear reactor for all Jung’s works. His more well-known concepts, such as the archetypal forms of anima, animus, and shadow, as well as the concept of the collective unconscious, have their roots in this volume. Not only can one see the development of Jung’s theory of individuation in this book, but his own personal process of individuation is shown in literary and symbolic form.


The Red Book provides an unparalleled view of how Jung fused his fantasies with his scholarship to form a science of psychology. In this five-hour seminar, Dr. Shamdasani will trace the steps from Jung’s experimentation with his fantasies and his elaborations and reflections on them, through his attempt to forge general principles, to his confirmation of those principles in his work with his patients, and ultimately, in comparative historical research.   Participants will gain a new understanding of Jung and how his attention to his unconscious process has meaning in our lives today.


Sonu  Shamdasani is ‘Philemon Professor of Jung History at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London.   He is the author of Cult Fictions:  C.G.  Jung  and  the  Founding  of Analytical Psychology (Routledge, 1998), Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The  Dream of a Science (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Jung Stripped Bare by his Biographers, Even (Karnac,  2005), and (with Mikkel Borch‐Jacobsen) Le Dossier Freud: Enqûete sur l’histoire de la psychanalyse (Le Seuil, 2006, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), and has edited among other works, Jung’s seminar The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga (Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press/Routledge, 1996).   



Liber Novus (The Red Book)