From 1913 to 1930 Carl Jung engaged in an experiment that he referred to as a confrontation with his unconscious. In this book Jung recorded employed the method he called active imagination. According to Sonu Shamdasani’s introduction in Liber Novus (The Red Book), “He called this experiment or exercise of emptying his consciousness as his most difficult experiment. His boring method of introspection uses trance states that mediums used where the fantasy world and hallucinatory states are real used with automatic writing” (200). Jung discovered the technique of active imagination while studying the veracity of psychic mediums. He used active imagination to record his thoughts and visions while also painting the images and mandalas that came to him. Shamdasani writes, “The making of Liber Novus was by no means a peculiar and idiosyncratic activity, nor the product of psychosis. Rather, it indicates the close intersection between psychological and artistic experimentation with which many individuals were engaged at the time” (204). Liber Novus was evidence of Jung’s emerging technique of psychotherapy enabling the individual to develop through the process of individuation. Liber Novus is the result of these experiments a notorious book that has been known about for years but has not been published until recently in 2008.
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