#242 – The Red Book of C.G. Jung with Nancy Furlotti

photo of Nancy Furlotti


Nancy Furlotti, M. A., is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in West Los Angeles and is past President of the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. As a member of the faculty, she teaches, lectures and supervises candidates and interns. Nancy did her analytical training at the Los Angeles Institute while also participating in the Research and Training Centre for Depth Psychology According to C. G. Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz in Switzerland. She is also an active member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. Outside these groups, Nancy teaches and lectures in the US and Switzerland, and has a number of publications: The Archetypal drama in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly; Angels and Idols, which is a chapter in the upcoming book, Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis. Her article, Tracing a Red Thread: Synchronicity and Jung’s Red Book will be published in Psychological Perspective this fall.

Nancy has a deep interest in exploring the manifestations of the psyche through dreams and myths with a specific focus on the dark emanations from the psyche. A current focus of research is on the Quiche Maya Creation myth, The Popol Vuh. Her interest in exploring symbols and deepening her understanding of Jung, have landed her on two foundations: ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) and the Philemon Foundations, where she has recently assumed the position of Co-President of the Board of Directors. She is an enthusiastic supporter of their publications which she believes are important contributions not only to the Jungian community, but to the world. Nancy was instrumental in helping to get C. G. Jung’s Red Book published and in organizing the Red Book exhibit and dialogues at the Hammer-UCLA Museum in Los Angeles.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Michael Fuerst
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    around the 45th minute or so , you and Nancy talk about dropping into fantasy–this seems like the wrong term.

  2. Robin
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Some interesting dialogues regarding the Red book are available at:
    https://philemonfoundation.org/projects/red_book (scroll down).

  3. John Knight
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I had no idea how much unpublished material there was. Really looking forward to publications on children’s dreaming and the letters between Jung and Schmied (?) (sounding that name out, hehe) regarding typology.


  4. Posted July 31, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    I also flinched at \’fantasy\’ but I enjoyed the interview. By the way, my copy has pride of place on the side board and I dive in whenever I have a chance – awefilled, inspired and often \’gobsmacked\’ by the familiarity of it all.

  5. Sarah
    Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Wonderful podcast! I would love to hear more!

    Being a doctoral student in counseling, I sometimes find myself burnt-out by constant writing and research. This podcast reminded me of my passion for the field of counseling/psychology.

  6. Posted August 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy all the interviews even if I don\’t like the subject. The interest in Jung\’s Redbook is disturbing because it means people are still taken in by religious nonsense. It\’s part of the anti-science mood that seems to be percolating through western culture. Books like The Secret that are presented as \"hidden wisdom\" and served up in an ornate binding pander to the type of thinking that has kept humans from progressing. How long before Jung will become a religion? Maybe it already has.

    Dave, you seem to have a love/hate relationship to these esoteric subjects. And I appreciate your frankness in voicing skepticism on the one hand and fascination on the other.

    I have read a couple biographies on Jung and it so clear that he was a fraud. He was just another \"channeler\" To me he\’s no different than Sylvia Brown. Shame on those who so idolize him that they spend good money on a book that should be a penquin paperback.

  7. Posted August 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    John, you are right that I have a love/hate relationship with some esoteric, “new age” topics such as The Secret. However, you seriously misread me if you think I put Jung into that category. I do not see Jungian psychology as anti-scientific, In fact, he corresponded regularly with Nobel prize-winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli. I do not equate him with “channelers” or Sylvia Brown. I think you’ve read the wrong biographies.

  8. John Knight
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Jung once said, “thank God I’m Jung and not a Jungian”, and I think this is very apt. I get a bit weirded out by a lot of American Jungians in particular (not all, I have immense respect for many) where Jung seems to go beyond the role of clever psychiatrist and more of a demi-god. When people say that the Jungian movement is more of a disguised religion, I’d agree, in certain regions of the world. But it really shouldn’t be that way, and if the “religious” Jungians read more of Jung’s own thoughts on the subject, I’m sure they’d quickly reverse on the idea and realise they’re falling into a sort of archetypal trap.

    John Danzer, it became apparent fairly early on to CG Jung that the human psyche couldn’t be approached only from a rationalist scientific view point, and that there’s a whole other end of the spectrum in human experience. Religion comes from the deepest parts of the human psyche, and or a psychologist to ignore it and its effects would be ignorant and show a cultural bias. I’m not sure if Western culture is going the way you say it is, but in CW1, Jung noted that Spiritualism occurred in the US in particular when the national psyche was becoming too rational, and a compensatory effect occurred. John Beebe noted that The Wizard of Oz seemed to come out when the collective psyche was becoming too masculine.

    There are two ends to every spectrum, and a psychologist needs to experience or at least understand both to do any decent work.

  9. Peter B. Todd
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    I passionately agree with “Shrink”. Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli agreed that quantum physics and depth psychology are complementary to one another. And that the archetypes are timeless, cosmic, ordering and regulating principles whose manifestations could be observed both phenomenologically and in the external world.

    The “ordering and regulating” in the depths of the unconscious psyche is the common, ontological source of science and religion.

    I would refer sceptics to the book published by the late K.V. Laurikainen titled, “Beyond the Atom: The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli”, Springer-Verlag, (1985). This scholarly text explores the extensive correspondence between Jung and Pauli in exquisite detail, restoring Jung to his rightful place in the history of ideas.

    I discussed the Jung/Pauli collaboration and the scientific understanding of the unconscious in episode 240 of this series. It also explored the measurement problem in the verification of psychoanalytic theories.

  10. Posted August 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    To those who would criticize my statements about Jung:

    Let me remind you of the fallacy of invoking an authority in one field (Pauli – Theoretical Physics) and using his success in his field as legitimizing another field. Pauli\’s opinions are not necessarily science just because he made his living as a scientist. There are some \"scientists\" who believe in creationism. The method of determining whether something is indeed scientific is whether it is a testable and therefore falsifiable hypothesis.

    When you consider the evidence on which Jung based his theories (synchronicity for example) you find that the only proof presented are personal experiences or alleged experiences with clients.

    The interview about the Red Book would have its listeners seriously consider the idea that Jung was invisibly pulling the strings to make his Red Book available to the general public at this \"critical\" moment. While I believe in the sincerity of Jung\’s devotees how can anyone with a serious interest in the presentation of psychology as a science take this seriously?

    My use of the word \"channeller\" would be very acceptable to Jung who in his day considered himself in some ways possessed and funtioning as a medium.

    Let\’s not evade the implications of Philemon, Basilides, Salome, haunted houses & automatic writing.

    Why should you believe Jung when he does these things? Sylvia Browne is just a \"Jung\" for the masses.

  11. Peter B. Todd
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, Might I suggest that John Danzer and other like minded sceptics actually read the extensive correspondence between Jung and Pauli to which I have referred. For instance in Laurikainen’s book. Such familiarity with the published literature would make it quite clear that both Jung and Pauli regarded both the measurement problem and the verification theories of mind, including the unconscious very seriously.

    Secondly, with regard to Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” criterion applied to scientific theories, I would suggest that John Danzer actually listen to both the Jonathan Shedler podcast, episode 236 and my own, episode 240 which address the necessity for operational analysis and measurement in testing hypotheses derived from various psychoanalytic theories.

    The efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapies including Jungian requires rigorous measurement of unconscious mental mechanisms and intrapsychic processes, as Shedler clearly argues in his podcast.

    Much of my podcast concerns the extent to which psychoanalysis has already been put on the map of empirical scientific respectability through operational analysis and measurement of theoretical terms.

    May I suggest that John Danzer makes himself familiar with this material and with relevant scientific publications before engaging in unqualified and poorly informed attacks on Jungians and psychoanalysts. The fields of psychosomatic research and neuropsychoanalysis contain copious research relevant to the construct validation of theories from depth psychology and psychoanalysis.

    It is easy to attack Freud and Jung on the basis of scientific projects which could not be completed in their lifetimes because relevant technologies did not develop until later.

  12. Peter B. Todd
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    As an addendum to my August 16th posting in reply to John Danzer, I would make the following comments.

    (a) The archetypes as the “cosmic, ordering and regulating principles” referred to in the Jung/Pauli correspondence are verifiable in both the phenomenological and external worlds. Laurikainen, who wrote the book titled “Beyond the Atom: the Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli: Springer-Verlag reprinted in (1988) concerning this correspondence was himself a professor of high energy physics until his death in 1997.

    (b) I was among the first to operationally define and measure unconscious mental processes including ego-defenses and affects in a study published in 1978 and discussed in episode 240 of this podcast series. This and Jonathan Shedler’s paper explored in episode 236 consign archaic notions that depth psychology and psychoanalysis are pseudosciences to the status of historical relics of thought relevant only to the dark age of radical behaviorism.

    (c) The operational definition of a term is simply one specifying the empirical, observational procedures used to identify it. As noted in my 1978 paper, even such a logical positivist philosopher as Herbert Feigl regarded the case for the scientific status of psychoanalysis as particularly favorable provided that its central terms were operationally defined, measured and used in testable scientific predictions.

    (c) Shedler has already covered the status of psychoanalytic psychotherapies in terms of evaluating measureable outcomes in episode 236 and his paper in the “American Psychologist”, March-April (2010)

    (d)Technologies such as fMRI scanning may enhance such evaluative research. Predictions of the impact of unconscious factors on serious illness mediated through measurable changes in the neuroendocrine and immune systems in such fields as psychoneuroimmunology are also relevant to Freud’s “Project for a Scientific Psychology” and hypothesis testing in depth psychology and psychoanalysis.

  13. John Knight
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    John D, I don’t mean to sound… well… mean, but your arguments show a very strong cultural bias. Your view of ‘scientific’ seems to be entirely mechanistic and rational – and whether or not psychology can be truly called scientific is an age old debate – but the human psyche cannot be approached from such a simplistic and narrow viewpoint. Whether or not something may or may not be a physical reality, it will still be a psychic reality, and one must understand these internal realities, which was always Jung’s argument.

    I’m not sure if I misinterpreted your sentence, but if we look at the world’s population and the number of scientists therein, there are probably more scientists who are ‘creationists’ than there are aetheists/evolutionists, etc, or at least something like an even split. You have to realise that there are countless Muslim scholars, Christians, Hindu, Jewish, and so on, who are all in the fields of science. Does this mean they aren’t genuine scientists? Does being a scientist mean you have to believe in evolution only? Or could this be a cultural bias, reflecting a current zeitgeist? If examined from a psychological viewpoint, a strong and dogmatic belief in evolution is just as much as a ‘religion’ as Christianity, Islam etc. You will do well to ask yourself how your viewpoint will look in two centuries time, and if people will still be holding on so dogmatically to Darwinian *theory*.

    “Let’s not evade the implications of Philemon, Basilides, Salome, haunted houses & automatic writing.”

    What really is the problem with these phenomena in MDR and the Red Book? Is it because they reflect a kooky character, who we can’t then take seriously? Let’s not forget that neither Memories, Dreams, Reflections, nor the Red Book are presented as scientific texts, but are merely autobiographical. And almost everyone runs into some kind of phenomena at some point in their lives that can’t be rationalised.

    I guess the thrust of this argument is, are you mixing up scientific argument with character assassination, and why shouldn’t a psychologist explore issues that are currently considered paranormal?

    CG Jung: “Show me a sane man, and I’ll cure him for you”.

  14. Tom Johnsen
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Wow. I can’t leave such discussions alone more. It really doesn’t matter how Jung comes across to skeptics or believers. To me his description of the system within the psyche “makes sense”, that is, answers basic questions I forget how to ask. My fundamental mantra is “love your trouble” and it has got me through more trouble than it has got me into.

    As soon as I heard the Red Book was available to the likes of me, I put my money down (and saved a bundle).

    the Red Book is unlike any other I’ve ever read and is more like a ladder than a book, and more over an upside down ladder. It seems more designed to descend than to climb, yet in effect it is one that in descent we rise.

    Our reading group approaches the RB in as unjudgmentally as possibly. We simply read it aloud to each other, passing the book in a circle, until an entire chapter is read. We recognize that whenever any one interprets, it appears to diminish the experience. It is our first reading I am talking of. I can imagine reading it over, starting from the beginning, allowing the images to form.

    The conversation that follows are quite exercises in amplification. Sometimes we go off in the weeds, and at others it is a bouyant swim on lake Konstanz.

    To me the Red Book is an overheard conversation between Jung and his Psyche. I think the quote “Show me a sane man, and I’ll cure him.” is delightfully apt. It goes with “I’m glad I’m Jung and not a Jungian.” Belief can be an anchor that keeps the boat in harbor. Better to take your heart in your throat and cast off than to stay rooted and never experience your potential. But I am a hobbit and so dream of such adventures.

  15. John Knight
    Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Love Your Trouble. Hmm. Cool advice.

    I’ve been having trouble dealing with weird things lately, like open-mouthed eating, which bothers me more now than it used to, and I wanna run from the room. There’s a whole series of feeling-toned associations in that little complex, but I’m gonna try and apply that principle to that problem and a number of others.

    Cheers! 🙂

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