Quotes By The Red Book: Liber Novus

“Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life...If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature...Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.”


“You do not overcome the old teaching through doing less, but through doing more. Every step closer to my soul excites the scornful laughter of my devils, those cowardly ear-whisperers and poison-mixers. It was easy for them to laugh, since I had to do strange things.”


“The spirit of the depths even taught me to consider my action and my decision as dependent on dreams. Dreams pave the way for life, and they determine you without you understanding their language. One would like to learn this language, but who can teach and learn it? Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is a knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight. The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of this time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream, since the soul is everywhere that scholarly knowledge is not.”


“I swayed between fear, defiance, and nausea, and was wholly the prey of my passion. I could not and did not want to listen to the depths. But on the seventh night, the spirit of the depths spoke to me: “Look into your depths, pray to your depths, waken the dead.”


“you are boys, your God is a woman. If you are women, your God is a boy. If you are men, your God is a maiden. The God is where you are not. So: it is wise that one has a God; this serves for your perfection. A maiden is the pregnant future. A boy is the engendering future. A woman is: having given birth. A man is: having engendered.”


“Communion gives us warmth.
Singleness gives us light.
At immeasurable distance stands one single star at the zenith.
This star is the God and goal of humanity.
In this world one is Abraxas,
creater and destroyer of one's world.”


“they determine you without you understanding their language.53 One would like to learn this language, but who can teach and learn it? Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is a knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight.54 The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of this time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream, since the soul is everywhere that scholarly knowledge is not. But how can I attain the knowledge of the heart? You can attain this knowledge only by living your life to the full. You live your life fully if you also live what you have never yet lived, but have left for others to live or to think.55 You will say: “But I cannot live or think everything that others live or think.” But you should say: “The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.” It appears as”


“the spirit of the depths teaches me that I am a servant, in fact the servant of a child. This dictum was repugnant to me and I hated it. But I had to recognize and accept that my soul is a child”


“Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthrals and overpowers...he transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night.”


“If you go to thinking take your heart with you. If you go to love, take your head with you. Love is empty without thinking, thinking hollow without love”


“We should grow like a tree that likewise does not know its law. We tie ourselves up with intentions, not mindful of the fact that intention is the limitation, yes, the exclusion of life.”


“In everything regarding your salvation and the attainment of mercy, you are dependent on your soul. Thus no sacrifice can be too great for you. If your virtues hinder you from salvation, discard them, since they have become evil to you. The slave to virtue finds the way as little as the slave to vices.”


“I, too, lived—which I had not done before, and which I could still do. I lived into the depths, and the depths began to speak. The depths taught me the other truth. It thus united sense and nonsense in me. I had to recognize that I am only the expression and symbol of the soul. In the sense of the spirit of the depths, I am as I am in this visible world a symbol of my soul, and I am thoroughly a serf, completely subjugated, utterly obedient. The spirit of the depths taught me to say: “I am the servant of a child.” Through this dictum I learn above all the most extreme humility, as what I most need.”


“My God is a child, so wonder not that the spirit of this time in me is incensed to mockery and scorn.”


“As long as you are not conscious of your self you can live; but if you become conscious of your self you fall from one grave into another. All your rebirths could ultimately make you sick. The Buddha therefore finally gave up on rebirth, for he had had enough of crawling through all human and animal forms. After all the rebirths you still remain the lion crawling on the earth, the Chameleon, a caricature, one prone to changing colors, a crawling shimmering lizard, but precisely not a lion, whose nature is related to the sun, who draws his power from within himself who does not crawl around in the protective colors of the environment, and who does not defend himself by going into hiding. I recognized the chameleon and no longer want to crawl on the earth and change colors and be reborn; instead I want to exist from my own force, like the sun which gives light and does not suck light.

That belongs to the earth. I recall my solar nature and would like to rush to my rising. But ruins stand in my way They say: 'With regard to men you should be this or that.' My chameleonesque skin shudders. They obtrude upon me and want to color me. But that should no longer be. Neither good nor evil shall be my masters. I push them aside, the laughable survivors, and go on my way again, which leads me to the East. The quarreling powers that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me.”


“Everything to come was already in images: to find their soul, the ancients went into the desert. This is an image. The ancients lived their symbols, since the world had not yet become real for them. Thus they went into the solitude of the desert to teach us that the place of the soul is a lonely desert. There they found the abundance of visions, the fruits of the desert, the wondrous flowers of the soul. Think diligently about the images that the ancients have left behind. They show the way of what is to come. Look back at the collapse of empires, growth and death, of the desert and monasteries, they are the images of what is to come. Everything has been foretold. But who knows how to interpret it?

When you say that the place of the soul is not, then it is not. But if you say that it is, then it is. Notice what the ancients said in images: the words is a creative act. The ancients said: in the beginning was the Word. Consider this and think upon it.

The words that oscillate between nonsense and supreme meaning are the oldest and truest.”


“It seems to me that I despised you. My joy at finding you again was not genuine.”


“But I was not my self, confronted with my thoughts. I should also rise up above my thoughts to my own self. My journey goes there, and that is why it leads away from men and events into solitude. Is it solitude, to be with oneself? Solitude is true only when the self is a desert.73 Should I also make a garden out of the desert? Should I people a desolate land? Should I open the airy magic garden of the wilderness? What leads me into the desert, and what am I to do there? Is it a deception that I can no longer trust my thoughts? Only life is true, and only life leads me into the desert, truly not my thinking, that would like to return to thoughts, to men and events, since it feels uncanny in the desert. My soul, what am I to do here? But my soul spoke to me and said, “Wait.” I heard the cruel word. Torment belongs to the desert.”


“Wherever the creative power of desire is, there springs the soil’s own seed. But do not forget to wait.”


“Do you believe, man of this time, that laughter is lower than worship? Where is your measure, false measurer? The sum of life decides in laughter and in worship, not your judgment.”


“I should give myself completely into your hands—but who are you? I do not trust you. Not once to trust, is that my love for you, my joy in you? Do I not trust every valiant man, and not you, my soul? Your hand lies heavy on me, but I will, I will. Have I not sought to love men and trust them, and should I not do this with you?”