Carl Jung’s Red Book

When I was a much younger man, a teenager even, the world exploded in my mind. There were many things I’ve discovered since that have helped me make sense of the shrapnel that was left behind but, at the time, one of the most significant for me were the writing and ideas of Carl Jung.

I’m definitely not an expert on Jung and, although I re-read Man and his Symbols again not too long ago, it has been quite a while since I really explored his theories and insights. In October 2009, almost 50 years after his death, The Philemon Foundation published Carl Jung’s very rarely seen Red Book (also known as Liber Novus). A few weeks ago I was finally able to get a copy, and I am fascinated.

Early in his career, Carl Jung was a close friend and follower of Sigmund Freud. In 1912 Jung’s book, The Psychology of the Unconscious, caused a rift and made rivals of Jung and Freud because Jung’s book basically called Freud’s theories incomplete. This caused Jung to sink into a deep depression, and left him completely uncertain of his future. Jung retreated into a sort of meditation and began experiencing unusual states of consciousness which he started writing down. Soon he was editing, revising, illustrating and collecting those writings into what would eventually become known as his Red Book. This intense visionary period lasted from 1913 to 1916, although Jung continued to add to the Red Book throughout the rest of his life.

Some people describe the Red Book as Jung’s descent into madness. Jung himself was afraid he was going crazy, but realized he wasn’t losing his mind because he was able to maintain relationships with his wife and children, saw patients, and interacted with others socially. By contrast, the insane might descend into the imagination and never return. The Red Book, and maybe the ideas that followed, came out of a very profound and irrational time in Jung’s life.  Even now, Jung is sometimes considered to be a little loopy, new age, and maybe even dangerous. From what I understand, there are many psychologist (including some Jungian psychologists) who have severe reservations about the Red Book. Perhaps this is because the book is not written in psychological jargon and the ideas may not be fully developed? Of course, at the time it’s writing, many Jungian terms weren’t defined yet.

The images and illustrations in the book are beautiful. Although some depict scenes or characters from the accompanying text, many have nothing to do with the surrounding copy. A number of them are what Jung would eventually call personal mandala, meant to be meditated upon. The illustrations and pictures in this book build a link between the modern world and our forgotten past, a connection I felt right away. I’ve actually read that, for a brief time, Jung considered becoming a painter. But not for long. He realized that was a temptation meant to distract him away from his real work in psychology.

In the end, the Red Book was a personal journey that allowed Jung to discover and connect with what he might describe as ‘the god within’. Jung believed we all must take a similar journey in order to become complete human beings, and it has been a pleasure for me to wander along the route Jung mapped out for himself.

Here are some links and interviews I also enjoyed:

Where Does Meaning Come From?

Reinvest in Your Inner Life

The General Neurosis of Our Age

Face to Face – Part 1 (of 3)

The World Within – Part 1 (of 6)

New Artist in Town – Exhibit at Broadview University

Five Women
Five Women
Edward and Frida

There’s a new artist in town. Casey Landau recently moved from New York City to Salt Lake City to become the librarian at Broadview University, a new campus that offers four programs, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Casey will be showing at the campus’ new art gallery, the Kaye Myhre Gallery at 240 E Morris Avenue.

Her show is called “Librarian by Day, the Art of Campus Librarian.” It kicks off with a reception next week on August 3 from  5 to 7 p.m. The show is a showcase of the past 10 years of Casey’s art, including pieces of a series called Men with Beards, Free Drawings and Faceless Portraits.

Free Drawings 2003-2009
Free Drawings 2003-2009

She draws with charcoal, crayons, pens, stencils, pencils and beer.  Those who visit the show can leave with a page of Casey’s coloring book, called “A Woman’s Place is in this Coloring Book” to color at home. The show runs through September 23.

Todd’s Favorite Food

Happy Boy
Happy Boy
Chopped up tempeh
Chopped up tempeh

In case you have never cooked with tempeh, here is a quick primer.  Tempeh is a high protein food. It is originally from Indonesia. It is a fermented soy item that comes in a brick. Uncooked it looks a little bit like pressed brains, because when fermented  it forms curds that are then pressed together.  It has more calories than tofu but is much more edible and easier on the gut.

This is Todd’s favorite recipe of all time. He always asks for it. It is the first thing I ever cooked for him, and I lost the recipe for several years before I yielded to his requests to figure out my own version.

Here goes:

Tempeh Peanut Curry Stir Fry

Stir frying veggies
Stir frying veggies

The Veggies:
Almost any mix will do. You need about 8 cups of raw veggies to feed about 4 people. I use:

Red Onion
Green Beans

But feel free to try your own favorites.

The Tempeh:
Buy it at either Whole Foods, Sunflower Market, or in the natural food area of some Smiths. I use one or two bricks chopped into 1 by ½ inch rectangles. You can buy extra and freeze it.

The Sauce:
This is the important part and is pretty easy to go wrong, so be careful. The biggest mistake I have made is to add too much sweetener. This is my modification of a recipe by


1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 Tbs. agave nectar
4 Tbs. miso
1 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1.5 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs Oregano
2 Tbs curry powder (or for a more delicious dinner, substitue Cali’s Natural Foods Curry Paste. If your curry paste isn’t potent enough, add more)
1/2 cup water, more if needed

I stir fry the veggies like you normally would and cook up some rice as I make the sauce. For the sauce, I combine all the ingredients and then heat it in the microwave, not to get it hot, just to melt the peanut butter to make it easier to stir. Stir and taste to see if it needs more spice, it should be very spicy. When the veggies are almost cooked add the sauce, mix together and serve over rice garnished with peanuts.

Final product
Final product

Captain America

Let's Rap with Cap - Daniel Johnston

I’ve never been that much of a Captain America fan, so I’m surprised by how much I’ve wanted to see the new movie. I haven’t been able to swing it quite yet, but I have a feeling this’ll be a good one. To reacquaint myself I’ve been flipping through some Cap comics, and here are a few I have been enjoying lately.

I’ve already written about how much I enjoyed the first couple arcs of The Ultimates. That storyline starts off with Captain America rallying the troops, storming the occupied beaches, and kicking Nazi poop. It is so well done it’ll make ya want to put your hand on your heart, yell “Hell Yeah!” and kick over your chair.

Recently, I decided to drop a few bucks on the Winter Soldier series that was written by Ed Brubaker. I’ve been pretty bored with most mainstream comics for a while so, even though I’d heard how good the Captain America series had become, I never read it. Now that I have, I can see why it’s gotten so much praise. With Cap pounding on the Red Skull, guest starring S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Invaders (including Bucky!), fighting over the Cosmic Cube, it’s got everything you need in a good Captain America story.

There is also a great new animated series that you can rent and download on iTunes called Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This cartoon is about the whole Avengers team, but since Captain America was an original member, you’ll get to see him plenty.

Medical Illustration

Vesalius Moustache
Vesalius Moustache

Vesalius Torso

It’s a practice that pre-dates the time of Christ, and is one of my main pieces of evidence that, despite what the adults from my youth had to say, creativity is valuable to society. I spent hours and hours in high school and college pouring over this art work. Medical illustration – I’m certain I wouldn’t understand mitosis, meiosis, anaphylaxes or the Krebbs cycle without it. Perhaps its greatest gift to our culture is that it allows us to teach the wonders of human reproduction to children without live models. Considering my background in public health, there isn’t much more interesting to me than an exquisite rendering of a human urethra.

Early manuscripts from the medieval period and in ancient Arab are among the first samples of medical illustration. Many of these examples are now more art than science, having been drafted without direct observation or modern medical technology. In the 1500s, Andreas Vesalius, anatomist, physician and artist published a breakthrough, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body), which contained 600 woodcuts based on his observations of human dissection.

Today there are about 2,000 medical illustrators in the U.S. Most have Master’s degrees in medical illustration. Many have Ph.Ds. 3D modeling and animation techniques merge this art with modern technology and make the profession more valuable than ever. Medical illustrators use their imaginations to make sub-cellular processes too small to be seen with the naked eye come to life.

If I had more skill with drawing and computers, I’d love to try my hand at medical illustration. Life science has always been in close competition with art for my attention. It’d be fun to do both at the same time, every day, and maybe gross out some wimps at the same time.

B.A.M. Bikini Awareness Month

BAM photo by Aaron Michael Woods

Last year invented a half-assed celebration called “Bikini Awareness Month,” AKA B.A.M. I love to make bikinis so much that we are continuing to celebrate this non-existent holiday again. I’ve made three new designs this year and the 65th anniversary of the bikini’s invention seemed like a great excuse to share them.

Number 1 – The Kennedy

The Kenniki
The Kenniki

This bikini was designed to grace the gorgeous bod of Princess Kennedy in the 2011 Gay PRIDE Parade. Our float, hosted by SLUG Magazine, took first place! It is made from cotton I dyed by hand at Pioneer Craft House in a rainbow of prideful colors. One breast is extroverted, adorned with out-going and popular popcorn stitches to represent the fun-loving lifestyle of a PRIDE princess. The other breast is more introverted, lacy and keeping maybe a little taste of her overwhelming sexuality to herself. The bottom is a lace garter belt adorned with triangles on the corners. However, a single hip is graced with a blossoming flower to symbolize coming out, embracing one’s inner beauty  and learning to love the real you found deep inside. The private areas are covered with tidy whiteys, made over in a bright color, to represent childhood. I know you can’t take it all in with a single glance, but to me, this bikini is the past, present and future of a treasure of our GLBTQ community.

Marilyn and Aaron
Marilyn and Aaron

Number 2 – The Marilyn
Designed for my friend Marilyn Golightly, this bikini has shapes and colors you will remember from the 1950s with all the aggressive sex appeal of 2011. If you like it, come see me at Craft Lake City. My booth will be stocked with string bikinis in this 50s style in a variety of colors and sizes. However, the cream and gold version of this bikini is for Marilyn exclusively. Marilyn brought the hair, makeup, modeling experience and amazing legs, as well as an awesome photographer, Aaron Michael Woods who took most of these photos.

No Hairrah On Top
No Hairrah On Top

Bikini Number 3 – The Farah
No Hairah Faucett (a.k.a. Blossom Bottom) likes the color blue, so a variegated and simple crocheted string bikini top paired with hot pants from Consignment Circuit became the look to outfit her for the 1970s. A twisty gold necklace provides a touch of the exotic, and No Hairah and I teamed up on hair and makeup. However, I can’t take credit for the amazing legs, or the darling ginger toddler that fell for her hard and stole the show when we showed these outfits at the Utah Arts Alliance’s Craft Lake City and Connect party.

I want to thank Kennedy, Marilyn and No Hairah for being my inspiration. I can’t make an outfit without knowing who will wear it, since I design every component to represent that personality, story and moment in time. These three are among the most beautiful and gifted models I have ever worked with.

Long live the bikini! Until next July!

New Single
New Single

Glinda and Toto
Glinda and Toto

Taiwan’s Jade Cabbage

When I was a kid, my family lived in Taipei, Taiwan. I had many adventures living there, and spent a lot of my time riding the bus all over and running around the city. There were a lot of things I liked to do and see, but one of my favorites was to spend time in the different museums. I spent a lot of my time at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, just because it was close to where we lived, and I had this nice spot in the surrounding park by a small waterfall where I could read and nobody would ever find me. That was my favorite place, but it wasn’t the only spot I liked wandering off to. Another place I also liked to stroll through was the National Palace Museum.

I’ve been thinking this week about a piece of artwork in the National Palace Museum that somebody once told me was Taiwan’s most important and valuable piece of art. When I’d come across the piece, I’d wonder why it was so important. It just looked like a piece of cabbage to me. There were these little grasshoppers or crickets crawling up the leaves that I liked a lot, and the color of the jade was very interesting in the way the white at the bottom would gradate to a nice dark green toward the top. Just like cabbage, I guess.

Now, I don’t really know if that jade cabbage is really as important as I thought, or if it stirs up all sorts of national pride in the Taiwanese people. It could be that my eleven year mind made a big deal out of some random comment. But maybe not. When Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retreated to Taipei during the Chinese Civil War, I imagine his government didn’t have a lot of time to bring many pieces of art. Perhaps the cabbage is a link to mainland China. Maybe looking at that cabbage is a way for the Taiwanese people to remember and feel a link to the history and traditions that they were forced to leave behind.