In full honesty, because of the amount of overlapping content, reading TBB up to Volume 7 was a disappointing experience. Even with the new material of Volume 6, I started to doubt the decision to publish a whole collection only for those few entries.
It’s thus with little expectations that I started Volume 7, the longest book of the set. To my great surprise, not only a lot happens in Volume 7 but the entries have the same authentic aura of mystery that I experience while reading TRB. Reading Volume 7 feels fresh. It is full of surprises and twists with new characters being introduced and is packed with dramatic revelations.
The main new character is Ka. After a long series of teaching from Philemon, Ka appears and is being introduced as Philemon shadow, though the situation quickly reverses.
[Ka says:] Will you finally listen? Am I less than Philemon? Is white better than black? Philemon called me his shadow. I call him my shadow. I am solid, he is thinner than air. His truth is a shadow, a breath, fleeting and already blown away. I am a rock of ages. Do you think that I am less than him, since I am damned to chase after my shadow? Is he not condemned to always precede me? He’s only my herald, my forerunner. What then comes, is me. I endure, he comes and goes. When he ascends where I have yet to climb, I am still with you long after he has gone. I am your truth, which endures, he is a fleeting light, a stray ray of sunlight. Hence listen to me?
Ka describes himself as the builder of “the temple, full of eternal beauty, the palaces of death, the grave chambers of the Gods.” (Vol 7, 10. II. 18)
When Ka meets Philemon, he lays out a devastating criticism.
[Ka talking to Philemon:] Philemon, stop! Your speech is hollow. […] Do you believe that you can hoodwink me with [your speech]? The red of your mantle is blood, living human blood. It testifies against you from eternal justice. It cries of crimes against the innocent. Human blood will do just fine to stain your mantle.
[Philemon responds:] Truly, you speak spoke no lie. I am a crime of the Gods against man. His betters commit crime against him. My hand is red from the blood of the guiltless. I tore the eternal good from his flesh.
Ka. Shameless one, come to judgment. I will reveal your devious ways. Did you not hide in this man? Have you not forced me onto his way, so that I have to give him the terrible shadow? Have you not set the hounds of hell nipping at his heels?
Phil. You speak the truth. I hid myself in this man. I wed him to the daughter of the great mother, that spans heaven and earth. Didn’t he give her female form, didn’t he love her?
Ka. And did you beget the shameful and clandestine, dreadful worm with her? Your daughter? Incest!
Phil. Didn’t the worm spring from red fruit? The golden seed that rose up streaming throughout heaven? Didn’t the man stretch out his arm toward eternal beauty?
Ka. You stole it from him. You robbed the minor of his possession. You betrayed his faith and loyalty. You made him a slave for the sake of your lust for power. What is your beauty to him, which is paid for with blood, with innocent blood? What do you give him? Have you counted out a payment? Nothing, liar, your hand is empty.
With the addition of Ka, the “false splendor” of Philemon is revealed and contrasted by Ka’s impenetrable shadow. This entry forces us to reevaluate the position of Philemon and to balance it with Ka. Jung’s soul comments:
[Jung’s soul says:] You call [Philemon and Ka] the blessed ones? Did you see the “blessed ones” caught, creeping around, peering at holes through which one could escape into a distant twilight? But they do harm to you, because you still empower them and call them the blessed ones. So they claim for themselves what belongs to you. You will be robbed. Both are cunning, clever beyond all measure. One gives you a false splendor and the other gives you a false shadow. Do you now see, who the master is? Where does the upper blessed come together with the lower blessed one? In the mediating everyday, it seems to me.
[Jung’s I says:] You say the most astonishing things.
We’re now halfway into the book and Jung’s soul provides one of the longest entries in Volume 7 which is a source of utter confusion and clarity. I’ll quote only the beginning:
[Jung’s soul says:] But you can’t do your work as long as Philemon and Ka are the ‘sublime ones’ and you are just the seed between two magnets. Your God is a world. He forms the world and the Gods, grant him the power. But if you look toward the world, then the Gods rule and your God is weak. But your God is strong if you stay by him, if you give him the force of your longing. Your God is both powerful and weak. If you give him force, you draw his world power to yourself. If you give him no force, his world power leaves you and turns itself against you. Respect for and disdain of the Gods—that is the mystery. Whoever fails to grasp this mystery travels the four false ways, either in the world, or to the daimons, or in the past and the Below, or in the future and the Above. Respect for and disdain of the Gods begins with respect for and disdain of oneself and takes string precedence over respect and disdain of men, animals, plants and lifeless objects. Instead of respect and disdain you may above all also say love and hate, since some enclose love in respect and hate in disdain, whereas others however enclose respect in love and disdain in hate. No foggy language. Your speech is slippery.
[…] Remoteness from God is procession along the 4 false ways, it is crucifixion, it is Abraxas. The 4 false ways are: being one with the outer worldly being, being one with the soul, being one with splendor, Philemon, being one with the shadow, Ka.
By this point, the reader should have a good impression that TBB contains more of the same inscrutable mystery that can be found in TRB. This can have the destabilizing effect of leaving the reader more confused than he was at the beginning. On my end, I can only be grateful that there is a public testimony that shows how to not fall prey to the abysmal depths of the human experience.