Customer Reviews: C.G. Jung & Hermann Hesse
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on October 26, 1999
I picked this up because I had read several books by Hesse and was interested in Mr. Serrano's personal experiences with the Master. I found his writing to be quite engaging, and felt as if I had met Hesse myself. The section on Jung piqued my interest enough for me to search for his, The Undiscovered Self, which I loved as well. I also went on to read Mr. Serrano's, The Ultimate Flower. Unfortunately most of Serrano's other works are out of print. Get this before it goes o.o.p. too. You won't regret it.
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on February 18, 2006
_This is the second time that I have read this remarkable book. Both times I found myself envying the author for having established friendships with two of my greatest heroes, two of the greatest sages of modern times, Hermann Hesse and C.G. Jung.

_This is not some collection of trivial exchanges- from the first meeting with both men the tone of the conversations were deep and significant. As the author says, it was like he had known both men before and they were resuming an old discussion. Hess himself commented on it and said that, "Here, only the right guests meet. This is the Hermetic Circle...." Sounds rather like Jung's concept of synchronicity, though Jung also speaks of Hermetic links with past and future in these discussions.

_While both sections cover a remarkable amount of the core meaning of the life work of both men, there is also a personal sense here. You feel like you are meeting them yourself, are also guests in their houses. Not that the ideas are all rehash either- here and there something new pops up. An example would be how in one of the interviews with Jung the discussion turned to how both the ancient Greeks and the Native Americans both thought from their hearts and not their heads. Thinking exclusively from one's head is the result of dissociation between ego and Self- and sets up a tension that may tear a person or culture to pieces. In any case, you feel that you know both men. Of course, Hesse's novels were autobiographical in the deepest sense (and it is reaffirming to know that he actually was an accurate reflection of his characters- it wasn't just a show.) As for Jung, he states outright that he wrote primarily for his own process of individuation and that the fact that so many others read him made him frankly uncomfortable.

_I was glad to see that my own perceptions of these often misunderstood and misinterpreted men seem to have been accurate from the start. For me too it was like a conversation with old friends- relinking with the Hermetic Circle.
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on April 13, 2003
Serrano was a writer and diplomat who sought out 2 masters as a spiritual/philosophic seeker. Fascinating biography, mixed with Serrano's own fixations.

Serrano later fixated on Adolph Hitler, so there certainly seems to be a germanic bent that he followed. Read Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity to see the strange path the author took after his encounters with Hesse and Jung.
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on April 5, 2010
Steven B. Herrmann, PhD, MFT
Author of "William Everson: The Shaman's Call"

It has been said by many Jungian's that Jung's attitude was not aesthetic, but with the recent publication of his Red Book, it is clear that he was a skilled artist, a calligrapher and also a poet. The early misunderstanding by Jungians about his basic psychological attitude towards art has much to do with Jung's own judgments towards the products of his active imagination experiences. He did not view them as art. Miguel Serrano was one of the first friends of Jung who saw through his empirical and scientific attitude to the artist underneath. He thought that Jung passed beyond the frontiers of science when he said to Serrano in a reverie: "Somewhere there was once a Flower, a Stone, a Crystal, a Queen, a King, a Palace, a Lover and his Beloved, and this was long ago..." In this marvelous book, which I loved reading many years ago, Serrano says that Jung spoke these words "as though he were in a trance." "Nobody understands what I mean," Jung said to his friend, "only a poet could begin to understand...." (60). Moved by what he had heard, Serrano told Jung: "You are a poet" (61). After his interview with Jung, Serrano began to wonder if there was a "second language" in the process of individuation described by Jung that is "waiting to be discovered" by one of his disciples, an "underlying language" which "is already there as a palimpsest" (64). Serrano felt this hidden aspect of Jung's works needed only to be interpreted by "a priest, a magician or a poet" (64). Serrano captured this latent shamanic meaning in Jung's works, and although he may have mislabeled it as the achievement of a poet, many of Jung's works border on poetry. For this reason I find Serrano's Record of Two Friendships to be a first attempt to arrive at a synthesis between a scientific and aesthetic view of Jung. With the recent publication of the Red Book, the preponderance of evidence that he was indeed an artist and a poet is leading towards a more balanced view that shows how prescient Serrano was. This is a beautiful book, one that will be of interest to anyone interested in Serrano's writing, in Jung, and in poetry and literature.
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on December 1, 2009
I discovered this book during a bleak time in late 2002, and magic and mystery returned to my life as a result. The book inspired me to make the pilgrimage to Chile to visit the author, just as he himself had visited Hesse and Jung decades earlier, and I will always cherish the memory of the afternoon I spent with him in Santiago in March 2005.

Unfortunately Serrano has now passed beyond this world, but his spirit lives on, forever part of the Hermetic Circle he writes of in this wonderful book.

Frank McShane, who was a friend of Serrano, has rendered it brilliantly into English, but despite its accessibility few will ever read it, partly for reasons Serrano himself mentions on the very first page: "Even today, I would go half-way round the world to find a book if I thought it essential to my needs, and I have a feeling of absolute veneration for those few authors who have given me something special. For this reason I can never understand the tepid youth of today who wait for books to be given to them and who neither search nor admire."

Today, of course, few even read at all, and especially not writing like this, so saturated in meaning and magic, and filled with synchronicity, from the bee sting that caused Hesse to be at home when Serrano first visited him to the lightning bolt which struck Jung's favourite tree the night of his death.

People who believe the universe is a dead machine will laugh at this book...but let them. Serrano already mentions them in a chapter called 'The Dream': "They were untroubled by doubt and had no concern for vital essences. [...] The last exponents of a world of flesh and blood had departed and, with their concern for a living earth with gods and demons, were considered by this new generation of anti-men as romantic idealists, the product merely of a decayed bourgeois society..."

Serrano's book, on the contrary, belongs to that living earth of gods and demons. Just read it and immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of Bremgarten and the great world of dreams, and the essence of a Legend beyond time or space.
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on September 29, 2015
This is a classic. Serreno interviews both Jung and Hesse separately. Both men are in advanced old age at the time, both residents of Switzerland. Both are, of course, highly evolved men. Never sure just how much is actually Jung and Hesse and how much are Serrano's "interpretations". Nonetheless, I highly recommend this little book.
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on March 28, 2014
This is a beautifully written book that reveals Serrano’s talents as a writer and poet. He was a man of many skills and accomplishments and a friend of many famous men in both Asia and the west. What the book does not reveal is that Serrano was also a self-proclaimed Nazi, racist, and anti-Semite who believed that Hitler and was an extraterrestrial avatar descended to earth to lead men to a new age. Certainly an interesting study in contrasts.
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on February 3, 2015
Hermann Hesse is one of my all time favorite writers. Had a huge impact on my life. Carl Jung naturally added to this with his complementary philosophy and psychology.

Learning that the two were close friends and their impact on each other was immensely interesting.
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on January 23, 2016
After finally buying this book, which had been sitting in my wish list for over a year, I find myself disappointed in what I imagined it to be a more objective account of the ideas of these two men. The problem is not either subject, both fascinating intellects who continued to share great wisdom in their later years, but the author himself. Serrano superimposes his ideas over those of his idols to an almost annoying degree. The diaristic style of writing lends too much of his ego into the "interviews". This is particularly glaring in the Hesse section of the book. Despite this, I can't help giving the book at least 3 stars because of the intimacy of the meetings presented. It's really a treat to be welcomed into the homes and inner lives of these men who at this point seem like mythical figures. Though Serrano does romanticize his subjects and completely skirts over their flaws, it is still enjoyable to gain access to their circle through this book. I would recommend renting it from the library rather than buying it as a previous reviewer suggested. Hesse fans should also know that his portion is significantly shorter than the Jung portion and leaves a lot to be desired.
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on August 1, 2016
Added tinder to an old inspiration. A perfect accompaniment on my voyage from Puno to the Sacred Valley, in search of the ways of the ancients. On the same path the Incans were forced upon by the conquest of Western Rationalism that has cut us from our roots. Happy searching, mi hermano!
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